Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Final Project- when do we stop saying something is art?

Many of us can agree that cooking is an art. You need talent, passion, and creativity to create masterpiece. Only those who truly know how ingredients work together can create a dish that takes your breath away. But to what extent can we push this notion that cooking is an art? What about in the case of Walter White in the tv show Breaking Bad? He is a highly skilled chemist who creates blue crystal meth, which becomes so popular because of it’s aesthetic appeal along with its high quality. When watching him create this drug, the viewer is pulled in by his attention to detail, his swift and coordinated movements, and whatever good music is playing in the background. Of course, the process is dramatized and perfected for the show, but one cannot help but feel a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. White and his artistic talent, even in making something as awful as crystal meth. Many will argue that this isn’t really art, but what it really comes down to is asking ourselves: what IS art, and how far are we willing to push that definition? We can all agree that art consists of paintings, sculptures, music, etc. But where do those other things fall? The things that won’t end up in a museum?


Perhaps everything created by human hands that requires skill and creativity is art. But that’s just my definition. Art could be just whatever the individual considers to be art. Just like how beauty is in the eye of the beholder; art is whatever you want it to be.

December 20, 2013   No Comments

Selected Shorts

Our night at Symphony Space was an interesting event. I really enjoyed some of the stories, while others I did not care for as much. I was looking forward to going because David Cross would be there, and he is one of my favorite comedic actors. I knew he would deliver, and he really did. I think his readings along with Gaby Hoffman’s were the best of the bunch. I liked that the crowd was very casual and the mood was laid-back and welcoming. I think it’s just an interesting concept: having people read funny stories to a crowd. It’s like how people entertained each other before television and computers–just telling stories, jokes, and reciting poetry or singing. It’s a very simple, stress-free kind of joy, but you really have to be open to it.

I feel like most people in the class already disliked the idea of listening to stories without even having experienced it yet, which is closed-minded I think. Many of the people who wrote the stories are established and very funny writers, and I think you can only really appreciate that sort of thing with an open mind.

December 15, 2013   No Comments

Staged Reading of “Mohammed’s Radio”

When I first read through the play, I have to admit I thought parts of it were a bit cliche and unrealistic. I thought that many parts of it wouldn’t translate well into a performance, but I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the actors were pretty good. I especially enjoyed the girl who played Kelly. I thought she was really powerful and grabbed everyone’s attention when she spoke. The play definitely did a good job of touching on feminism in a kind of unconventional way–by dealing with Islamophobia, women’s rights in religion, and the normal expectations held of females in small-town settings. Although set in a small neighborhood, it dealt with world-wide issues that I think are really important to address, which the play did a good job of addressing.

November 25, 2013   No Comments

The Ballet.

Our trip to the Ballet was incredible. I’ve been to a few ballets in my life as well as modern dance, but this one really blew me away. I was really moved by the first piece. It was so perfect, so refined and graceful. I was actually brought to tears by how beautiful the dancers were–they managed to be energetic and full of life yet at the same time peaceful, at ease, and absolutely radiating poise and perfection. It was like watching a flower bloom before my eyes. I felt that using the binoculars to focus in on one or a few dancers added a tremendous amount to my experience of watching the dancers. I liked being able to see their individual faces and small imperfections with their moves (although VERY rare). There are no other words to describe that performance other than beautiful and graceful.

The second piece, although perhaps not as perfectly wonderful and beautiful, I enjoyed a lot anyway because of the storyline. I thought it was great how they were able to show so much emotion and character using only their bodies. And the set was phenomenal. I literally gasped when the curtain came up because I was not expecting such a lavish, beautiful set.

The last piece had a lot going on, which was wonderful. I liked that the costumes were very simple so that you could focus a lot more on the choreography itself rather than the costumes. I loved the duets. You could tell that these people worked for so long and rehearsed this piece so many times that they were probably sick to death of it, but they still managed to make it look so natural and spontaneous. It’s almost hard to believe that these dancers actually had to learn this choreography, and that it wasn’t just second nature to them! It truly takes an immense amount of skill and practice to achieve such a level of grace and perfection.

November 12, 2013   No Comments

9/11 and Vietnam Memorials

9/11 is one of the most vivid memories of my childhood. It was my sixth birthday, and not only that, but I also lived and went to school within walking distance from the towers. Every day I woke up to the majestic sight of the twin towers outside of my window and often would go to the stores in the towers. (I especially remember the Discovery store and the Krispy Kreme that I loved.) I remember the moment the first plane hit–I was in school, and we were doing “silent reading.” We heard a tremendous crash and everyone ran to the window to see what happened. We couldn’t see anything because our room faced in the opposite direction. We all assumed it was something related to construction, until we heard over the loud speaker that there had been “an accident at the World Trade Center” and that we must all move to the south west area of the building. Soon enough, parents started picking up their children. I remember my parents picking me up and the three of us ran to Chelsea to pick up my brother from his school. I remember having to wear face masks and practically being chased down the street by enormous clouds of dust and smoke. I didn’t see the second plane hit, but I just remember turning the corner as we got to Chelsea Piers and watching the second tower as it fell.

We were all in complete shock. I remember sitting in a cafe with my parents right after, eating a bagel and watching the news silently. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John was playing on the radio. We all knew that things would never be the same after that. Even at my young age, seeing the towers fall and knowing I couldn’t go home and seeing people falling from windows, I knew that this was a big deal. I remember feeling so angry and confused as to why someone would do this to my home, my neighborhood. I was so shocked that someone would kill all these people and cause such massive destruction.

I had never been to the 9/11 memorial before we went on Thursday. Although I had lived in that neighborhood from my childhood up until the end of this summer, and walked past it every single day, for some reason I never had any interest in visiting it. I think I avoided it for so long because I knew it would bring back really painful memories. I was kind of afraid of visiting it, because I knew it would be extremely emotional. However once I actually went inside and looked closely at the waterfalls and all the names, I found the memorial to be a beautiful way of remembering those lost on that day. Although I have my suspicions and mixed feelings about the truth behind the 9/11 attacks (but that’s a whole other story…), I thought the 9/11 memorial was amazing. The white noise of the water, the way that it seemed like the pits went on forever, the white roses placed on the names of those whose birthday it was…it was all quite overwhelming. The fact that this was the exact spot where all of these people died made it feel very haunting and real. I found that I could connect with it on a very personal level because I used to walk on that same earth as a child, and I could remember so vividly all of the images of the burning towers on those exact spots.

The Vietnam Memorial was a somewhat different experience. This memorial is much more subtle, much more subdued. Not only that, but there are many Vietnam memorials and this one is clearly not one of the most famous or beautiful of them. Despite everything though, this memorial was still very emotional. Even though it wasn’t as flashy or spectacular as the 9/11 memorial, it felt very personal. Reading the stories of the soldiers and reading their letters gave it a shock of reality that wouldn’t have existed had there only been the names of those lost in the war. Although the memorial was sad, I must admit that I didn’t feel the same kind of relatable, personal sadness that I felt with the 9/11 memorial, which is probably because I actually experienced 9/11 on a firsthand level. I remember it vividly and I know people who were really affected by 9/11 even more than my family was. Also, 9/11 is still very prevalent in our society. People still talk about it a lot and relate it to what’s going on in the world today. Vietnam, although a tragic, pointlessly bloody war, was a much longer time ago and hasn’t affected people of our age as much as 9/11 did.

November 5, 2013   No Comments