Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College

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Final Project

December 20, 2012   No Comments

“1945-1998” by Isao Hashimoto- Macaulay Final Project

Watch it again! We changed some things.

Project by: Maheen Athonu, Mohammad Aziz, Artur Brodskiy 

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Taliesin West


A few weeks back, I visited my brother in Arizona. a highlight of my trip was a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter house called Taliesin West, which is essentially a complex that has everything from a movie theater, art studio, and cafeteria. It served as a winter home for him and the members of his architecture apprenticeship. Frank Lloyd Wright is known as the greatest architect. He lived from 1867-1959. What made him unique is that he designed every last detail in all of his houses. Usually architects do not design furniture and colors of each and every corner of the houses they work on.

A very notable feature of Taliesin West is that it blends in with the mountain it’s on. Its main foundations are made of rock taken from the mountain and concrete. Majority of the buildings of Taliesin West are one story high (along with almost every other house in the Phoenix area). Its colors are a brownish red, brown and gray. There are a few pools and fountains scattered throughout the complex. Wright used many geometric shapes and many different colors in his designs.

Wright did not like to waste space. Doorways and hallways in his house are very short and then open up to normal sized rooms. This made the room one is entering seem a lot larger. He left corners unwalled because he felt it restrained him. Most of the rooms in the house were originally left 1/4 unwalled. Eventually he agreed to put glass windows.

Pages and pages can be written about Taliesin West but it will never compare to seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s skills in person.


December 20, 2012   No Comments

My Visit to the Guggenheim Museum

After our last test, Maheen and I decided to go to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. We read about this museum earlier in the term because of its unique architecture. This visit reminded me of the movie Inception; similar to the concept of dream within a dream, the Guggenheim is basically art within art because the building itself is art. From the outside, the building looks like rings stacked on top of each other. When you go in the building, you could see a ramp spiraling all the way to the top. I found it interesting how the building contained many circles and curves: the passage through the museum was a spiral, the floor contained circular patterns, the building itself was spherical, the pillars were cylindrical, the entrance had a revolving door, and so on.

When I visited, the main exhibit was called Picasso Black and White, which focused on Picasso’s black and white paintings. His paintings lined the walls of the building. They were mainly abstract portraits of women in Picasso’s life, or reactions to war and tragedy. The unique design of the building enhanced this exhibit in many ways. The paintings were put up chronologically, so going up the spiral ramp made it feel like I was travelling through Picasso’s life. The ramp in the museum, as opposed to stairs or a flat floor, made this feeling possible. Ramps are a gradual method of going up, while stairs feel disjointed and uneven.  Therefore, the structure of the ramp allowed this connection to Picasso’s life to occur. Also, many of Picasso’s abstract portraits of women were filled with curves and circles. This matched well with the building’s architecture, which as I mentioned before, also contains many circles and curves.

There were other exhibits too, which were not about Picasso. One, for example, was about the abstract artwork of Vasily Kandinsky. These separate exhibits were displayed in different rooms beyond the main spherical structure. As you go up the ramp, you could choose whether to keep walking through the Picasso exhibit, or go to a different room to see another exhibit. When you go into a different exhibit, you sort of forget about the Picasso exhibit because the setting changes. You are no longer walking on a ramp and you are in a much more enclosed area. Then, once you leave the room, you are back to where you left off on the Picasso exhibit.

I really enjoyed this visit, but more because of the building rather than the art inside it. The building is what distinguishes this museum from any other museum in the world.


December 20, 2012   No Comments



Hitchcock was a great movie. The movie focused more on Alfred Hitchock’s personal issues during the making of the movie, Psycho, rather than Psycho itself. However, it did had the screening of the famous shower scene. The actress that was being attacked originally acted poorly with fake screams until Hitchcock decided to wield the knife instead of the trained stuntman. This was one of the most dramatic scenes of the movie that revealed Hitchcock’s nervous breakdown.

The actors in Hitchcock were very good. Hitchcock’s wife was an immense role and was executed well. Also, the “Hitchcock Blonde”

The movie had a references to other Alfred Hitchcock movies as well, for example the crow landing on his should at the end of the movie when he wonders what movie he would come up with next.

The comedy performance at BAM, on the other hand, I did not enjoy. However, the place was very nice.

The performers I listened to either made sexual jokes, or made fun of the themselves being fat.

The room had interesting lights everywhere and hanging by the entrance, a handmade map of the US.


December 20, 2012   No Comments

Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil

To get an idea of what the circus performance is like, you should first watch this trailer, although keep in mind that it doesn’t do the show any justice:

Now to the actual review. I saw this circus performance early during the semester, and it was AMAZING. I’d gladly go watch it again several times. It took place in Radio City Music Hall. The auditorium is gigantic, with seats several stories high, similar to the Metropolitan Opera.

Sitting in one of the front rows, I took a look behind me and saw how the walls are decorated with images of people sitting to watch a show. It gives the illusion that there are way more people than there really are. This was a clever trick done by whoever designed the place.

When the show began, we were introduced to a mad scientist who made strange creations. Among the first of his creations was the people in first act of the show, which were a group of dancers. This and other methods were used to transition between the acts, making them seem like a story line. Similarly, the whole show had a very gothic theme. The show also felt bad-ass and nothing else in the world seemed to matter. This wasn’t your typical tent circus with cute animals; this was a hardcore show.

The acts themselves were mesmerizing and unique. All of the dancers were very skilled. The music made you gawk at what was being presented. Gymnasts did feats that you would never see anywhere else. In one act, they stood inside human-sized hula hoops, holding on to the the edges, looking like the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Within these hula hoops, they would roll across the stage into various formations pleasing to the eye.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci

In one act, an artist made images with sand. Using sand on top of a plate of glass, the woman would draw images in the sand with her hands. Light is projected through the glass so we can all see what she is drawing. At the end of her act, she drew an intricate spiderweb. Then, bam! The curtains open up and we see the same spider web constructed out of rope, with gymnasts dressed as spiders crawling all over it.

Intermissions between acts showed clowns who enacted very funny scenes. They picked on audience members, and used a very classic “Charlie Chaplin” style of comedy.

There were many other acts involving dangerous stunts, too many of which to describe in detail. All of the acts transitioned into each other, with a clown intermission in between. A viewer would never be bored. The main reason I enjoyed the show so much is because of the emotion it gave me. The show just burns with passion, confidence, and fierceness. It’s always very difficult to convey those emotions in a work of art. The creators deserve much honor for what they’ve accomplished. When the show ended, I felt like I was only there for an hour, although I’m sure it went on for longer. I wanted to see more. “Epic” is an overused word, and many things that are described as “epic,” don’t deserve that adjective tied to them. However, this show could definitely be categorized as epic. It’s a must-see.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

BAM: Get it Out There

The atmosphere at BAM was perfect for a comedy club. The ceiling arched over your head, the music put you in a confident mood perfect for a lounge, the place was very decorated with lights, and I was able to see my high school, Brooklyn Tech, out the window.

It was strange to me how most the people sitting at the tables were young hipsters, all having excited conversations over beer. They were all dressed in expensive and stylish clothing. They reminded me of how you’d imagine a rich-white-Harvard-fraternity/sorority student. I wondered if they knew how much they fit the stereotype.

The comedians weren’t very funny. No amount of atmosphere or music on the side could make up for bad content. The host was funnier than the actual comedians. He made jokes about how fat he is, and made me chuckle a few times. The first two comedians hardly made me laugh at all. The first one focused too much on Netflix, and what surfing its videos is like. I could relate to that, since I use Netflix, but I was never very engrossed to what he was saying, or enticed with his character. In addition, this topic wouldn’t appeal to many people because Netflix isn’t used by everybody. The second comedian was even worse, playing a song about how he met a celebrity because of a lemon. The idea seemed funny at first, but he ruined it with the monologue which he read off of a paper.

The third comedian was a level above the first two. She was a black woman talking about what her life is like, being single and in the city. She chose a typical topic, but delivered her jokes well, making me chuckle several times as well.

I noticed much laughter coming from the front few rows of the audience (probably the comedians’ friends), which is interesting because I realized that laughter can be seeded. This is done similarly by street performers, or stores with tip jars, who fill their jar with money beforehand in order to make it look like people are actually eager to tip. The seeded laughter can spread, making us think that there is something worth laughing at. This results in our listening to the comedy act more intently.

I was  really hoping to hear somebody very funny, since stand-up comedy is something I love to listen to. It’s a shame I had to miss the last two comedians, since I hear that the last one was very funny and blew the audience away. I watch a lot of George Carlin, Louis C.K., and Kevin Hart. Those comedians would make me laugh hysterically, unable to stop for a minute. I’d laugh again when I remember the joke they made. Whereas the best comedians craft jokes using clever irony, and unexpected twists in their story lines, the first few comedians at BAM simply gave scenarios which some of us could relate to. That is what the difference is between comedians delivering kitsch and comedians delivering art. Professional famous comedians find a way to tickle the core of our sense of humor, making us really want to laugh hard at society. It’s a craft.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Seminar Project

Hey guys, here is our final project brought to you by me, Danny, and Ronny



December 20, 2012   No Comments



I like the idea of a movie about making a movie. It makes me think about the effort made to make the “outer” movie, and what that looked like. Hitchcock was an entertaining biographical film, showing the life of Alfred Hitchcock as he directed Psycho. I’m always interested in seeing behind the scenes work, because many of us don’t know what really goes into film-making.

The movie showed the drama between Alfred, his agents, and his wife. His agents kept demanding different content than what Alfred provided, always wanting to revise what Hitchcock wanted to produce. Hitchcock’s wife was supportive of him, but often got tired of him, wanting to deviate and what her heart desired. These dynamics made an interesting plot line, keeping the viewer wondering how things would finally unravel.

In the dramatic scenes, close-ups on Hitchcock’s face were made, showing how disturbed he is. It’s always easy to make a distressed face, and a close-up of it really does the job of showing how grimy it looks. As viewers, we wanted Hitchcock to be successful, and for other people to understand him and be more supportive of him. The movie does a good job at evoking our compassion for him.

There were a few comedic scenes dotted throughout the movie, which I feel is necessary for any drama. These include the one where he orchestrates the screams of the movie-watchers, and the ending where a bird lands on Hitchcock’s shoulder. I’m sure there were several more of these “insider” jokes, which require the viewer to have already seen some of Hitchcock’s previous work.

I can’t say that this movie is one of the greatest ever produced, or that I’d love watching it many times. However, it was entertaining nevertheless. I learned more about Hitchcock’s life, while at the same time feeling a tie to the characters.

December 20, 2012   No Comments


The setup of this play was interesting. The background had stacks of boxes and a mess of papers. When asked why it was made this way, the playwright answered that it’s to symbolize the nasty actions made by people and the polluted environment we’re creating. On the left side were an assortment of file boxes. This setup took place for the whole play.

Even though the scenery never changed much, that never got into the way of my imagining what the environment of the play would look and sound like. Part of this is because of the skilled lighting. The file boxes were lit up during the formal meetings with the lawyer, Alexandra, and during the court case. In scenes taking place on the streets, the mess of papers in the background was lit up. the rest was left to my imagination, which compensated pretty well.

Going into the play, I was apprehensive that I wouldn’t understand the plot. Plays are usually not my preferred style of art to enjoy, and in the past I haven’t been able to follow them (The Tempest Opera proved me wrong, however). I was able to follow the first few scenes, where Oliver and a fellow businessman argue over the environmental harm caused by the firms Oliver represents. These early scenes also had my favorite actors of the play. Their argument was funny, and realistic. I could see one of the actors, Steven Rishard, being in a sitcom like Seinfeld or Friends. He fits the role perfectly. The other actors and actresses, with the exception of Julissa Roman, who played Luz, sometimes exaggerated their speech, and the emotion on their face and in their tone didn’t sound real.

The play is filled with symoblism, especially in puppet scenes. A vulture is often used to give Luz premonitions and guidance. A puppet haunts Oliver, perhaps as punishment for harming the environment and indirectly hurting the lives of Luz, Helene, and Zia. The voices of the characters echo during these scenes, and I wondered how this effect was made without microphones.

It was difficult for me to understand what was happening in the following scenes, although I understood the general theme of the play. It was meant to show an example of the hardship involving citizenship and violence faced by women. Acquiring citizenship is hard nowadays in America, especially when coupled with finding a job, supporting oneself, and handling emotional stress. The file boxes and papers in the set function to illustrate how everything is formalized with courts and legal papers nowadays. They almost look like litter, which functions well to show the slums of Guatemala City, tent cities in Haiti, and toxic, polluted neighborhoods. People aren’t given the chance to freely be heard, and receive fairness. This seen in court, when Luz snaps, and yells at the lawyer, “Look at me!” The play juxtaposes the easy life of businessmen, and how their actions affect the lives of other people without their knowing.

December 20, 2012   No Comments