Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Final Project: Perception of Beauty



Viviane Wahba

Danielle Zalta

Rachel Naftali

Renee Saff

Elizabeth Hobenson

Fatema Arafa

December 18, 2013   No Comments

Symphony Space

I wasn’t really sure what this event was or why we were going. All I knew was that it was the week before finals and I had to make the long trek to and from the city- so I might as well make the most of it. And that’s what I did. I didn’t really understand the whole point of people reading to us. Some of the stories were interesting, some were long, short or boring. I actually really like the long story (forgot what it was called). It was cool to have someone paint a picture for me and read me a story. I was interested in it, and while I didn’t fully understand the meaning behind the story I really like it. Other poems were short and I didn’t really connect to them.

A few things really stuck out to me in a bad way.

1. The readers could not read. every few sentences they’d say “whoops sorry that’s not right” and go back and fix themselves. In my opinion- if you’re reading an audience a story – you should be a good reader.

2.  There should be no reason that the person was eating on stage! and not only was he eating, he was eating and talking and almost practically choked on his food. That kind of made me nauseous.

Maybe I like more formal plays and ballets because this just didn’t do it for me. Yes, there was some funny points, but overall it was probably my least favorite event, especially with the timing.

December 16, 2013   No Comments

blind and deaf museum

During one of our classes we brought up the question- if you had to choose between losing one of your senses, which would it be?

This past week, I was in Israel. My family visited many museums while we were there and two of them that I found particularly interesting were the deaf museum and the blind museum. I have actually been to the blind museum twice before and the deaf museum once before, but I have never gone to them back to back, until last week.

A little background for those who have never heard of these museums-

Deaf museum- you go in with a group of about ten people and you put on noise canceling headphones. You are not allowed to talk, to increase the feeling of being deaf. The museum is split into a few rooms, each with its own display and activity. For example, one room teaches you how to use facial expression to express emotions, instead of using your words, and another room teaches you how to use your hands to express something.

Blind Museum- a group of 10 people are guided by a blind guide. In this museum, you enter into complete darkness. This museum is also split into different rooms, such as a grocery store and a playground.

At the end of the tour you can buy drinks or food without talking, or without seeing.

Both of these museums are really cool in understanding how blind/deaf people live. The guides learned how to cope with their situations.

When in the deaf museum, I had to learn to express myself with my hands and facial expressions, which at first seemed really hard to do, but then got easier as I got used to the fact that I couldn’t hear and nobody could hear me. I had to use my sight if I wanted to see what was going around me.

In the blind museum, I couldn’t see anything. I had to use my sense of touch to feel where I was going and to feel all the objects in each room. I also had to use my hearing to hear where the guide was and to keep up with the group.

Each museum tour was about an hour and a half long. When I came out of the museums I was grateful for my ability to hear and see. However, I understood that losing one of those senses is bearable, not ideal, but bearable. If you lose one sense, it just increases all of your other senses. Going to the museums back to back was very cool in seeing the difference in both situations and learning how to react to both.

Overall it was a great experience and very relevant to what we were learning in class!





December 2, 2013   No Comments


I really enjoy the ballet we went to. It was my  first ballet I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been recommending it to everyone I talk to.

The sets were incredible- I loved seeing the transformation between acts and the beautiful set designs- no matter how simple or complicated.

The dancers were also amazing. I have never seen people move like that before. The way their body moved, and their hand motions- it was really breathtaking. I was taken aback by how coordinated everything was. Not one person was out of line drink the whole performance. Everyone was in sync, making semi circles, lines, squares, all standing in a certain spot. To me that was the most amazing thing about the ballet- that everyone was so coordinated while doing all elaborate dance moves.I could never even dream of doing any of the things the ballerinas did- dancing on their toes, moving around- not my thing. but it was super amazing to watch and I loved watching from a distance.


I really like the first piece because it my mind that was what ballet was- girls dancing in tutus and guys in leotards. It was like the picture I had in my head of ballerinas. their costumes were sparkly and I loved everything about it (especially their coordination).

The second piece was unique because (as many people already wrote,) it had the power to tell a story through music and dance moves- nothing else. I never understood how that could happen, but now I understand and it was definitely something I won’t forget- even if the story was a little complicated at times. And again, the costumes and set were amazing.

I also really enjoyed the last part. Their moves were great and the music fit everything perfectly.

As I said before, and many times throughout this little blog- I really enjoyed the ballet and have recommended people who are not very into the arts to go see a ballet because it is so cool and definitely a must see at least once in your lifetime. so thanks to the Macualay class for making me go to that 🙂

November 13, 2013   No Comments

Vietnam vs other memorials

I’ve never been to the Vietnam Memorial- yet alone, know that there was such a thing in NYC. When I told my friends that I went to the Vietnam Memorial- most responded with, “What? In the city? Where?… Oh that’s a memorial, I used to eat my lunch there.” It’s really sad to think that way. If someone in my family was involved anyway in the Vietnam War, I’d surely be pissed that no one knew there was even a memorial for them.

I’m not going to lie, when Renee and I showed up to the Vietnam Memorial, I was beyond disappointed. I didn’t even know that there was a memorial there!  The only thing that really gave it away were the couple of street signs that pointed to that little area between to buildings that read “Vietnam Memorial —>” So I walked down the little pathway, half expecting to see something like they have in Washington, and see some stones with names carved into them. Not very exciting at all. I was so upset that I missed 9/11 (even though I’ve been there before), waited an hour for everyone else (we got to the memorial while everyone was walking from 9/11 to there), only to look at the memorial that really was so uninviting. I was prepared to just go back home, because it was pretty disgraceful.

But then Renee and I went to look around me, because maybe we were missing something. And we came across the big thing in the middle with words on it. We had time to spare so we switched off reading every one of the letters that was engraved on the wall. It started to rain and we craned and bent our necks to decipher each word. Turns out, those letters from soldiers or families of soldiers, were very touching. It was crazy to think that these men were my age and were going to fight in the army and leaving behind their whole life. It was sad to read that they hated the war and didn’t know why they were fighting. It was hard to read the hope in their voices that they would be home soon. The letters were really heartfelt and made me think a lot of what life would be like if their was a draft and everyone had to leave to fight in a bloody war.

The thought was unpleasant. However, the thought of that being the memorial for such a thing was even more unpleasant. I mean, come on! This was a huge war that no one wanted to fight! America was basically fighting a third world county and they wouldn’t even win! Where was the huge memorial? Where was the endless waterfall? Where was the decipherable writing on the wall? To me that memorial was so shameful.

I’ve been to Israel many times and all over the State are beautiful memorials of wall the wars in which they fought. I don’t even have to go as far as Israel to make my point. Look at Washington DC- the grand memorials. Better yet- look at the 911 memorial! That’s a memorial! Something that everyone is aware of.

You could argue that 911 was something in our time, something recent, and that’s why the memorial is so grand and memorable. However, I bet in 60 years from now, that water will still be flowing endlessly, and that memorial will never fade. The same should be true about the Vietnam memorial- although it’s clearly not the case. If my grandfather had fought in the Vietnam War and all he got was a little section in the city that no one even knew existed, I’d be pretty upset.

November 4, 2013   No Comments