Monday, March 28, 2016

Greetings 3.28.16

Hey everyone!!! ^^

First and foremost, we would like to extend a GIANT
Scribble to all who performed at the Open Mic last Thursday, and to all of you who came out to show support and love!!! We had a BLAST!!!

Also, another (equally GIANT) Thank You to all who made submissions to The Junction!!! ~~~ Deliberations are currently underway!

You guys are the Bestest EVER!!!

Remember, everyone, we've got another Open Mic coming up on May 10th at the Valentine Museum of Art~~~ Be there, or be square (or your preferred form of polygon, parallelogram, and/ or quadrilateral)!!!

Until then, it's business as usual.

As we all try to make it through this registration madness, remember that you are not alone! Feel free to stop by the English Majors' Counseling Office in 3416 Boylan Hall with any questions or concerns you may have... HECK, feel free to even stop by and just say HELLO! We're always excited to meet our fellow students in the Struggle. 

Spring Break... Let's visualize together... Breathe... Om...


News Briefs 3/28/2016

Malia Obama Works as Her Dad's Translator In Cuba and Other Things I Learned While Creeping On The President's Official Instagram Page

At only 17 years old Malia can add the duty of "presidential translator" to her resume.

The First Family's historic trip to Cuba is being documented on Instagram by the Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza. It seems like not only is Malia having an amazing time working as a translator for her father, but President Obama is also actively engaging in and enjoying Cuban culture.


The spotlight is on President Obama, but I see you Michelle (in the back getting that one-two-step).

Can we have a moment to appreciate the beauty of Bo? SWOONS <3


My Future House

I just want to let you all know that a glass and solar panel manufacturer has expressed interest in the "Tree in the House" project. This house design, first proposed in 2013, was dropped within the same year.

But now this environmentally-friendly idea may soon become a reality.

The design allows people (like me) who want to live in a natural setting do so without cutting down trees or using anything but solar-powered energy. 

The house surrounds the tree!
The house design would allow the its tree to flourish and hopefully not give bugs (and other unwanted animals) access to the house.


An Ancient Map of Jupiter 

It was recently discovered that, in ancient Babylonia, scientists used advanced algorithms which would serve as the foundations for modern calculus. One photograph of a  missing piece out of five tablets provided the vital information which would lead to the discovery of this fact: that the astronomical tablets were actually used 1,000 years before the first telescope was invented to mark the movements of Jupiter. They used the geometric algorithms almost 1,400 years before the French and English did. 

The photo above is the cuneiform piece of evidence that led to the discovery of this fact. What is so amazing to me is particularly the fact that it looks like a piece of rock that has been chipped by fairly primitive tools. I love looking at history like this, because of the fact that time allows us to become dissociated from ourselves enough that we may see the bigger picture-- and it is so interesting that something which looks like it doesn't contain any meaning can actually contain a lot of it.

It seems that our meanings remain the same, but the way we express them widely fluctuates. In fact, most civilizations had some kind of obsession with astronomy-- Ancient Egyptian texts, like this one, which describes the movement of the star Algol and that of the moon. 


There is a room in the Brooklyn Museum on Eastern Parkway which highlights precisely the parallels between different civilizations and eras by placing them in the same room, and sometimes in the same display cases.  It allows the viewer to make the connections and comparisons, as well as the differences. There is even a glass display full of teapots from different times and locations, which I still sometimes fondly obsess over.

The attraction of that shelf is that it almost seems to allude to a lot of things at once, which one can't necessarily pinpoint until afterwards: as Carl Jung claimed, it is a gradual changing of the unconscious into consciousness. In this case, there might be a connection drawn to anything; the modern obsession of compartmentalizing thoughts, things, and people; capitalism; the political agenda of dividing and conquering. 

If there is any trend that one could notice about the time we're living in, after walking out of that room-- which seems to be more present somehow than the other rooms, which are separated and sorted by time and space-- it's that our era seems to be one of desiring to place ourselves outside of history. Supposedly, it's a time of reflection and retrospection; but also one of nostalgia and evanescence. Yet, I am unsure if that is simply a symptom of every decade / era / and generation.

The concern might be is that this thinking also places us outside of the stream of time, and makes us go sideways and across in time instead of backwards or forwards. The tablets of the past were well preserved in time, but this is because they were made of stone. Our relatively new form of storing information is perhaps the cause or the effect of this stalling of time, and perhaps also means that our values must shift along with the way we process and perceive information. 

-- Anna

Poem of the Week 3.28.16

The Poem, the Artist, and the Waterfall

"The p'ansori is a narrative verse form that flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Korea. It is performed by a single professional singer (kwangdae), who both narrates and assumes the roles of his characters, accompanied by a single drummer. In addition to his superior voice and memory, the singer was expected to master narrative and dramatic techniques. The aspiring singer usually trained his vocal art near a waterfall, so that his voice could outreach the sound of the cascading water. Only when his singing was clearly understood by the people nearby was he ready to perform in public."

~ Peter H. Lee
Anthology of Korean Literature

This is how I was first introduced to the art of pansori. This description is given in the poetry section of my anthology, and I thought it was pretty cool. A poem that's a story that's a song~ that's awesome! But then my friend sent me THIS! ... I had never heard anything quite like it. It's so... jarring and haunting and beautiful~ all at the same time. That is when I developed an even greater respect for pansori and those who perform it.

I also have a great appreciation for things that are "meta." I like metal, metaphysics, and metamorphic rocks. In this case, however, I'm actually referring to things that are self-aware. Art that is internally conscious of itself as art~ A consciousness that allows the art to function as more than just simply art... (Wow, I hope that makes sense.)

And so, voila! 
Or shall I say... 여기 있습니다!

The poem of the week is meta- pansori~~~ Essentially, a pansori kwangdae telling the story of how awesome pansori is, AND of how awesome he and his fellow artists are.

Check it Out~~~

[Kwangdae ka]

His first requisite is to create characters,
The second, narrative art, and the third, musical knowledge.
Then comes his dramatic power.
Full of gusto and grace, he plays many roles-
Now a fairy, now a ghost- making us laugh and cry-
Romantics and gallants, men and women, old and young...
With musical taste, he discerns five tones,
Handles the six pitches and sings by vocalization...
He narrates words of fine gold and jade,
Adding flowers to embroider, to adorn his story-
A lovely lady with seven jewels emerges from a screen,
The full moon appears from behind clouds-
He makes us laugh with beaming eyes!
Character is inborn and cannot be changed.
Such are the singer's infinite inner workings.

The prelude flows like a clear stream under ice,
Or a boat gliding with a fair wind.
Then comes the sound of falling water gushing forth.
His lifting voice soars like a lofty peak,
Rolling down voicefalls in a cascade-
Long and short, high and low, endless changes.
The "weaving" technique is a swallow's talk or a parrot's song,
He improvises from slow to quick tempo-
His rolling voice, the cry of a phoenix on Mount Cinnabar,
His floating voice, the whoop of a crane in a clear sky,
His plaintive voice, the lute played by Shun's consorts,
Sudden bouncing voice, a peal of thunder,
A resonant command tosses Mount T'ai-
Now it's a desolate wind among bare trees,
Sad as "Going Out the Passes" or the "Song of the Swan."
We change color and shed tears-
How arduous the singer's art!

~ Shin Chae-hyo (1812- 1884)
Translated by Peter H. Lee
Anthology of Korean Literature

I actually managed to find a contemporary rendition of this pansori!
(In 한국어, of course!)
Yaaay!!! I'm sooo excited!!! ^^

Hope you learned something new!
Hope you like pansori now!
Hope you purchase a buk and a traditional hanbok on Amazon, find yourself a waterfall, and start practicing!!! 

~ Clinton

Currently Reading 3.28.16

I've been having a tough time reading for fun lately. More than lately. It probably started shortly after I became an English major. I sit down with a book and I promise myself: I won't underline, I won't skim through an accompanying essay, I won't read reviews, I won't look up the author's biography, I'll just read it. I haven't kept that promise in a while. This sounds fake-braggy but really it's a problem. Reading used to be a lot of fun for me and although I still enjoy it, (for the most part)  it always becomes somewhat of a project. For example, I saw Carol over winter break which led me to read the book it was based on, The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, which led me to this really cool article about why Highsmith published it as "Claire Morgan," which led me to Patricia Highsmith's afterword in the 1990 publication, which led me to look up what "congenital inverts" were and who Sarah Dunant was (a reporter hell bent on Highsmith "coming out" after the republication) and by this time I've forgotten what the book was about. It's okay, I'll read it again. It was lovely. 


However, to fight this, I've been reading graphic novels. I thought the pictures might help, might stop me from needing to find something else, something after. So I started with Maus I and II:

And then Fun Home:

Skim by Marika Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki:

Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner:

Blue is the Warmest Color:

And finally, some X-Men:

Well, after all of this, I still do the same things with one exception: I can't underline. However, it has been a fun ride!


Currently Eating 3.28.16

Has anyone ever tried Malabi?

Malabi is the best dessert ever, and it is made with creamy coconut/rose water flavored gelatin and topped with coconut flakes. It is usually served with an amazing cranberry sauce surrounding it, as well as toppings you can choose from.

The image above shows what you might get when ordering a Malabi from a small shop in Tel Aviv-- and this is its fancier counterpart, sold by some Israeli-American restaurants in NYC such as Mimi's Hummus on Cortelyou Road.

To make this dessert, you would have to first make the pudding; to make this dish vegetarian or vegan, you could use rice flour or corn starch as a base. Mix 1/2 a cup of milk with the flour and whisk in in a pan on medium heat for five minutes. Stir in vanilla extract and rosewater to taste.

Then you refrigerate for about 2 hours until the mixture has solidified, and add the cranberry syrup and extra toppings! If it sounds very simple, almost like a kid's dessert-- that's because it is. However, it is also a dessert which can be served at dinner parties and restaurants. If you are too lazy to make it yourself like me, come to Mimi's Hummus and try it!

-- Anna

Currently Watching 3.28.16

The Devil in Hell's Kitchen

Okay, so I went back and forth about writing about Daredevil. I'm eleven episodes into the thirteen-episode season and I know my thoughts are going to change based on how things end. Luckily, I've decided that this week's blog post isn't going to be a review nearly as much as it will be my thoughts on why I think this character is amazing, original and downright inspirational. 

Matthew Murdock, aka Daredevil, is a creation of writer Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett with contributions from other artists like Jack Kirby. Created in 1964, Daredevil became a global icon, just like many superheroes from the Silver Age of comic books. Stan Lee claims inspiration from wanting to create a superhero who was also disabled. Many of his heroic creations came about this way - the Fantastic Four is a dysfunctional family, Thor was originally crippled, the Hulk had the whole Mr. Hyde complex thing, Iron Man has a bad heart and Spider-Man...well he just has a crappy life all around. Having a damaged superhero makes them more realistic for a reader. Though fifty years later this has gotten cliched and overused, this was such a big deal compared to the success of past superheroes of the Golden Age like DC's alien Superman and billionaire Batman or Marvels's Sub Mariner. 

  1. Young Matt Murdock, the son of a boxer, tragically was hit by a truck filled with radioactive waste that struck his eyes and blinded him forever. This waste, though blinding him, gave him incredible abilities - he became able to use his other four senses to their utmost peak. He could smell sweat glands from blocks away, hear the heartbeat of people all around him, taste the chemical compounds in food and feel letters on a page as easily as one reads Braille. His heightened senses gave him a type of sonar that allowed him to "see" everything around him. Still, despite his really cool powers, the fact still remained, he was blind. And he spent a majority of his life struggling to adjust. After his father is murdered for not taking a dive for a local crime boss, Matt is left alone in the world with his father's dying wish - that he will become a lawyer, which he does. But after being trained in mixed martial arts to hone in his abilities, he decides to also become a costumed crime fighter to protect his home city, Hell's Kitchen. 

THIS origin is what season one of the Netflix show, Daredevil, did so well. There's a lot to cover and a lot of themes to hit, and I felt like they made Matt's story personal, as well as the conflict. Also, Charlie Cox who plays Matt Murdock did a great job playing someone who was blind and struggled with the things that a normal blind person would. When Daredevil was first published in the 60's, the blind community was overjoyed to have a hero they personally could relate to. It was the first comic to become nationally produced in Braille. He produced so much hope. The fact that his story is rooted in the protection of his city, and that he is blind, are both so important. What's bothering me about this season is that these two things aren't nearly as present. In an effort to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe through this show, and appease fan boys, the show is losing some of its crucial elements. That all said, I like Elektra, I LOVE the Punisher, and I appreciate the cinematography provided by the budget. 

Stay golden everybody,

Currently Listening 3.28.16

I listen to a lot of music, so whenever I take this blog section on I have an insanely difficult time choosing what to write about. Nearly everything I listen to I listen to because I love it, and it's hard to write about things I love.
Experiencing music is, for so many, an extremely personal thing that isn't to be shared with the world. A complete stranger's ideas, arrangements, and lyrics can connect so powerfully with your life, scales and melodies tied to memories and emotions that you want to protect.

Music can represent people in ways no other form of media could.
Music can make us sad, happy, angry, and so much more.
Music can help us cry or dance or stay alive.

When I was little, I wanted to be a singer. My father could sing, my older sister could sing, and all up on my TV screen and on the radio were cool black girl singers. Aaliyah, TLC, Destiny's Child, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys are just a few of the artists whose songs I would sing, pretending to be a star.

Despite writing stories and reading so avidly during this time of my life, I did NOT want to be a writer. I wanted to be a singer; probably because the best, most varied representations I had of black women (outside of family) in my life were singers. I practiced like crazy, had this chunky voice recorder that I would sing into, analyzing my weak spots and strengths. It was pretty hard to do because I was like, 8 years old with no computer to look up the lyrics, so it'd take a ton of tries to get everything right.

There was this one album my mother would play ALL the time. It was Diana King's Think Like a Girl. I liked damn near everything on this album, and because it was played so often around my sing-along-self, I largely credit this album, this woman with teaching me how to sing.

My love, Diana King

Diana King is a Jamaican reggae fusion artist whose first step into the music industry was a feature on The Notorious B.I.G.'s song "Respect" in 1994. I was a wee baby when it was released, and my mama wasn't blasting Biggie in our house, so my exposure to Diana King didn't come from hip-hop.

My exposure came from this song:

On heavy rotation in my home for years since its 1995 debut, Diana King's "Shy Guy" was one of those songs I used to record myself singing. These days, anytime it plays, I go back to fond memories of my cracking voice and the rush of victory I felt when I finally nailed the whole thing. 

A bigger rush of victory came from this song, specifically the beginning:

Do you know how hard it was for me to get the first 35 seconds of this song down? I mean, not just the notes, but the dynamics too? I went hard trying to learn it, and eventually I got it. And this song is still my jam, don't play it around me unless you want to see theatrics.

I could go on and on about Diana King, about how much I love her not only for her music but also for her bravery in being the first openly gay Jamaican artist ever, posting every last song I painstakingly learned. But I won't, because this post is already long enough. Just know I love this woman, I love her music, and I spent all day blasting her music as I sang at the top of my lungs because I was finally home alone.
Good times.

- Renee

Culture Corner 3/28/2016

                                   From Cape Town to Johannesburg to Durban 

For the 2015-2016 Winter break I spent some time in South Africa. Aesthetically it is one of the most beautiful and diverse places that I have ever been to. I wish that I could have taken more pictures of the trees. The landscape changes drastically depending on where you are in the city. I saw these extravagant trees layered with leaves similar to that of a Weeping Willow but it grew out of the bark of the tree. I regret not taking a picture of it. I'm sorry. I want to use this post as a way to share my experiences the people, places and faces that contributed to this dope experience.

Mandela on the side of an apartment building. Do you see the cool "No Vending Sign" ?

 Some very political graffiti on the Witts University Campus.

I'm obsessed with this!!!!
This was near Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg 
and I don't know the name of the artist because he didn't tag it. 

So there is a fast food joint called "The Hungry Lion" 
and the food is actually pretty good.

South Africa is lit for this. Oxtail flavored ramen!!!!!

The South African trees are always dressed up.

I'm obsessed with Snap-Chat and the filters. 
So I totally had to include this pic of the lovely 
and grotesquely cute yet chubby kitty-cat
(part of my responsibility in my AirBnB 
beach-house is that I had to feed the pets).

All of the graffiti was political in some way. In case you can't see 
it clearly"One day my people shall be free." I can only dream.

Representing Maboneng! (The South African Art District)

Out in Maboneng, South Africa with my Squad. 
Why does this place remind me of Williamsburg ?

 I saw these signs everywhere even though the content and the phone numbers are different, there is something about the sign and the aesthetic that reminds me of New York.

Just so we know, South Africa is light years ahead of us when it comes to food delivery.
 How cool are these fast food motorcycles?

In the village Lwandle I saw some very political art on the side of someone's home.It was an image of Steve Biko and a fist, above the fist it says "Africa with eyes no longer blind."

The money is absolutely beautiful. I've got a fistful of Madibas!

Don't smoke y'all. In South Africa they let you KNOW that smoking is dangerous.

This is a popular South African dish called Bunny Chow. It's made from a hollowed out
loaf of bread, then they fill it with meat and veggies. It doesn't have any Bunny meat
in it so I don't know why it's called Bunny Chow.

Me chilling on a bike in Durban, SA. Don't be fooled by this, I hate exercise,vegetables and water. While you can and while you're young try to go places, see things and do stuff.
In that order.

Last but not least, this is the biggest song in South Africa (while I was there anyway)

Here it is EmTee featuring Wiz Kid and AKA.

Me with all of my new friends from Africa and 
across the U.S. brought together for this experience. I miss them all.

One Love,


Canvas 3.28.16

Video art is in its infancy. Its audience is limited, the medium is held back by a reputation for pretension; the high symbolism often confuses and distracts from the expressive potential. Video art, however, is in its infancy. Where other forms of art have had generations to mature, video, in its short life has been seen primarily as an extension of its narrative manifestation. Only recently has the expressive capability of the moving image and sound been explored as a standalone form. That is to say, video art has only recently found its space in gallery culture, outside of the cinema. This new video, gallery video as it were, is still in the process of becoming itself. Video art has found itself a few heroes, however, whose work has been vital to the process of maturation. Warhol was a pioneer, with works that linger on subjects, like in the portrait of a man at rest in "Sleep". More recently their is Christian Marclay, whose 24 hour collage of time represented in cinema, "Clock" has drawn enormous crowds on its tour, a level of popularity unheard of in video art.

Steve McQueen, whose work directing “12 Years a Slave” earned him an Oscar, began his career as a standout in the medium. I was walking with my friend from his apartment back down to mine when he told me of Steve McQueen’s work. We’d just stopped for sandwiches, and were walking with our coffee. I’d told him I regretted buying the coffee when so close to my house, it’s free there and I like it better. My Grandma was living with me at the time, which means it was early fall most likely. I remember wearing a sweater. My Grandma, Mami Lola, takes a lot of pride in helping every member of the family in their morning routines, and I am normally the readiest to be pampered. She goes back to the Dominican Republic during the winter, but when she is home I often find myself sitting at the kitchen counter watching her whip up an omelette and fill the percolator with coffee and a dash of nutmeg. The movement of her hands is often hypnotizing. Sure movements that mask an elegant delicacy, played out to a steady rhythm that seems to so effortlessly invigorate, the gentle hiss of the brewing coffee adding melody. I was telling my friend about how I’d like to record Mami Lola’s hands because I didn’t feel that a description could do the experience justice.

He brought up Steve McQueen. He told me about an installation of his that he visited when living in London. Steve McQueen is British, of Grenadian and Trinidadian descent. The installation, if I remember the description correctly, involved a series of rooms whose 4 walls were being projected on. One of these installations, if memory serves, involved a camera being thrown in the air by the member of a family only to be caught by the generation following his own. In these rooms the projectors were positioned in such a way that one's own shadows interfered with the image regardless of where one chose to stand. Steve McQueen is famous for having left the film school at NYU for not being allowed to throw the camera in the air. Video art was for him, as  expressed in his interviews, a way to play around in the art of moving images without all the difficulties and boundaries of traditional film, although it was his goal to create cinematic content. He succeeded in pushing the form forward, as well as clearly becoming successful in traditional cinema with his many award winning films. I found his willingness to delve into video art out of a sheer need to express, and his evolution as a multi faceted artist, inspiring. Video art can be quite compelling. Steve McQueen is a compelling artist.