Monday, June 6, 2016

last lecture

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write this last lecture. Whenever I would try to start this blog post, I would only get a paragraph or two in before I would feel restless and uncomfortable. Dreams have always been a touchy and strange topic for me. It seems like in order for me to have dreams, I have to believe that I can realistically achieve them. Seeing as I have a nasty pessimistic streak, I will always put myself down and turn away from opportunities in favor of more "realistic" goals in my life. What I have come to learn about life and about myself throughout my adolescence is that it's not necessarily completing the dream that gives one the most satisfaction; it is the thing one learns along the way and the unconventional way of achieving said dream that means the most in the end.

At first I could not remember my childhood dreams for the life of me. I have a terrible memory to begin with, so I had to turn to my parents and close friends to dig up what I used to daydream about. As I talked with them, I got back snippets of memory and incomplete dreams. I wanted to be a fairy, a mermaid, a nurse, an actress, an artist. These dreams reminded me of what it was like to just freely imagine without the heavy weights of reality and pessimism pulling me down. Now that I think about it, I was able to achieve these dreams, albeit a little unconventionally.

As for being a fairy, I was cast in The Stolen Child and even won an acting award for my role as the Head Fairy. So not only was I a fairy, I was a Fairy Queen; it was like I totally one-upped my childhood fantasies. It would have been cool if I was not as evil/could fly, but pickers can't be choosers. The mermaid dream has yet to happen.

Then comes the weirdly somewhat realistic dream - being a nurse. I don't know why, but I distinctly remember being in second grade and my teacher asking us to say what we wanted to be when we grew up. We went down the rows of kids saying highly improbable things -- rockstar, President, astrounaut -- and my voice just squeaked out "Nurse". I still find it to be the strangest thing, to be honest. So this dream of mine carried me throughout elementary school until middle school hit,
where I realized that I was very, very bad at science. Down the drain of disappointment went that dream. So then I was left floundering for a while. I had no real direction; what scares me more than dreaming unrealistically is losing control. But then I had a revelation on the stage here at Saints and in my heart of hearts I knew that the stage was my home (see college essay for why). I went from a completely steady and well-paying dream job to one that is filled with emotional turmoil and financial hardships at every turn. I will admit, I have very supportive parents that went through the acting process with me. They looked at performing arts colleges with me, learned about audition processes, signed me up for voice lessons and have supported my love of music and theatre. I honestly don't think I would have made it this far in my growth as a performer without them being my backbone. But I had to soon realize that I don't want to hate theatre. If I am forced to the point of desparation for a part just so I can have food to put on the table, then I would not enjoy my art. And the last thing I want is for something I love to become a chore. I looked back at the line of dreams I have had and I now know that there was a central theme to my "dream jobs" - I wanted to help people. Whether it be through medicine or through acting, I have wanted to connect with and inspire others. It's scary to constantly be changing up my dreams and trying new labels to see which one fits best on me. But through this whole process I have come to find that I have my life stretched out ahead of me. Who says I can't still be an actress? Or a nurse? Hell, I'll give being a mermaid a try. What I need to remember is that I am still learning who I am. I am reinventing myself and growing and experiencing many things throughout my short life. I can have dreams and goals I can strive for while keeping my feet on the ground. I could not have reached this conclusion without the help of my family and peers, so I want to say thank you for everything. I will miss this class and the creativity confidence that has blossomed within me because of this class will not be taken for granted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rough rough essay #1

The theatre is my home. It is the place where I feel the most comfortable. The stage swallows my insecurities and self-doubt and leaves nothing but my best self on its surface. Many people I have encountered during my high school experience continually ask me how I do it. They ask me how I can be so at ease performing for other people, yet I cannot meet new people without my words lodging in my throat and my fingers trembling incessantly. I honestly do not know why the theatre is my safe place. I think that because of the experiences I have had and the people I have met throughout my high school career, I have gained a confidence and self-worth that I never would have gained had I not joined the drama club my freshman year. I owe the theatre my budding confidence, the acceptance of my self-worth and a second family that I will always cherish dearly.

There is one specific event that distinctly changed me and caused me to become so invested in theatre. My sophomore year, my high school director chose "Godspell" for the fall musical. I auditioned and believed that I had done terribly. I kept trying to convince myself that there was absolutely no way I had gotten into the cast. And yet, later that week, I stared up at the cast list and saw my name next to the name of the solo that I would be singing in the show. I could have melted from relief and happiness right there.

In theatre, especially improvisation, one must always say "yes". As much as it embarrassed me and scared me to death, I had to say "yes" to playing this character. This was, admittedly, easier said than done. Basically, I had to say yes to being a prostitute who boldly flirted with nearly everyone both on and off the stage. Before I had time to feel somewhat comfortable about what I was being asked to do, the day had come. My director walked up to me and said to go to the top of the stairs and perform my solo. I must have resembled a panicked fish with my mouth gaping open in shock. He simply shrugged and told me that it had been put off for long enough; in order to get over it, I simply had to just go for it.  I just nodded numbly and began my ascent up to the top of the main aisle of the theatre. With every step I took, I could hear my heart pounding in my chest and my knees threatening to buckle. My sense of self-worth was so skewed back then that I thought that if I messed up, even the tiniest bit, everyone in the cast would hate me.  I had such an intense fear of disappointing people that it got in the way of doing what I needed to do. So when I climbed those stairs, all that ran through my mind was 'You're not good enough' and 'Everyone will hate you if you slip up'. Standing up at the top of the stairs, I had to grip the handrail to keep from collapsing. Then, I heard my cue line and I turned. I will never know how I ever achieved this, but it was like a switch turned on in my mind. I looked straight ahead and became Sonia; I was gone and only the character remained. It felt like the wind was knocked out of me as soon as the song was over. I was overwhelmed with what I had just done and worried about what everyone would think that I did not notice their applause until the anxious flurry of thoughts calmed in my mind. My cast mates were in as much disbelief as I was, but they were praising me for it, not critically analyzing my first try and ripping it apart. I will never forget the love and elation and pure gratitude I felt that nearly made my heart burst.

I have never felt closer to a cast since “Godspell” and it will always hold a place in my heart. Looking back on my growth from then, I realize that that show gave me so many opportunities and experiences I will never forget. It taught me that I am good enough and that I have the courage and capability to achieve what I want to do in life. It taught me that I do not have to fight my insecurities alone; I will always have friends and family fighting with me and showing me the truth that is clouded behind the insecurities. Writing about this experience, I want to go to my sophomore self and tell her that it does get better. I want to tell her that there are people I will meet that will make me so joyful that my face hurts and my throat is hoarse from smiling and laughing so much. I want to tell her that she is capable of achieving anything in the world, and that these characters will teach her to hold her head high. I want to tell her that the theatre will hold her and comfort her and teach her so many lessons and different perspectives that her soul will grow old with wisdom. The theatre is my home. It will always, always be my home.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Equality VS. Equity Synthesis Prompt

Equality and equity, though normally interchangeable, are two very separate things. Should equality or equity be fought for in our society today? Use the following sources to support your essay.

Source 1:

Source 2:

Source 3:

Source 4:

(I just want the first two paragraphs to be used in this, if that's alright!)

Source 5:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole of Creativity

Anything that the human race can think up has already been thought of. That was the basis of the arguement in today's video. The human race has been reduced from a society that is constantly creating and imagining new futures has been reduced to zombies without an original thought floating through their thick skulls as they use their "infernal devices". As society has evolved and changed with each generation, their forms of entertainment and ways of spending time are criticized. This generation has apparently turned from a RW (reading-writing) generation to a RO (reading-only) generation. This current wave of Millenials is being called out for taking works that have already been created and stealing them, therefore making every YouTube video, AMV, and Gif on Tumblr subject to crippling copyright laws. But the arguement stands as thus: how far can originality be stretched out before it is considered stolen?

Let's take for example, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. People all around the world have enjoyed the truly unique characters and witty whimsy of this book, from the smile of the Cheshire Cat to the Red Queen's famous one-liner, "Off with their heads!". This classic story has been taken and recreated so many times it can make one's head spin just thinking of all the different possibilities this one story has produced. There have been multiple movie renditions, both live action and animated. There have been many books taking the base characters of Alice, the Mad Hatter, etc. and thrusting them into different worlds (such as the book Alice in Zombieland, where Alice fights zombies to save her friends). From video games to fan-made art and jewelry, this simple children's novel conceived in 1865 has reached across two millennia to still affect readers today. Becuase of the originality of Lewis Carroll, copious amounts of works and artwork has come out of the patchwork of creativity in the world. If these copyright laws were to be taken seriously, then every single one of these forms of media would be violating Carroll's work and could be seen as unoriginal. 

When it comes to things such as this, it should not be seen as an act of stealing his work for the artists own selfish purposes. If anything, it should be an extension of the work that Carroll has thought of and should be appreciated. If one thinks about it, it is simply just another adventure for Alice and her whimsical friends. It should not be seen as something to be abhorred or something unprofessional. We as a society are capable of creating so much more if we do not limit ourselves. If Alice has to get back home in one rendition, who says that she does not have to save that same home from zombies in another rendition? We have become an RO generation becuase of these laws trying to limit our creativity. But by using what we have been given and extending those ideas, we are reaching past the limits of what we thought we could dream up. 

Congress needs to get it together

When one thinks of Congress, they normally think of Washington D.C. With senators and representatives of each state meeting for important meetings and such. What doesn't come to mind, however, is Congressional fundraising. These congressmen and women, sent into office to represent their respective state and come up with laws to govern the country, are essentially made to grovel for money from their more wealthy supporters. This is a clear injustice because it is pulling these congressmen from their jobs and instead making them into sales reps, raising funds just to be able to stay in Congress.

According to an article featured in the video, "...members spend anywhere from 25 percent up to 50 percent...of their time fundraising". Within the examples given of the different fundraisers held (birthday and wedding anniversary fundraisers included), Congress has even managed to make a fundraiser out of a Taylor Swift concert. It just sounds so silly, thinking of congressmen and women using their power to make Taylor Swift make money for them. And to make these calls, they have to go to this nondescript building and makes calls for hours on end. They also have to make sure that these citizens could easily dish out $1,000 dollars for their cause, so that limits their search even more. It honestly sounds ridiculous. Here one has some of the most influential people in the United States, and every day they are expected to badger for money and have fundraiser at a shady clam restaurant in D.C.

This reminds me of the prompt we received with the NEA and wondering whether tax dollars should unknowingly go into a scholarship that is known for cutting funds to certain programs within the arts. It just adds another thing onto the list that American people are paying for in taxes but have no clue what it goes to. If congress wants to own up to their use of Taylor Swift fundraisers, then they certainly should. The middle class should be able to know what is going on and then let their own representatives know what they feel on the matter. This whole situation was likened to the Cold War, with congressmen on both sides not wanting to give up the ghost before the other. If everyone in America were able to cooperate and state a way in which Congress could get its funds and keep the Senators and middle class happy, then I am all for it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Comic King

Ethos, by definition, is "a speaker appeals to ethos to demostrate that they are credible and trustworthy to speak on a given established by both who you are and what you say". In Scott McCloud's excerpt Show and Tell from his book "Understanding Comics", we were asked to identify his use of ethos throughout his comic strips. With this short excerpt, McCloud describes how words and pictures can work together in harmony to give a more in depth experience when reading.

The background information on McCloud on page 805 is a start to establishing his credentials on the subject of comic books. He has worked on numberous projects and has created many books explaining comics, such as Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics. By listing all of these achievements and works before the excerpt even begins, this textbook allows the reader to understand that they are not dealing with a simple amateur here. McCloud knows his comics.

In the very first panels of his comic, McCloud depicts a similar scene that everyone can relate to. He shows his younger self in front of a class full of schoolchildren, displaying his toy robot for show and tell. He is goaded by the teacher to use his words to explain the details of his robot as he displays it. But McCloud does not use just words; he also shows the class by pointing out how it can become an airplane or how it can change shape. McCloud establishes credibility with these first few panels because everyone who has been in a school setting can relate to this activity. Back when we were children, it would be common to just use words and demonstrations interchangeably - something that McCloud points out and builds upon. Creating a similar scenario for the audience reels them in and helps them relate to what he has to say and giving him the credit of being truthful in his beginning panels. McCloud then goes on to different definitions for a multitude of different comics on pages 810-811. His caricature would say the definition in the left panel, and the right panel would have small example comics that explain what he is describing. This is what definitely displays his use of ethos because he is taking an authoritative and informative stance on comics. I honestly had no idea that there were so many comics and that they all served different purposes for setting up a scene. By using different examples and thoroughly explaining how each one worked, McCloud was able to convince the reader that he knew what he was talking about. McCloud elaborated on this use of ethos by using one example of a woman buying ice cream and recreating it within the context of other definitions. He used interdependent, parallel, and amplification to describe how much words and pictures depended on each other in a scene. By practicing what he explains and clearly showing evidence of his knowledge and talent, McCloud is able to undeniably prove his credibility in the world of comics.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How We Created Unattainable Beauty

In Celebrity Bodies by Daniel Harris, we were treated to a look at celebrity lives and how they are victims of the middle class and not the other way around. This essay touches base on subjects of celebrities going through crash diets to obtain or keep a malnourished figure. Celebrities are constantly under a magnifying glass; their every move is watched and criticized by other celebrities and the masses of people that tune in to watch. We savor reading trashy tabloids flat out lying about these poor celebrities, yet one step off the golden path of goodness leads to us shaming these people for the rest of their lives. We want there to be more representation within the media, yet lash out when we are actually shown fuller-figured celebrities. 

There was one instance that I recently read about that irked me like no other. As most people would know, Sports Illustrated magazine recently came out with yet another addition of its coveted Swimsuit Edition. On the front cover was Ashley Graham, the first full figure model to ever grace the front page of Sports Illustrated. There were also multiple pictures of plus size models within the magazine, and it was praised for finally showing some curves and going against the conventional standards of beauty (which having a society that sets the bar for beauty and dictates every little thing within that sphere is disgusting, but well). Cheryl Tiegs, back in what Hollywood would consider her "glory days" (I.e. When she was youthful and a pretty thing to look at), also was a cover girl for the Swimsuit Issue. She had some problems with this recent issue. She is quoted saying: 

"I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them, and your waist should be smaller than 35 [inches]". 

She then goes on to say how she means well, that Dr. Oz said this himself, etc. She immediately recieved backlash from multiple groups stating that her own covers back in the day inspired anorexic and bulimic tendencies within young girls at the time. When I had heard of the story, I immediately knew that she was going to have to publicly apologize, or else her image would be relentlessly picked apart until there was nothing left. Soon enough, my prediction rang true. She publicly apologized for her mistaken message and praised Graham for her courage and beautiful figure. (Graham, pictured on the left with her cover image; Tiegs is pictured on the right).

And so it goes. We are always ready to tear a new one into any celebrity we please. Should Tiegs be promoting an unhealthy lifestyle or having a healthier figure in the long run? Back in her day, she was considered the healthy figure. So it could be a fault on what she was forced to endure back in her model days, where the health of a woman was not the main concern, so long as her hip bones jutted out and her breasts were still perky. While our society is learning to be more health concerned and cry out for more representation, we still face those that grew up thinking that an absolutely flat stomach is what every woman wants to aim for, no matter her body type. And for Tiegs, she bears the brunt of social ignorance in the past in this instance here. There is no verbal backspace for her. There is no amounts of apologizing that will do her good. For now she will be seen as public enemy #1 who wants girls to be anorexic to achieve her waistline until the paparazzi find another poor celebrity to sink their teeth into. It's interesting, isn't it? We have condensed all the traits average people want to obtain - fortune, status, glittering galas and chiseled bodies - and placed in some magical far away place that can only be accessed through pictures and movies. By doing this, we have elevated what could have been normal men and women and placed them in godly glory. But, one false move from these gods and it is like the cloth is torn from our eyes. They turn out to be human, with their own set of flaws and insecurities; and that simply cannot do.