Useless Stuff Being Posted

A Little Bit of Mike

My name is Michael Akyuz. I was born an raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am a child of divorce. In my immediate family, I have my mother, sister, and grandmother. I’m a guy surrounded by women, and I can honestly say that it is not always easy. Uhy! I started playing sports when I was about 5, mainly basketball and tennis. There were times when I peaked at each sport, and then all of a sudden stopped playing when my father left. I went to P.S. 99 for elementary school, and Cunningham Junior high for middle school. From the ages of 7-14, i was an active Boy Scout. Once I began high school at Midwood, though, i left the Boy Scouts, which I feel like was a mistake. I miss all the community projects and the fun events I used to participate in with the the scouts. I excelled in high school, eventually participating in the science intel program, where I spent my time researching animal cognitive behavior at a Brooklyn College lab. I graduated Midwood as the Arista leader with academic honors, as well as recognition for my participation in Archon and peer mentoring. After graduating, I worked at the Shoprite in Monticello, which is about 10 miles from my summer house in upstate NY. I can honestly say that from the age of 14, almost all the girls I’ve been involved with were like bad apples in some way. Now that I’m almost 19, I think it’s time to change it up a bit and find some nicer girls to involve myself with.

Poor Guy!

The removal and destruction of Rivera’s mural at Rockefeller Center was wrong. I blame Rockefeller’s low confidence level for the murals destruction. I believe Rockefeller was too worried about the opinion of the location’s visitors and fellow Americans rather than considering the message that the Communistic mural stood for. This mural was intended to represent social, political, industrial, and scientific possibilities in the 20th century. The background of the mural included a large May Day demonstration of workers marching with red banners (Communistic symbol). The controversy arose over the featured leader of the demonstration, Lenin. Rockefeller asked Rivera to feature an American in the mural, but Rivera and his aides refused.

When considering whether this mural should’ve remained, I can’t help but to compare the situation to that of the Statue of Liberty. Built in France, the statue resides in New York City as arguably the largest representation of freedom in America. Despite it being built somewhere else, the message it carries and the worth it has to Americans remains unchanged. The same should go for the mural. The mural, as a single entity, represents all four categories and the uncertainty that lies ahead in the 20th century. I can’t imagine the cultural and historical significance it would’ve had after the Cold War and the containment of Communism if it hadn’t ben destroyed. It was not only a spectacular piece of art, but a metaphorical memento of America’s influence in history.

From The People Who Are Famous For Pizza

Thanks to the trains, I was running a little late for this performance, thanks MTA. The never-ending climb left me almost breathless by the time i reached the seats at the Family Circle. It was another hike up the steep steps to a seat. Since i wasn’t sitting in the seat printed on my ticket, i got to sit next to a really pretty girl. Unfortunately, she had a boyfriend :(. 

I had read a synopsis of the play before attending, so I had a pretty good overall idea it as well as the sequence of scenes. Despite this, I tried to read the subtitles as I watched the play. The problem was that it was extremely difficult to look at the back of someone else’s chair and watch the stage at the same time. Ten minutes into the play, I was getting dizzy from constantly looking back and forth and decided I needed another approach. Luckily, to my left was a guy who understood the play. He kept commenting to his friend sitting next to him. This helped me out a great deal, because every time he laughed, I knew to look at the subtitled box, and it was quite funny. I remember Prof. Minter asked us if we thought this was a comedy or a tragedy, and after seeing it, I believe it is a comedy.

I give a lot of credit to the people who played the roles. Not only is it unimaginable to me to remember the whole script in italian, but they sang with perfect pitch from beginning to end. It was also quite amazing to me to see the legend behind the play at the Met. Looking through the program, many CEO’s and stars have attended and supported this opera since its beginning, which I believe was 11 seasons ago.

I have to admit, that even though I am not a fan of the opera, I was absolutely surprised when the stage opened up and what appeared to be real flames marked the transition to hell. From reading the script, I would never have imagined that a modern day opera house would go to such lengths to signify such an event. It was absolutely impressive. 

I was quite intrigued at (what I believe to be) the wedding when the entertainment (violins and violas) was playing on stage, and completely independent from the music of the orchestra off-stage. It really added to the authenticity of the opera. I wonder if the people playing those instruments in the orchestra had gone onto the stage for that scene if these musicians were not part of the orchestra at all. Since I couldn’t see the orchestra from where I was sitting, I’ll never know. 

By the end of the opera, I left the same way I had arrived, breathless.

Music Only: A Review of the Tokyo String Quartet

Hearing the Tokyo String Quartet play musical selections from the great Beethoven brought back many memories for me. My mother, who used to play the violin in orchestras, had brought me up with the music of Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovshy, and other classical geniuses. I haven’t been to any concerts of such a genre in years, but hearing the quartet play brought back the memories of sitting on the grass at SPAC late at night, eating junk food as I played my video game and listened to the music in the background. 

While I’m not exactly a fan of the classical genre, I can appreciate the mood it creates for its audience; it allows the people to just close their eyes and feels relaxed and soothed. My mother constantly says that this generation is always so stressed because we don’t know how to survive without constant stimulation (i.e. tv, internet, entertainment). The Quartet provided absolutely no visual stimulation, only allowing the audience to hear their sound and take it in as they may.

Watching the old people listening to their preferred style of music, many of the gestured with their hands and fingers as if they were the conductors. It was adorable, but it also made me realize that there is such a disconnect between generation. These elderly people are sitting there, understanding the meaning of this music and enjoying it, and us youth are short of being tortured. I found this observation both thought-provoking and sad.

Despite the fact that I’m not into this type of music, I hope that one day I can learn to appreciate it because all music is a gift, not a right.

Stuff I Saw

New York City is the home to many of the most architectural and innovative spectacles in the world, which includes Coney Island and the High Line. These places have much to offer both tourists and locals in terms of leisure and pleasure. Coney Island, a historical mainstay in Brooklyn, is arguably the pinnacle of diversity. Along Brighton Beach Avenue alone, one can find Asian nail salons to Russian café’s to Subways (the American sub franchise) and so much more. While it has rapidly developed, with the addition of fields, stages, parks, and residences; it hasn’t actually changed. A former freight train track, the High Line is a relatively new, up-and-coming recreational project that has physically endured the demolition efforts of corporate overhauls, thanks to the Friends of the High Line. The modern environment, accentuated by the elevated “forest”, lulls all who visit into a state of sweet serenity.

As the epitomy of Brooklyn, Coney Island does not have to fit into the surrounding area, it is the neighborhood. Rem Koolhaas noted in his book, “The strategies and mechanisms that later shape Manhattan are tested in the laboratory of Coney Island before they finally leap toward the larger island. Coney Island is a fetal Manhattan.” (Koolhaas, 1994, page30) But is it? I can acknowledge that there may be some truth to Koolhaas’s statement. The array of varying feats that inhabit Coney Island may be the groundwork of proof that it was at some point a testing area. However, I have yet to see such an impressive region on the “parental island.”

Coney Island is all about the boardwalk, the beach, the shopping, the aquarium, the baseball, the concerts. It’s all about everything! There are few places in the America that can even remotely rival the accessibility and significance of it. The only reason why people can have an effect on it is because it has an effect on the people. No matter where you go, the beginnings of great ideas are being born. Strolling down the boardwalk, you can almost literally see artists putting newfound ideas onto their easels. It is actually quite interesting to watch.

I hate Manhattan. I really do. The hustle and bustle of too many things in too little space forces me to cringe before I even exit the subway. However, I was rather surprised by the High Line. Walking down 23rd street towards 10th avenue, the neighborhood boasts a rapid-paced vibe and a rude demeanor. There is nothing about it that would even hint at an approach to a recreational piece of art (highline), especially the big Texas BBQ chain and the multiple liquor stores. As I reached 8th avenue though, I began to see creativity-oriented venues, including the SVA theatre and art classes. The construction site directly below the tracks provides somewhat of the perfect contrast of concrete city to artificial paradise, in the sense that the 45 feet (approximately) of elevation transcends you into a completely contradictory surrounding and feeling.

With respect to the immediate area surrounding the High Line, there are reminders of a desolate past and foreshadows of a prosperous future. The graffiti that lines many of the brick buildings parallel to it serve as a symbol of what it would be today if it hadn’t been saved, which is an abandoned waste of space. On the contrary, the recently constructed modernistic buildings that appear along the path enable us to envision the promise it has for the area in the near future. In a nutshell, I can’t say that it truly fits in with the scenery of the neighborhood as a whole, but it is something that is needed, and will serve as a guide for the beautification, both aesthetically and culturally, of the area.

Personally, I have already seen it affect the people of Manhattan. Just on my walk to the High Line, I observed four people litter. After all, that’s a stereotypical action of the busy New Yorker. The High Line, though, must be considered a sacred ground in Manhattan because there is not one spot of gum or article of garbage anywhere along the path. The sheer respect and appreciation that Manhattan society has for the novelty of the High Line is actually quite inspiring.

The High Line is more of a test ground that Coney Island is. Furthermore, they are similar in the sense that everything transportation falls to the background so that their other features can shine.

They differ in the magnitude of what they offer. While the path of the High Line offers a place for people to enjoy quiet and fresh air, Coney Island’s boardwalk also offers the option to be loud and obnoxious without the ridicule. Also, Coney has the capability to satisfy pretty much any mood while the High Line’s tone is purely tranquil.

Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York. New York: Monacelli Press, 1994. Print.


I Don’t Like Art

I constantly find myself asking questions like, “What is art?,” “What is the meaning of this[everything]?,” and especially, ”What am I?” These are the questions that the idea of Fluxus attempts to answer through what they consider art. The problems with such a task are; is this really art and are they answering the questions.

In my opinion, the idea of Fluxus is more art than the actual pieces themselves. Upon visiting the Grey Art Gallery, the events scores and flux boxes, for example, were quite intriguing. They were truly simple and creative. Art can be simple but brilliant, but that’s only when you intend to create something brilliant without the intention of being simple. I feel as if the people who crafted, or even just came up with these pieces, purposely tried to be simple in their pursuit of brilliance. That is why I can’t consider them great pieces of art.

This brings me to another point, is this stuff even art in the first place? Honestly, I don’t think most of it is. I guess I can consider the painting on the floor art, and even the television tubes with the adjusted screens, but the “G-d in a Box” piece, not at all. Some idiot just placed random stuff in a case and sealed it shut. That screams desperation to me. I think it’s fair to say that art is what affects people. I also believe that some actual work should be incorporated into the project, a little more than gluing or pasting some stuff together.

I was left with more questions than answers after viewing the exhibit. The brochure explained to me the questions that Fluxus is intended to answer, yet if anything, he pieces only represented those topics. They didn’t actually provide answers, and no matter how the “artists” describe the explanations, I still wont get it.

I can’t say the whole exhibit was all bad though. I actually found the “Star-Spangled Hot Dog” quite peculiar, in a good way. I’m just hoping there wasn’t a real hot dog under all the glitter. I found most interesting, though, the door with the caution around it. That was the first thing that caught my eye when I entered the gallery. I really just wanted to step over the tape and touch it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to. I guess it’ll just have to be a venture for another day.