Author Archives: wesleyyun

Posts by wesleyyun

Funny Picture

A Funny Monkey


An unsuspecting girl caught candidly doing a funny monkey-like pose.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Strikes Back

Coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art drew from me the experience I had when I was a freshman in high school. At that time, I went to see Roman sculptures as well as ancient Egyptian art.  However, four years later and here I am again at a class field trip to see an exhibit I never would have bothered to look at. That is the African Art and Matisse Exhibits.

What really amazed me was how the two exhibits were literally next to each other in terms of location. The African Art exhibit contained many sculptures and carvings that portrayed the human body whether alone, in couples, or families. Art was incorporated into unique objects such as spoons.

In the displays, there were multiple masks lined up next to each other. From far away they looked similar in technique and design yet upon further inspection of the carvings they were all very different at the same time. Proportions were not accurate but it was clearly the portrayal of the human face and body.

It became clear to me that African artworks are linked to the artworks by Picasso and Matisse due to the nature of Cubism and concept of abstraction. The Cubist movement used the methods in African pieces for inspiration. Cubism was also not in proportions to to the objects they were trying to represent yet there was a clear idea that a face is still a face. There are still two eyes a nose and a mouth. The only weird thing is that they do not look realistic at all.

The sculptures in African art often are created with geometric shapes and have many deep angles. The concept of abstract is presented beautifully in these sculptures and I can begin to see the elements artists like Picasso used.

The experience at the Matisse Exhibition was completely different for me. It was not about contrasting the differences and similarities between the two works but rather, Matisse created his work in pairs. He created two paintings of the same subject in an attempt to learn which technique he was more suited for. He created various perspectives by manipulating differences in seeing the same setting.


Matisse offers us a glimpse of the power of the eye and perception. There are amazing ways to convey not only imagery but information without losing out on the beauty and true meaning behind things. Because of this, it seems that creativity has been opened up to fascinating possibilities.

Overall, my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a really enjoyable one because the architecture still fascinates me and its a great opportunity for anyone in New York City to open their eyes to culture of the past and present. It was a great experience to learn about African art and actually see how something so basic and primitive is in fact a big factor when it comes to affecting future artist and their concepts.

Powerful Words

For our class, we read Our Lady of the Artichokes throughout the semester. After reading it, we quickly realized that her style of writing offers multiple perspectives behind historical events. She presents this in the form of the actuality of an event and compares it to the perception of the event by certain people. This is a method she frequently uses as in her new novel named Below the Salt, she is able to provide a rich background of information in her telling of the story.

Her visit was primarily a reading but I found it amazing how she was able to take out a passage and read from it in order to demonstrate her ability. Her voice was able to resonate in my ears as she went on to describe tragic moments with beautiful imagery and words. This really helped to paint a picture in my head as I soon found that the story was easy to follow and it was quite memorable. I think that technique is extremely valuable. Being able to paint a picture in the audience’s head is one of the first steps in creating a great story. Doing so without the audience knowing is incredibly difficult and requires expertise in writing which is something the 29th Harman writer has no problem with.


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She gave some insight on how she is able to create stories. She explains that images come to her. It is like a song and how words come to the someone who is creating a song. For her, sometimes stories just come to her which definitely show off the creativity of the writer.

The day was an interesting day for me as I left with a story in my head but also I left with advice from the talented writer herself. We all have great ideas so coming up with an idea is simply step one. After that, you ask yourself “how can I make this thing blossom out?” It includes the branching out of what you want to say and the refinement of all you have to say. In the end, she gives off a vibe that encourages everyone to write.

What can you do?

Whenever I meet a group of new people, we almost always end up forming a circle and begin a icebreaker that goes through everyone in an attempt to learn a new fact that is supposedly interesting. Some of the typical answers involve unique skills or talents such as an ability to play an instrument or speak another language.

Upon further analysis it seems that our cultural backgrounds play a huge part in determining the development of these skills. For instance, I found that it is extremely common for many Asian-American students to say that they are able to play the piano or violin. Another popular skill common to many students of Chinese descent is the ability to read and write Chinese. It is a popular idea that children of Asian families participate in learning an instrument and when one meets a Chinese person, chances are pretty high they have played the piano before.

This brings me back to a memory in the second grade when I was attending the school talent show an there were many piano players who all happened to be of Chinese descent. I overheard a person in the row in front of me whisper sarcastically, “Oh another Chinese pianist! What a surprise!” It seems that along with mathematical ability, playing the piano and violin is another stereotype that is popular when Asians are being talked about.

Here is a video of a famous child pianist


Photography In a Professional’s Eyes

Max Flatow came in and gave us the story of his life, well at least the story of his life in photography. He spoke to us about many of his experiences and his work.

Photography was a gamble for him as he went to South Vermont College and was incredibly unsure of his career path and what he really wanted to do. His hobby at the time was photography and the school dark room would later help him foster his ability to shoot and create photographs.

But Max Flatow is a modern photographer and we can definitely see this as he appreciates all the changes in technology that the photography industry have gone through. The expenses of film are no longer a problem as digital allows him to take hundreds and hundreds of photos in order to capture that perfect shot. That is exactly what he does too. As a wedding photographer, capturing the moment is part of his job. In order to do that effectively, he snaps away whenever the moment allows for it.

As a wedding photographer, he explained that in the past, the wedding photographer would have only a few basic shots and then they left to develop them and you would hvae no idea how everything turned out. Technology has allowed for the capturing of the wedding before, during, and after the ceremony.

During his segment of wedding photography, he explained some of his techniques and how angles as well as subject placement play an important role in the composition of the pictures. His pictures offer a breath of amazement as the clarity and composition of these photos are just breathtaking in some sense. Although he does not rely heavily on photoshop, he appreciates the tools that it offers to create certain effects.

He later went on to talk about food photography and how the industry is changing. The industry used to revolve around enhancing the look of food products with dyes and pigments that the product is not something you would want to eat. Recently there has been a shift to create foods that are naturally beautiful and photograph them immediately before they go bad.

He explained that his business started out as a free service and later on became bigger as he started charging people for money. His best advertising is word of mouth. He experiences travel as he would often travel outside of the country in order to shoot his weddings. He is also an adventurer as he may wander off and take pictures of foods during a wedding project. He has gotten the opportunity to meet some very famous people such as Harrison Ford and Adrian Garner.

As a student who wants to develop photography as a hobby, his visit was incredibly helpful as it gave me an idea of how photography became such a big part of his life and eventually he left me some advice through the techniques and experiences he presented to us during his presentation.

My own photo attempting food photography:

Sushi From Jebon

Which Way Do You Roll?

The other day me and my friends were eating at a Wendys and we were just talking about life when all of a sudden someone across from us is getting cursed out at is called a “faggot.” I stopped and wondered for a moment on why so many of us call people gay, queer, and faggots when we inarguably mean stupid. In that situation the man was obviously with his girlfriend so there was really no reason to pull out such derogatory terms.

Upon further thinking, I realized that American culture has ingrained in our brains that homosexuals are weird which creates some sort of “homophobia” found in many people. But things are quickly changing. In the last decade, gay-pride has been bigger than ever and being gay is no longer as devastating as it once was for many individuals.

Many other people are also speaking up for gays and incredibly supportive whether they be gay or straight. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with being gay and if someone else’s orientation bothers you that much than the problem lies within you and not the individual being targeted.

I remember when my friend was called weird because he was gay, I simply asked the opposition what his problem was. My friend had done nothing wrong and at the same time he was one of the most active people in school and friendliest people I know. He was making a difference in many people’s lives by leading the Red Cross Club so who was he to question his orientation when he had not done anything to prove his worth.

At times, religion and upbringing blinds us from laws and equal rights but here is a clear separation between the belief and equal rights

My Dad

My dad has always been there for me and thinking about all the things he has done for my family and me, I sometimes wonder who exactly is this man that I see everyday. Who exactly is this man that I look up to yet ironically I look down at because of his height. That man is my father, a husband, a son, and much more.

His story begins in the year 1962. He was born into a Chinese family but his life was already fated to be unique from day one of his life. He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela into a family that had little to offer. He recalls that times may have been tough, but they were simple times where running around and playing with any of his brothers was extremely fun and enjoyable.

In his early years, he experienced change and that was ultimately due to the relocation of his family in order to find new opportunities. At the age of six, he would find himself in Colombia where my grandfather opened his own business, a Chinese restaurant. The restaurant became a reliable source of money but life was still hard. He didn’t mind it because everyone played a helping hand. “In a family with six sons, it would only make sense to have them help out around the restaurant,” he said. The restaurant soon gave my grandfather enough to venture into other businesses and in the course of a few years he would have money invested in various businesses.

Growing up in South America my Dad learned Spanish as a second language and started learning basic English. He loved living in South America.

He noted, “The food was great and the weather, while hot felt nice to be in. We didn’t have any of these chilly winters back then.”

But there were times where he did not enjoy it as much as he could have. The reason? Racism.  Even today it is uncommon to see a Chinese family in South America. He remembers that he would often hear “chino” or “chinito” when new people met him.

My Dad still remembers the day he would leave to go to America along with the rest of his family. All of them had their passports in hand and all of them had faces of uncertainty yet hope. He was already aware of the American dream but finally, his chance to experience it first hand has come at last.

America was a new place for him. For starters, he did not know any English and it was through a family friend that on their his first day here, they all went to eat Dimsum. For the rest of the week, they spent their time in the apartments and houses of my grandfather’s friends.

Then he finally bought a house. It is a pretty big house but considering he had five other brothers and later on four other cousins living in it, the living space got incredibly crowded at an incredibly quick rate. My father grew up becoming almost like a father to my uncles. He mentioned, “I was the second oldest, but Big Bro was traveling with Grandpa so that left me in charge most of the time.”

Most people usually mention one thing when it comes to a great change in their lives but in my dad’s case, he said there were two things that changed his life.

The first takes places in college. After graduating from high school he went off to college with some of his close friends. After his sophomore year he made the decision to drop out of college. He no longer found school interesting and felt it was a waste of time. He was a young man who wanted to be out there in the world and just have fun all the time. So he dropped out and found a job that was good enough to give him cash to thrive on. He recalled that it was fun being able to just go out with his friends and hang out.

Things quickly changed though. He got married but barely had any money. Although, my grandfather could afford to take care of him, he didn’t want to live life like that.

He states that, “I did want to be a leech and become the son who cannot take care of himself.”

The second thing that changed his life was having his first son, me. He knew that he wanted to become a father who could provide an opportunity for his child. With the experience of dropping out of college, he realized how much it has set him back in life and because of that he does not want to see the same thing happening to me. Having a newborn son come into his life “set [his] life back on track” as he started looking for a job that would be able to provide more money to help him raise a family.

My father experience many difficulties over his life but he would not change a thing. Although he comes home tired and oftentimes complaining of the work he does, he has his children and family to come home to and because of us, his complaints are drowned out.


More than just a phone

It is amazing how far cellphones have come in the last five years. Ever since the launch of the iPhone back in 2007, phones have become more than just a phone. Leading the pack of the smartphone revolution was the iPhone but now things are quickly changing as the Android platform rivals iOS.

Things look similar to the Mac Vs PC days as different computer cultures clashed. Now we have iOS vs Android. In other words, it is essentially Apple Vs Google. Upon watching a video of different phone reviews it seems that people supporting the iPhone are always ranting about Android phones whereas those supporting Android based phones rant about iPhones. It is amazing to me how something as simple as a user-interface can bring so many people out of their shells and argue.

My two cents on the whole iPhone vs Android debate is that it really depends on the user. For those who want a phone with vast features that are easy to use and work based of intuition, the iPhone would be an ideal choice. Whereas, Android’s are typically more advanced in terms of learning curve. They also have many features, more than the iPhone actually has but they require knowledge of how to properly use these features. In the end, I used to have an Android phone but quickly grew tired of the applications it had and decided to switch to an iPhone because it was much more reliable when I needed to use it.

A Journey Through Apartheid

Upon my entrance to the photography exhibit, I quickly realized a certain things. The first had to do with the setup. The order in which the works were set up was interesting and made a lot of sense to me. The International Center of Photography takes an unique approach in the presentation of their photos and by having the audience start and end in specific places. The exhibit was more a brief journey to parallel the longer journey that those faced during apartheid. Whereas other galleries at other institutions keep the floor open so that people have freedom to walk around, at ICP, the work essentially provides a method of interpretation of the work. This was a great plan as it gives the visitor and audience an aim and a goal to reach and ensures that you leave with new understandings whereas the wandering visitor may not leave with much.

The entrance results in the transition to the first section of the exhibit. The viewer is provided with an increasing amount of background information and sets the mood for the journey to begin. It was like a time traveling machine that primed us and gave us knowledge of what life was like before any conflict became apparent. Major events were listed on a poster with dates and provided a timeline of some sort. There was an old movie that constantly played back on a small screen that showed the natives of South Africa as animals with great exaggeration on their primitive and wild ways. This section presented the differences between the two groups and how their lives were. The natives would live happily with peace and pride in their background, while the whites would usually prefer to stay apart from the blacks.

The exhibit continues by moving onto works that show a new era filled with prosperity. We are presented with minimal occurrences in which the two races would come together and work together. The period of economic prosperity in South Africa may be one reason as to why the people did not argue as much to the the mixture of races. We see the emergence of the various arts and  increase in the value of creative thinking in this South African society. What was really surprising to me was the inclusion of many native figures in the new arts.

But this section lead to work that covered the prevalence of violence in their society. The photographs in the section would often involve heavy scenes of blood and gore to bring a sense of empathy from the audience.  The purpose of the exhibit seems to be geared to those looking at the photographs to understand the pain these natives were facing during the time that is Apartheid.

The lower level was very different and had a whole new approach when it is compared to the upper level. It is a great way to end the exhibit because now that you have been filled in and been on the journey, the freedom to explore lies at the end.

The exhibit at the International Center of Photography was a great learning experience which really helped me understand and in some ways experience the hardship that revolved around the Apartheid in South Africa.

Credits to ICP

Double Happiness

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Trashy New York

When I started to think of a theme for street photography I wanted it to involve perspective. With that in mind, I decided that I would take challenge the perception of New York City that belong to non-New Yorkers. I wanted to challenge the common view of New York City being a concrete jungle filled with skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of the people by revealing the grime and litter that we encounter in our daily lives.

I was debating about which camera to use in the beginning of the project. I have a digital single lens reflex camera with great low-light capabilities but since New York is known for the mobility of its people I decided to put my iPhone’s camera to the test. While there are limited features on the smartphones camera, the lack of abilities actually help give more of a raw and dirty feel to it as there is more image noise revealed as well as lack in sharpness.

My approach to the photography project relied on contrast and what I believed to be the New York that we live in. I decided to start off the set of photos such that I can capture New York in the typical urban setting. This involved taking pictures of iconic buildings as well as capturing the immensely large crowds of people that are found in New York. I felt that the night life is when New York shines the brightest. The image of lights from multiple buildings stretching into the horizon while contrasting the traffic of cars was necessary. One of the reasons I chose to use my iPhone is because it actually has a feature that my main camera does not. While I have fast glass, I do not possess any type of ultra-wide-angle or fisheye lens that could capture the city with a panoramic effect. On my iPhone, I was able to effectively create a picture that showed off New York with all of the characteristics I mentioned earlier.

Now that the bright and glittery New York was shown, I was able to effectively take that away by bringing in trash. There is literally trash everywhere. I took many shots that many of us have probably felt like we experienced before. I decided to do this because it allows the audience to go through an “ahh, I feel like I’ve seen that before” moment. For comedic purposes I decided to include pictures that will make others laugh.

I really enjoy using contrast to help put emphasis on the subject, so to do that I decided to have one example of showing where the trash came from in the first place. I took a picture of the stand where water was being sold and somewhere else I found a water bottle on the floor. In the grand scheme of things, all trash was once something of more value.

I do not enjoy leaving on bad notes, so in order to compensate for that, I utilized a circular method in my presentation. I decided to make my last picture a picture that captures the unique qualities of New York in what others can find when they come here. I did this by showing a building with lights that are beautiful and soothing to the eyes. I wanted an image that would make others oversee the trash all around us.

The problems I faced with this project were mainly technical ones. The lack of lowlight capabilities on my camera phone started to show its effect once I started taking pictures at night. This caused many of my pictures to have a slight blur and some camera shake as well. Another problem that I faced was that I wanted to incorporate bokeh, but once again, that is an issue that is caused by the use of an iPhone.

This project was more than just a theme to me. I had a side project in mind in which I questioned the capabilities of the smartphones we have as our companions. Honestly, I was really surprised with the quality of the photos, and with a few more tweaks and advancements, some great photos will definitely be taken with a mobile device. Since I found out that the iPhone has such great capabilities and is able to provide decent image quality, I will most likely begin to rely more on my camera phone. For the collage project, I will use both cameras because I want to have that image quality that really pops out at the audience but at the same time, having my iPhone with me will ensure I will never miss that shot.

Carmen Strikes Back

Despite sitting in the worst seats of the Metropolitan Opera, I was still blown away by the performance of Carmen. The powerful and familiar music made its way to my ears for perhaps the hundredth time in my life. Yet, the tunes never get old and hearing them professionally played was a chance in a lifetime.

It would have been great if I had Orchestra seats but last row seating left an impression that could have been better. The acoustics of the theater are definitely unique and top notch, but whereas the strings easily made its way to my ears, the bass and percussion were not able to do the same. It was as if the oomph in the music only made it past the first balcony. However, the cleanliness of the sound was remarkable and any mistakes made were not apparent. The only problem I noticed took place in one instance in the beginning when the music and the vocals were off. It only happened in that one instant so it was not an apparent problem throughout the remainder of the play.

The vocals throughout the play were superb. Yonghoon Lee’s Don Jose was portrayed strongly with vigor in his voice. His voice dominated the rest of the cast as expected since he was the male lead. Playing the role of Carmen was Anita Rachvelishvili. Her voice was robust, but at times Kate Royal’s sweet graceful voice as Micaela truly drew contrast between the nature of the two characters. Sometimes it felt as if Micaela was the star of the show instead of the promiscuous Carmen. Regardless, each of the performers showed great passion in their voices.

Although the leads left a great performance, that is not to say the rest of the supporting cast was not great as well. The children’s roles was particularly interesting in that their addition to the mixture of the voices in the beginning created the atmosphere of chaos and confusion in the factory.

The costumes were amazingly done. This was the case many of the character in the play. The best example of this can be found with the matadors’ costumes which had intricate designs on them. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the entire Opera was the set. A rotating stage was incorporated to help create a surprisingly different settings. With the help of a few turns and removing a few rails while in combination of certain lightning effects, the mood was drastically changed. The curtain was also very elaborate in the way that it opened. It created a design that like a lightning bolt.

Although I heard complaints on my way out about the ending, I thought the ending was completely appropriate and powerful. Some people have to understand that this is live theater and that this is a play that has been performed for decades. In the end, murder is still murder and it is not necessary to show a brutal killing. As Carmen lay dead on stage, the lighting turning red, left a powerful popping image that I carried home that night. Both the orchestra and cast performed a on par if not above par performance of the classic Carmen.

The New Medium

There are many views on photography but perhaps Rodchenko’s view is the one that I agree with the most. His view on photography is that it should be used to capture what we see normally in different perspectives. It creates something new and bizarre yet at the same time, it was always there in front of our eyes. He stressed the importance of perspective in order to help the people gain a more complete impression of the world around us.

Larry Sultan’s view on photography was also interesting in that it shows two conflicting vies of photography. His father was a big fan of the model and pose form of photography whereas Sultan’s photography had more substance in revealing time and mood. He viewed staged images of success as deteriorating to families who don’t ever find success. When he ended with “to stop time” and “i want my parents to live forever,” I stopped and thought about how we take pictures to remember the times we spent with people who may have already passed on. While perspectives are important, the freezing of time and the importance of memory are truly fundamental in photography.

White Balance – is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. May be used for creative purposes.

Image Noise – is the digital equivalent of film grain for analogue cameras.

Macrophotography –  is extreme close-up photography.

ISO – is the sensitivity of the pixels when taking images. This plays a great role in exposure.

RAW – is also known as the “digital negative”. A RAW file contains all of the detail and information recorded at the time of shooting as it comes off the sensor, and before any in-camera processing is done meaning that you have all the information at hand when processing with compatible software later on.

A Taste of the Past

It is amazing how our society is entirely rooted on technology that requires the constant influx of electricity. I did not realize how vital electricity was until hurricane sandy hit. In a blink of an eye, my lights turned off. Television, computers, microwaves, and my alarm clock all became obsolete.

I walked around my house to access the powerless appliances lying around my house. Pacing back and forth, I was hoping that it would only be a sudden power outage. Five minutes passed and nothing came back. I decided to take nap thinking maybe after an hour or two it would be back. After two hours, the power was still out. I was not prepared for this.

However, my parents were prepared and had bought candles, flashlights and food. Things became interesting when I became bored. Sitting around with nothing to do, I realized that in the past there was not any electricity. Without electricity, we were essentially sent back to a time when things were simpler.

I quickly realized that our society is incredibly fast paced and information if constantly being spread. Everything changed on this one night. For the first time, I did not feel that 24 hours was too little time in a day. I used my time to talk with my parents and sleep. I felt relaxed and free of stress as I felt like I had all the time in the world.

Looking outside of my house, the neighborhood was pitch black. Cars were nowhere to be seen. It truly felt like my neighborhood had been sent back to a simpler time.

A Season of Dance

This fall, Fall For Dance Festival is back again for its ninth annual year. Like always, the festival provides a unique and varied amount of culture and dance techniques.

Ballet West was up first as they danced the Grand Pas from Paquita. The dance was lively as the dancers moved with the perfect combination of strength and elegance. Their shiny costumes, glimmering tiaras, and bright cheery smiles all helped to portray happiness throughout their whole performance. Though at times repetitive, the arrangement of solo dances and group dances demonstrated each dancers individual ability as well as their intricate coordination to an extent that made my jaw drop in awe as I ponder on how hard it is to perform these moves continuously. The male lead was able to portray his masculinity effectively to remind us that ballet is not limited to girls. Overall, this was a great way to start the night off as the music had strong beats to invigorate the audience.

Tu Dance was up next as they danced the High Heel Blues. It was a complete change of pace. For starters, the stage was no longer filled with lights. It was dark and my focus immediately changed to the sound. The music was perhaps the most important element here as it tells a story about purchasing a pair of high heels. It was a comical jazzy song that added pounds of attitude to the already interesting dance which focused on a couple. The sleek and sexy movements and  their silhouettes put together an alluring dance that was sensual and playful at the same time. This was by far my favorite performance of the night due to the interesting dance moves and the incorporation of the hilarious song.

The next performance still leaves me scratching my head. Nan Jombang performed Tarian Malam for us next. Perhaps Tu Dance’s performance was so enjoyable that made me expect more from this performance. It still leaves me scratching my head. It wasn’t that it was bad but it just took way too long to build up. At one point, an aura of silence plagued the stage. Eerie screams from the female dancer made me wonder just where this was going. After what seemed like ten minutes, the action finally began as the dancers and drummers moved around like acrobats. The beats quickened as intensity finally built up to a point where the audience was finally paying attention. However, due to dragging out the dance, the intensity became commonplace and the levels of potency began to drop. This performance definitely remains in my mind for the wrong reasons, although I did find their traditional clothing and incorporation of instruments as part of the dance pleasing to the eye.

The final dance quickly helped to alleviate the drought of energy drained by the previous dance. Moiseyev Dance Company quickly livened up the stage and audience with moves that were exhilarating and left behind a good laugh. The whole audience laughed and the comedic vibes the male dancers sent off. This final dance focused on group dances and the blends of color. This created a dance that was pleasing to the eye. It was definitely a great way to end the night as their smiles and cheeriness sent the audience off with energy and the desire for more.

It was a wise choice to begin with the traditional and familiar dance of ballet. It was also a great choice to end with a lively dance that made up for the downfalls of the previous dance. The highlight of the night definitely goes to Tu Dance as it was unique, different, and somewhat contemporary. Overall, the night was interesting enough to receive my praise for an excellent variety of dances.

Who’s That Dancing Woman?

I was on the elevator and the woman across from me politely commented “you went to Stuyvesant” and chuckled. We got out and went our separate ways. As I entered the classroom, there was the same woman again. Apparently, the woman I just met was Jody Sperling, our guest speaker for today’s class.

She was gave us an interesting view on her life and how she went on to become a dancer. However, before jumping directly into the details of her own life she whipped out her iPad and her presentation began. She wasn’t just a dancer, she has an amazing knowledge for dance and credibility can be found in her writing as she told us she has written for various publications including the Village Voice. Her presentation really began by introducing Loie Fuller. She was Jody’s inspiration when it came to dancing. Fuller’s technique can be found in the Serpentine dance. A new type of dance was born. It was no longer the dancer moving around anymore. Instead, Fuller created a new experience that was exhilarating and intricate with the many various props, lights, and movements to create special image and picture for the audience. It is this aspect that the dance becomes surprisingly modern. The use of technology has modernized the dance world and created the new genre of modern dance.

Sperling showed us videos and it becomes obvious that Fuller has left her mark. From personal experience, she explained the difficult and tiring mechanics necessary perform routines. There was definitely something different about Sperling’s dance and Fuller’s. It seemed that as a modern dance, evolution is important. Sperling emphasized how she incoporates Fuller’s technique by using the sheets of fabric in her dances. As we watch, we can see familiarity in the lighting and its effect on the dancer as it enshrouds her completely. But dedication and hard work pulled through to recreate the Serpentine dance literally in new light. With the advancement in technology, the creation of different types of light and light angles along with smoke machines can do wonders.

Sperling showed us how added props can do so much to imagery. She did this by showing us a video of a dance without the large amounts of fabric and then another video with the fabric on. Without the fabric, the stage became empty whereas the incorporation of fabric filled up the stage like a peacock showing off its colorful tail feathers. The dance was imbued with life.

Her work as a dancer has led her to the creation of Time Lapse Dance. She expressed passion for dancing and explained how managing a company can be difficult, especially when it first starts up. She explained to us how funding is difficult and a lot of it in the beginning is out of pocket. She works closely with other dancers who do a variety of dances and acrobatics.

Jody Sperling is definitely a great role model. Her numerous achievements and experiences have left an amazing impression on me. Seeing her follow her passion for dancing to the fullest extent showed me how living your life while doing what you love is quite possible as long as you put the time into it.

Culture of the Southpaws

I scribbled words across my notebook and then suddenly, a new friend I just met at Baruch blurted out in surprise, “YOU’RE A LEFTY?!”

So I’m a lefty. I did my research and apparently I am not the 99% but instead I am the 10%. Give or take. Being a lefty isn’t really a big deal but as I think back on it, my left handedness was an issue that definitely irked my grandpa. My grandpa was a man who grew up with the Chinese mindset that the correct hand to use was the right hand. At the dinner table, he would stare me down until I remembered that he wanted me to move my spoon to my right hand.

As a child, I never fully understood why being left handed was wrong. In school, my friend wrote with his right hand but did everything else with his left hand. He told me that when he was younger, his grandma forced him to make the switch when it came to writing. This sounded awkwardly familiar and then I remembered my failure to convert to being a righty.

That night, I did some research and found out that the left hand is considered dirty and evil. Various cultures associate the left hand with demons, the devil, and bad luck. It was also just annoying for people since the world is a right handed world. Many times I’d end up poking a family member with a chopstick because our arms fought for table space.

But with all the negative stuff thrown aside, being a lefty is also considered quite good. Apparently some people say that being left handed has ties to increase intelligence and creativity. That’s because the left hand is controlled with the right side of the brain which is known for creativity and languages. So even though I’m not using my right hand, I’m definitely in my right mind.

Another World

Fugard’s The Train Driver is a performance made unique and memorable by the way it was told. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that this is a two person play that creatively makes use of the power of memory through story telling. The plot is driven through listening to Roelf (Ritchie Coster) tell his story. But the play becomes mind-blowing when one realizes that this is actually a story within a story since the play is in actuality a memory being told to us by Simon (Leon Addison Brown). Even if the play tanks, Fugard deserves credit for the ingenius way the play is presented. The plays meta qualities show how memory is a central theme this play.

Credits to Richard Termine/Boneau/Bryan-Brown via Bloomberg

Ritchie Coster and Leon Addison Brown made no noticeable mistakes in their lines. Coster portrays his character well but he does not come without a few grievances. He is able to effectively deliver the raw rage and desparation that initially consumes his character Roelf. Although his accent is initially thick and rough, his tone of voice is more than enough to adequately show his frustration. Once I was adjusted to his thick accent, the myriad of profanity spewed constantly from his mouth. At first what seemed like disgruntlement quickly became repetitive almost to a point where it plain vulgar.

Leon Addison Brown’s role as Simon is largely overshadowed by Coster’s role as Roelf. His humbleness, soft-spoken lines make him easily forgettable. However, this is not to say that he is unnecessary. His gentleness and innocent nature makes him incredibly likeable and is essential in Roelf’s mental transformation. Simon’s laid back attitude at times also provided tidbits of humor and comic relief that was necessary after tense moments filled with intense emotion.

The two demonstrated good teamwork in this two-man ninety production. There was no clashing between the actors. However, that is not necessarily a good thing. Without any big clashes between the characters, at times it was almost as if Brown’s character was part of the audience watching Coster play Roelf.

The setting was almost a whole achievement in itself. The broken down car, junk, litter, and sand scattered all over the place created a wonderful set that was pleasing to the eye and set aside the tradition wooden stages. Perhaps one of the most amazing things about the set was that there was interaction with the junk scattered around. The setting also effectively paralleled the desparation in Roelf. Here we see a man who is angry and largely confused wandering desperately in search of answers. Yet he ends up in a desolate and depressing graveyard. Who can answer his questions when everyone is dead here?

Credit to Signature Theatre

The play went undisturbed and flowed nicely. This was largely due to both the lighting and sound effects. The lights subtly changes from dark to bright and then back to dark to mimic the sun passing throughout the day. It happens a few times throughout the play. The sound effects also secretly combine with the lighting by creating sounds of wind to show the cool air of the night. What was amazing was that during the transition to night, waves of cool air actually passed through the theatre to convey a realistic feeling.

As a play with a social theme, The Train Driver does indeed show the results and aspects of apartheid in South Africa. Its ending offers a wake-up call with shocking realism about the fragility of life and how in the end we’re all just skin and bones.

Taste of Growing Up

Like many other normal children, the only places I ever went were the places my parents brought me. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized that one of my favourite restaurants was a little bit different than the rest of the ones my family usually eats at.

For starters, this restaurant was in a location completely different from where the others were. And secondly, this restaurant spoke in a strange language I didn’t understand.It turned out that for years, my family has been going to a Colombian restaurant.

I wondered how my family even found out about the restaurant in the first place so I asked my dad.

I asked, “Hey, how come we eat at the Colombian restaurant so often?”

“Because I like it.” he retorted.

“Why do you like it?” I asked.

“Because I used to live there when I was younger.” he said.

I was blown away. I found out my father and his brothers grew up in Colombia before moving to the United States.

Its funny because we only order take-out from there now and whenever I go in everyone looks at me with a puzzled look. They’re probably thinking, “the chinese take-out place is next door. What’s he doing here?”

I also find it funny that when I take my order, the boss who recognizes me always calls me Julio because of a Spanish custom to name the first son after the father.

My typical Bandeja Montanera (Mountain Platter) that I always order to go!

Collage Theme

For my collage I want to do something dealing with the number two. I want to show how frequent the number two comes up in our lives. My collage will deal with things coming in pairs along with things that are separate, but are connected to each other. The idea came to me as I was brainstorming. I looked around my room and noticed my pair of jeans lying on the floor. I stopped and thought of the word pair for a second. The word pair brought me to the Chinese saying that “good things come in pairs”. I decided that I wanted to see if the saying rings true by choosing this theme for my collage.

I am not quite sure if I want to do it by hand or use a digital presentation for the presentation of my collage. The only downfall to the presentation is that I feel a handmade collage is stronger and more powerful when it is tangible. In order to have that same mindblowing effect in a digital representation would require flashy effects and transitions that would in itself require more work for me since I am a person who is essentially technologically challenged outside of browsing the internet and checking e-mail. However, I feel that I will most likely use the digital presentation because I have the perfect song to accompany my presentation. By having so, I will also invoke the element of sound in a presentation that would otherwise be mostly visual.

Balling at night

The last time I wrote a reflection was when I was taking poetry in high school. Although embarassing, I wrote it in the form of a poem. It was a unique experience because as I stopped to think about what to write about myself, I also learned about how I viewed myself. Thinking back even further to all the past reflections I’ve ever written, they were all different. I guess that makes sense because what’s the point of reflections if we were the same person forever. The truth is that we’re not the same person from the day we’re born to the day we die. Each day that passes by can surprisingly change us or put us through a realization of who we really are and the qualities we possess. Through reflection we expose ourselves not only to the world but we also face reality in who we really are. I believe it is a learning process that is important every so often to see if we have become to people we wished to be in previous years or if we have drifted from the goals of our past. With that being said, I’d like to share an event that reveals a single yet important merit.

It was a cool August evening and as summer vacation drew to an end, I figured I’d call out Kevin and Andy to hangout at the park one last time. Now basketball wasn’t our sport to play, but it was a team sport and win or lose, as long as we had fun together, we didn’t care. We decided to play against another group of three. Their group consisted of three white males who were spoke english but opted to speak in a foreign language. They were definitely older than us by a few years.

As I had said before, basketball wasn’t our sport so we decided on a short 11-point game. Everything was going fine with both teams giving it their all. To my surprise, my friends and I were doing really well in the beginning and played a fair game. Everything went well  until the score was 7-2. Just four points away from winning, we started to lost our drive, but that wasn’t the only problem here. Throughout the whole game, the opposing team had one bad egg that was extremely frustrated that they were losing.

It wasn’t until 7-2 that that one person decided to conduct unsportsmanlike conduct and began to “cheat” his way for more points. Now I say cheat with quotations because there is no referee in street ball. In street ball, you’d normally take a slight beating to the body with a few bumps here and there and no one calls fouls unless its something like being smacked in the face or elbowed in the stomach. But this one person calls fouls on my friends for accidentally slapping his wrist ever so slightly out of the frustration that he was losing to kids. Looking back on it, I find it funny how he thought that age commands authority and skill.

I was pissed at the fouls he called and we argued like two dogs barking at each other. At one point I lost it and wanted to deck this guy in the face. But I didn’t. I shut up, stopped, and walked away. I threw the game. I felt horrible like my pride just got shitted on because I didn’t do anything.

That night I thought back to why I stopped my clenched fist from throwing a punch. I came to the conclusion that it was to protect my friends. I realized that like the guy on the opposing team, I was extremely vocal too. Except I argued for my friends and he argued for himself and his desire to win. He placed the game above his friends and yelled at them whereas I cared for the well-being of my friends. I don’t think I can stand to see my friends injured because of what I brought them into.

It’s funny because when I talked about it with Andy, he told me that in the midst of the conflict he asked himself “am I going home tonight?” because he knows how stubborn I can get and how my pride is usually at the top of my agenda from past experiences. I remember walking away thinking why I didn’t fight and why I let them step all over me. That night taught me how much I actually cared for my friends. While I may have lost the game, the pride in my friendship shines brighter than any pride won with violence.


I remember my first time walking into a Chinese McDonald’s I felt a rush of familiarity, almost as if I was home in America. A few more glances around the fast-food restaurant and I quickly realized that something was wrong.

When I think of McDonald’s I think of Ronald McDonald and bright yellow arches. It was those items that granted me the false hope of finding salvation. I was sick of not knowing how to order food in Chinese restaurants, so the minute a McDonald’s appeared, I was glad to be able to have the Big Mac I missed so much. All that changed the second I got in line waiting to take my order. A single glance at the menu, and my face was puzzled at the sight before me. It was completely different from the menu I normally see back in New York. It seemed like the menu in China was largely chicken-based. I got lucky as the Big Mac wasn’t extinct yet. Aside from the menu was the cleanup service. I just left my tray there and the staff would throw out the mess I left behind.

A little research showed me that a reason for McDonald’s chicken-based menu is due to cultural tastes. The truth is a lot of Chinese people love to eat chicken (I know I do). While McDonald’s is America’s biggest fast-food chain, the same cannot be said in China. McDonald’s trails behind KFC (What a big surprise! I told you guys that Chinese love chicken). I find it fascinating and a quite funny how culture can chane a burger-based fast food restaurant into a chicken one.

Look at all that chicken ;D

Cultural Encounter

Whenever I hear someone speaking Chinese in the city, I usually hear the dialect used most around the world; Mandarin Chinese. But this wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Cantonese flourished among the streets of New York City. However, my story lies in a dialect of Chinese called Taishanese. It is the older breed of Cantonese that was once used by many of the first immigrants in New York City’s Chinatown and predates both Cantonese and the currently popular Mandarin.

About two weeks ago I was standing on the crowded 6 train. Arriving at the Wall St station, I finally had room to move my legs freely. It was then when an elderly woman approached me. As she came closer I couldn’t help but notice the piece of paper she was holding in her hand. From the looks of it, it seemed as if it would be like one of those times when I would need to give directions. If it went the way it normally did, the woman would ask me in Mandarin if I was Chinese and I would reply by saying I know a bit of Mandarin. Due to my limited use of the Mandarin dialect, we would eventually go on with our lives albeit in a manner that took forever due to the difficulty in trying to understand the differences in our dialects. However, this time was entirely different. The lady approached me and started speaking in a Cantonese dialect with a hint of Taishanese. I picked up on this discrepancy and spoke to her in Taishanese. She said nothing, she simply smiled. We were both amazed that we were from the same village back in China and she told me that, she was glad that I spoke Taishanese as her Cantonese was mediocre and was unable to speak any Mandarin. I ended up helping her by leading her to the building she needed to go to. Although in this great city, theres so many different cultures that make my own feel insignificant, it was nice to have a cultural encounter with my own culture for once.

Critical Terms

Monologue – A lengthy speech by a single character given to other characters in the play, this should not be confused with a soliloquy

Soliloquy – This is used as a device to let an audience know what is going on through a character’s mind. The speech given by the character is what the character is thinking. A famous soliloquy would be Hamlet’s “To be or not to be”

Ad lib – This is short for the Latin word ad libitum meaning freely. Essentially, it is the same as improvising lines. Usually used when lines are forgotten.

Exposition – The part of a play that fills in the audience on things that have already happened so they can make sense of who’s who and why they’re doing whatever. This can be done with the use of actual narrators who address the audience directly. Another way is to use the opening dialogue and have the exposition cleverly bound to it.

Deus Ex Machina – The Latin phrase means, literally, “a god from the machine.” It refers to the use of artificial means to resolve the plot of a play.

Cultural Encounters: Fusion

My entire middle school consisted of Chinese kids and Korean kids. For the most part, many of us got along just fine and greeted each other in the halls. Although we come from two different backgrounds with different cultures and languages, we were stitched together due to the simple fact that we were Asians.

As I entered high school, I began to eat out more with my friends. I went to Korean restaurants and I went to Chinese restaurants. Trying both types of cuisines only added to my perception that Chinese and Koreans are in fact very different. However, one day a Korean friend brought me to a restaurant. She informed me that I would absolutely love the dish she recommended me to try. The restaurant was located on Northern Blvd near Flushing, New York; a street that served as the division between Koreans and Chinese. It was a place called Sam Won Gahk and when we arrived I realized that I’ve heard of the restaurant before. Rather, I’ve seen it many times except mostly the restaurants name was written in the Chinese Characters. I asked my friend why it was in Chinese and she explained that Sam Won Gahks are korean restaurants that cook with a combination of Chinese and Korean flavors. I wasn’t quite sure what she meant but I went in anyway. As she had recommended, I ordered the jajangmyeon which was based off the Chinese zhajiangmian. When I got my bowl of noodles I was shocked to see that this really was a combination of Chinese and Korean culture. The basic principles of the Chinese zhajiangmian was infused with a boatload of Korean flavor to create a whole new beast of a dish called jajangmyeon. It felt weird that two cultures that were clearly different to me now merged in the form of noodles. In the grand scheme of things, it goes to show that no matter how different cultures are, when they blend together, something great just might come out of it.

Comments by wesleyyun

"Reminds me of my family. Oftentimes I would eat my thanksgiving dinner with Cha Siu and turkey side by side. Thanksgiving is about the family aspect. Food is a close second."
--( posted on Dec 19, 2012, commenting on the post Chinese Thanksgiving )
"That is a very interesting thing that you have noticed. It seems to me that cultures that are based off respect for elders tend to follow the trend of not saying no and simply accepting anything said or given by those who are older than you. I know that during Chinese New Year, I will not be saying no to those lovely red envelopes!"
--( posted on Dec 19, 2012, commenting on the post The Art of “No” )
"I also agree with your idea that Thanksgiving should be about the time you spend with your family. It is a time when we should be grateful for what we have. I have a Thanksgiving that is a hybrid of Chinese food and typical Thanksgiving food. I always have a turkey, ham, and stuffing but they are always surrounded with noodles, fried rice, chicken, and dumplings. Although the food is not common, I always enjoy the company that my family brings no matter what we eat and the plus side is that I can enjoy all types of food at the same time."
--( posted on Nov 26, 2012, commenting on the post A Twist on Thanksgiving )
"I like how you bring up jeans as a requirement for boys. It reminds me of a friend of mine who didn't wear jeans until high school. I still remember when my friends and I were talking about how our friend didn't have a girlfriend yet. He wasn't bad looking and he was friendly. He was also the most talented handball player and at that time being a handball god was the highest position you can gain. But what was his downfall? He didn't wear jeans. So Gen, if you get a girlfriend one day, you got her because of your jeans! Just kidding! (:"
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post A Pair of Jeans )
"Like Joseph, I agree on music making a big impact on our lives. And I think the point you made is definitely true about how we create ourselves. But as we see in Jay-Z's music he usually also makes a point about not forgetting where we are from and to appreciate New York City's affect on our lives. Experiencing a concert is definitely unique as the music almost always never sounds as good as it does in a studio, but the feelings and emotions of the audience make the experience a memorable one."
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post “Nobody is built like you” )
"Going to Stuyvesant put me right next to Wall St and so I actually know a student who participated in the protests. He was actually arrested and informed the rest of our class on what Occupy Wall St was really about. Like you, I was also confused about what they are really fighting for but I realized there is no one key goal. The protest in itself is an amalgamation of various ideas and problems we face in the country. It is a movement that unifies all grievances to show that America has many different problems coming from many different people."
--( posted on Oct 11, 2012, commenting on the post Occupy Wall Street )
"Hopefully you don't think its overrated anymore. It's truly one of the most amazing places to be. It's the hustle and bustle of New York combined with the mix of many different cultures as tourists roam the streets. And yes I cannot agree with you more on the crowdedness. I prefer to go to Times Square at night and thats because you can truly see how NYC is truly the city that never sleeps! Also one of my favourite things to do is to sit at Duffy Square and just let the time past. I definitely recommend doing it because although New York doesn't stop for anyone, when you sit down and just take a look around, things slow down a bit and everything around you sinks in."
--( posted on Oct 1, 2012, commenting on the post Times Square )
"Great visuals and great links! Cherry blossoms are so beautiful and appears all over japanese culture and media! Like you, I watch anime and the first thing I thought of was Kuchiki Byakuya's Bankai. From your encounters I can see you are heavily influenced by japanese culture and with this new encounter, I can see the dedication you have in constantly exposing yourself in cultures you are interested in. Like Sam mentioned, the ones in Washington D.C. are absolutely stunning as well. When I saw cherry blossom festival I thought you were going to mention D.C., but instead you introduced to me and our classmates this beautiful spectacle right here in Brooklyn."
--( posted on Oct 1, 2012, commenting on the post Sakura Matsuri )
"This reminds me of the many times I have tried to eat different types of food from different cultures. For me its still always a scary thing. But like you I've always had the support to try new things. Afterall, you can't complain about something you've never even tried! Having that photo really helped me see what you were facing. Even though I have nothing against carrots, having seen the texture in the picture, even I would be somewhat hesitant to try it out. Since things turned out well, if I ever have this dish I won't hesitate to try it!"
--( posted on Oct 1, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cream of Carrot Soup )
"Wow! That encounter was great as it's one that I share as well. I remember when I first listened to Hatsune Miku and was blown away simply because of the physics behind singing. Her range was perhaps one of the reasons why I came to like listening to Vocaloids. Since they're not humans, they aren't limited by a voice range. Their robotronic voices sounds pretty cool too. I haven't listened to Vocaloids in a while but the post you just made, reminded me of them and made me watch and reminisce how much I enjoyed them."
--( posted on Sep 18, 2012, commenting on the post The Vocaloid Community )
"I definitely would like to travel as well with the stipend! I agree with Sam in that Epcot is definitely an amazing place. If you didn't know, it actually stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. It's been a while since I've actually been there but I found that it was really cool how there was actually a ride inside of the famous Epcot ball named Spaceship Earth. It showed various advancements in human communication and it's amazing how far we've come in technology and how we can interact with people across the world. I also agree that the food there was delicious! But considering the price people pay for food, I found that to be true for most of the food served at Disney."
--( posted on Sep 18, 2012, commenting on the post Many Cultures, One Place )
"This is so relatable! It reminds me of when I went to China. The smell of cigarettes drove me crazy my first week there. So many of my male relatives smoked and it took a while to get used to. I'm so glad that I'm back in America where regulations on smoking help to create a better living environment for me."
--( posted on Sep 18, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cultural Encounter )
"Great choice of words. I appreciate the extra sixth word. I think that the definition of diction can be expanded a little further to an idea between yours and the one Michelle left in her comment. I think that diction(word choice) aids to set a style and manner of speaking or rather to set the tone and prosody of the speaker."
--( posted on Sep 3, 2012, commenting on the post 5 Critical Theater Terms )
"I appreciate your words as you have introduced me so something I've never heard of. I looked further into it and it seems that modern green rooms are no longer green but the term carries on due to the fact that the rooms used for the actors and crew were historically painted green."
--( posted on Sep 3, 2012, commenting on the post Critical Theater Terms )
"Like the others before me, I really appreciate the brevity in your definitions. I agree with Isabel in that your words are important and also I agree with Nastassia on the word anachronism. I think it would help if you changed it to have it include not only inventions, but anything as well as their inconsistencies with time, whether it be the past or the future."
--( posted on Sep 3, 2012, commenting on the post 5 Critical Terms )
"Like you and many others, I had a k-pop phase that eventually phased out. But like many others, a glimpse of k-pop comes back to haunt us with this surprisingly catching tune known as Gangnam Style. Many of the people who listen to this don't speak or understand any korean and generally see it as a funny video. But if you know the lyrics, it really does say a lot about the Style that is in the Gangnam area. For instance, I find it funny when he mentions how girls are willing to pay more for coffee than lunch. I find that songs like are both funny and important to exposing varying ideas to the audience while providing a unique source of entertainment."
--( posted on Aug 30, 2012, commenting on the post NYC Style )
"It definitely isn't as silly as you think. Many times when this happens and other Chinese people see this, they feel a sense of pride. An old saying is Chinese help Chinese. It reminds me of the time when a Mandarin speaking grandma approached me and asked for directions concerning which train to take as well. However, unlike you, my Chinese is horrible. Luckily my friend was there. My friend kept walking on but realized I was missing and decided to walk back in hopes of finding me. Upon finding me she also found a humble hunchbacked stranger standing next to me. My friend was fluent in Mandarin, so like you, she became the hero of that story."
--( posted on Aug 30, 2012, commenting on the post A Ride Into a Familiar Culture )
"I had a similar experience to you since I grew up on the edge of Long Island and Queens. The most I ever did before high school was take a city bus to Flushing and back home once or twice a week. It wasn't until high school that I, like Michelle, was exposed to NYC's transportation system. Going to school in Manhattan was long and painful. Many times there were train delays and signals. During my first train delay, I was nervous and had to find another train to transfer to and was totally lost. Soon, you should be able to navigate NYC like the back of your hand."
--( posted on Aug 30, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Subway Troubles )