July 16, 2008

Memoir Prep

On July 28, my one week intensive seminar class in Memoir writing will begin... my teacher emailed the class telling us to read Judith Barrington's book on memoirs called "Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art" ... so to prepare, I'll have to finish reading this by July 28 (pretty easy, only 176 pages), and I'll be blogging my notes, and...

I'll be reading supplementary memoirs:

David Sedaris's "Naked": I first heard of Sedaris when he came to SHU-- regretfully, I didn't attend his lecture, ironically enough missing his lecture made me want to read his works, I'm not sure which one I read first either "Me Talk Pretty..." or something about "denim/corduroy"

Mark Doty's "Firebird: A Memoir": I first heard of Doty last semester... he was supposed to visit USU but had to cancel due to health reasons... USU rescheduled him for this November so hopefully by november he'll be healthy and he could visit USU... my friend/colleague read his book called something like "Still Life with Oysters and Lemon"? for one of his class... it explored art and life and so during office hours, he'd discuss some of its aspects with me (for sure I put my two cents especially when it came to discussing art) ... eventually I read this book also ("Still Life...")

Ishmael Beah's "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier": Beah is USU's guest author for the summer so he'll be visiting USU and will give a talk... the freshmen are also reading this book... so I want to read his book before he gives his talk in August

John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley": I started reading this book last Febuary- I'd read snippets of it before I slept- hopefully I'll finish this before class begins

Louis L'Amour's "Education of a Wandering Man": I accidentally discovered him in the Logan Library, I saw a display of his works and I got interested- he wrote mostly westerns but the title of his memoir caught my attention

I'm not going to finish all of these by the 28th, the important thing is exposure and enjoyment... the first three books explores childhood (which is good because I'm prepping also for my children's folklore class this fall- reading memoirs about childhood might give me ideas for my research) and the last two books talk about travels and journey (two of my favorite things to write about)

So far I'd read the intro and chapter 1 to Barrington's book

Intro

key words/phrases: Virginia Woolf, frankness/candidness, conversation, telling our story, risk, embelishment, truth and memory

some thoughts: I never heard of Virginia Woolf until Nicole Kidman portrayed her in the movie "the Hours". After this, I kept hearing about her especially from my English and/or feminist friends... they were singing praises about Woolf's work. Initially I found this annoying so I shunned Woolf's work and did everything in my power to avoid her books...just a couple of days ago, I gave in and borrowed "the Hours" in the library (this was all coincidence- I didn't know that Barrington was going to mention Woolf in the intro)...I watched the featurettes about Woolf's life and work and "Three Women" which sort of explained how the movie was structured, I watched these before the actual movie (I didn't have a chance to finish it because I was tired and had to sleep and the following day I had to return it in the library- next time)... Barrington noted Woolf's candidness especially when she wrote a prototype for today's literary memoir insinuating an incestuous relationship with her half brother (one of the other things she wrote about which interests me is her childhood memoir exploring her relationship with her mother- most likely I'll try to read this one also)...

Being frank and candid was initially scary... but I remember what I told my students when I explained to them their personal narrative assignment... we discussed the difference between "personal" and "private"- the subtle difference lies in the author's feeling of comfort: is she/he WILLING and comfortable enough to SHARE her/his experience? With this in mind, being frank wasn't so terrifying.

I like conversing and the idea of telling one's story (I feel lucky because the classes I'm taking seem to connect with each other. For example... In June, I took a seminar in Life Stories...I'm about to take Memoir class (telling an aspect of one's life), and in the fall, I'll be taking "Storytelling" [telling stories])... the idea about conversing is pretty dynamic because whenever you converse with people, in a way you are performing... you interact with them (read their gestures/facials and react to these), there is a tone or two in your voice, you pantomine, you do a lot of things (an idea just popped out: Is memoir writing the literary version of oral storytelling?).

I related when Barrington mentioned risk of offending others like parents and friends, etc. whenever I write about them in my blog, I usually use the ambiguous pronoun... this is something I need to explore more...

Embelishments, truth and memory all seem to contradict each other... a semester ago I would have believe it too... my mind changed and adapted to new information/enlightenment I got after finishing my seminar in June about Life Stories... one of the things I learned was that memory is like history, both are selective, we usually remember what is the most memorable, depending on the victor or writer/recorder... from a lifetime of memories, our brains usually select the most dramatic and meaningful... it's okay to be selective- it doesn't mean that it's the only truth, or it can't be true, it's our perception, our impression of our experience, how it affected us mentally/physically/spiritually/emotionally etc.

Chapter 1

Definition:
old concept- memoirS back then were closely associated with autobiography- broader, covering all aspects of a person's LiFe...tries to be factual, relies on facts/research... more than just memory

current concept- memoir, literary essay-like, focused, an aspect of a person's life (story from a life), such as Childhood, more in-depth...I like what Philip Lopate said about memoirs and other "informal or familiar essay" such as diatribe, moral philosophy, fantasy, etc. ... the author's voice (engaging, personality-galore, relax/conversational- the author's signature/fingerprint/identity) distinguishes this genre from others (it plays a CENTRAL role)... it's personal but uses fiction writing techniques (like the personal narrative I assigned my Eng. 1010 students)... an impression... author assumes role of narrator to help with distance even though he's still narrating about an aspect of his life

-person's thoughts/mental struggle is the plot/adventure (author both tells an amusing story and muses about it)
-narrator conversing intimately, like a columnist
-"Not everything in a memoir is factually accurate" (26)- this statement helps me understand Sedaris memoir more... some of the writing in "Naked" seem really out there and even if they are "out there" I still believe him. What Barrington said about the assertion of the author, which affects the reader, is starting to make sense. I believe what Sedaris is writing about because he believes in the story he's telling me. I find him reliable as a narrator (credible enough to tell me his experience). I TRUST him, his voice.

I like this quote "Self Revelation without analysis or understanding becomes merely an embarrassment to both reader and writer." I encountered this personally after I finished grading some of my students' personal narrative (in the Fall/Spring/Summer semester)... I always tell them to answer the "so-what" question in the end, i'd tell them that after they "recalled" an experience they needed to "assess" it also... I'd comment on their papers and ask them "so what?" (I know this sounds harsh...it was with good intention that I said this)... so what that "you didn't want to disappoint your parents?" so what that "you're living by yourself?"... another way I tried to approach this, "why is this memory/experience important to you?"... it's easy for me to ask these questions on other people's paper but when it comes to my own paper, I too struggle (I'm not the outsider seeing the essay objectively)... I'm the insider, writing, in the the midst of all the reliving/figuring out...I've learned though that what usually helps me is to see some kind of pattern (analyze the before and after, how the experience/memory affected me?, what changed? etc.)

tips for beginning a Memoir:
-find a focus/theme (not your whole life) - I'm thinking about childhood, Philippines, being a GI, my house
-be in a judgmental/questioning state of mind- working on this...
-read good memoirs for example- On-going with Sedaris, Doty, Beah, Steinbeck, L'Amour
-find your voice- I practice this all the time when I blog and in my journals...

I'm on my way...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:15 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2008

Project Prettification complete

yes, hopefully I would only have less than a year before graduating... but this idea didn't stop me from SPRUCING up the apartment I live in...

during my first year here at Logan, Utah... I was too busy learning my way around (learning the bus system/schedule, exploring different stuff/stores/institutions etc. downtown)-- my apartment was a place where I slept (and occassionally a place to socialize when dining/chatting with flatmates)... I did everything outside my apartment (the winter season was an exception)... I did most of my homework in the library or in a cafe downtown, I did teaching stuff in my office in Ray B West Building, I watched tv in my friend's house, I ate in the cafeteria or downtown...etc.

the summer season is helping to bring a change to this routine... sometimes I just don't want to go out because I want to sleep in (or it's too hot)... I'm eating more inside the apartment instead of relying on the cafeteria for food (Cooking plays a role)...also trying to save money...

most of the non-perishable stuff I bought to beautify the apartment came to a total cost of only $60... and most of them are second-hand from thrift stores (D.I and Somebody's Attic), you'll be amazed at the treasures you'll find in these places...

tv- I found a 20" tv in "Somebody's Attic" for only $15 (You have five days to test out the tv, if it doesn't work you have to return it within the designated five days-- luckily the tv works so I don't have to return it)... the only drawback to this tv is the broken VCR attached to it...even though there's no tape inside, it keeps rewinding itself... it's annoying at first sounding like a broken metronome, but eventually you get used to it...the remote is not consistent but still works occassionally(wait 5 minutes before pressing the buttons again)...in addition, I bought a cable antenna ($7) so I can watch local news, tv shows, and get access to some cable channels (like USA, MTV etc.)...

SEGA- Forget Playstation 3 or Nintendo's Wii... I went old-school and both a Sega Genesis game consul ($20)... I missed the FLAT 2-D images and simple linear plots of its games (it's another form of entertainment- a nice break from reading 20-30 pages scholarly journals, jargon-filled textbooks, grading, teaching, etc.-- to unclutter the brain)....

the apartment has off-white cinderblock walls, mauve/fading purplish/reddish carpet worn and blackened in some parts through wear and effects of time, gray couch and arm chair with scratched dark wooden base... I didn't go too far with buying couch covers with matching carpet at the center of the living room instead I spent $10 on a large abstract painting and two couch pillows:

art- the colors of the abstract painting caught my attention when I first saw this in "Somebody's Attic"... at first I didn't really care if it was a good abstract painting... the colors were enough to brighten up the living room and put color in a drabby room... it contained both primary and secondary colors (mostly red)... it's 3X4, the more I look at it, the more intriguing the shapes become... sometimes the shapes are blocky, sometimes it's like a lava lamp with organic/flowing shapes... the negative area sometimes pops out sometimes it sinks... something about it reminds me of Miro or a color-field painter's work... it's less than 5 pounds and I used one of those "super sticky" things to hang it... I hang it 2 days ago, and it's still hanging (I hope the "sticky thing" holds it- I fear the day it would fall on somebody's head while he/she is lounging on the couch)...

I was going to buy a rug for $15 but decided not to (it cost too much plus it didn't match)...Instead I bought two couch pillows from "D.I."... One is striped (subdued tomatoe red and yellowish/olive green) another is a solid olive green with a satin finish...instead of having a christmas feeling to it, it has more of a 60s vibe to it...nonetheless they serve their function well- they put color on a drabby gray couch

Other accents around the living room area and kitchen are plants and various birdhouses. I actually got the plants last summer, and they've grown...I just moved them in the living room because my room is crowded plus, they get better sunlight there... the only logic I used in choosing the birdhouses deals with number... while I was at "D.I."... I was looking for knick-knacks to fill the corners and other empty spaces... I decided to have a unifying theme to hold all of them together...I found lots of interesting looking bird houses on the shelf (ranging from $0.75 to $2.00)...

lastly, a natural accesory to have in the kitchen is food- the table is decorated by banana/orange/onion... cereal/instant oatmeal boxes, bread, honey, etc... I also inherited red fabric placematas from my old flatmate...

the entertainment, decorations, and food actually make the place livable, like somebody actually lives there: ME!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2007

urinetown

i guess I was so distracted that I didn't take seriously the title of this... I came to the theater expecting traditional musical theater tap/jazz dance spectacular, powerful ballads with meaningful "deep" lyrics...

characters so black and white but in the end, they showed gray variants of the world- I was amazed by this...

weird feeling- I don't understand this feeling- the show was so blunt, but the effect is subtle

tongue-in cheek, allusions, breaking the 4th wall, explaining- comical


it's awesome!

unsustainable/unsuspected... once I got out of the mold, I enjoyed it more, in the 2nd half, the show got wittier, the song got better (especially the freedom song)... a long time ago, I heard that musicals rarely have good songs and dance scenes simultaneously, this musical, for the most part, had neither BUT it had a great (satirical) message, so I guess musicals can have a third genre, musicals with a message

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2007

artsy stuff at USU: singing, dancing, and BANDALoop

to keep up with my exposure to different arts, these are the following activities I did...

two weeks ago, I watched "Celebrate America Show"- this is an annual thing here at USU, it includes singing and dance... it's sort of a period piece... the singers and dancers performed songs from the 20s to the 50s- so they explore musical styles made famous by the USA... these styles include blue grass, jazz, blues, gospel, big band, broadway, and more... they have a chorus line made up of tapping girls/young women

the performers were really into it... they made jokes, they had a sterotypical goofy person, the dumb blonde nurse type was present... it was really cheeky and poppy (putting it in today's context, it's almost sugar-coated and naive--- But of course we should be mindful of the times and the different standards)... it was very patriotic- they paid homage to past and current soldiers and service people...

some cultural stuff I noticed (which dealt with the Utah and Mormon culture) before the show began, we had opening prayers--- i'm used to this because I'm been in catholic schools since 3rd grade--- but in my mind, several things were happening: i'm thinking about separation of church and state (since this is public university with an emphasis in Mormon religion), then I'm amazed , I got the sense of unity of same worship, mostly everyone bowed their heads- that was an amazing sight (of course I showed my respect)- I'm slowly finding out and learning more about LDS (latter day saints= mormons) through observations and conferences with my students... I wonder what's going on in their heads... one of the things we talked about are missions (each mormon child especially male has to go to a mission (nationwide or international) at a certain age (17-19)], of course upon hearing this, the first thing I asked them is where they want to go or their preference... sometimes I'll get blank looks especially hearing the words "where they want to go" and "preference"... they just give me the answer that "they go wherever they are sent"- a lot of faith is involved in these missions (then I started reflecting about my own faith, and how much I question things, how much of a sceptic I am) it's a learning experience for me and my students...

also sometimes it feels like Europe here in Logan- the reason, most of my students know the basics of one other language- this is important especially when they go on missions... I met a soldier who spoke Chinese, but while he was in Iraq, he picked up some Tagalog phrases, some Arabic and Spanish-- it still surprises me when a caucasian starts speaking to me in Tagalog (especially after I revealed that I was from the Phil.)... one person thought I was Chinese and he started talking to me in Chinese...

the other artsy fartsy thing I did was watch project Bandaloop- this is a dance troupe that combines the grace and beauty of dance with the athleticism of rock-climbing... so they dance while suspended on buildings or mountains... they train, they have good cores (abs), they don't get as much injury because impact is not so bad... it's just poetic, especially some of their training session... one time they climbed el capitan in yosemite or yellowstone for six days-- they'd actually sleep on the edges of the rock--- they danced at an altitude of 2500, while suspended during dusk and it continued at night during a full moon and they saw peregrine falcons soaring at their sides....

so they danced suspended at USU's library... during rehearsals yesterday, they broke a window that was supposed to withstand earthquakes, and guess what, a 130 lb dancer broke it, imagine that...

I also took part at a historic site specific art performance, it was orchestrated by the bandaloop people...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2007

storytelling festival

On sunday, I went to the storytelling festival at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (part of their family program). There were lots of kids and "kid at heart"... I went for professional reasons- to get ideas, to "research," and to hear stories (trying to get ideas for a possible thesis/project for my program- to learn more about folk storytelling technique and try to incorporate it in art and text, and transfer oral techniques to the picture book medium).

there were two storytellers present: in a traditional sense, they were leaning towards oral storytelling. Their names are Bill Wood and Denise Valentine. Author/illustrator Deborah Kogan Ray was also present, her type of storytelling dealt with the medium of picture books.

the first to go was Bill, and he told stories at the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, which currently displayed William Ranney's paintings that depicted scenes of American life and themes of western expansion (mountain men, hunting, Indians, horses, dessert, adventure, nature). It was the perfect setting, set the mood for the Indian legends he told. He told a story about prairies dogs, the rain people and stink bugs (he heard this tale from a Pueblo Indian), also the adventures of a porcupine and coyote, and a story about his grandmother, who had a "trained" fish.

Denise told her stories at the Berman and Stieglitz Galleries, which currently holds (blank) Johnson's prints, watercolors and other mixed media. Not only is she a storyteller, she's also a keeper of the culture. She had a fellow member with her, to help her narrate stories with his drum- setting the tempo, the beat/rhythm. She told stories about slaves escaping through the underground railroad, freedom by a box, and a bit of jazz/spirituals...

during Bill and Denise's storytelling, they did several things in common:
Bill
-employed props (stuff owl, drums, bag full of wonders)
-got the audience's participation (asked them questions, gave his rational, asked them to use their imagination [being able to visualize something from your head], clap along and repeat phrases)
-performed theatrically (miming, sound effects, exagerrated facials, movement, modulating voice pitches)

Denise
-didn't use as much props (she had a rain maker percussion instrument, and she wore a costume to grab the attention, signifying that she's a storyteller?)
-got the audience participation (not so much as verbal as Bill- mostly she asked audience to clap, she also employed chanting/singing- for the people who like to sing, this was great, but for the shy ones this might be too much)
-she wasn't as histrionic as Bill (she had her own persona about her- she had a calm voice for the most part, changed them when necessary, when she gets ready, she takes a deep breath and begins - she really took her time to get started and once she began she just rolled- a tour de force in storytelling)

each had unique interpretation/flavor depending on their culture/ability; they entertained and had a point (I remember them, they made an impact).

after listening to them, I went to Deborah's demonstration and reading- her presentation was totally different... she didn't have performing tricks like Bill and Denise- she relied on her pictures and selected/printed words (this will be more like up my alley)- so my whole point for grad school is to try to find a successful fusion of both.

I still found Deborah's presentaion interesting (even if it wasn't as theatrical as Bill and Denise). Deborah gets her inspiration for her books/pictures in a serendipitous fashion... she's an illustrator first before a writer, she deals with art 24 hours so to support herself financially she took on odd jobs (her bias is that one can teach an illustrator to write but not a writer to illustrate)... she found her agent/editor accidentally, and she likes to write/illustrate about non-fiction people who like outdoors/nature and has an urge to find out/explore their dreams/goals/what they dream about... when I asked her about her connection, she said that the publishing world is "weird" and the picture book industry is so different now than it was back then (from small handfuls to big industry jumping on the band wagon of Harry Potter mania). according to her the committee, bestowing the Caldecott awards, is biased towards good words in stories; they don't know how to look at art/picture... she adviced that that best way to meet editors (put face on the faceless) and get one's name out there is to attend conferences (specifically the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for the field I'm interested in)... she just finished her picture book about an explorer who traversed through the Colorado river, and she's working on another picture book about Wanda Gag... Deborah showed her process, the dummies she made, the finished print of her watercolors, her detailed sketches in black and white...,

she adviced that a good illustrator can "take words" and be able to dramatize them, "elaborate" and to "make tangible"... she told me that "if words can make pictures in [my] mind then [I'm] an illustrator," overall an interesting and insightful session and I got to talk to her personally...

after talking to her, I also talked with two artists, who attended her talk... they were trained in fine arts, but were interested in illustrating... one of the lady that I talked to used graphite and watercolor together. Her name is Indigene... she gave me her business card... On it, I immediately fell in the liking of one of her art piece, called "Solitude"- it's a woman sitting on water- it was lyrical, and the contrasting texture was unbelievable- mind stimulating- I was drawn by it... I told her how the dry/rough grays of the graphite really enhanced the ripply, flowing blues of watercolor. I knew that it was a picture, but I still had this uneasyness about it- the feeling that the watercolors will wash away the graphite- this tension added to the poetry/story of the image... I emailed her and asked for one of her prints, I hope she gives me one... she gave me some tips on watercolor (do it everyday/write process down/ limit your palette until you've mastered the few combinations you can make)

so before leaving the festival renewed, I attended the Make and Take workshop at the Wintersteen Student Center- basically it was a crafts workshop for all ages, but most of the people there, who weren't part of the crew, were kids- so I had weird glances directed at me because I wasn't a toddler- they shouldn't have advertised "all ages" then if they were going to look that way. I wasn't daunted, I wanted to do something creative... I colored a horse, cut it out, and made a puppet out of it- I colored it blue, and it reminded me of the German art movement/group, the blue rider/"blue ritter" (expressionism/and colors)... it was a nice souvenir...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2007

A Bewitching Day!

the Wizards and Witches come out!

On Thursday July 26, I finally got a copy of the final installment of the Harry Potter series (HP), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Book 7... I spent an hour reading the first 100 pages (don't worry no spoiler's here) and all I can say is wow! J.K. Rowling is definitely using all her cards on this book... she's taking a lot of risk with the characters... it's so free, and wild but still contained- like a rollercoaster (loops, hills but still within a track)... I kept turning page after page, which at first seemed like a lot of pages per chapter but before I realize it I'm already done with the chapter... so I'm reading all this excitement while in Starbucks behind the Kimmel Center (of course) sipping a caramel Frap (I told the lady no whip cream but she still put some- no whip cream because I'm watching the fat/sugar content in my blood, I can't do my starbucks binge anymore because one frap a day calls for the doc to stay)... watching the fifth installment of the HP movie was definitely a helpful reminder of the ongoings in the potter-universe. As of right now, I'm half-way through the book!

I ate a quick dinner after finishing the first 100 pages and then headed to the Academy of Music venue (only a block away) to watch the broadway hit Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz.... I read the book before I knew that there was a musical... at first I didn't want to watch the musical, but I was convinced when I heard the music from a couple of Wicked SHU fanatics, I familiarized myself with some of the songs I liked a lot such as "the Wizard and I," "Dancing Through Life," "For Good," etc.... when I saw that Wicked was going to be in Philly, I bought my ticket asap (I didn't want to travel all the way to NY- too much coordination needed, transportation and other schedules).

Wicked is light-hearted, funny and smart... the issues discussed such as leadership, propanganda, friendship, can be applied in today's world... Wicked is fraught with verbal irony and other irony, it's imaginative, it has a nice twist on the origins of the beloved Wizard of Oz characters such as the Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, the Wizard, and of course the witches. Act one was filled with lots of fabulous songs like "Popular" and "Defying Gravity." Act two filled in the gap of the story lines and it has a killer ending and a banging finale song "For Good." Although Elphaba is the main character, Glinda stole the show with her quirky vocabulary, mannerisms and dance movements. She was just lovable and funny. At times she was the bimbo bonde, and sometimes she broke through the conventions of stereotypical blonde. The show gets a wickedly cool grade of A++!

It was a magical and spellbound day!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2007

An Asian Experience

On Monday, July 23, The Mann Center for the Performing Arts welcomed the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and the Taiko Masala Master Drummers to its stage, as part of the 2007 Young People's Concert Series. The free concert, which lasted for an hour, brought culture to Philadelphians especially to children.

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company from New Jersey started the show with a vaudeville-like act consisting of three people, one as a trainer and the other two as a giant dragon-dog, which was very convincing since they moved as one (a bit uncomfortable because the other guy near the rump had to crouch/ and bend his back). They coordinated moving the tail with blinking the eye and opening the mouth.

The costumes they wore not only added to the movements but also to the effect/story they told. The act to follow was a solitary guy with two batons... he might be a grasshopper because he moved like one, his appearance was sort of grasshopper-esque... he had two long antennas made up of tail-feathers and he made the grating chirping sound of grasshoppers. There was a woman and she imitated the crane with its precision and angular movements. Everything flowed... she did great body isolation movements especially with her arms, elbows, hands, and fingers.

The ribbon dance was spectacular. It was pure bright energy/motion captured the serpentine paths outlines by the ribbons' lightness and undulation (wave-like motion). Some dancers have the ability to defy gravity, but the freedom of the ribbons exceeded the heaviness and corporeality of even the most agile human being. It was whimsical and lively like flying snakes.

The Chinese dancers successfully used crops like fans to create images and movements unfathomable to the human body. Everything was just bouncy and fluid.

The second half of the concert was filled by Japanese drumming and martial arts demonstrations from Taiko Masala, INC., New York. The drumming was very inviting, I wanted to get a drum and start some sort of beat/rhythm. The way the drummers raised thier sticks to the sky and bringing it down reminded me of the controllers of the game console/system of Wii. Sometimes the flute accompaniment felt like transitional/elevator music (I foget that it's part of the performance).

Of course the kids, who attended, were mostly brats, and they forgot their "Mann" manners at home, but overall it was an awesome "Asian Experience."

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2007

Party til Dawn: Summer Solstice 2007

On Saturday, June 23, Summer Solstice took place in the Kimmel Center from 3 p.m. until dawn of the next day celebrating the summer season with tarot readings, music, and coffee.

This is the 3rd time I've attended this event and I haven't been disappointed; and each time I went there were always sometime new to see and experience. And this time it was extra special because this was the first time that my friend and I stayed until dawn of the next day. We stayed awake for 15 hours to celebrate summer and roamed around downtown Philly at night (Center City is pretty safe compared to other parts of Philly).

I'm not surprised that I was able to stay up: years of writing, typing, finishing up essays and research papers at SHU's 24-hours computer lounge have trained me to accomplish such feat. Also on this day, I tried a Vietnamese Iced coffee, which possibly could have aided me as well.

The entrance fee is $10 BUT since my dad works for UPenn (one of the sponsors), we got in for free. One of the great things about this type of event is that there are multiple events/acts going on at the same time, so you have a choice of what to do (most people wouldn't exactly have the same experience unless they go to the same things).

First we watched a dance performance from an Aztec group called Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac. The dance they did was pre-hispanic type. There were a lot of drums, clay flute, and concha shell. Their dance was a paean to the four elements in the universe: wind, fire, earth and water. They wore costumes plated with faux-gold and head-dresses made of peacock and quail tail feathers.

Then we attended the Hip H'Opera. This is a fusion of poetry and opera. Poems, written by underprivileged teenagers from not so-good neighborhoods in Philly, were adapted into opera songs with accompaniment. There were instances when the poem was better than the musical adaptation and vice versa. There were some that were successfully synthesized. I like the song about the grandma, the poems about 'there's no place like home,' and 'mute.'

We listened to singer/songwriter Cynthia G. Mason, and jazz group Dena Underwood Trio.

One of the beauties of this type of event is being able to go in and out of the building. Even though my friend and I stayed up til dawn, we didn't stay inside the Kimmel Center straight for fifteen hours. Around 9 p.m. my friend and I split up. I went to a birthday party in South Philly, and my friend went clubbing. We met up again at midnight.

There were fashion shows, speed dating, drag shows and tarot card readings. In the past I always missed the chance of having my tarot "cards" read so this year it was one of my main goals. Before meeting up, I checked to see how long the line was for the tarot readings... at first it looked like the line was too long so I left... later when my friend and I returned around 2 a.m. the line diminished tremendously (by 80%) so I sat and waited (caught my breath, rested).

There was only one more couple in front of me before it was my turn... and then the tarot readers announced that they were only going to read one more person: in my mind I was like "on my gosh, I'm so close, I waited for an hour and half, I can't believe I'm going to miss the opportunity again and there's only one (ONE) couple in front of me"--- I did the next best thing I can think of... I started talking in the hopes of getting some pity/sympathy votes...

I found my listeners... their names were Vernel and Katherine, complete strangers... they started spreading the word that the tarot readers will only do one more reading... I started telling them my story (about me attending the Summer solstice in the past and always missing the tarot card sessions, and how this time was the first time that I stayed all the way through til dawn). Vernel and Katherine were very sympathetic, they urged me on/egg me on and suggested to me to tell the tarot reader my "story". They reminded me to "believe" and to at least try... at least I would do my "part" (no regrets on myself for not trying).

Maybe it was the fact that it was 3 a.m., (the possibilities seem endless at 3 in the morning) so I started thinking... maybe the positive vibes would be noticed by the tarot reader... maybe I can send him a telepathic plea so I asked Vernel and Katherine if they could help me with my telepathic plea... I think he heard it... I was rubbing my temples and focusing really hard... the tarot reader turned around, looked at me and smiled... after the couple, he agreed to do one last reading and it was me...

Tarot reading
I don't know whether to believe it or not... whether tarot readers always point out the positive (because maybe it's good for business)... whether it's too general that "anyone" and everyone can take something from it/interpret it, apply it to their own lives... I came to a realization that in tarot readings, the listener is also part of the conspiracy (they're the ones that apply--whatever is revealed--it to their lives)... they shuffle the cards/ cut the deck, they ask the questions... I listened intently to what the tarot reader said and I was surprised at how close he was to the happenings in my life... I was taken aback when he told me that I could ask him 5 questions... I had one question that I wanted to ask and the rest were fillers (instead of using these wisely I asked questions that were already answered/revealed)... I was just glad that the tarot reader gave me his time (I told him my story)...

my tarot reading session ended around 4, which meant that I had an hour left before the drum session began... I found Vernel and Katherine and told them about my session... they were happy for me, we chatted a bit about coincidences and each other's background... I went to talk to my friend, and when I came back down to see what Vernel and Katherine were doing, they weren't in the lounge area anymore... they disappeared... maybe they were angels? or maybe I just needed sleep?

the only complaint I had was that around 4 a.m. certain areas were closed and there were few activities left mainly listening to trance and techno music... I wanted to walk around the Kimmel Center and look at the artworks... 4 a.m. is the perfect time to look at art and contemplate, one's mind is so clear, alert, focus and empty that one can better study the artworks....

at 5 in the morning, I was still conscious... the Sunrise Drum Circle began... I didn't have a drum so I just used a book, the people with drums formed a circle and started creating beats... there was a flute accompaniment... some people (women) started doing belly dancing or some kind of isolated movements... other drummers did drum solos... I looked up and the sun's beams filtered by the plastic-glass ceilings of Kimmel, shimmering glints from steal frames, splashed on the walls of the Perelman Theater... then everything ended at 6 in the morning...

my friend went straight home... the Septa Bus wasn't functioning yet so she took a taxi... I was so tempted to have breakfast in starbucks (but I wanted to sleep when I got home)... instead of spending $20 on taxi, I waited for a while (around 7 a.m. the bus would start working)... I walked towards City Hall... streets empty, taxi cabs roaming-looking for passengers... I passed LOVE park... I walked through the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (modeled after the Champs-elysees)... I visited Rodin's "The Thinker"... I walked to Philadelphia Museum of Art, climbed the famous Rocky steps... once on top, I sat and look at the Philly skyline... sitting there I started falling asleep (can you just imagine me falling asleep on the steps of the art museum en plein-air?)

my phone rang... it was my dad... he woke up early... I asked him to pick me up... I didn't have to wait for the bus... I got home and slept for 4 hours... I got drank from all the art I experienced and when I woke up at noon, I didn't have an aesthetic hang-over, WOW! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2007

hope in Mandy Moore's folk-inspired album Wild Hope?

two weeks ago I saw on a city newspaper a headline stating that Mandy Moore's new cd "Wild Hope," which is out in stores now, has a folk-feel to it. What elements make an album "folksy"? What characterizes "folk music"?

My first reaction: "Wow, Mandy Moore's coming out with a new album...it's been forever since I've heard from her music career...sure she has movies coming out and in almost most of the movies she starred in/ appeared in at least have one musical scene where you see her sing, and if you're a fan, you can pick out her very distinct singing voice... sometimes I'd ponder buying the movie soundtrack just for the sake of getting that one song Mandy Moore sang but in the end, I never get the soundtrack, I'm not that crazy to spend $12-18 for an album with only one Mandy Moore song..."

My second reaction: "Folk-feel/inspired? what makes the music folksy? How is this album going to sound?... I didn't want to do any sort of research because it might make me change my mind about buying Mandy Moore's new cd... then I started having fears... since it's been a while since a new album from Mandy Moore came out, I had big expectations but at the same time I felt like I didn't want to be too excited because I didn't want to be disappointed... in spite of this fear, I'm just glad that she's releasing a new album..."

My second reaction continues: "I wasn't consoled... knowing me, with the tendency to worry and to think things to death especially the most trivial of matters in the universe... I started to ruminate on what 'folksy' meant... for some weird reason, I thought about blue grass music, banjos, harpsichord, voice-over (William Shatner)...

then I thought about Mandy Moore's past albums...

-of course her first album was really poppy (bubble gum pop)- an RnB feel in a sense of beats [honestly I wasn't a big fan of her single "candy" but it's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head- she was competing with the likes of Britney Spears, former American Sweetheart, and Bold Christina Aguilera- sure they have different tastes, but at one point, they were all blonde and they danced], I really didn't pay attention to Mandy Moore, I think I got her album because I was doing a magazine drive for my school and I wanted to fulfill my quota...

-her second album was an extension of the first one- they remixed the best songs from the first album and added new tracks... if this was her first album maybe I would have paid attention...the reason I bought it is because I liked the single "I wanna be with you" which was the themed love song for a movie about ballet students, called Center Stage (this movie maybe her first connection to the movie business even if she did commercials when she was little)...

-I was excited about her third album, self-titled "Mandy Moore." I was 17 years old, when this album came out, I remembered because there was a song called "17" in this album... this album combined pop and world beats, African drums, it used instrumentation from India (Sitar) and China (xylophone-esque/chimes) and fused it with European pop/techno- I enjoyed this album... I remembered listening to this album when I was in France, Spain and Italy...

then after this she did a lot of movies and other stuff ...

I didn't follow her movie career as diligently as her music career, I would still watch them when they came out in dvds or borrow them from friends.

-her fourth album is called "Coverage"- she did cover songs such as "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters," "Anticipation," etc.... I liked her interpretation... my friend made me a copy of it... then Mandy Moore did more movies...

-her fifth and sixth albums where compilations of her old songs with some bonus tracks, once again I didn't get it because I had most of the songs already...

-And THEN her seventh album "Wild Hope" came out on June 21 :)

My reaction to Wild Hope: "After days of listening to it non-stop, I still don't know why her album is "folksy"... she co-wrote all 12 tracks... you can hear guitar, drums, piano and other instruments used in alternative music... I see it as a cross between Avril Lavinge (but not screechy) and Jewel's album "This Way." The subjects of her songs range from self-acceptance to relationship with significant others. In Extraordinary she embraces her role/responsibility to the world/her community (especially her position as a celebrity). All Good Things elaborates on the saying 'all good things come to an end.' This song is about the difficulty of moving on. A good song that's a good "I-quit-song/ I need time off/space" is Few Days Down. There's more, but overall an awesome album, I'm not disappointed! :).... "

Whether you're a fan or not, you'll enjoy this album especially if you like catchy tunes, and evocative/emotive lyrics. Mandy Moore's Wild Hope is now available in music stores everywhere!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:51 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2007

all cultured out, lately

after a month of doing and attending artsy stuff for inspiration, I think, I'm all cultured out... now I sort feel like I just want to do my own thing, my own art whether writing or drawing...

Last Friday, I finished the DanceBOOM festivities...I saw more dance films both liberating- the modern/contemporary is of course weird, I learned from the choreographer the importance of having a vision, believing in it... I attended BalletX-- the dancers are classically trained in Ballet but their repetoire are modern works and lyrical choreography... they are making their 200702008 home at the Wilma Theater, where they'll be performing new interpretations of classic ballet show, such as the Sleeping Beauty, etc.... one of the modern movement they did is flexing their ankle (it looks really awful and awkward because it breaks away the stretched look of the graceful and elongated leg-- HOWEVER this move is considered very difficult according to my former dance teacher- I have my opinions)...

prior to this, there were some dancers doing a folk dance on broad street... the interesting thing I learned from this is the interplay between the drums/beats and the dancer, where each one sort of compliment each other while trying to outdo each other...

A couple of days before DanceBOOM, I went to two museums...

the frist is the PLEASE Touch Museum, a museum for kids... I went because I was going to attend the exhibit on Vietnam Folktales... however I came too early, the exhibit wasn't going begin until June 22... the ticket guy was nice enough not to charge my friend and I , and we got a chance to just walk around the museum... my four years old godchild would definitely love this museum... I found it cute and imaginative... it's an educational play-pen-- there's a corner for stroytelling... there's walk-in/ human size models of Alice in the Wonderland scenes, Maurice Sendak... there's a mini grcery store, public transportation... children can interact with literature or develop their motor skills.. play and learn....---

back to why me, a college graduate, is there, what am I doing in this place? good question! it has something to do with my master's program- three weeks ago I visited my new school's website, I read a section about finishing my program on time... one of the things I'm supposed to do in my first semester is to think about "graduating already (envisioning graduation as form of motivation)" and to start thinking about my "master's project" (can you believe that? I haven't even taken a class yet, I haven't even set foot on the campus yet, I haven't met my adviser, and I'm supposed to start thinking about this stuff already... the goood news is at least, I have an idea of what classes I need to take).... I'm hoping that if I return to the Please Touch Museum to see the Vietnam Folktale exhibit, I hope the ticket guy doesn't charge me... but I will defintely bring my godchild here, next time if he isn't too old...

the next museum I visited with my friend is the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (located around city hall)... this is the first time I wnet here.. I aways forget about this museum because I don't see it... there were a lot of American art, especially from Philadelphia's own Charles Willson Peale, and this museum housed the famous "the Gross Clinic" by Thomas Eakins... it's a beautiful museum and easy to get around, the works are all located in the second floor... one of the unique things I saw in this musuem was an art student copying one of the paintings - there's a close resemblance to the original, but you can still tell that the student's copy is not exact...

Afterwards, my friend and I chilled in Zen tea house- ordered almond and taro Boba tea with leche and tapioca, fried wasabi pork dumpling and calamari (expensive but good not the cheap rubbery kind)...
in the movie world

I saw a Russian film with English subtitles, called Day Watch (this is also a sequel to Night Watch)-- this film is fantastical, comedic and action-filled.

I was impressed with the effects- there's something refreshing about them even though they are overused in today's blockbust (what may have contributed to this maybe a different culture's use of it)- cars driving on side of buildings...

this movie definitely have Russia's famous twisted plots and family conflict: in a nutshell this movie is about good versus evil-- for centuries they've been fighting then suddenly they had a truce... evil can still do evil but it has to be controlled, the good people make sure that evil doesn't surpass its quota... in Day Watch, the truce is in danger of being broken... the main leader of the evil people want to have this balance broken of course... the main protagonist is caught in the middle between two powerful beings: his son, who decided to side with the evil, and his girlfriend, who training to be a powerful psychic to the good... this world is full of spirits, vampires, werewolves, telepathics, shapeshifters and more magic-- this is the backdrop for the main character, Anton, and his journey...

the movie succussfully combine courage and humor... Anton is very human and he has a l ot of faults... the thing that saves him is a piece of chalk that could be found near him and all he has to do is ask...

it's a very entertaining movie... all I can say is that I can't believe this only the second installment in the trilogy, it seems complete in itself- I can't wait to see the third one (and also the first one since I missed it last summer)...

I saw Fantastic Four- it wasn't as bad as Spiderman 3, it was more complete and cohesive-- as Silver Surfer concurs with Invicible Woman, we have a choice- so you can choose to see this movie or not!

Food

I went to Vietnam last night, and it was only 20 minutes away from my house 3 blocks from 12th street from Center City... I'm talking about Vietnam Restaurant on the edge of Chinatown. Like I said before, I really like their fresh vegetables and tasty entrees... so I tried a soup this time (which cost around $7- worth it, I was full in the end), it wasn't in a rush to get to DanceBOOM, I probably would get dessert -- next time! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2007

Synthesis of painting and verse

Calligraphy, Japanese paintings and verses by husband and wife duo, Ike Taiga and Tokuyama Gyokuran are currently being displayed in Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) until July 22.

Of course I went because I liked Japanese aesthetics (emotive lines, economy, ephemerality, multiple interpretations, allusions, illusions)...

This time around what added to my learning experience are the lectures and guided tours I attended (I didn't feel like doing the independent "do-it-yourself" reading and retaining information... I wanted to be sponge like SpongeBob, sit back [and/or stand] and absorb information).

PMA organized "Scholars' Days" from June 10 to 12. I was able to attend 3 out of the 4 lectures, which were free with general admission.

The first lecture I attended (June 10) was entitled "Bulls, Nuns, and Bottomless Scoops: Ike Taiga and Popular Religions of the Edo Period." I don't know if I learned anything about Japanese religion in general, but when the lecturer started analyzing the scroll with the image of a bull, I learned a bit about the bull festival that became extinct (no longer popular). This allusion suggests that Ike Taiga might be religious (all I remembered consciously from this is that I remember not liking the speaker and then after he expounded the significance of the whole works, I liked him, and found him interesting).

Then on June 12, I attended the last two lectures: "The Synthesis of Calligraphy and Painting (Taiga's paint and Buson's ink) and "A Trip to Mount Kurama: Taiga's Chinese Poetry."

The first lecture was cool. A Japanese professor from Tokyo National Museum, compared and contrasted Taiga's work to Buson's. An interpreter from Swarthmore College translated what he said. In summary the professor liked Taiga's work more than Buson's. I was persuaded by and agreed with him. Taiga's style was 'looser' not so rigid as Buson. The professor pointed out Buson's innovation (so he could claim his honor [laughs])-- but overall I still like Taiga's.

One of the things noted by the lecturer was Taiga's used of stipling (way before European's Impressionist movement and Japonisme). He also analyzed the role of nature and its influence in Japanese outlook in Taiga's work (I thought of Romanticism, the sublime, the terrible and the awesome). Taiga fused the text successfully not making them stand out (to the point of getting all the attention), they were well integrated to the overall composition, text became part of the pictorials.

The last lecture was also interesting, a professor of Chinese at George Washington U. presented in English (but he still recited verses both in Chinese and English- I don't know if his pronunciation was right or not, but he sounded confident and authentic). From his talk, I learned a lot: the Japanese culture's reverance for the Chinese, how they imitated their arts and eventually made it their own (having a Japanese feel), the importance of poetry not only for aesthetics but also for public service (all the government officals needed to know how to write poems, they studied classic poems for the civil exam- at the mention of this, the lecturer made a joke about Bush), the influence of mountains and different places which act as inspirations for poets and painters, appropriating verses (taking it out of its context and making it original and independent from it) and many more.

I got a lot from the guided tours as well: the prestige of the "literati" (men of letters) [I like the literatis a lot, I may have a literati spirit in me, some of the things they do I'd like to experience, some of the things they did were: convene, drink rice wine (saki), write poetry, sing, play instruments, talk, discuss, contemplate, paint, gaze at the moon- they lived a "bohemian" life, sure they weren't super rich, they count their blessings by the amount of poetry and art they made, I wonder what it would be like to attend one of those events.] The literati's ideal is living in a rural area with lots of mountains and the sea (body of water) so all they have to do is look out their windows for inspiration (when they don't have to, they ignored the material world because it tainted their vision). the highest of the arts, which all scholars tried to attain, involved mastery of painting, poetry, and calligraphy...

After the lectures and tour, I looked at the exhibit on my own. I didn't read everything because there were just too much, I just read whatever caught my eye. I looked at the brushworks (water color lessons last semester helped me to remember how a certain technique could be rendered).

I was so inspired by this exhibit that when I got home, I finally picked up my paintbrush and watercolors and finally painted a picture of Ming the cat, whom I've always wanted to depict in watercolors. It was a good exercise, it reminded me of some of the things I learned in class (glazing, composition, wash, strokes, no outlines, implied lines, space. utilizing the white for highlights).

Go see the exhibit for yourself and be transcended!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:55 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2006

this time really more pictures

http://www.setonhill.edu/images/opi_mazel1_lg.jpg

Mazel

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:02 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2005

The CRAFT Club

The CRAFT Club (CReating Arts with Fibers Together) has a good start as a club. This is a club worth emulating in a sense of how it's being operated. They are organized. They keep in touch with their members effectively through email, word of mouth, and flyers (believe it or not). They are clear on their goals (what they want to accomplish) and they take the TIME to help new members.

I'm just very amazed. I'm a member (transparency), and I've learned how to make a flower pen, two types of friendship bracelets (I need a reminder of course), and basic knitting (also I need a reminder for this) in just 6 meetings.

For a new club, this club is doing a lot. They've been involved with Haunted Hill (community service) and we're working on a large project already for next semester, we as a club will knit a blanket for this organization 'Keep America Warm.' We have more activities plan and it's just a matter of time before they're all executed.

Kudos to its founders, officers, organizers, members and everyone involve in it!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:59 PM | Comments (0)

Kindertransport Review

Kindertransport, which was directed by Kellee Van Aken, an Artistic Associate at the City Theater, had a strong opening night on Friday November 11 in Seton Hill University's (SHU) Reeves theater. The six memeber cast, which consisted of Sarah M. Danko, Laura A. Stracko, Danielle Nortum, Maureen E. Lydon, Elizabeth Serra and Jonathan P. Stewart, transported the audience to a London local and various spots in Europe through effective use of accents, lighting, props and sound effects. Emotions and words successfully rendered by these SHU students brought to life the characters in this play written by Diane Samuels.

Throughout the play, accents differentiated the characters from each other, and it showed character development. Stewart, who played the Ratcatcher and all the male roles had to speak both a German and English accent. Danko played Eva, who was 9 years old at the beginning ot the play. She eventually lost her German accent as she grew older. by the end of the play, she changed her name to Evelyn, and she could no longer understand the German her birthmother spoke.

The use of lighting, which was effective, established mood. This was important and especially helpful for samll stages. There were times when the black out seemed abrupt and sudden, but this was considered minor. Overall the lighting helped to move the story from one place to another: present to past. Lighting depicting movement was seen in Eva's train ride. Serra's character Lil shifting from the presnt to the past was cued by the light change. When she was at the present time, she walked very slowly and her back was a little hunch. The light employed was the color of the setting sun: warm and golden orange. Whe she was in the past, her demeanour was bold and vibrant. Her voice was more lively, and the lighting was more neutral (gray). The creepiness of the Ratcatcher was illustrated with the use of red lighting and black outlines of his shadowy figure.

Props and sound effects were important in assisting the actors. The harmonica was the unheard voice of Eva. the jewelry given to her by Helga, played by Stracko, symbolized the ties and bond between mother and child. The hurried pace of th elocomotive paralleled the frenzy that Eva had been thrown in. Evelyn, who was played by Nortum, ripped papers to pieces. The ripping echoed discontinuity and the letting go of the past. The sound of the fog horn of the ship mirrored Helga's longing for her daughter Eva's return.

Kindertransport illustrated the struggle faced by parents and their children who left their homes and took the train to England in order to escape Hitler. This play showed how Eva dealt with leaving her family, adapting a new one, denouncing her past, and keeping it a secret from her daughter. Eva's actions was a way for her to deal with the Holocaust as an individual, and it was her way of understanding what happened to her.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 1:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2005

Eye Contact Shadowing (#1) Lay-out

today from 12 to 1, I shadowed Mike R. as he did the layout for this fall's issue's of eye contact...I asked questions (even though I said I wasn't, I didn't ask much). Mike didn't mind, he answered my questions. I ended up asking him about the graphic design class offered in the fall. In this class he learned the basics of lay-out and quirk (which is the basic for most company today).

The trickiest thing with lay-out that he encountered was keeping track with page numbers and center spread. By the end of this session, I'm convinced that I'm going ot be taking this graphic design I class. I hope that it wouldn't conflict with the class that I have to take and also I hope I can take this in Pass or Fail (so that I don't have to deal with pressure plus I've always wanted to experience what class is like without pressure of getting grades...taking the classes and focusing on the learning rather than the number). Of course I'll take this class seriously (because my valuable credits will be used up, time is involved, it would help my project a lot, and the knowledge gained will be important and helpful to me in the future).

Flashback: In our last editorial meetig we talked abou fonts (especially the 'famous' called 'garcon'-something (it sounded French) and dropped cap, unity (uniformity of style), and sequence.

Update: My painting teacher noted that I'm developing a style that is unique to and adaptable to children's literature picture books. She described it as fun colors and vibrant, a "magical realism."--> I'm excited about this comment because it's so encouraging.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 9, 2005

SITA: Student In The Arts

What is SITA? it's a club that focuses on ART. I think there's a misconception about this club. This club is open to all students not just art majors. Just because it said students in the arts, it's not necessarily for art majors. The club's objective deals with art exposure in all forms.

If anyone has questions, please ask me or Sarah Elwood or Athena Singer. If anyone is intereseted in joining or in making gift wrapping papers today Wednesday Nov. 9, contact me or any of the people above.

Thanks! :)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:26 AM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2005

art critique

sometimes I'm "amazed" at how people could find the most minute detail to talk about or to laud/commend in a very very obviously "bad" painting (technically and aesthetically). I guess it depends on your perspective, "eye of the beholder"...

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:48 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Funny Mirrors

So today I saw Fuddy Meers at Reeves Theater, it was hilarious. The cast did an awesome job.

The play reminded me of last semester when I took playwriting class with Denise Pullen.

The play is absurd in a sense that the probability of all the elements in Fuddy Meers coming together is pretty slim...BUT it wasn't unexpected, all of it were established in the beginning in the tone and dialogue that were used in the opening scene.

This weekend is the last weekend for the play, so everybody in the blogesphere and the world, try and go see it!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 12:50 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2005

Art update

I finally got my painting started. So far it looks like I'm in good shape. I had my objects blocked in and my teacher commented on my composition.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

painting class neglected

I'm minoring in fine arts and painting is the last subject I need in order to fulfill my fine arts minor...

I'm so glad that I took half of my art classes during the summer. If you think I take forever writing a thesis statement you should see try to finish a drawing (just think about applying oil paints to the complication of drawing alone).

I am learning a lot but I feel that most of my energy is being placed in my English classes. I'm constantly bombarded with papers to write and the reading is tremendous. I figure I rather suffer now and do the readings because as soon as I finish the 2nd semester of my junior year, I'll get a bad case of senior laziness (I mean senioritis).

Well in painting class we finished a monochromatic "traditional" still-life in burnt umber and a colored still life of our choice using complimentary colors and neutral. Compositions, blending, form, values etc. are all considered.

For our third painting, we are moving into what Carol coined "expressive realism." I like this topic a lot. We have a choice to paint either a place or a portrait. I can't wait to actually get started (I've been busy with presentations and readings). I decided to paint a night scene with clouds, stars, the moon and an airplane. Hopefully it'll be pretty!

sorry for digressing, the reason why I'm glad I took my art classes in the summer is because I have more time for them. I remember I would have 4 hours instruction time for four days a week (in 7 weeks). I have an option of arriving four hours early to work on it and or staying fours late after class time. Also I didn't have ot worry about writing papers. Those were the days. sigh [insert reverie mode (@_@)]

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:56 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2005

If sharing is vain, then I'm very vain...

Weeks -no months of planning has finally paid off, today I had my black and white photography exhibit opening reception in Reeves Library Lounge, my show will be there from now until Friday, October 14...I had a great experience learning about photography that I wanted to show others and talk about black and white photography and just maybe spark interest in them, to try it out... so they too could enjoy the art...

I wasn't really thinking of displaying my works until my last day of photography (July 1, 2005)...

I just fell in love with black and white photography- everything about it, the work it took, the developing process, manipulating the image through various exposure,times and filters etc.-- B/W photography is truly an art form, your medium is a camera rather than a pencil/charcoal/oils etc.

and I was walking out of my classroom, saying goodbye to some of the most unique people I've met, I knew I was going to miss my photographic routine --

--yes, during this seven week course under the tutelage of Jon Speilberg (cousin of Steven Speilberg),it was tough. I had to work my ass off, but it was kewl, I enjoyed it, i enjoyed the "toxic" fumes of all the chemicals, :the developer, the stop bath, the fixer, and the fixer remover...and I loved how these chemicals left a dry residue on my hands ...and how I itched at night because I'm allergic to any type of metallic abrasion (contact to skin)...

at one point in the beginning of the summer session (before I realized what was happening to me because of my allergy) I had both my legs and arms filled with hives because I scratched them and scratching made the hives spread. My legs and arms looked like one of those globes that had the mountain ranges-- it was so freaky

and the dark room was an eternal abyss, just try to imagine pitch black, opening a canister of film, cutting the edge, then loading the film into the reels, it feels like eternity just spinning those reels and what a relief to have it loaded, sealing it light tight

developing...had to make sure that the water temperature is between 68 to 75 degrees (recommended)..."agitating" the film, 7, 5, 7, 30 seconds, (it really depends on the temperature and the type of film...air dry cabinet (makes drying faster)

the other dark room, inside orangish safe light, enlargers, filters, glass, adjuster...

but oh wow the magic, 2 minutes in the developer, 1 minute in the stop bath, 5 minutes in the fixer (gradual agitation), 1 minute in the water, and 2 minutes in the fixer remover (gradual agitation), wearing gloves, using thongs, agitating...if you were to expose your latent image with an aperture of 2, say goodbye to your image, because as soon as it gets in the developer, the image quickly shows up and pretty soon the image is overexposed and it turns completely black (you say to yourself, damn it another dollar down the drain (literally) because photographic paper is expensive ($75 per one hundred sheets))

final wash-- paper swimming in water, rotating like a washing machine but gentler and drying could be disastrous, the image has to be face down on the conveyor belt or else risk damage to your final product...then there's the presentation - dry mounting on precut 11 X 14 super duper high bright WHITE museum board

these were my photo routine, during the final wash, I'd eat my lunch... I thought about photography and my show while I was being inducted to citizenship, on the back of my pamphlet "A Welcome to U.S.A Citizenship" where the notes area, I jot down some ideas for my show --- the people I'd invited, where the pictures would go (i knew it was going to be held in Reeves Library, i knew the layout perfectly), the theme, their commonality:Philadelphia, then i thought about the food, "Philly Cheesesteak" and fruits, drinks ...

then i thought about how i was going to advertise for this, I had a press release to the communicator, and the Setonian, the Setonian also had an exclusive on my thoughts about my experience... i did some strategic flyer hanging (admin, lowe, maura, lynch, harlan, reeves and bailey), and then I did word of mouth/personal invitation (that didn't work as well as i thought), I even mentioned food, FOOOD!

Today was my show...I used half my flex for food, (i have tons of left-overs, the cheesesteak guy was 20 minutes late)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:10 PM | Comments (4)

July 10, 2005

MoMA is cool!

Every friday, the Musuem of Modern Art in New York (5th Avenue and 53rd street) is open for free from 4:30 to 9 p.M. Van Gogh's Starry Starry Night is in here!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2005

Manayunk Arts Festival

Today i went to the arts festival in manayunk in Philadelphia. it was good. I talked to living artists and I saw "modern" art of today. I saw that these works were influenced by surrealism and other late 19th century and early 20th century artworks. I saw this female japanese artist whose works reminded me of kandisnky, miro and mondrian. I heard this singer named Amy "trumm" ( i think that's how you spell her last name). She's like a raw Michelle Branch (not so poppy). I saw lots of nature photography, black and white prints, digital montage, and photo collage (they were inspiring). I bought this 3-d Gelatin print b/w photo mixed with colored print made by Jack Paolini (it's pure poetry in image-form). I talked to Bill bell, illustrator turned author (for children's books, self-taught painter). his work sare very imaginative.

downside-- the heat and I lost a camera piece that's not really essential per se maybe for aesthetic purposes.

higlights-- pictures of a pug

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 8:14 PM | Comments (2)

June 6, 2005

My Adventures as a CCP Photographer...

I'm taking Photo 101 here at Community College of Philadelphia and I'm having fun and learning a lot (who knew that these two phrases could be combined together).

My assignments are thought-provoking, exciting and imaginative. I dealt with abstraction (close-up on subject to create and see implied shapes), point of view (looking up or down, bird's eye of view or something radical, as long as it's not straight forward), depth of field (shallow (blurry background) or deep (foreground, middle ground and background appear focus, no "circles of confusion"), shutter speed (fast= freezing the motion, slow = blurring the subject, and panning (which is tres difficil), environmental portrait (not just the subject but the surrounding that is important to the subject) and quality of light (shadow, texture, detail).

as my teacher emphasized, I'm not a civilian anymore, I'm a photo 101 student and with this title I have the right to ask random strangers if I could take their pictures ( I could also ask people I know)...one day I followed several couple who just got married and asked them if I could take their pictures ( they gave me permission)...I ask this dude who was rollerblading if he could spin for me and he was delighted to be privileged...I saw this cute pug and I asked his owner and he said yes...I took an environmental portrait of my mom...I had to ask security if I could take a picture of the Kimmel Center Ceiling, he said yes but when he saw me set up my tripod, he changed his mind, he said I had to return the next day and ask the manager...I was out at night, while soft drizzle moisten the ground and I took pictures of people with umbrellas walking up to a theater in Broad Street near city hall, some of the people asked if I was doing a documentary, I just told them it was for a class...one of them saw my Seton Hill hoody and thought it was Seton "Hall" (shame on him)...

I 'm getting good at developing my own film and loading my film on the reel in a dark room (just think of handling scissors and can openers while your eyes are shut)...while I was developing a print I got reminded that I'm allergic to metal abrasion (this reminder was a freaky experience)...

Pretty soon I'll be learning how to mount my work on a musuem board...on top of these, I understand more about focusing, metering, composing, light (yeah impressionism), movement, photo- terminology and other aspects of the camera (we take for granted because of automaticity = go manual!)

My mid- semester evaluation is this Wednesday, it should be fun!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:15 PM | Comments (2)

May 30, 2005

Legitimacy of Walt Disney's Work

Ever since I was in grade school, I've heard the "older" (supposedly wiser) cool kids made fun of Disney and discredited his work. They [the older cool kids] argued that Disney ruined fairy tales and sugar coated it in order to brainwash today's generation of youth. Now that I'm not in grade school any longer and I actually had some college-level literature courses, I could justify how wrong they were and why I disagree with them. I will briefly summarize the origin of Fairy tales and its structure while considering the socio-historical context which influenced Disney's early works (the beginning of his career and the Disney Empire).

***All this information is from a book called "Fairytales: The Magic Mirror of the Imagination" by this author (i forgot his name- this book could be found in th Reeves Library)

Fairy tales fall under the category of Folk tales. The beauty of fairy tales is that its roots come from oral tradition. This means that they were passed on to the next generation by word of mouth by talented story tellers. This can be looked upon as either a flaw or a unique characteristic. This is a flaw because the "true" original would be difficult to distinguish from a copy. On the other hand, this is unique because the interpretation can reflect the specific period it reflected. Also since fairy tales are passed down orally, it's hard to tell which is real or not. The good thing about this is that "there's no plagiarism in fairy tales" unless of course you took a work that's already "copyrighted" such as Disney's Snow White and claim it as your own.

Some would consider this insubstantial. But the essence of fairy tales could not be solely captured by words alone, its essense is universal and intrinsic to humanity. It's something that is found in all humans (not just the 98.9% DNA we all share). It's an idea, something abstract. Ideas cannot be copy righted (however you can copy right a product from the idea). Fairy tales are just one of the many ways it can be expressed (in a written form).

Fairy tales are for all ages. This statement is often overlooked when others "judge" fairy tales. The irony in fairy tales is that its simple form is really complex. It's convoluted and multi-layered. The audience determines the meaning of the fairy tales so each group will evaulate it differently. The book, which I read, came up with three categories of audience: pre-adolescent, adolescent/post-adolescent, young adult/adult. Of course there are nuance of these categories.

Themes of fairy tales usually deal with drama and anxiety (of course, conflict always make a good story), and have traits such as: relatable protagonist (usually someone common), adventure/journey to a magical realm (exotic place or the unknown mind), deals with the fantastics and Magic (something unbelievable to everyday mundane things), a complete resolution with happy endings.

The above inforamtion proved that Disney's work is authentic. Yes the "ignorant" claimed that he stole from Grimms' Fairy tales. They do so blindly because they grew up in the world of "copyrights." Since the Grimms' were probably the "first" to record fairy tales on paper (manuscript/hard copy style), they invented fairy tales (but fairy tales existed long before who knows when). Every time they say that Disney ruined fairy tales, they were referring to the different styles that Disney and Grimm employed to convey certain fairy tales.

But if one were to consider the socio-historic background which influenced the works of Grimms and Disney, one will see the uniqueness of each. From my art history class I took last semester, I learned (pardon the generalization) that norhtern Europeans had a tendency for realism that included cruelity and pain. This would explain the harsh treatment of the stepmother in Snow White (the cold and scathing and harsh German winter probably added to the mood). Also during th 1500s-1600s, the most literate group of human beings were "adult" aristocrats of the upper-upper echelon. Like women, children were considered property and commodities. They entertained the adults not the other way around.

During Disney's time, he experienced a time of war, and solidification of a nation (as a result of coming out of the depression), followed by a rise of a young nation to empire status. So Disney's "Dreams do come true" attitude was very fitting and true to his work: his art. His "naive", innocent and unjaded child-like aspect towards life was captured in his cartoons as engendered by Mickey Mouse. He portrayed the essence of optimism in youth which was nurtured by his environment (i'm not dismissing individual calling and vocation/ destiny). Children were the future thus they were the audience. They would have to continue the human saga so they might as well be educated.

Disney's work is authentic. In fairy tales, there's no such thing as plagairism because the source is from oral traditions. Thus they are free for interpretation. Grimms recorded fairy tales in books. Disney transfered these stories to the medium of film (motion picture). Disney was faithful to the essence of fairy tales and to his time. The enthusiasm he captured mirrored the vigor and spirit of a young nation and its people in the rise of 'empirehood.'

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:18 AM | Comments (3)

April 8, 2005

Positivity

Impressionism, post-impressionism and fauvism redeemed my personal art style...

for now these are the three main movements that occurred in Art history that are my inspiration for making art...

in my art, impressionism's credo of capturing the moment using color to suggest space and emotion left an "impression" on me...in my art I don't want to capture renaissance naturalism because

a. I don't have the training so it's a lot of challenge, i won't be able to draw it
b. right now I don't have the dedication to draw figures for five hours a day
c. i like using words to decribe and give "body" to my art

Post-impression is just pushing impressionism a notch higher. I really like Gaugin's and Van Gogh's subjectivity and their bold use of colors...like impressionism, 2-dimensionality is stressed (it seemed that I have a propensity to study the surface of things)...I also have a weakness in rendering 3-dimensionality ( in spite of this, I still like architecture....)

Fauvism-- I didn't about this until today, its greatest master is henri matisse-- he's another inspirational person on my list-- he was positive and he started his art career in his mid thirties (this aspect is really cool, because today, society most likely value and pay attention to "artists" who achieved so many things in their young age-- I haven't even graduated from grade school, and there's already people out there who are really advance--- i don't have anything against them, the media hype is just annoying and discouraging)

--talking about flatness and 2-D-ness, Matisse experimented with using paper as medium in his composition (paper on paper--- pushing paper collage to fine arts status)

----2-dimensionality (the surface exposing superficiality), subjectivity (personal experience, one you most likely know about so one can get a chance to explore out of the "box" and be confident) and colors ( to make abstract emotions almost "tangible" by sight, convey something hard to put in words).

yeaha!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 2:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2005

Impressionism

Ironic how the impressionists deal with the fleeting ephemereality of the moment just so they expose the "surface."

Post-impressionism
"Looking at the stars always makes me dream...why shouldn't the shining dots of the sky be...accessible...just as we take the train to get to Tarascon...we take death to reach a star."
~Vincent Van Gogh

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:17 PM | Comments (5)

February 19, 2005

Calling all SHU artists out there

what's the dealio? I know it's winter but why are guys hibernating? Yesterday, Friday February 18 was the deadline for Eye Contact's Consequences.

I found out that we only had ten art submissions, TEN! I was quite disappointed considering that SHU is a liberal arts university and has a strong Art curriculum and foundation.

Don't make excuses about not knowing about it. I placed three large and popping posters (which are very unique and unconventional in comparison to the regular 8 by 11.5" flyers) in strategic places (the post office, 2nd Maura "Solarium" and ground level Lynch) where people often pass or congregate atleast once in a day. In the past, you've seen posters, people have "pestered" you about donations (thank you very much for your donations, we're always grateful for them!), some of your art teachers have made announcements, and Eye Contacts representatives have visited your classrooms.

There have been advertisements in The Setonian and The Communicator. Word of mouth is also prevalent.

I'm pro "subjective" art, art for personal use, art to express oneself etc. Don't feel that having a theme such as "consequences" is in any way restrictive or belittling your artistic style/ inclination. Just remember some of the great artists in the past, such as Michelangelo (Pope Julius pushed him to make the best art for his personal collection and in doing so Michelangelo strived to do his personal best and he did as he matured as an artist). Having "commissions" was the way artists thrived in their craft, and it was how they gained experience. It was how they learned. In a positive way think of Eye Contact as "commissioning" you to do an art work that deals with "consequences."

I urged you to submit artworks you'd be proud of, and most likely it''ll have a "consequential" theme. What are you afraid of? Consequences may favor you and your artwork, next thing you know you may be published. Other consequences may be a rejection letter. So what, the rejection letter is objective, it doesn't say anything personal, however it only states that the artwork was irrelevant to the theme.

Consequences. I just hope SHU artists respond to their calling of being artists, making art and sharing it for others' edification, enlightenment, and salvation. Save us from the enniu of a world lacking art!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

Mamma mia exercise

protagonist = sophie, mid twenties, about to get married
dramatic premise=self discovery by inquring about past
Need= wants to find out father
point of attack-= sending letter
objects= money, dream fulfilment
conflict=
setting= island in the aegean sea
characters=mother, mother's friends, father(s)
themes=
backstory=
major dramatic question=will find her biological father to feel complete
resolution=
climax=
complications= Donna not sure, trying nit to be vulnerable, pride, Donna not knowing
event=sophie's wedding

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 9:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2005

Disney's On the Record

If you get a chance to see Disney's new musical "On the Record", I highly recommend that you see it, especially if you are a disney freak/afficionado. Even if you are not, just a plain fan of music , "On the Record" is a must-see musical!

The plot is simple: a day in a recording studio. Yup you guess it, the characters are recording classic disney songs in a new way. Through these songs, story of each character is revealed. This musical does not have much dialogues, but the cast effectively use body gestures and mannerisms to humanize their roles. The renditions of the songs are awesome. The cast took it to a "new level."

As for audience appeal, this show has it. The producers try to appeal to an older audience by "toning" /holding back the pageantry (which is quinessential to the "Disney Formula") in the costume design and the set. The characters wore mostly black, grays and white and some silver metalic tones (it almost look like a hybrid commercial for J-Crew and Armani Exchange clothing store). The set has the simplicity of modern day functional appliances, nothing like the courtly and flamboyant style of "French Baroque."

As for the kids, they will like anything, and the songs will surely mesmorized them. And, Ahh the glitters, they were shiny, and they were integrated strategically throughout the show.

The songs, which were Disney trademark that established the foundation of Disney kingdom, remain the focus of the show. The cast, crew, creator, etc succeeded by not over emphasizing on costume and set designs. Disney's "On the Record" is not ony for the "young at heart"; it is for everybody. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, a spoonfull of 2 hour disney musical makes one not only dream but see the possibilities one can achieve. This is the bare necessitiy of life: living the life one has imagined (Thoreau).

On a Separate note, this week's Alias, was much better than last week, there was this corny line Sydney said but I liked it. It's so "cliched" but the way Jennifer Garner executed it, it's tres classique.

Here's a recap of the scene. The bad guy found out that Sydney was not who she "appeared". So he was beating her up and asking questions. He asked her for her real name. Sydney answered with a russian sounding accent "Imma." "Imma what?" He asked. She answered "I'm ma going to kick your a$#!" That wasn't the answer he was looking for so WHACK!!!!

She was also wearing a horrible wig, it looked like a long blonde mullet.

I don't know what kind of pyschology the writers are trying to apply, but it looks like Sydney is seeing first hand the manipulations she experienced being applied to her sister. What conflict do you think that would do to Sydney's character or how would her sister react when she finds out (even worse when she finds out that Sydney knew all along) Can you just imagine how betrayed her sister would feel?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 3:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2004

Andrew Lloyd Webber Day

Look a new day has begun, but yesterday was the day that was "officially" declared as Andrew Lloyd Webber Day by the Andrew Lloyd Webber fanclub section 99998567 of the Philadelphia Sect of the Pennsylvania Association with the Arts in alliance with the secret society of La Lune d'Artemis. My friends and I watched The Phantom of the Opera Movie at the Ritz 5 at 2:05 pm in 1 and 2nd Walnut street down in Olde City Philadelphia and later at 8pm we saw Cats in Walnut Street Theater (America's first theater).

The movie was faithful to the Broadway play with superbe extra treats for the fans such as extra Webber songs, a more cohesive story line to connect it better and more visual faces to play roles of Christine, Rauol and the Phantom. The acting didn't stink, and the voices and the music was awesome. The costumes were fabulous. I think Minnie Driver, who played Carlotta (the overtly essentric egotistical over-paid "Italian" opera singer), brought great acting to the movie (ironically overshadowing Christine Daae --->but I still like the movie--->tres bien cool!). This movie is a fantastic substitute for the play BUT I still suggest for you to go and see the actual show if you can. See in movies, the special effects and elaborate costumes are expected nowadays. However, in a live performance, there's the thrill of limitation and the unexpected. You'll be blown away by the lighting, the set and scenery, the costumes, the proximity of the event happening before your eyes and many more.

Originally, I didn't like Cats. I tried watching the VHS tape of it last year and I could not get through finishing it. Once again, it was the whole package that did it for me :the set, the lights etc. etc. Just think about the bright moon, tap dancing cockroaches and melodiously "caterwhauling" acrobatic and twirling cats. Doing a little research also was beneficial to me. I read the T.S. eliot poems that inspired this play, and I borrowed the soundtrack in the library to preview the songs. This play proves that cats do land on their feet while flipping and dancing, just imagine that!

It was a jellicle day, and this night would be a memory too, a very memorable one.

Here are other plays and shows I've seen live:
1. Cats (Webber)
2. Evita (Webber)
3. The Phantom of the Opera (Webber)
4. Mamma Mia
5. Rent
6. Tick Tick Boom
7. Disney's Rock Opera Aida
8. The Nutcracker (Ballet)
9. Dracula (Ballet)
10. Wizard of Oz (highschool play)
11. Joseph and the Technicolor Coat (h.s. play)
12. The Music Man (h.s. play)
13. Bye Bye Birdie (h.s. play)
14. Guys and Dolls (h.s. play)
15. Romeo and Juliet (h.s. play)
16. Peter Pan (h.s. play)
17. Annie (h.s. play)
18. Sleeping Beauty (ballet)
19. No 11: Black and Blue (College play)
20. Lysistrata (C. play)
21. Trifles (C. play)
22. The World Goes Round (C. play)
23. The Vagina Monologues (C. play)
24. A Doll's House (C. play)
25. Proof (C. play)
26. As you like it (C. play)
27. The Laramie Project (C. play)
28. Disney's On the Record (New Musical)

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2004

Carnegie International

Far, far away in Candyland;
Gilded-Purple Mountain shelters
one if so desired but one has
choices, just choose, open your eyes.

Today was an adventurous day. I went to the Carnegie International with the club SITA (Students in the Arts, or generally know as those who have interests in the Arts). It was also great to see some of the works I learned in my art classes.

I found it odd viewing "new art" or modern ones. I guess my concept of art is something that's dated in "antiquity". In spite of this "odd" feeling I found the art works in the Carnegie International intriguing and thought provoking. There were three works that I really liked. They were this japanese anime drawing by Chiho A--, this active/moving art (I forgot the title) and this "kuba"titled work.

The Anime drawing was very colorful. It was designed in Adobe. It was presented like one giant long billboard. The scene started in the right with a huge tsunami waves about to crush Tokyo. The waves was painted in those long ago japanese print style. It was simple, and economy of color and line was used. This simplicity heavily contrasted with the rest of the scene. The city of tokyo crumbles while Mt. Fugi explodes, and there's this giant goddess almost devouring the city (she's like the idealized, beautified Godzilla done in the french courtly style--she looks human not a lizard). Her hair was flaming, and the tokyo railways were getting tangled in it. Her eyes were lively, as matter of fact little people were coming out of it. Plainly, it's just awesome.

The other one is really modern. It's so modern it moves automatically. The main media that were used were sound and video recording. I found it very poetic. The instrumental song conveyed some sort of suspense. The music is like one of those music were you sort of wait for it to build up. But it never reaches its climax. There was a guy and a girl in the video. They're walking, and walking at night. You might ask: "when will they meet? or will they meet at all?" Who knows, I didn't stay long enough to find out.

The "kuba" titled work was a bunch of interviews from a group in Instanbul. Society would consider them as outcasts. The members were theives, prostitutes, poor people, homeless people and more. I sat and watched one of the interviews. This guy talked about birds. He liked them. He like them so much that he would steal them and sell them to make money. He mentioned how the birds could fly out of "kuba", but somehow, they would always come back. I found this interesting. I get this sense that this guy wanted to have the freedom to fly to and from anywhere, but also at the same time feel at "home" or at least have a home. The way the artist set this exhibit support my hypothesis. The shape is rectangular, very rigid. The tvs and chairs the artist used also depicted a sense of vagabond life where one has no choice but what's given/offered or whatever's thrown away to one's direction.

There are many other works, but these were the ones that are in my brains. These are not the only eventful things that happened today. I ordered my very first authentic STARBUCKS Caramel frappaccino in Pittsburg. I also entered the great Cathedral Tower of Learning. I learned to pump gas; it's so EASY! and I saw SHU theater present No. 11 (Blue and White).

It's a "super-calli-fragilistic-expi-alli-do-cious" day!

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 6:58 PM | Comments (3)

July 1, 2004

It ain't over until the fat lady sing...

Well here I am impersonating a fat lady: voice in falsetto mode, cheeks puffed, and a pillow-suit 'wrapped all around...

The "fat lady" sang, it's over, that is, my first summer session at Community College of Philadelphia is finally over. Today was the last day (Sigh of Relief--->A BIG Sigh). Overall it was a great experience. It was hell, but the results at the end were 'heavenly'.

I'm more optimistic now about what I want to do in the future (clearer idea).BIG NEWS EVERYONE: As of right now, I've dropped all my education courses. I decided not to continue on my Education major, when I get back on the Hill in August, I'll finalized everything. Thank you everybody who shared their own personal experience and wisdom. They were very helpful.

***Brief Outline of what's to come:Drawing I,what I learned, the class, comments, networking, and the teacher, French 101--->my progress...

In my Drawing I class, I drew 2 chairs, 2 tables, 4 boxes from 3-D model, 4 boxes from a worksheet, 2 cylinders in a 'box', 3 cylindrical objects, 3 shapely objects, 2 line compositions, 1 tonal chart, 1 tonal gradation chart, 1 simple tonal drawing, 3 complex tone drawings and 1 cube with a 'lying down' cylinder, and with all of these I used vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, "invisible rectangles", implied lines, different line weights, ellipses, converging and diverging lines, proportions, mini-studies, composition, negative and positive spaces, contour lines, tones, angles, the shiboleth of "Drawing what you see not what you know"foreground, middle-ground and background and atleast 84 hours of class instructions (this is not including hundreds of hours spent in homework and after-school) and more...---->I can say: "wow, I did all that and 'a bag of chips". I'm glad I took this class because now I have an idea of what a studio class is like. It also made me confident in drawing in a bigger paper (18 by 24). I remember how intimidated I was in sophomore year in high school when I had to draw on an 8 by 11 size paper.

This class was tough, especially when it was time to critique each other's work. I asked myself and others sometimes: "Where does one draw the line between 'work' and 'self'?" I've always thought that when one was so imbued in one's work, one had passion/ was passionate; and I wanted to be passionate. Being criticized takes a long time to get used to, and this class sort of helped me in a bit to separate myself from my work. The great thing was that it was constructive criticism. Still, it was annoying (even if the remark was true) when somebody would say: "Your angle is exaggerated, it's converging too soon or your box doesn't feel like it's sitting, it doesn't feel 'solid', or your ellipses are lopsided and flat..."; especially when you put in a lot of hours and your knuckles are gray with lead, your neck is stiff and tense and your eyes are misty from charcoal dust (insert playing the violin "Mozart's Symphonie 8 for the violin with string accompaniment). Two awesome things I will remember from these critiques: in my first complex tonal drawing, my teacher said that my composition with the drapings of the fabric 'flowing' in the foreground reminded him of a classical renaissance painting, and my third complex tonal drawing had the 'scratchy' quality similar to Cezanne (No matter what the context of these comments were supposed to be...I'll take and instill them in my mind as compliments).

As my teacher Terry Peterson said: "This class is like a reality tv show...Every week it got smaller and smaller." In the end, 11 out of atleast 25 survived, and I was one of them.. Cheerios!

I didn't get a chance to network, but this class gave me some idea of networking. My teacher's resume and background is pretty awesome. He had worked with the Running Press Publishing Company, and he told me about the Quirk Publishing Company (Both are conveniently located in Philadelphia). He had worked on those little books you see in Barnes and Nobles, 'catalogues' and magazines, journal books (like the lefty journal for left-handed people). I can't stressed enough about my experience.

As for my French Class 101, I think I hear more of the words than before. Prior to this. French to me sounded like the Chinese mixed with the Portuguese language, now I hear more of the words. I've been watching more French Cinemas ou dans le francais ('cedilla' on the c), le cinema (accent aigu over the e) francais (cedilla). I had a good experience that I decided to continue it in Summer Session II (I just hope my teacher doesn't have any problems with me leaving early for the Hill).

This is when the fat lady sings the highest note ever "Doe" in 8 octaves higher than the possible high, and after shattering all the glasses in the glass opera house, the red curtain falls.

Fin.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 5:05 PM | Comments (6)

June 27, 2004

Hail Mars!

What does a drag, a dancer and a doodad have in common? No, it's not not a dancing drag with a doodad, although that is not unheard of, well?...This Saturday, June 26, 2004, the Kimmel Center at Broad and Spruce Streets Phila. Pa presented its 3rd annual Summer Solstice, a festival that celebrated three aspects of Performing Arts: singing, dancing and playing musical instruments...

Philly's own Phildaelphia Orchestra 'kicked off' the celebration at 3:15 in its humble abode, the Verizon Hall (one could get lost behind its theater walls like Christine 'Daae'), with an impressive repertoire of works from famous composers. It was so grand and 'overwhelming', that I had a mental 'blackout' literally and I did not catch their names. I think one of them started with R and rhymed with "toscini".

Personal highlights for me were the group Onyx (an a-cappella quartet), Alessandro Magno and Cynthia Firing (opera and musical theater) and Sharon Gary-Dixon (cabaret and show tunes). It was amazing. I heard them sing live, and they did not missed a note. Prior to this experience, I was skeptical...not anymore.

From Mark Sweetman's Jazz quartet to innovative dance interpretation of Brian Sander's Junk to the groovin and rockin group Grey Eye Glances, it was an event not to be missed for all art lovers.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 10:22 PM | Comments (5)

June 2, 2004

Rambling

Update of my Art class so far, I'm so glad...

I'm so glad I'm not an art major. I have a headache right now (I should drink cold water). Drawing for me in general is like writing an essay. It takes me a very long time to do it, and when I'm finish I'm still not done. I would need a day or two to look at it with "new eyes", in order for me to make corrections.

I think art is more abstract than writing. With writing you have words with specific (individual) letters, with different groupings: phrases, sentences, compounds, paragraphs, one page, and so on. From my own knowledge, in Art you have lines, lines, lines (vertical, horizontal, diagonal (maybe different quality of lines, length etc.), and after lines, you have curves, contours and all sorts of imaginable shapes.

I'm wondering about the stereotype about artists who could not find jobs, and end up "poor". The training they go through is so intense (Combining Math, Science, Creativity, Intuition, Logic, Abstract thinking etc.); artists are qualified to do many things in the world. I guess it's a matter of motivation on the artist's part.

On the totally weird side, I've only spent almost three weeks in Art class, and mostly everywhere I go, I see lines, verticals lines, horizontal lines. I also started to notice more and more vanishing points and "perspectives". I could just imagine a person who studied art for all his lifetime; just imagine how he sees the world. Would he be jaded...hhmm?

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 4:58 PM | Comments (6)

May 26, 2004

Playing Tricks

In my Art class, while we were looking at our drawn cube, my teacher was explaining the importance of stressing and darkening the vertical line closest to our view. He warned us...

He warned us that if we didn't, the cube would appear as if it's "flipping", and turning inside out. I did not understand what he meant, but after a week's worth of Art classes (atleast 18 hours spent drawing lines, cubes, boxes, invisible rectangles and more), I started to see what he was talking about.

It was a weird moment. I was sitting there, listening to my teacher's constructive criticism of my classmate's work, and the 3-d box, started flipping. I thought to myself: "I think I'm spending way too much time drawing these boxes." My hands started almost to shake at the thought of drawing more vertical and horizontal lines.

So far in my Drawing I class, I drew two pages of vertical, horizontal and multiple lines, atleast four invisible rectangles (rising exponentially), four boxes (rising also), five cubes (rising), and two tables. I think tomorrow we will begin with chairs.

My teacher advised that we draw what we see not what we know. I'm not really sure how this fits in or goes against the notion of "thingness." The cliche: "A Chair is a chair for its chairness." I'll ponder it some more.

Posted by Michael Diezmos at 7:24 PM | Comments (2)