The play Matilda was honestly the most breathtaking musicals I have seen thus far. I was truly amazed in all aspects of the play. The children performers, the visual execution, and the music were all astounding.
I loved the choreography in all of the scenes because they really helped set the mood of the play. My favorite scene would have to be the swing scene when the children were singing, “When I grow up”. This scene made me emotional at the thought of myself growing up and moving on to college. It reminded me of watching the movie as a child in elementary school compared to me now watching it facing college.
Apart from the choreography and music, the physique of the stage was incredible. When we were backstage, I was speechless as to the engineering that went behind creating the stage. The stage had many groves where the desks, seats, bathroom set emerged. I had the opportunity to see backstage and I saw how the bedroom set and Ms. Honey’s shack was hung up to save space. This idea never occurred to me before, since the few stages I have been on (Midwood’s stage, and Brooklyn College’s stage) were nowhere near as complex as the one we saw. I always imagined backstage being as crowded as ours during our plays and performances. Lastly, one of the things that appealed to me the most was the art of the chalk writing in the end. When the stage director told us of the two men tracing the letters from behind while pulling a board behind it, I was in awe. This was truly a brilliant aspect of this musical that is unique to Matilda, or so I’ve been told.
The children who performed in the musical did an incredible job. Having worked with children before, I always find it amazing when they are assembled in performing arts.
They were all in sync with one another and were continuously energetic throughout the play.
All in all, seeing Matilda was one of the greatest Broadway experiences of my life.
I have lived in my neighborhood for more than 7 years and not too long ago (7/24/2012 to be exact), I noticed work being done on the wall underneath the park, leading into my train station. Like a thief in the night, one morning, I woke up to find that a mural had been painted on the wall. At first, I was annoyed by it because I took it as a sign of gentrification. As I passed by it every day, I gave it more and more appreciation. The mural is vibrant and full of just enough confusion to make me enjoy it. It is filled with inspirational sayings that help uplift my day just enough to get me to take the train in the morning with a smile on my face.
I looked into it and found out that an organization called Groundswell, had a Public Design Sharing event. Groundswell is an organization that stands to encourage collaborative art. According to them, “This process combines the sanctity of personal expression with the strength of community activism.” I admire this statement so much. They promote social change in the communities they serve and I fully support them. Before they made the mural that is there now, the wall as a formidable battered wall that I would refuse to walk by everyday. I would literally walk in a completely different direction because the dingy wall created a more dangerous atmosphere. Now that the mural is up, it lessens the feeling of alarm that usually comes with the area.
I must say that public art is one for the better. Public art is a simple technique that pleases the eye and the look of the city just a little bit more than usual. It is an honor to be amidst such artists all over New York City that come together to create such powerful pieces.
One thing I’ve always gotten unreasonably excited for was seeing Google’s name change. I’ve always truly admired it because the idea seems so simple, but it is extremely effective. Google has been around since 1995 and created their first doodle in the August of 1998. The first doodle was the logo mixed in with the iconic man, which was meant to inform people on what Google Inc. was all about. From then on out, there has been a tradition that only betters with age. Google’s doodles went from pictures to short animations as technology increased. They even started making sets of name changes per holiday instead of just one picture to put up on the day.
In the year 2000, Larry Page and Sergey Bin handed the logo design work to Dennis Hwang, aka Hwang Jeong-mok. He designed Google’s simple logo the day before it was released, and has been on the rise ever since.
Many of the days they commemorate aren’t all commonly known, so Google provides recognition through their logo.Google’s specialty logos are the best way to share facts through creativity. Google has an extensive archive of different doodles that covers everything from the first day of autumn, to 60th anniversary of the Routemaster bus. One of my favorite set of Google logos were the World cup logos. Hwang made more than 60 logos for the whole series, and each was very interesting and unique animations.
Google encourages children to get creative with their logo all the time. With a competition called Doodle 4 Google, children from all over the world submit their artwork to see if they will get chosen as an honorary google artist. Some examples are
Amusingly enough, Hwang’s job title was Google’s International Webmaster. He was responsible for all Google’s international information, and had the task also given to him. This just goes to show, art can come from anywhere. I love Google’s doodles and artwork behind it.
Starting college has been a very different experience than I thought it would’ve been. I expected my mind to be challenged in a way that is completely different than I have previously been exposed to. For the most part, I have been let down. Many of my classes follow a curriculum and are more or less a textbook following class. The only class that I had this semester that has continually restored my faith in my college experience was this one. Society has trained me to think a certain way and has shaven my creative thirst through the education system it has provided me with.
This course has made me rethink and rebuild everything I thought I knew. It was my epistemological disruption.
I am making this post to acknowledge one of my favorite classes we had together. When Professor Eversley told us of her niece’s bedtime story (the one with the princess who grew up to be an engineer), this was my first eye opener. It was surprising to me that at such a young age, her mind has already been altered to believing that life, let alone a bedtime story, is not complete without a prince charming. She has already discarded the idea that being a civil engineer is a satisfying lifestyle. My second eye opener was Professor’s drawing of The Grown Woman. This changed my perspective on abstract art. This made me realize and appreciate that just because it is foreign and uncomfortable, the art piece isn’t any less valuable than something familiar.
This course, and more specifically that class, gave me the educational jumpstart I have desired for a long time. This rekindled my interest in what the world has to offer me in a way that reading textbooks and memorizing facts could not. I can now appreciate both art and ordinary things in life by looking with a new set of eyes.
Thanks to this course, I can now say, “I’ve seen the Opera. ” The Opera was always one of those fancy occasions that I never felt privileged enough to experience. I’ve heard it mentioned in shows, movies, and novels; so there was always a surreal aura about it. Going to the Opera was something that the rich did in their spare time because they were fancy. With this in mind, I want to thank the entire class for sharing this experience with me. Going as a class made the whole experience much less intimidating.
Nonetheless, intimidating would have been an understatement. Before you even get into the Metropolitan, you are welcomed with a grand opening to three different buildings and an amazing fountain. Overwhelmed by that, I was frantic trying to find the class when I first got there because I thought I would end up late. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Upon entering the building, you can see and truly appreciate the details of the chandeliers and the way it accented the velvet red floors. This in itself was breathtaking. Also, I really enjoyed the seats we ended up with because they made me feel fancy.
The performance was nothing I expected it to be. Initially, I didn’t think I would enjoy the Opera because I thought it would be hard to understand. It didn’t appeal to me to hear loud singing in another language for 4 hours. However, all of the different aspects of the Opera truly came together nicely. From the subtitles that were very strategically placed to the famous storyline of Carmen, I felt rather relaxed going into the performance. The way the performers sang was astounding. I was amazed at the lung and brain capacity they had and needed to be able to sing, dance, and act to put the show on. Going to the Opera is something I am so grateful to have been exposed to. I can truly say I enjoyed the performance and plan on attending another.
Since high school, I’ve dreamed of going to see an opera determined not to fall asleep (which I succeeded in), but it always seemed far-fetched considering I rarely had hundreds of dollars to spare for a ticket. Clearly, when we got the opportunity to see a classic like Carmen for free, I was ecstatic. Before college I took a music class for six years, which I loved because music is my ultimate obsession. Needless to say, the music in Carmen infatuated me. Most alluring to me was Carmen’s leitmotif (the recurring melody associated with a character) that I sang for days after the performance. I tried a little experiment during the performance where I didn’t use subtitles for the first half and did use them for the second half. I found that I enjoyed it more solely by watching and listening rather than focusing on translations. It isn’t necessary to understand the words especially when most of them are repeated. Feeling the emotion and tone in the music is enough to comprehend the storyline and it allows you to experience the opera instead of looking at a screen. Speaking of the storyline, I loved the plot based on the strong, defiant and beautiful Carmen, but I was dissatisfied with her murder. I felt it was somehow unimpressive because the opera is known to be overly dramatic, so I thought her death would be more public and theatrical. After Professor Eversley showed us Beyonce’s Hip Hopera, I was interested in discovering more Carmen inspired art and I realized a song I loved for years was named after her by Lana Del Rey that tells the story of a promiscuous, independent woman. All in all, my first opera experience left me wanting more which is why I am trying to convince my uncle to buy us tickets for Mozart’s The Magic Flute even though he wants to see The Marriage of Figaro.
On Thursday, December 4th, 2014, I had one of the best nights of my life. Three of my high school friends and I went to the Terminal 5 venue in Hell’s Kitchen to see one of my favorite bands perform in concert. The 1975 is a British indie pop/alternative rock band that released their first album last year, which was self titled meaning it was named after the band. They got their name from a notebook beat poetry with one dated “June 1st, The 1975” and grew fond of the strong use of language putting “the” in front of a date. I listened to their album on repeat for months and when they released tour dates in June, I immediately bought tickets. For six months, I waited in anticipation until finally the day arrived and then I suddenly felt nervous because I knew I would be so sad the next day when it was over forever.
Since there are no seats at this venue, we had to arrive early and wait in line for hours to get a good spot, which paid off because we were maybe 20 feet away from the stage. There were two opening acts (also bands) and I enjoyed there music too, but when the main event began I felt a wave of ecstasy and excitement that lasted the rest of the night. My favorite thing about the band itself is the lead singer Matty Healy. He has such a peaceful and mellow personality, yet he reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean’s Jack Sparrow because he was smoking cigarettes and drinking out of a bottle on stage and just wanted all of us to have fun. As for the music, I love the electronic sound they have that makes you want to dance and Matty’s voice is amazing. During the concert, Matty kept telling us to put our phones away and instead appreciate the fact that we were all together enjoying the music. It’s so hard not to take pictures and videos at concerts because I want to remember every second of it, but at the same time you miss out on the present moment so I try to only record special parts. Between two of the songs Matty said something that was so truthful concerning today’s societal issues that I couldn’t help but write it down in my phone. He said “Art in its condition, in its essence, especially music…Music transcends a lot of things-gender, sexuality, race, etc., etc., etc.” That’s a huge reason why I love music so much, it’s universal in that anyone can relate to it. It can make you feel a certain emotion so quickly and easily that it takes over your body and mind.
I’m not sure if anyone else remembers, but this is the essay that changed poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero’s life. After meeting one of the most inspirational women I’ve met in my life, I had to read what she said helped transform her into who she is today. This essay is absolutely breath-taking and I strongly suggest that everyone read it at one point in your life, if not now. I have read and re-read this essay at least 7 times, and each time, there is something new to be discovered. Lorde addresses something that is so truthful and so hidden, but so vital to our existence.
When I first heard the title, I couldn’t understand what she was insinuating. I read the title and thought to myself, Poetry isn’t a necessity for me, and it most certainly is a luxury for some people. After reading the essay, I understand that for some people it may not be poetry that is not our luxury, but a different art form. The “poetry” Lorde speaks of is the passion that keeps us thriving in spite of our struggles. We shape and transform our dark and hidden sides into a masterpiece that we need to survive. For example, my best friend’s passion is dance. She lives, breathes, and struggles through dance. She has danced for more than ten years of her short life, and she has grown with it. Dance is the water she needs to survive; she can not live without it.
Reading this was one of those experiences where you think to yourself I am in the right place at the right time. I had a similar feeling to when I listen to music and the lyrics are surprisingly relevant to my life at the time. She speaks of the strengths and struggles that we endure as people, and more so women. Poetry is both Lorde and Guerrero’s passion and I am very excited to find my own. Lorde acknowledges that our passions are our savior in life and I agree 110%.
Since it’s the holiday season, there are holiday decorations on almost every block you go. When I was walking around near Rockefeller Center, right across the Radio City Music Hall, I saw these huge red ornaments outside of a building. These simple ornaments bring a christmas spirit to anyone walking pass. Looking it up online, I found out that this building is called the Exxon Building, also known as the “X” Building from the “XYZ Buildings.” This display is designed by Stephen Stefanou, a visual display artist and designer known for his unique installations and seasonal décor of grandly scaled proportions. What surprised me was that this display is installed every holiday season for the past 22 years! Although they completely remake it every five years, they decide they want the same exact thing every five years. I think displaying the same decoration every year allow people to remember the building every time they see these christmas ornaments anywhere they go.
Later, I heard a bunch of loud motorcycle noises. As I made my way down the block, I was surprised to see a group of Santa Clauses on motorcycles. It was a group of people all dressed up as Santa Claus riding on the road in motorcycles. They just sat there and waved to everyone as they waited for the traffic light. It was an interesting sight to see on the street.
What is it about human sexuality that society has deemed so taboo?
This is the question I was left with after my experience at the Joyce Theatre. The performance- as with many of our outings in this class- was my first experience with contemporary ballet. Even with prior research done, I expected something a little more similar to my prior conception of ballet; that is, a performance involving tutus, classical music, and stern faced Russian dancers. What I got instead was a series of stunning dances that proved a stark commentary on human nature.
The first thing (and perhaps the most important thing) that separates contemporary ballet from traditional is the fact that the dancers relied on a rhythm that was set apart from the beat of the music being played. This syncopated effect separated the audience and the dancers; what I expected to happen upon hearing the music wasn’t necessarily reflective of their movements. That, of course, says something about life: people behave in strange and mysterious ways, and more often than not we ascribe to a ‘c’est la vie’ mentality instead of putting forth the effort necessary to unravel our fellow man’s complexities.
Another interesting thing that I noticed was a contrast between the male and female dancers. Often in dance, one can note a specific adherence to traditional gender roles. The women are all delicate, fragile, beautiful. Men are all strong, powerful, gritty. In this ballet, there was an interesting absence of this. All dancers wore the same outfit. effectively de-sexualizing the women and making the men seem a little more vulnerable. Even though some parts of the dances seemed a little male-centric, there was never a time when a female dancer was put in a subservient position. The push-pull of power in between both genders is something to be noted and applauded.
Most of all, this ballet was sensual. This is the part where most people confess their discomfort. This is the part where most people shy away from the troupe of half naked, athletic men and women leaping around on stage to a rhythm only they can hear. My question to you is: why? Complexions offers their audience a glimpse into a world that we all know exists yet few choose to recognize. It is a world of incredible power and terrible weakness, a world of sweat and tears and sexy androgyny.
Historically, people have a tendency to hate what they don’t understand.
Destroy the idea that you need to be at ease with something to love it.