Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein

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The Warrior Mother

Ben and Frances Richey

Ben and Frances Richey

Awhile back, I attended a reading hosted by the Sidney Harman Writer-in-Residence program, featuring Frances Richey. She introduced herself as a yoga teacher and poet, a nice coupling of professions. When she revealed that she worked in the corporate world for two decades, I was taken back. When she revealed that she wrote a book of poems for her son on duty at Iraq, and after reading a selection, I almost doubled over – in front of me that night was a mother with a passionate heart, and a poet who definitely knew how to write. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on The Warrior Mother

A Waltz with Bashir

Scene from Waltz with Bashir

Scene from "Waltz with Bashir"

WOOF! WOOF! And the dogs race towards you screaming; the men are quietly debating what happened during their time as Lebanon War soldiers. BANGBANGBANG! And the mortars are roaring while the guns spew death; the men are quietly debating what happened. I look at the screen and a spastic storyteller comes to mind. This erratic movie caught me entirely off guard with its different spasms of sound and visuals. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on A Waltz with Bashir

Prose writes prose

Francine Prose

Francine Prose

When a writer like Francine Prose comes along, you might just ask yourself, “What the heck did I learn in school?” In her recently released title, “Reading Like A Writer”, Prose probes the mind to re-teach the art of writing and reading – Prose and prose go quite well together. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Prose writes prose

A Weaving of Cultures

Vincents collage

Vincent's collage

When I envisioned the two words “Cultural Encounters,” what came to mind was the metaphor often used to describe America – the melting pot of all cultures. What better way to represent a country than its flag? I took a more direct method in going about replicating this melting pot; I wove together the American flag using tidbits of other cultures throughout the world, resulting in a flag, while unique in its design, is very much the flag that I grew up to love, that is, the United States of America. [Read more →]

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Dr. Atomic – A Dud

Dr. Atomic

Dr. Atomic

What a dud. If you are going to watch Dr. Atomic, do so because you have an interest in the Manhattan Project; do not watch Dr. Atomic because you had the notion that the visuals were going to blow you away. Yes, certain theatre visual aids were eye opening, like the portrait based cubicle set, but the ending was far too disappointing to justify the hype that is built up leading to the A-bomb explosion. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Dr. Atomic – A Dud

Mermelstein and His Camera

The man in action

The man in action

From the Big Apple emerges one Jeff Mermelstein, a street photographer whose work is generally associated with photo journalism. He is a photographer who has evolved through the ages so to speak – from black and white to color, from manual to auto focus. After studying at the International Center of Photography, Mermelstein has moved on to work for wideknown companies like the New Yorker, the New York Times, and Life Magazine. He also took pictures for advertising purposes for companies like Hewlett Packard, and electronics giant Samsung. [Read more →]

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War Fever

In Conflict

In Conflict

If emotion had color, the stage would’ve looked like a rainbow throughout the show; the audience would’ve been a sea of all different hues. Director Douglas Wager turns Yvonne Latty’s book of inteviews with Iraq War vets into something that truly touches the heart. [Read more →]

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At Our Very Own Basement –

The hammer missed the nail a bit on this one. Irena’s Vow does showcase a solid performance, but the portrayal of the characters as featured in the original play script is far from perfect. If you are the type of person who reads the book before watching the production, you might find yourself staring at an unfamiliar Irena, or maybe a new variant of the Major. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   1 Comment

The Tony Award Musical

South Pacific

South Pacific

Put together a dish of Tony Award nominees/recipients and a deeply moving drama with an exhilarating musical score on the side for a five star meal you won’t forget – South Pacific. First performed half a century ago, Rodgers & Hammerstein puts this exotic beauty back on stage as a Broadway musical with a re-invigorated passion.

South Pacific explores and challenges many cultural views of Western society during the 1940s, namely the abhorrence of romance with Eastern natives. Forbidden love outlines this story’s drama; impulse fills it. As the story is set in the times of the second Great War, we also get a nice insight into the lives of American soldiers who were fighting the Japs amidst an unknown territory. The soldiers provide jokes and other comical debriefs that cast the musical in a more cheery mood, despite the nature of the drama being told.

With South Pacific, there is something else besides music to appreciate. It’s like eating a slice of cheesecake, only to find a layer of sweet, chocolate filling in the middle. You hear the music and you watch the comedy, and you think to yourself, “It’s damn good.” But then, you discover that there is a message the play is trying to convey, something explicitly woven into the long dialogues of the protagonists, that sweet chocolate filling, and you think to yourself, “It’s better than damn good.”

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on The Tony Award Musical

Samuel Freedman

How do we find the truth of the past? Visiting the class to share his experience of writing a memoir of his mother, Samuel Freedman was the author of Who She Was. What separated Freedman apart from other guests Professor Bernstein had invited before was the sharpness in his language. He could quickly convert his thoughts into proper language that I began to write down everything he mentioned because they were all clear and useful for my Who She Was project. [Read more →]

December 18, 2008   Comments Off on Samuel Freedman