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Right Place, Right Time

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Bailey Hu is a junior majoring in Finance. When I asked him if there was any particular moment that shaped him into whom he is now, his eyes lit up and said, “Yes,” without hesitating. This experience is what sent him on the path directed to where he is now.

Originally, he was going to go into marine biology because that is something he is passionate about and truly enjoys. He even applied to three other colleges, other than Baruch College, for their marine biology major. Realistically, he knew that this major isn’t exactly something he would want to study to eventually form into a career. He was first introduced to finance when he joined the entrepreneurship club back in high school. Through this club, he was able to meet some friends who started their own line of clothing and accessories and he learned the basic things about finance from them.

What really swayed him into the business field was an opportunity he was given after an internship he had in Shanghai in his junior year of high school, which was, ironically, related to marine biology. I guess that experience of his is what really struck me and convinced me to base this project off of him because how often do you meet someone who was able to land an internship while in high school in a completely different country?

This all started when he was at a gathering with his family and friends of his parents. He struck a conversation with a guest at the party who happened to have connections with a lab related to marine biology. Bailey contacted someone from the lab and applied for an internship position that he was soon given an offer a few days later. This is when his story really begins.

After the one-month internship in Shanghai, Bailey had a layover in London so he spent some time traveling around and sightseeing the city by taking the tube. Somewhere along the way, he was reading a newspaper when a businessman struck up a conversation with him. Turns out, the man is a recruiter who was looking for someone to work for the company. After talking for a bit, the man gave him a business card with some contact information and told him to call the number as soon as possible. Before he got on the plane back to the States, he dialed the number he was given and soon enough, he found himself another internship. The most exciting part of this opportunity for him? It’s in London for an entire month.

The first issue that arose was where he was going to stay and what he was going to eat. Of course, the standards of living in London were quite high. He had been interning in Shanghai for a month, the money he earned wasn’t really enough for living and eating costs. That didn’t stop him and he wasn’t going to pass up this offer. He convinced his parents to lend him money that he needed for that month which he would eventually pay. But – it wasn’t that easy for him because his parents charged interest. Not just a small interest rate, either, but a pretty large rate that cost him not going out whenever he wanted for the rest of the year.

He ended up missing the first two weeks of school and had to fly back as soon as possible because of the troubles he could face if he had anymore absences. It was worth it for him because he had such an amazing experience to suddenly have the chance work and live in the UK. He learned a lot about finance through this internship and opened his eyes to many different aspects that he was able to apply to courses relating to finance in college.

However, his experience in London didn’t end there. When he came back to New York, the company reached out to him a few months later about the recruiting firm opening an office in the city and offered him another opportunity to work there. Now, when the firm started running into troubles with the manager leaving, he is able to take all the work that was left over with no problem. When there were any difficulties back at the firm in London, he knew enough about the company and its progress to fly back between semesters to give reports.

His story is fascinating to me because he happened to be at the right place, at the right time, for multiple occasions. Here, many juniors in high school are busy burying their nose into SAT textbooks, applying to college, or writing their college essays. Unlike many others, Bailey had the chance to go out to the real world to work at such a young age – all on his own, too! This is an inspiring story because it can show others that when you are given a chance to do something, do it! Even if there are obstacles that come along with it, push yourself through because nothing in life will be obstacle free and in the end, the experience will be worth it. Finally, it’s an example to show that opportunities don’t come knocking when you keep yourself at home. I’m going to end this with a quote that Bailey quoted at the end of the interview, by Danny Wallace: “Probably some of the best things that have ever happened to you in life, happened because you said yes to something. Otherwise things just sort of stay the same.”

The Apartheid Told in Pictures

The International Center of Photography wasn’t the first place we experienced the Apartheid, which is a time of inequality, cruelty, and violence in South Africa. Photographers who were around at the time, such as Peter Magubane, Leon Levson, Kevin Carter, and Ken Oosterbroek put themselves at risk and in the end, their work, including videos, photos, and audios, all filled the space in the exhibit. Both floors of the museum showed the transition from the early 20th century to modern day culture and politics in South Africa.

After the ticket check, the first thing I noticed was the small entrance and the way the hallway led into another. I was told that the museum was laid out in a particular way to lead the audience in a specific path that would show them the beginning of Apartheid and have them follow the events of the tragedy right up to the end. I thought that this was a great technique to keep the viewers understand exactly what was happening, as opposed to having displays and photos in different or random places, which could be confusing. Instead, having the layout of a timeline really helps tell the story of Apartheid and can even put the audience right back into that specific period and give them the perspective of what it was like back then.

Moving past the two videos, there is a countless number of pictures, all arranged in chronological order and themes. One of the themes that caught my attention was the time of new culture and prosperity. Jazz is one of the new cultures that were displayed; there were videos and photos of people dancing and singing to the music. The victims of the Apartheid used this as a way to still have hope for better times to come.

Of course, the Apartheid was not all happy times. There was a section of the exhibit showing the violence during that period such as dead bodies and protests. Protesters were often violently taken care of, including being beaten and attacked, simply for voicing their opinions. These were shown through videos, which made the situation very surreal and gave me a better understanding of what kind of violence existed and the pains that the victims were going through during that time.

The media that were displayed did a good job at portraying exactly what it was like during the Apartheid. However, the little captions that went along with these pictures or videos were hard to understand because they weren’t directly linked to each other. It takes some careful evaluation to be able to see which description goes with what. Otherwise, if they were placed in a way that would be more clear to the audience, it would have been even better.

The exhibit as a whole was very captivating and gave the audience a clear vision of what the Apartheid was like. The use of not only photographs but also videos and clips puts them in the shoes of the victims. As the audience follows the exhibit in the chronological pathway, it can be said that they are reliving in the experiences of the victims of Apartheid.

Katherine Vaz

It was the first reading I have attended and I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to join in on Katherine Vaz’s reading of her fifth publication, Below the Salt. Even as I had planned to arrive about ten minutes early, the room was already packed and there were no empty seats. I didn’t want to sit out on the benches because of the distractions but it was the only alternative other than sitting on the floor.

As the audience finished up on their refreshments, the 29th Harman Writer of Baruch College gave an introduction of herself and her book, which is based on the time of the Civil War. Similarly to one of the books we read by her, Our Lady of the Artichokes, there is a religious point of view that she incorporates in the story. Below the Salt, from what we can tell by the excerpts she chooses to read to us, is about a woman and her child who are exiled because they chose to not convert to Presbyterianism.

Our Lady of the Artichokes by Katherine Vaz – Image found on Google

Vaz decided to write the book in the point of view of John Olves because he grew up in jail with his mother. She is a great believer in “the feel of the place on your skin,” which she finds important and compares it to how “you can’t just read about what the wind feels like when it comes across the prairie”. She spent half a year in Jacksonville so she could put herself in the shoes of the character to feel for herself what it is like, and therefore, get a better idea of how things apply to her characters in terms of who they are.

Vaz’s reading was full of metaphors and descriptions that painted a picture in my mind. My first experience at a reading was great, followed by a question and answer session. In this session, Vaz explained what she went through to write this book, which took eight years, and how much research she had to do, which is phenomenal and very admirable.

Image found on Google

Max Flatow

“Everyone with an iPhone or camera can be a photographer.”

Oftentimes you would come across someone with a really nice and expensive DSLR camera and call themselves a photographer. Max Flatow, however, believes otherwise. Flatow went to middle school with a photography program but when he went to Vermont college, he wasn’t offered many courses that pertained to what he wanted to study. However, he was given access to a darkroom, where he got to play around with different techniques and improved his photographing skills. He studied abroad in Spain when he was still in college, where he took pictures that he was able to display at a local cafe to sell himself as well as his work and about fifty to seventy people showed up. From there, his career finally took off.

His talent has brought him to opportunities and projects in different cities in the US and even to different countries like India. There, he shot photos for a couple that was getting married. A lot of his projects are for couples getting married because “People are always going to get married no matter what.” However, he is not only interested in photographing weddings but he “like[s] to shoot everything.” Some other subjects he had taken photos of are football players, bands, and of course, food. In the past, he even shot music photography.

There are many different techniques that comes up a lot in his pictures. Some of them include the rule of thirds, depth of field, using artificial lighting, and taking advantage of natural settings. In a lot of his indoor shoots, he has a large spotlight that can produce the appearance of shadows and darkness, such as the one with two flower girls and the one of a couple walking down the steps. In another photo taken outdoors, he used the wind to take photos that were untraditional, with the veil of the bride flying in the air.  Unlike most photographers, he takes a lot of photos that are in the moment and candid, such as the couple on the streets of Manhattan, because he understands that many people aren’t fond of being told what to do and how to pose. At the end of the day, he says that out of the hundreds and thousands of photos he takes, his clients choose the one where they are acting most naturally and make them feel as if they are reliving the moment.

Flatow’s passion for photography was definitely emphasized as he went through his slideshow of photos. He used each and every technique to catch the subjects in their most beautiful angle and lighting, which encourages me to play around with a camera for the photography projects. The fact that he learned all his photography skills on his own is really inspiring and definitely makes me want to learn how to use a camera to its fullest potential.


Black Friday

I’m usually not the one that would lose sleep just to go out to find some really good deals. I hadn’t planned on going Black Friday shopping this year but I guess my friends did a really good job at persuading me.

Here in New York City, there are so many options for where you want to go shopping. There are the local malls closer to home, the big shopping areas in Manhattan, and then there are the malls and outlets out in Long Island. I’ve been told that the crowd in Long Island malls and outlets aren’t worth it and there aren’t as many things to choose from in local malls, so I decided to go to SoHo. I woke up around 2AM so I could take the train and get to the city by 4AM. When I got on the train, I was surprised to see that the train was pretty empty, which I would expect on any other day other than Black Friday.

When I got out of the Prince Street Station, I only saw two long lines waiting for the stores to open – Zara and Uniqlo. I decided not to wait outside in the cold for these stores so I went to a few other stores on Broadway. Surprisingly, there weren’t too many people in any of these stores. The wait for a fitting room was only about five minutes at most each time and there was no line at the registers when I was ready to go.

After I’ve gone to all the stores I wanted to go to, I stopped by Zara and Uniqlo to see what everyone was waiting on line for. After going in and out of both stores, I was a bit confused because after all the discounts, the price of an item was still at least 75% of its retail price which isn’t that great of a sale, if you’d ask me.

I’ve heard many stories about Black Friday – the great sales, the hour long lines, and the fights girls have over the last size. I guess I was pretty disappointed to see none of this during my Black Friday experience. The sales weren’t that great, my waiting time on all the lines I’ve been on did not even add up to an hour altogether, and there seemed to have been plenty of sizes because I didn’t see any fight going on. Maybe people have come to realize that Black Friday isn’t as great as it seems and have decided to wait for the sales in December to do their shopping.

Winter in New York City

There are so many magnificent things to photograph when it comes to New York City, so how do I even begin to find one specific theme? I had plans to go out with some of my friends the other day and I brought along a camera, hoping that something of interest will arise. I would say I am quite lucky to have found some beautiful objects to take pictures of. In the end, I ordered my photographs in the presentation in a way that can be told as a story.

At home, there are a few cameras for me to choose from; there’s my mom’s Canon digital camera, my dad’s DSLR, my brother’s Canon DSLR, or my iPhone camera.  Why did I choose my brother’s camera in the end? I have only used the camera once a while back with not too much familiarity, so I decided to give myself a challenge. The lens, in comparison to that of my dad’s, is significantly lighter. The quality of photos, is also potentially better than what my mom’s camera can capture. Thus, I trekked to the city with the Canon DSLR and started to play around with the settings.

Before I started photographing away, I had looked at some photos online of professional photographers to get an idea of some techniques I am able to try to imitate. Some were also featured in Max Flatow’s photography presentation, which include the rule of third. I also made use of the depth of field. Something I noticed in certain photos was the way light was captured. One of the terms I defined in a previous assignment was bokeh, which is the way a lens can blur an image, particularly any light. There are many examples of bokeh in my presentation.

At first, I had a few themes in mind which turned out to be quite boring for me to capture. These themes, such as different foods offered in New York City or the different footwear worn by everyday New Yorkers, didn’t require much work when it came to taking pictures. It was also difficult to capture a picture of a stranger’s food or shoes without having to have an awkward confrontation. In the end, it was the challenges that I had to face that gave me an idea of what image to capture. Who would have known?

The first problem that I encountered was the time. In one of my photos, I pointed out the fact that the sun goes down quite early these days and I was caught at a bad time. It was starting to get dark and it was hard to capture a picture in a good light. I am not a fan of flash, so I decided to use other settings so that there would be enough light. I changed the shutter speed setting so that more or less light could be caught, depending on how I wanted to present the picture, which in turn, presented me a small opportunity.

Another one of the biggest challenges that came across while doing this project was presented even before I took my first shot. I was using a camera that I was very vaguely familiar with. Instead of keeping the setting on auto like I used to do most of the time, I decided to test myself and play around with all the functions and settings. My first shot was extremely horrific; the subject could hardly be made because of how blurry and shaky the photo was and the lighting was so dark that some things could not be differentiated. It took me over twenty shots to finally get a stable picture, but that didn’t mean I was satisfied with the way the image came out to be.

This challenge, not only introduced to me a potential theme for my slideshow, but also turned out to be something that could help me personalize my photos more. I mentioned earlier that I really enjoy bokeh and the way it looks. As the skies grew darker, the city lights came on, as well as the lights on the Christmas tree in Bryant Park. This gave me a chance to catch some bokeh in the background while changing up my depth of field for different subjects.

This Street Photography assignment really gave me a chance to play around with something unfamiliar to me and tested my capabilities. I have always been interested in photography but I have never had a reason or motivation to learn how to use a camera to its fullest potential or to pick it up as hobby.


I was watching a movie the other day called I Not Stupid Too. The title is grammatically incorrect but the story itself is quite touching.

The movie portrays many different aspects of the life in a country like Singapore, as well as the relationship of a family. There were many sentimental scenes in the movie but one scene that I want to focus on was the caning scene. In short, a teenager was publicly caned, with an audience, as a punishment for being involved in a fight with a teacher at school. At first, I was surprised that they would include this in their movie because there are many countries that do not support such physical abuse. This issue lingered in my mind for a while and it made me curious. What else can you do to end up being whipped with a stick in front of anyone and everyone that wants to watch?

I spoke to my relatives who had lived in Singapore for three years. They hadn’t watched the movie but when I brought up the issue of public caning, they weren’t surprised. I learned that caning is widely used as a form of punishment. I found this interesting and decided to research a bit about caning in Singapore. There are different canes that are used for different reasons or ages. If you are younger, a lighter cane is used, and the maximum number of strokes will be lower. Some exceptions for caning are women, those who are sentenced to death, and men above the age of 50. With these exemptions, is caning still an effective punishment?

When I thought about what it felt like to be caned in public, I realized that aside from the physical pain, the point of being punished in public can also be a way for the government to embarrass the criminal. I would imagine that the criminal would continue his actions if nobody had known about his misdeeds, as opposed to if he was shamed so openly.

Hurricane Sandy

A hurricane? It shouldn’t be too bad. I’ll stay in my dorm for the weekend, it won’t be a big deal. Growing up in a neighborhood like Fresh Meadows, I’ve never seen anything happen because of these hurricanes. The worst that’d happen were a few trees here and there being knocked over, but even then, there were no damages.

I guess that was an understatement. Even though I had doubts, I went to the grocery store early Sunday evening, picked up some food, and waited about half an hour in line. When I got back to my dorm, I packed my duffle back with a few bottles of water, some chips and cookies, and a flashlight. School was already closed and I was ready to sleep in to catch up on all the hours I lost from staying up late the week before. I had a few papers that were postponed due to the hurricane so everything was grand and dandy. The dark clouds started rolling in and the winds started picking up. Even through my headphones and the sounds of my friends joking and laughing in our video chat, I heard the wind howling and slapping against my thin dorm windows. The windows were closed but the windows were shaking and blinds were dancing. I decided to go to bed to avoid how scary Sandy seemed to be.

The next morning, I looked out the window. The trees had dressed the streets and the top of cars with their leaves. I was surprised none of them had fallen, considering how fragile they normally seem. The skies were gray and everything was quiet. I thought that it wasn’t such a bad storm until I turned on the TV and checked my phone. The news showed a ton of different places that were strongly affected by the storm. A bunch of my friends had texted me saying they lost power and had to evacuate their homes. I got a text message from my brother telling me a few trees had fallen into our yard. My building was fortunate enough to still have power and hot water. With the subway completely shut down and suspended, I had nothing to do but snuggle in bed and watch movies on my laptop.

School turned out to be closed for the rest of the week. I was a little frustrated; if I had known, I would have gone home as soon as possible. I decided to go home on Thursday night and what usually took me a little over an hour to get home, it took me three full hours because of train problems. When I finally did get home, I found a little welcome-home-surprise.

Looks like someone had a rough night.

Funny Photo

“Do you smell that…?”

Fluctuation of Carmen

A red lightning bolt strikes right down the center of the stage, as if it were splitting the stage in half. The setting of the rest of the opera is set up with a rotating center stage and realistic backdrops, which changed up between the scenes, from the cigarette factory to the small inn. The rotating stage and backdrops helped create smoother and more effective transitions. The lighting also played a huge part, assisting the music to set the mood of each and every act and scene.

The music begins and quickly captivates the attention of the audience without beginning the first act. The orchestra plays a suspenseful piece while the curtain rises to reveal the rest of the stage, when two dancers, a shirtless man and a fierce young woman, move swiftly and passionately across the stage. Their movements give the audience a slight sense of the explicit emotions that lie between the relationship of the two leading characters, Carmen and Don Jose.

As the two dancers glide back stage, the first plot rolls into action in front of an old cigarette factory. Micaela, played by Kate Royal, innocently asks the soldiers for Don Jose, played by Yonghoon Lee, in her harmonious soprano pitch. The soldiers are all infatuated, asking Micaela to stay with them in their booming voices. The voices of some characters are crisp and clear, even to those in the last row of the theater. Unexpectedly, the female lead did not reach the same expectations as the other characters. Carmen, played by Anita Rachvelishvili, was equally as passionate but her voice seemed to fall short and tremble at times. This did not complement her costume and hair, which suggested her to be the seductive and promiscuous character. Her physical attractiveness did not seem to reach that of Carmen’s – Royal may have been more suited for this role.

Image found on Google

The children of the factory who scrambled on stage did well on their part. Even though there were probably thirty or more of them on stage, with a range of different ages, their performance still impressed the audience. Their movements and voices were unified.

The beginning of the play started off strong and lively; the audience was on the edge of their seats to see how Don Jose would react to Carmen seducing him. The physical infatuation was readily apparent between the two characters. As the second act began, the crowd seemed to lose interest and began shuffling around in their seats. The performance began to lack the enthusiasm that it started off with and seemed to leave the audience hanging with the anticipation the first act had built up. However, the opera seemed to pick itself back up to some extent. It appeared as if Don Jose had planned to kill Carmen, even though it was intended to have shown him killing her out of anger and frustration. Nevertheless, the red lights that turned on, with Carmen’s body laying on stage, left the audience with quite an unforgettable image.

Image found on Google

This performance of the opera was not its fullest potential. The backdrop and rotating stage was very helpful; the costumes and makeup on the characters were very suitable for the plot; however, the singing is only on par but has a lot of potential. The opera started off strong but began to fluctuate and ended off on a note that was disappointing in the end.

Sandy’s Two Sides

“I’m one of those New Yorkers who don’t believe anything that bad can happen,” said a classmate of mine. I was one of those New Yorkers who didn’t believe Hurricane Sandy would be as bad as they say. In the past, when a natural disaster makes its way to New York, I’m always at home with my family. I didn’t have to worry about stocking up or running out of food. If anything were to go wrong, I’d have my family with me.

This year, I ended up staying at my dorm over the weekend instead of going home, which meant I was on my own to prepare for the storm. I went to the grocery store around the block on Sunday afternoon. Instead of the usual short lines, I saw a line so long I couldn’t even see the last person. The fact that the line was so long didn’t register in my mind immediately, so I continued to snake through the aisles, looking for non-perishable foods and anything easy to eat. I picked up two boxes of cereal, a bag of pita chips, and a pack of cookies – I was ready to go. I follow the line to the last person and find myself in the back corner of the store. This was the first time I have ever encountered something like this. At home, the supermarket by my house was never ridiculously crowded.

As I waited in line, I unwillingly eavesdropped in on some conversations going on around me. One conversation between two men behind me, both carrying crates of beer, was about how absurd everyone was for stocking up for a small storm. I looked ahead of me, and sure enough, most people were pushing carts and carrying baskets filled with food up to the tippy top.

There are two sides to every story. I guess in Sandy’s story, the two sides are made up of those who doubt, and those who believe.

“What It Means To Photograph”

Response to Reading
Two stories that caught my attention the most is Larry Sultan’s and Berenice Abbot’s stories. In Sultan’s story Pictures From Home, a few lines that I could relate myself to are, “What do you do with all those pictures that you make? You must have thousands of them by now,” and “You shoot thirty rolls of film to get one or two pictures that you like. Doesn’t that worry you?” Sometimes I find myself wondering the same things when it comes to my friends who are interested in photography. There are always so many different shots of the same subjects. This narrative goes into the perspective of the photographer, which really helps the reader understand what is going through the minds of these artists.
Something that struck me while reading Berenice Abbott’s Photography at the Crossroads was a line about the equipment and materials of a photographer. She states “a good photographer cannot fulfill the potential… if he is handicapped with equipment and materials… for amateurs…” which is something I disagree with. A good and bad photographer cannot be distinguished based on his work. Of course, a photographer with more advanced and professional equipment can be deemed greater, but a photographer with amateur technology should not be degraded simply based on what he uses to capture his art.

5 Terms
Bokeh – The way a lens blurs an image; how evenly and pleasingly the out of focus are looks
Exposure – The amount of light allowed to reach the film or sensor, which is determined by the intensity of the light
Focal Length – The distance between the film and the optical center of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity, usually measured in millimeters
Sensitivity – The degree to which a photographic emulsion or a digital camera reacts to light
Filter – Transparent material that modifies the light passing through

Fall For Dance

Four different acts, four different styles. The overall performance of Fall For Dance, starting with Ballet West, High Heel Blues, Tarian Malam, and finally Moiseyev’s Classics, was sensational. However, some acts surmounted others with applauses grander than the Grand Canyon.

To start us off with Ballet West, thirteen ballerinas moved nimbly onto the stage. In fact, they were moving so quickly that their movements were somewhat unprofessional – staggering, with one dancer falling behind another by a second’s progression. Their costumes were flouncy and bright, supporting the euphoric mood set by the music. Two more ballet dancers, one male and one female, royally made their way into the center of attention. The danseur moved powerfully and strikingly compared to the ballerina who moved lightly and gracefully across the stage.

The music converts from cheery to jazzy, sassy, and somewhat unpredictable, just like the movements of the dancer. The story behind the dance of High Heel Blues tells of a woman who is deeply in love with a pair of high heels and a salesman who helps and supports her to satisfaction. As the music of this dance suggests, the dance was not as airy and light as the first act. There were many whimsical gestures. The woman’s voice was powerful and very confident. The lyrics of the song were remarkable and playful, breaking the audience into giggles, snickers, and laughs.

Silence. The third act was introduced with a moment of silence. The beginning of Tarian Malam was so quiet that all the coughs and sneezes that were previously concealed by the melodies suddenly became unheeded. The audience began fidgeting in their seats. The drums broke the awkward atmosphere and as the act progressed, the dancers in their monk robes became increasingly more violent in terms of movements; they furiously played on their drums and passionately moved their heads and bodies with the music.

To end the show with more energy than the last, the four sets of dancers of Moiseyev’s Classics came prancing on stage. As opposed to the dancers of Ballet West, the dancers of this last act was very in-sync and even with their tap shoes on, not one extra click was heard between uniform clacks. There were so many different variations in movements in the dance – some moving left to right, some moving right to left, some moving into a circle, and some moving out. The music, costumes, and energy of the dancers truly mesmerized the audience, even those who were sent daydreaming in the last act.

Fall For Dance collaborates a variety of different dances to introduce their audience to learn and love. Although each of these dances are very different in terms of music and movement, there comes the universal language of dancing that can easily be valued and interpreted by anyone.

Time Lapse Sperling

Before entering the room, I thought to myself, “How is someone going to talk about dance to us?” Dancing is something you would have to experience, not just something to be told about. This presentation, was surely more of an experience than I had anticipated.

Jody Sperling is a dancer, choreographer, dance scholar, and founder and director of Time Lapse Dance. As she progresses into her presentation, her love and passion for dance became readily apparent. She used her iPad to help her with her presentation which started 0ff with a little background of herself. Then, to give the audience who seemed a little distant something to connect to, she asks, “How many of you watch Friends?” This caught the audience’s attention, and she proudly tells them that there is a Loie Fuller poster used as a prop.

Who is Loie Fuller? Jody Sperling’s inspiration from the 19th century. Fuller created an adopted version of the skirt dance called the serpentine dance, which involved motion and light; with an elaborate costume with extended sleeves. The extension of sleeves gives more room for more fabric, which creates the beautiful patterns and colors when light was projected on the dancer. The depths of the costume would create depth in colors, which dance across the blank canvas. The costume, props, light, and movement of the dancers are what creates a new genre of dance and modernizes dance.

Notice the dimension and depth of the colors

Sperling plays a few videos for the audience to see the dancer dancing without sleeves as well as elegant dancing colors. The video of the dancer without a costume on served to be significantly less interesting. However, when the costume is put on with the projected lights, the dance is given life. She also presents the difficulties of the dance, such as syncing with all other dancers on stage. Spinning and dancing isn’t hard and is more like second nature for them. Once the dancers find a common pace, the rest of the dance will be magnificently sewn together.

Without the costume

Of course, creating your own company would cost a lot of money to get it started. Her passion for dance drove her to find the ability to start her own company. She provides a feeling of drive and perseverance. Ms. Jody Sperling tells her audience about fundraising ideas and asking for donations; she also explained some events that she held such as a little thrift sale and wine-tasting event. To surprise us a little, Sperling ends with a note that New York City Department of Cultural Affairs gives out millions of dollars more than the National Endowment for the Arts.

Jody Sperling has become an inspiration. She encourages others to do what they love to do. She is an excellent example that with time and dedication, you can really become whatever it is you want to be and fulfill your dreams.

At My Age

Growing up, I guess I could be considered a spoiled child. Although I was given more responsibilities, I found myself slacking on my chores. I slowly ended up doing the dishes once a week or the laundry once ever two loads. Of course, my parents noticed that they were still doing just as much work, and lectured me about how I am old enough to do these basic chores without their help.

“When I was your age, I had to buy groceries and prepare meals for my family.”

“When I was your age, I had to climb up three flights of stairs just to get water from the well.”

And that wasn’t all. When I visit my grandparents, they would often ask my brother and I if we have started working yet. Although we’re still in school, our elders don’t really understand the idea that generations these days have it much easier than older generations. Back then, kids started working when they were still in grade school, something very different from now. They often learned how to cook when they’re still young teenagers. Now, the new generations are often spoon-fed everything they need.

After hearing stories from my parents and relatives, I’ve always wondered what changed. When was the turning point? When did generations begin having everything handed down to them?

Driven to Interpret

Athol Fugard sets us off in The Train Driver with a sullen song. What are we about to see? Well, we meet one of the characters, who briefly introduces us to the background information. Although there are two sides to the story, Fugard chooses to write the play is told through the perspective of the train driver.

Based on a true story, Roelf, a train driver, is a middle-aged white man. His life falls apart when he is consumed by his own guilt. A mother and her three children had jumped in front of his incoming train to kill themselves. Of course, Roelf does not have the option to successfully stop the train before he comes in contact with the mother and children. After the accident, he is infuriated. Roelf was in search of the woman’s grave when he encounters Simon, a black man who makes a living by burying unnamed bodies. He places rubbish on the heap of sand to mark the grave that is already taken.

The stage was dimly lit, scattered with heaps of sand. Stones, tin cans, bottles, and other garbage topped the sand, giving the audience an impression of a graveyard with no graves. A shack was mounted in the center of the stage with an old and broken down car on the right. The appearance of the stage set the mood for the play; there was a tone of seriousness and desperation. This very suitably represented the influence of the apartheid. The sound effects and temperature of the theater were very noteworthy. When it became night, the lights dimmed, and the crisp wind can be heard whistling in the air. Not only that, but the air felt significantly cooler, as if you were there in the scene with the characters.

The overall setting and physicalities of the play was very simple. This let the audience focus more on what the characters are saying, giving them the opportunity to really understand how each one is feeling, specifically the train driver.

There were no unwelcome pauses between Ritchie Coster (as Roelf) and Leon Addison Brown (as Simon). Both actors knew their lines by heart and did not hesitate even once in the 90-minute play. There was passion in their acting, which helped place the audience in the shoes of the characters. Roelf started off so hysterical and infuriated that his voice shook. Although he spoke with a thick accent, his actions, the profanity, and tone of his voice was more than necessary to understand how he was feeling. “I’m fucked up in here,” he says, pointing to his head. He paced around the stage and was very distraught, as if his thoughts were scattered all over the stage. Simon, the soft-spoken character of the two, very clearly presented his very gentle and caring nature. However, his lines were very brief and sometimes so abrupt that they were surprising, but nonetheless entertaining like, “I sleep now.” Very little is revealed about Simon, compared to Roelf because of this.

The play was full of dialogue, and quite frankly, a little too much dialogue. There was not much action which led to some of the audience slipping their attention away. Now, even though there was so much dialogue, the audience is still left hanging with a few questions. What did the train driver expect when he arrived at the graveyard? What would he have done if he could locate the woman’s body? Why did the woman jump in front of the train? What was she thinking at the time? Even with the information already given to the audience, there is room for them to interpret what has not been answered.

The play The Train Driver was meant to portray the influence of the apartheid and it very well did; the audience left the theater feeling shaken and despair. It showed the interracial relationship as well as how both sides felt about the accident. In the end, however, no matter what race, we’re really all the same.

Credit: Signature Theatre

Cultural Encounter

There are hundreds of different Chinese dialects. Today, most people in China speak Mandarin but that doesn’t mean that Mandarin is the only dialect that still exists today. With all these different dialects that are spoken, sometimes it’s difficult to converse with someone of a different dialect.

I was going to the city with a friend who was visiting from college and his parents were nice enough to give us a ride over. Before we got to the city, though, we made a fuel stop and my friend got out of the car. I guess the atmosphere in the car got a little awkward and the silence didn’t help much, so his father started to talk to me. I didn’t realize he was talking to me partially because I was trying to avoid the awkward situation by pretending to be busy with my phone and partially because I couldn’t really understand what he was saying. When no one responded, I looked up, realizing that he was actually speaking to me.

A little shocked and nervous at the same time, in my broken Chinese I stuttered, “什么?” (which means “What?” in English)

He spoke again, it sounded like a completely different foreign language to me. When he realized I couldn’t fully understand what he was saying, he combined his Chinese and his broken English to ask a few questions about me. I answered in Mandarin slowly, hoping that he’d be able to understand me.

We continued our conversation during our ride to the city and by the time we got there, he no longer needed to speak any English in order for me to understand. I was actually able to understand his dialect to some extent, with a few words here and there that I’d need help with. I realized that although the Chinese dialects all sound very different, they still have bits and pieces that are very similar to each other, making it possible to understand other dialects you aren’t familiar with.

Collage Proposal

In a city as grand and bustling as New York, there is always something to do. Because people’s lives shouldn’t only revolve around school and work, they take up other activities and hobbies to do during their leisure time. There are so many things to do and see in the city, and I have decided to make a collage of the things New Yorkers or even tourists do during their free time. With so many diverse and multifaceted cultures, there are always millions of different things going on at once, whether it’s sketching something they see, going row-boating, shopping, or even simply taking a walk around Central Park.

I think I will be creating my collage by hand, with a bunch of different pictures that I will be taking around the city. These pictures will portray all the different things that people in New York seem to enjoy doing during their free time.

California in the Spring

I looked through a bunch of photo albums on my computer the other day. I was hoping to find a picture that would bring back a bunch of good memories and give me an idea about what kind of person I am, because honestly, I’m not so sure. Then I came across an album from my spring break trip and remembered all the little details; I remembered the thrill of going somewhere thousands of miles away without my parents, the crave for In-N-Out, and most importantly, the excitement of going to new places.

Spring break was the perfect time to get away from school. It was after college admission results were mailed out so it was a great way to relieve any stress that was built up from the anticipation or any disappointments. My two friends and I had been discussing possible cities for us to spend a week in when we all agreed on visiting a city that none of us had been to. Of course, there were many cities in the states that we had never been to but we wanted to go somewhere big and somewhere grand. We came to the conclusion that we would spend our spring break in a city where there’s tons of things to do: Los Angeles.

Planning our trip in L.A. wasn’t easy. There were many moments when we felt like forgetting about the entire trip because there were many things that limited us. We wanted to find a place to stay that was at least decent and clean yet affordable. However, that wasn’t what stumped us. Since none of us were of the age 21, we were not able to check-in to majority of the hotels in the city. After a few days of debating between possible hotel candidates, we finally settled on one in the Marina Del Rey. Soon after, we began planning each day and night of our stay, hoping to be able to fit in everything we want to do, see, or eat. We all had an epiphany when we took a final look at the list of places we wanted to go each day. How were we going to get to each place? Our destinations ranged from the Marina, Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade, Venice, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and more. In a city as large as L.A., it’d be difficult getting around without a car. None of us had our driver’s license so a car rental was never even in the picture. Then we thought, why not just take public transportation? We researched and studied the city map for days until we found an agenda that would be most efficient in terms of money and time. Everything was settled. Before we knew it, we were getting on a four-hour flight to Los Angeles.

We were three eighteen-year-old girls with a minimal budget and a map in a city we were completely unfamiliar with. Surprisingly, we didn’t run into any trouble along the way. This experience wasn’t just to forget about the colleges that had rejected me, nor is it just a memory to me now. It was a trip that showed me how much I love traveling, seeing new things, and trying different food. Now, I’m encouraged to visit other cities when the opportunity arises. But next time, maybe I’ll have better means of transportation!

At El Pueblo de Los Angeles

Same but Different

I didn’t believe it. They always told me the subways were newer, cleaner, and overall better there, but I always thought to myself, “How clean can they possibly get?” The streets of the city itself didn’t give me any reason to believe something so similar to the NYC subway systems would be a hundred times cleaner.

The moment I stepped into the subway station in Beijing, I understood what everyone was talking about. The station had just been constructed a few months ago so it was very new compared to the ones we have here. The floor was still shiny and the ticket machines had no visible residue or marks on it. It was incredibly clean even though there weren’t any garbage cans; there weren’t any papers, bottles, or any other type of junk thrown on the ground. The train itself is a whole different story; the train was just as clean and extraordinary as the station itself; there was no dirt on the window sills, drinks left behind, or stains on the floor. I was able to talk at a normal volume since I didn’t have to compete with the sounds of the trains running on the tracks. Furthermore, cellular devices still had connection even when the trains were in motion. Fares are also much cheaper and fairer because you pay for how far you are travelling.

How was all this possible? All this was so shocking to both my family and me and we were definitely unaccustomed to it. But hey, I wouldn’t mind commuting around the city on a train as clean as theirs everyday!

A Different Style

It was time for dinner, but where were the chairs? And why was­ the table only two feet off the ground? It was my first time being a guest in a very traditional Korean household. I was cause by surprise when everyone sat on his or her legs on a cushion on the floor. As I sat down, I noticed right away that a Korean dinner is far more different than a Chinese dinner. I first noticed the air; it smelled savory and spicy, which I assumed to be coming from the kimchi that was sitting in a big bowl on the table. Then I noticed the way the rest of the meal was prepared. Each dish on the table was portioned much smaller compared to what I was used to. As if to make up for the amount of each dish, there were many options ranging from the Korean-styled stir fried noodles, spicy rice cakes, to marinated beef. The piquant flavor and burning of all the spices made the food even more appetizing and made me crave for more.

Thinking back to my experience that night, there were so many things that I haven’t done at my dinner table at home before. Back at home, it was always expected to be sitting properly at the dining table, with both my feet flat on the floor. Instead of having so many small dishes, my parents prepared two or three larger dishes for the family. The flavors of the food, needless to say, was far from similar.

Although we are of the same ethnicity, the two cultures have very different traditions and I thought it was a really nice and refreshing experience.

5 Critical Terms in Theater

Climax – The point of greatest dramatic tension or transition in a theatrical work

Denouement – The final resolution of the conflict in a plot

Crisis – A decisive point in the plot of a play on which the outcome of the remaining
action depends

Character Arc – The emotional progress of the characters during the story

Protagonist – The leading character or a major character in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text

A Ride Into a Familiar Culture

It was a brisk and frosty winter evening. Halfway home on the train, the dispatcher announced that there were some service changes that called for a detour. As soon as I had gotten off the train, an elderly Chinese couple approached me, throwing questions at me in a different dialect. Growing up, I’ve been surrounded with family and relatives who, occasionally, would speak Cantonese; thus, what the elderly couple was saying was understandable to some extent, though there were a few words here and there that I couldn’t comprehend. However, my problem was that I had no idea how to respond in their dialect. A little caught off guard, I asked them, in my dialect, if they could understand Mandarin. They responded, “Yes,” in Cantonese. As I gave them directions to the train they were to take in Mandarin, they would respond in Cantonese. I realized that since they couldn’t read a word in English, they certainly would have trouble finding their way around the station. I decided to lead them to their platform, while exchanging a few more lines, me speaking in Mandarin, and them speaking in Cantonese. Looking back at the occasion, my encounter with the elderly couple must have sounded a little silly to someone who can tell the difference between the two dialects.

Comments by isabelzhao

"I actually haven't noticed myself doing this but now that you bring it up, I definitely agree with you! I catch myself saying "No, thank you" a lot but whenever I'm speaking to my parents or my relatives in Chinese, my rejection seems much longer than the usual three words. I agree with Wesley's last line. Who would say no to those red envelopes?!"
--( posted on Dec 19, 2012, commenting on the post The Art of “No” )
"Like Melody, I really like how you focused on a certain part of the city that nobody really pays attention to. A lot of people, including myself, tend to overlook this idea that there are people working late at night that constitutes for parts of the city that seem to "sleep", opposed to the usual tourist attractions like Times Square. It's really interesting that you even noticed this and made such a connection! Love it!"
--( posted on Dec 19, 2012, commenting on the post Private: The City That Never Sleeps )
"I thought this was a really interesting topic and I didn't realize this idea about Chinese children playing the instrument. Now that you mention it, I remember this one conversation I had with a friend who lives in a different neighborhood. He asked me where I lived and when I told him my neighborhood, he immediately asked me whether or not I played the piano. I actually did, and he told me that all his (Chinese) friends who live in my area play the piano. I guess location is something to think about too."
--( posted on Dec 19, 2012, commenting on the post What can you do? )
"I really agree with your post as well as Chris's comment. I was on the train the other day when I saw a family of four. It was definitely unusual; I quickly glanced at each of them and noticed how differently they were dressed. Although it wasn't too cold that day, they were all bundled up with hats, scarves, and gloves, and it seemed as though they came from somewhere of warmer climate and were unaccustomed to the colder weather. It was simply their appearance that made them stick out more than others."
--( posted on Nov 26, 2012, commenting on the post You Must be New Here )
"I agree with the idea that Thanksgiving isn't about the food you prepare and eat, but it's about being with the people you are grateful for and care for. Similarly to your experience, I've had a Thanksgiving dinner with a table full of Asian dishes. We had a large turkey placed on the center of the table but instead of the traditional mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, and pie, we had dishes very similar to the ones you had. Regardless of what there was to eat, I will still incredibly full after dinner and most importantly, the magnitude of how thankful I was for all my family and friends was the same, if not more."
--( posted on Nov 26, 2012, commenting on the post A Twist on Thanksgiving )
"I went Black Friday shopping as well but I decided not to go out at 12AM because I wasn't interested in waiting on line and fighting for the last size. I ended up going home with only one top for myself so I was pretty disappointed with the sales. I agree with Sifan, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals really aren't that great and don't deserve the hype if you're shopping for clothing."
--( posted on Nov 26, 2012, commenting on the post Black Friday )
"This is something that I think about every time I plan to go out with my friends. Back in high school, my friends and I liked to go out after school on Fridays but after the first few Fridays, the cost started building up and it definitely wasn't something I could afford to continue even though it was really fun for all of us to have dinner together. After a while, I decided against going out after school and soon enough my friends realized that too. Even though other cuisines like Italian or French, Chinese is definitely one of the cheapest and the way to go if you're on a budget like me, haha."
--( posted on Nov 12, 2012, commenting on the post An Italian Birthday )
"I found your post quite amusing to read because although I have grown up in the states all my life, I still do agree with you to some extent. I used to dress up as a little pumpkin when I was young kindergartener. It was exciting and thrilling back then, to be able to be something I'm not and get candy for it. Now, it's something that I would probably never do again. It also probably has to do with the idea of Halloween that has changed dramatically as I grew up - the things my peers dress up as these days are things I would never, even in another life, dress up as."
--( posted on Nov 12, 2012, commenting on the post More Watching, Less Doing )
"I really like that you included so many details in your post which made it really easy to understand and follow the story. I also thought it was a great way to pull your post together in the end by saying you re-entered into a "realm" of English speaking people because it ultimately shows how different it was in the club meeting and outside of it even though they are realistically in the same world."
--( posted on Oct 29, 2012, commenting on the post Annyeonghaseyo , je ileum-eun Nancy ibnida )
"Like Nancy, I also really liked how you ended your post, it was very creative! I guess your left-handedness really does help you think a little creatively. Being left-handed isn't rare but similarly to Gen, my first reaction when I see someone writing with their left hand is, "They're a lefty?!" When I first started learning to write, I wrote with my left hand. My parents, not as strict as others, didn't force me to write with my right hand. However, when I saw them teaching me how to write the letters, I noticed that they were using the hand opposite of mine. I felt a little strange and started using my right hand from them on. That's probably why I'm a righty today!"
--( posted on Oct 29, 2012, commenting on the post Culture of the Southpaws )
"I agree with everything you said. This doesn't only apply to street basketball but is the same for basically any sport in a local park. I've seen a fight start because someone was accidentally hit by a ball that flew from the other side of the field. It seems very ridiculous but it's really inevitable especially if, like Nancy said, there are no referees and it is very unorganized. I would definitely say that playing in those environments would really require a lot of attitude. If not, I can't imagine how'd you be treated by the others!"
--( posted on Oct 29, 2012, commenting on the post Streetball )
"I can definitely relate to how you felt after seeing your grandfather collecting cans on the streets. When I was younger, I felt a little annoyed seeing an aged woman or man picking through the garbage cans down my street because I didn't understand what they were doing it for. I always thought to myself, "Why are they picking up all the cans and the bottles if they're only a nickel each?" As I grew older, I began to understand a little more; I realized I am just fortunate enough to not have to go can collecting. It wasn't something the can collectors wanted to do during their free time, but it was something they just felt was right which can provide them a little extra in the long run."
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post Can Collecting )
"I see this happen a lot in the city too, especially when I'm visiting a different city out of state. Moments like this actually make me feel a little happy and a little less lonely. I thought it was a great that you had waved back at the bus of tourists because hopefully they'll realize that not every New Yorker is the stereotypical rude and pushy New Yorker that some would run into in the city. There were a few moments in the subway when I would see a friendly gesture that would instantly put a smile on my face, whether it's a child talking to their parents and not making much sense at all, a younger person offering his or her seat to an elderly, or even just someone making small talk with those around him or her. I guess New York is sometimes, just sometimes, a lonely city."
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post The One Who Waved Back )
"I agree with Alessandra; it was very brave of you to write about that. I used to be one of those people who wore jeans every day but I find them to be uncomfortable sometimes so I have resorted to other bottoms. I am also surprised that your friends had questioned you about what you wore because these days, there are so many different styles that people are going for, which makes what people choose to wear now are not questionable. I think that it's great that you were able to break out of your baggy pants and start wearing jeans. I find it very hard myself to wear something I would normally not wear but I hope I can change that and start wearing anything I'd like!"
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post A Pair of Jeans )
"I think it's really cool that you were able to talk to a stranger for that long. Many times, my conversations with strangers are about directions and how to get from one place to another. Actually, the other day I was on the LIRR on my way back to the city when a middle-aged man woke me up from my nap to tell me about his morning. At first, I thought he was just being friendly so I went along with his conversation. While I continued to nod and smile, our conversation was suddenly about college being useless and a waste of money. I tried to pretend to go back to sleep but he just kept on talking, which was actually really frustrating. Well, at least one of us had a meaningful conversation with a stranger!"
--( posted on Sep 26, 2012, commenting on the post Unexpected Help on the Subway )
"I think it's great that you got a chance to go out and see how it is for yourself! I can only imagine how it felt for someone from outside of the city to walk through Times Square. Even though I've lived in New York my whole life, I still feel overwhelmed walking through city streets. Just kidding, I feel that way walking around anywhere with crowds of people! I found it a little funny that you said, "Excuse me," to people you've bumped into because chances are, if they're from New York, they wouldn't have thought twice about apologizing, haha."
--( posted on Sep 26, 2012, commenting on the post Times Square )
"I can't imagine what that dinner was like! I didn't know that smoking in a restaurant was so casual; I've never seen that before when I visited China. Personally, I can't stand the smell of smoke and it irks me when people smoke around those who don't, especially when their cloud of smoke hits me in the face. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend who is Korean. He told me about his trip back to Korea in the summer and he mentioned that he drank with his family and relatives a lot each night, even if he didn't want to. I was confused as to why he would drink if he didn't want to in the first place. Apparently, when elders offer you a drink, it is considered disrespectful and rude if you were to decline. This idea doesn't apply to all families of Korean culture, but his family happens to be one of those who believe in it. I thought this was very amusing, but I, just like you, am very thankful to live in a society where these habits have more restrictions."
--( posted on Sep 13, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cultural Encounter )
"I found this piece so entertaining to read! I had the same experience before but it was just a bit different. I speak a Chinese dialect called Hakka, as well as Mandarin. One day at church, I was about to ask my mom a question but it had slipped my mind just as I opened my mouth to speak. Instead, what came out of my mouth was "Gai gei... gai gei...," which means "um..." just like 那个. To my mom and I, this phrase was nothing special and was used in our daily conversations. However, my friend a few seats away from me froze, dropped his fork, and just stared at us. I thought, "Why is he staring at us like that?" It wasn't until I got home that I realized "gai gei" sounds a lot like "gay guy", except the words are switched around. Ever since that incident, I'm a little more careful about saying that around those who don't understand the dialect!"
--( posted on Sep 13, 2012, commenting on the post THE Word )
"The words you chose are really interesting and some I've never heard of before, such as green room. Other than that, your definitions are very clear and tells me exactly what each word means in the simplest way possible, which I think is great!"
--( posted on Sep 3, 2012, commenting on the post Critical Theater Terms )
"Like Nastassia, I agree that your definitions are short and sweet, which is very helpful when it comes to memorizing each definition. I also like your choice of words; each word is very important when it comes to talking and writing about theater. When I looked through theater reviews in the paper, I noticed that many reviews included many elements of the production, including apex and epilogue, which you chose to define."
--( posted on Sep 3, 2012, commenting on the post 5 Critical Terms )
"As a child, my parents often made the Chinese zhajiangmian for dinner. At a young age, I never imagined that people of different races would have dishes so similar to each other. When I entered high school, I made a number of new friends who were Korean. Similarly to my other experience with the bibimbap, I was brought to a Korean restaurant that was well-known for its jajangmyeong. Although the names of the dishes sounded so similar to one another, I didn't expect that the dish would be one that was tasted so familiar. When the waiter finally brought out our food, despite the slightly different flavors, I felt like I was a child again, with my parents making me one of my favorite dishes."
--( posted on Aug 30, 2012, commenting on the post Cultural Encounters: Fusion )
"I found myself in a similar situation to this before. A few friends and I decided to go out to Koreatown for dinner one day. I've been to Korean restaurants many times before, but instead of ordering the usual bento boxes that I always order, I decided to order beef bibimbap. The waitress probably found my reaction very amusing because I was so surprised when she began to mix everything in the bowl with each other. It was definitely a nice change from the habitual Chinese dishes we have at home/Chinese restaurants!"
--( posted on Aug 29, 2012, commenting on the post A Bite into New Culture )