Hofstra Students Bring Back the 80’s

By Sara Kay

An ‘80s rock phenomenon is going on now, on Hofstra’s interactive website.


Photo: Sara Haile

“Oh yeah. Oh F*** yeah.” The first words ever uttered in a C-oh!-bra episode set the mood for the rest of the series.

Hofstra senior Ian Meltzer plays Rip “Thunderdome” Richards, a lead singer of a retro rock band, modeled after ‘80s rockers Kip Winger and Steven Percy. Mike “The Misery” Michaels (played by alumni James Appleton), Phil Smith, (senior Stephen Dworkin), and Sam Kolls (senior Erik Delosh) round out the C-oh!-bra band, that attracted hundreds of followers at Hofstra and has lately attracted more far-flung fans as well.

“We’re huge in Canada,” says Ian.

The guys knew they wanted to do a series about music, but it took some brainstorming to put the concept of C-oh!-bra together. “About a year ago, we were just sitting around talking about music, and how I wanted to be in a ‘80s band,” says Meltzer. “And then it kind of progressed to, well, let’s be in a ‘80s band. And then, let’s make a joke ‘80s band.” However fun it sounded at first, the guys came to realize that it would take a lot of work. “I wrote down a concept from what we all were talking about,” says Meltzer. “From there we kind of went with it.”

After agreeing on the general idea of the show, the writers had to develop its characters. Rip, Mike, Phil and Sam needed depth, dialogue and a cool wardrobe. To make for good comedy, each band member had to be unique. “We wanted Rip to be the eccentric, front man who, there’s something clearly wrong with,” says Meltzer. “Sam we wanted to be the one who has the talent, who actually does rock, which is funny because he rocks the hardest but he doesn’t talk about it.”

“Mike’s character was kind of a joke,” Meltzer adds. “He’s the biggest out of all of us.”

“He’s also very sensitive,” says Dworkin.

“And to play on that,” Meltzer adds, “Phil is the smallest of all of us, but he’s just so damn mean.”

Steph, (pronounced Shteph), played by Jen DiMatteo, serves as the love interest, resulting in a love triangle between Mike, Steph and Phil. “We wanted something real life,” says Meltzer. “We figured it would be funny because she was with Mike who’s the complete opposite of Phil, and then she left Mike for Phil, so it’s like, what’s going on?”

“Then Mike constantly tries to win her back,” Dworkin says.

“We wanted the big and little guy to be the main conflict, always at each other’s nerves,” Meltzer says.

But C-oh!-bra wasn’t just about being funny, it was about being authentic. “As far as costumes go, we just watched a lot of ‘80s rock music videos,” says Delosh. Each character had his own look, and the guys made sure to match the hair and clothing accordingly. “We knew that Ian’s character would have the most outrageous clothes since he’s lead singer,” Delosh says. “As far as everyone else, Sam was pretty plain with ripped jeans and a white t-shirt or no shirt at all, since he’s a pretty bland character. For Phil and Mike we went with what would be funny, something typical back in the ‘80s.”

“The hair was typical of the time; bleached and disgusting,” he continues. “We tried to match our hair colors with the wigs. We wanted Ian’s to be a David Lee Roth rip off.”

The reaction from the audience of C-oh!-bra is something the guys considered from the beginning. “We wanted it to be a life changing experience,” says Delosh, laughing.

“It was a very specific group of people that would get it,” he adds. “Eventually it would branch out, though.”
Meltzer says even for people who don’t know ‘80s rock, the show “still has elements you would find funny. People still laugh.”

All the cast members agree the seven-episode web series was a great learning experience. “When you watch TV, or you watch web content, you think it’s easy to do,” Delosh says. “But when you actually go to do it, it’s a lot more than you think it would be. It’s frustrating at times, we got on each other’s nerves, but there were more than enough occasions when we would have fun.”

It was hard finding crew, because few were familiar with web TV.

“Sometimes we found that it was just the five of us with a camera,” DiMatteo says.

Aside from the shortage of help, there were other bumps in the road.

“We re-wrote three times in production,” Meltzer says. “The last scene, James wrote literally two hours before we went and filmed it. Everything was kind of on-the-fly production. In the middle we stopped for two weeks, because we all wanted to kill each other. We had to decide if we thought it should be done or not done, but then we decided to finish it up.”

“It was definitely frustrating, to say the least,” says Delosh.

After all the conflicts, mishaps, fights and laughs, C-oh!-bra has made its presence known not only to Hofstra students, but also to other followers who have found them on the web. Currently, they are being reviewed by Tilzy.tv. “If you get reviewed by them, it’s a really big deal,” says Meltzer. “We’ve submitted to all types of web TV awards, so hopefully we’ll hear back from them.”

“Promotion, especially self-promotion, is the key,” says Delosh. “Nobody is going to find out about you unless you promote yourselves.” With Internet-based promotion, the band managed to pick up a following. “We spent hours after midnight just posting links, trying to get people to watch it. Every little bit helps.”

Now that C-oh!-bra is over, and the guys have retired their wigs and instruments, they are already cooking up their next web series. “We’re currently writing a pilot,” says Meltzer. “It’s much different; it’s like a comedy drama, like real life, much less specific.”

How would C-oh!-bra band members say good-bye to their fans?

“Mike would be emotional, use big words the wrong way. He would start crying, and compare C-oh!-bra to a flower,” says Delosh and Meltzer.

“Sam Kolls would move onto the next band on the list of bands” says Delosh. “He never had a reason to pick C-oh!-bra, he just fell into that slot as lead guitarist. He never really cares about anything. As long as he’s playing he doesn’t care.”

And Phil would say, “If any ladies are interested, I’m now single, drop me a line.”

Want to catch up on the 80’s rock web series? Go to C-oh!-bra’s interactive channel, and as Mike would say, “get some.”

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Graduate Student Makes a “Green” Difference

By Samantha Davies

Graduate student makes a difference by making things “green”

LaFemina hosting an Art of Healing event

LaFemina hosting an Art of Healing event

Spend five minutes with Michael LaFemina and you might just feel empowered to make a difference in the world. While studying education in grad school, LaFemina chairs the Student Affairs Committee for the University Senate.

For the last ten months, he’s been trying to create a full time Officer of Environmental Sustainability position for the University. He helped bring about the Styrofoam ban on campus and the plate first policy and he is currently working on a ‘ban the bottle’ campaign. Along with saving our planet, he has also done his part in educating students about politics through the 2008 debate.

Q: What makes you angry about our youth today?

A: In general we are impatient, we are not self-motivated, and we have expectations that are too high of others and too low of ourselves. It takes a lot for us to look past our televisions, MySpace pages, iPhones and the many other distractions to things that have influence on our lives and the lives of others.

Q: Why did you become a vegetarian?

A: My reasons are ever evolving. My original reasons were animal rights because I was blown away by the lack of humanity that was in the factory farming industry. Then I learned about how to be a conscious consumer and it dawned on me that I shouldn’t buy sweatshop made goods. This is another level of ethical disagreement I have with the production of an item that I consume.

I also found out that the meat and dairy industry are the number one producers of global green house gases. I read a statement that said if you want to do something great for the environment don’t drive a hybrid, give up meat, you will have a bigger impact.

Q: What have you done at Hofstra that you’re most proud of?

A: For the last couple of years I have been sharpening what I believe in and making sure that I understand what I am talking about. I have been educating myself, focusing my energies and then acting on them. It’s good to have beliefs, but if you don’t carry them out, then they are useless.

Q: Anything you didn’t get to do?

A: I wish I could have spent more time learning how to play the cello. It’s a beautiful instrument.

Q: You majored in music as an undergraduate. Are you trying to do anything with that at the moment?

A: My studies in music were not so much that I could be a musician or a music teacher; I originally had intentions to be a researcher of music. My studies have kind of evolved to be just a deeper appreciation for music as an art form and a community. I value it and its part of my life, but as far as being active in my music that’s not really my focus right now.


Q: What would your friends say about you?

A: They would tell you that I am pretty sincere, hardworking, concerned for their well-being and our planet. I would hope they would say that I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk.

Q: You have made many friends here at Hofstra, but have you made any enemies?

A: My reputation is not one of confrontation. I am more of a coalition builder, not someone who believes fighting with people who disagree with you is a way to further your agenda. There is no reason to make enemies in this world. It’s just counterproductive.

Q: Is there any story that your friends would tell me but you wouldn’t want them to?

A: I don’t get embarrassed by the things I do, I revel in them.

Q: What has made you the person you are today?

A: Everything I have done, everywhere I’ve been and every person I have interacted with, has had an influence on me one way or another. Of course there have been milestones and there have been people who have had more influence than others. I’m constantly reevaluating myself as an individual, as a learner, as an activist, as an organizer, as a spiritual person in every dimension possible. The more time you spend with people and pay attention to who they are, the more you learn about yourself.

Q: If there was one message you could tell everyone what would it be?

A: Look in a mirror: if you’re happy with what you see, you’re doing something right. If you’re not, fix it. I can’t tell you anything that you can’t tell yourself.

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 7:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Brother’s Legacy Helps Family Fight Against Cancer

By Adam Malmut

Hofstra lacrosse head Michael Colleluori keeps his brother’s spirit alive in a foundation supporting the fight against blood cancers.

Photo: Stephen Cooney

Photo: Stephen Cooney

In his final days, Nicholas “Head” Colleluori spent all his time trying to cheer up fellow cancer patients and brainstorming with his brother, Michael, about new ways to give people hope. On Nov. 28, 2006, after 14 months of intense chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplant, Nick lost his battle against non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a type of blood cancer. Nicholas was just 21.

Today Nicholas’s legacy and vision lives on through the family-run organization Nicholas started shortly before his death. The HEADstrong Foundation, named after Nicholas’s nickname on the field, provides support to patients, raise finds and spread public awareness about blood cancer.

In conjunction with the Hofstra University lacrosse program, the HEADstrong Foundation holds several yearly events, including the annual Nicholas Colleluori Lacrosse Classic, held at Ridley High School in Folsom, Pa. Seth Tierney, head coach of Hofstra lacrosse says the second annual Nicholas Colleluori Classic was his most unforgettable moment in his work with the HEADstrong Foundation.

“This past year’s tournament was hands down the most memorable for me,” says Tierney. “What was originally just a thought came true. To see where it has gone and how much money they made for research is amazing. Colleluori’s work ethic on and off the field is top notch. [Colleluori] went through such a difficult task losing his brother… and he has done an unbelievable job enduring.”

Nick’s mother, and Foundation President, Cheryl Colleluori said that she expects the upcoming Lacrosse Classic to spread awareness about blood cancer, as well as raise over $200,000, up from $175,000 last year. Between 16 and19 teams will take part in games across three lacrosse fields.

Michael, who also doubles as vice-president said, “Last year about 10,000 people showed up, we expect even more this year. I want what my brother Nick wanted; he wanted this foundation to be as big as the Lance Armstrong Foundation.”

colleluori2The HEADstrong Foundation also sponsors grant programs for survivors of lymphoma, leukemia and myeloma, in the age range of 18-45, with up to $1,000 in assistance, as well as offer help to those who lose their health insurance. “Everything our organization takes part in relates back to Nick and his vision of helping people with this disease,” says Colleluori.

Colleluori recalls his brother’s last six weeks, when he was in hospice care. Shortly before Thanksgiving in 2006, Colleluouri withdrew from Hofstra so he could spend more time with Nicholas. Colleluori said his brother’s courage grew stronger as his body grew weaker. “His mentality during the whole thing was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anyone deal with an illness like this and still be focused on helping others.”

As the Headstrong Foundation looks toward the upcoming year, Colleluori revealed the campaign for 2009: “Score for the cure.” The campaign is designed to get child and teen lacrosse players involved in the drive to raise money for blood cancer research in the name of the late Nick Colleluori. The program will challenge students to find sponsors to donate 5 cents per goal to their teams during the season. Donors will be eligible for prizes, like lacrosse sticks or hats with the foundation’s lime green logo.

“We try to keep people involved,” said Colleluori. “We have a whole committee dedicated to finding new ways to keep Nick’s dream alive and we will continue to do so in the future.”

Vote for Michael for Lowe’s Senior Class Award

For the full story, check out the Spring issue of Pulse, available now.

Published in: on April 13, 2009 at 3:57 am  Leave a Comment