The Curtain Call with JRC 10_13_18

Hello All,

Welcome to another edition of The Curtain Call.  I had initially intended to review the movie Shine.  This movie presents the plight of a Puerto Rican family that deals with the struggles of gentrification while deceit and tragedy attempt to rip them apart.  I will instead speak upon events that have transpired in the last few weeks. This blog is meant as a forum for the arts. The events that occured recently, display a disturbing culture of privilege that has existed a situation that has existed from the beginning of the formation of this country.

Our country was formed on the basis that free white landowning men would be the voters of leadership of this country.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  These words have resounded in the papers, speeches and thoughts of countless Americans over the last 242 years. These words are so elegant and powerful when universally applied.

It is often stated that truth can be subjective in the correct circumstance.  I refute that statement on the principle that truth is an unerring witness of time.  Truth is a reflection of the natural order of the universe. What many consider “personal” truths are actually perspectives.  The perspectives that a person has in childhood often are transformed and molded to fit their station in life as an adult.

The statement that I previously referenced from the Declaration of Independence is a universal truth.  Now before I get some readers outraged that the the statement that all men are listed and not all women.  The “men” listed refers to all mankind. I know this statements seems retrospectively hypocritical considering the status of all women and men of color when this state was immortalized.  However the framers of the Declaration of Independence and by extension the constitution were enlightened men. They were also men and saw their faults and failings. They knew that the prejudices held by themselves and their contemporaries would not allow for the social equalization that the documents called upon.  It was their hope that future generations would be able to truly embody the spirit of the true democracy they had fought and bled for.

Over the last 242 years that has been progress toward the goal of universal equality.  The 13th, 14th, & 15th Amendments reflect that for African American men and the 19th Amendment reflect it for women.  There has also been progression within local and federal laws for the equal treatment of all in matters of finance and civil liberties.  Visionaries Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Rosa Parks embody spirits that while weather by violence and prejudice remained strong for the betterment of their cause.  Stellar athletes Jackie Robinson & Roberto Clemente forged against a culture that would see them resigned to a backseat to History.

It is this spirit that recent events have attempted to quell.  The Confirmation Hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have been marred with accusations, speculations and mistrust.  From the break of the accusation until his eventual confirmation, the American public has been watching intently. The only comparison that may be made of the preceding is to a 3 ring circus.  The testimony provided by Dr. Ford offered a power testimony of a victim, often referred to as a victim of a political agenda by Judge Kavanaugh. The investigation completed by the FBI provide a more rounded overview of the situation but had the situation been polluted by the speculation and innuendos offered by both sides.

Time will be the measure on the actions of those involved.  Truth is a very tricky mistress, the truth always comes. Usually, in the most inopportune time and situation.  As we herald a new reign of conservative judicial control. The true power that the poor and working class has as a weapon over privilege and tyranny is the vote.  Show your power and vote this November.

Next week, we will be presenting our monthly feature Candid in the City.  This feature will have us taking a different part of the city and exploring the arts that live within that community.  We will visit SoBRO.

As I leave you, I want to leave you with these words.  Every thought ever thought is worth a listen, pick up a pen and make that decision.

Your Humble Servant,

JRC

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Wardrobe of Ages

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This is my favorite outfit out of everything I’ve ever worn in my entire wardrobe. It’s also the most recent, most improved version as well. The original outfit had a cerulean blue button up shirt, cosmic patterned heels, lighter jeans, and a jean short jacket under the button up. My updated outfit sports a jean button up shirt, dark blue jeans, dark blue heels with stripe patterns, and a black sports bra (as seen in the last photo) with a pattern I see as futuristic. The only aspect that hasn’t changed about my outfit is the waist belt-waist cape combination (which I made by cutting a full skirt in half and getting rid of the non transparent parts), and the shape it gives me ;3 I plan to get this outfit in other colors too, because the same belt I used for my outfit comes in different colors. The reason this outfit is my absolute favorite of them all is because it’s the outfit that has the most balance between masculine and feminine. It also has a dash of heroic in it, especially when I strike a pose as the wind blows my waist cape. My androgynous style came into existence when I was in my experimental age during high school. When I hit my sophomore year of college, I created the first near perfect balance of masculine and feminine in my outfit. To this day it remained my signature style. I consider my outfit signature not because of how often I wore it (because I wear this on occasions), but because it made the most impact on my self-esteem so far. It became the symbol of my confidence, solidified my ideas on what I like and disliked, and I never lost interest in it because it can be modified and updated without having to change its original make up. I intend to keep my wardrobe as my signature outfit for the rest of my life. That’s why I call my outfit the Wardrobe of Ages, it is a look that can be modified to fit my current tastes and inspirations, while maintaining the inclusion of transparent and lightweight fabrics that flow in the wind.

#1 Please Enter Kindly: An Intro Post to a Mental Health Blog

Hello Kind Readers! Welcome to Be Kind to Your Mind with Kat (that’s me), a blog that will be exploring helpful and easy ways to incorporate different kinds of therapeutic activities to heal, reflect, and hopefully make life better for fellow humans struggling with mental health issues and for those who are open to learning about useful information on ways to cope with hard-hitting waves of emotions when life throws you down.

I’m here to guide you Kind Readers through the parts of the mind that often go neglected and provide some tips to provide those parts routine tenderness, love, and care. Formerly I wrote a comic book review blog for two semesters, which I really enjoyed writing (and may return to as a personal endeavor), and now in this current semester, I decided to take on a topic that is not only personal to me but also a topic that is misunderstood. Mental health awareness, as I’ve seen in the form of Instagram posts and hashtags, is slowly gaining momentum in the realm of visibility in popular media, but even more important is for people to have free access to ways to cope with a mental disability that isn’t quite visible for all to see or feel. I hope to bridge that gap with my writing.

As a person who struggles with several diagnoses, I cannot help but feel a strong sense of advocacy for those who are going through the same thing as I. I’d like to do my small part in the mental health community to represent as well as provide a service through writing this blog based mostly on experience in and out of the hospital.

We shouldn’t have to wear labels, but we also shouldn’t have to hide and I hope this blog allows all of its readers to feel that safeness.

– Kat

 

 

Dream Highlights #3

Hello again, I have a couple of vivid dream highlights to share. Here they are!

“Near the edge of a cliff, there was rubble piled up around a perfectly square hole in the ground. It was pitch black inside. I stepped towards it cautiously, leaving the path I was on. Just from looking at it I had a very bad feeling. I stopped and stood just before the edge of the caution tape circling the hole. I looked into the pit and was overcome by an intense feeling of dizziness. I was able to stumble backwards, just as I began to feel the presence of something enormous and powerful from beyond the edge of the cliff. Something was stirring, and all I knew was that I needed to get away.” – night of 10/7/18

“‘What happened to your arms?’ I asked her, concerned. She looked up at me and then stood up, explaining that one of the dogs had scratched her. I recognized the name of the dog she had mentioned and was shocked because I had never seen it act out that way. She reached up with her right hand to fix her hair or to brush it back, and that was when I saw the huge gash across that arm. The skin was completely split wide open and I could see inside the arm. It had stopped bleeding but was still pinkish red with clotted blood. The edges of the broken skin were hardened and dry. I told her that she should go to the hospital to get stitches. She said that it was fine, but I worried about the future scar.” – night of 10/9/18

 

-Milena

The Comfort of Repetition in Video Games

Repetition is when something is repeated numerous times. As we all know, there is repetition everywhere; especially in things we love such as music, movies, and video games. Some hate it while some don’t mind it. Why is that? It’s about preference. As a gamer myself, I have played many different types of games since the early 1990s; from Super Mario to Grand Theft Auto and even Mega Man to Gears of War. These and a myriad of games for the past few decades have one thing in common, repetition. Funny thing is, I have heard people and even read reviews where a game would be “repetitive” that it gets boring. But here’s my argument: All video games are repetitive. Think about it.
Since the late 1980s we have the iconic Super Mario Bros. For those unfamiliar, you play as a plumber who journeys across a fantasy world to save a princess from a castle ruled by Bowser, a giant turtle-like monster that spits fire like a dragon. To this day, there has been scores of Super Mario games; such as Super Mario Odyssey which released just a year ago. And the objectives have always been the same, save the princess from the evil king. Have people grown tired of saving the princess? Maybe some have as I have heard people say, “oh it’s the same thing again and again.” If I had a nickel for each time I heard that line.
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Super Mario Odyssey by Nintendo

Take a game like Minecraft which is basically virtual Legos. All you do is build and craft and it has inspired players to create art out of the blocks within the game. It’s all you do, so why do people like it? Because it’s fun. Why do we go back to save the princess for 30 years? It’s fun.
Repetition creates a sense of familiarity and according to Heather Alexandra from Kotaku, “Repetition can lead to fatigue, but it also can be something meditative or calming. Games are not unique in any sense, but I do find they’ve allowed me to create exciting routines, ways to relax that draw a lot of power from how reliably they can be recreated or reproduced.” (2016) Heather’s experience as she plays GTA Online and Destiny, are alike to my gaming experience when I go in games like Tom Clancy’s The Division; It is relaxing when playing a game with familiar repetitive routines. For example: getting to a place, defeat enemies, collect loot, and repeat. Of course, some players have a desire to do something different. That’s where from my perspective, it is about preference because let’s face it, video games in general can get repetitive.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to have repetition in games. People play Candy Crush or Toon Blast constantly on their smartphones and you’re just completing puzzles after puzzles. Yet, some of those same people wouldn’t like games like Grand Theft Auto where you drive around getting chased by cops as you accidentally, or deliberately hit pedestrians. For my part, I love some repetition in games depending on if I find it relaxing like in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey as I climb on structures and attempt animal hunting and mercenary missions.
There is one genre especially that is heavy on repetition; Role-Playing Games (RPGs). When I play RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Assassin’s Creed, or The Division, of course I find myself repeatedly grinding in similar battles and quest but for a few good reasons; To gain experience points and level up, progress through the game’s intriguing story, and to unwind and relax. Some RPGs may force players to lose interest however if the repetitive gameplay bores them. Another way may also be the story being less engaging. For example, take a recent RPG such as Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which released in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch. I found the gameplay to be somewhat complex, yet I continued playing because the story kept me engaged. By comparison, there is Final Fantasy XII which shares a similar gameplay mechanic but simpler. Personally, I have yet to play it but I plan to one day as the story and characters didn’t appeal to me as much as the story and characters from Xenoblade Chronicles 2 did. There’re also games such as Fallout 4 and Elder Scrolls V Skyrim; Both by the same company, Bethesda, and share exact similar gameplay style and mechanics. I play both, but I am sure there are people who would prefer to fight dragons in a fantastical world than explore a post-apocalyptic wasteland while facing radioactive infected monsters and robots.

Be as it may, I feel repetition in video games is great. There are variety of games that may be similar in the way they play yet are different in terms of setting, characters, story, and graphical style. Therefore, one would find a game like The Division to be repetitive while prefer a game like Destiny where technically, both share similar repetitive aspects. Respectively, one is more contemporary while you explore a plague infested New York City while the other is a science-fiction setting where you explore different planets; Both games has you exploring areas while searching for loot and defeating groups of enemies. It is just all about what one prefers while they wish to sit back and relax.

Sources:
Alexandra, Heather. “The Unexpected Joy Of Repetition In Video Games.” Kotaku, Kotaku.com, 24 Nov. 2016, kotaku.com/the-unexpected-joy-of-repetition-in-video-games-1783706380.

​Blog #1: Pilot

HELLO, MY BEAUTIES! this is my introductory post into my blog The Makeup Corner, Welcome all! As you can all probably infer from the name this is a blog dedicated to makeup. My name is Janet, I am a makeup obsessed English Major specialized in Literature with a Minor in Secondary Education. I am a doggie mum and I love my child. Most of my money goes into makeup and although many tell me to improve my money management it is an investment in my happiness.

With this blog, I hope to bring together people that are obsessed with makeup or those that are curious. As one of my favorite beauty gurus, Patrickstarrr, says “MAKEUP IS A ONE SIZE FITS ALL,” this is a philosophy I wish to incorporate into this blog. Makeup is something that has no qualms in accepting anyone and everyone into its arms. I hope that everyone feels at home in this blog and concludes that makeup is for them too if they wish so.

The history of makeup can be a bit complicated. In the past makeup has been exclusive of others. Many thought makeup was meant for women, nowadays it has all changed. There are many other advancements in the makeup community as well, makeup now comes in wider shade range for people of color. Although there are many issues that must still be dealt with the makeup community continues to expand and include more and more. This process has been done by individuals that believe in a society of inclusivity. All change has been done by revolutionaries that think of the possibilities. As stated by Eleanor Roosevelt “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” it is our dreams and aspirations that can bring about changes in our society. It is with this belief and with this hope that I begin this blog for beautiful dreamers.

 

Next week we will dive into the actual makeup, I am excited to start this journey and I hope you enjoy. Thank you for reading.

 

And remember stay classy, never trashy, and a little bit sassy.

Queer Media Mondays # 7: Through the Queer Eye: A Review of the Netflix Original Series

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Welcome back, Obscurians! This week, we’ll be taking a look at the Netflix Original Series Queer Eye. The reality show follows five gay men – known to all as the Fabulous Five – as they insert themselves into the lives of people who have been nominated for a full-life makeover. Each member of the group specializes in a particular area of life: Antoni as food and wine expert; Tan as fashion expert; Karamo as culture expert; Bobby as design expert; and Jonathan as grooming expert. The men use their combined skills to help the nominated guest overcome personal obstacles and give them the tools they need to succeed with the life they want.

I admit, when Queer Eye was first recommended to me and I agreed to review it, I was under the impression that it was a series drama, not a reality show. I experienced some confusion as I began watching, but caught on quite quickly. Though I had originally intended only to watch and review the first episode, I found the show charming and entertaining, and ended up making my way through much of season two before I realized it was 2am and I needed to get some sleep. Emotional and empowering, Queer Eye is the perfect binge-worthy show for those slow fall weekends when all you’d like to do is stay in bed, cuddled up with a cat and a hot pumpkin spice latte. However, I would be remiss not to mention some of the show’s shortcomings, because there are some things that definitely rubbed me the wrong way about the way the Fab Five handle their nominees.

In the first episode, “Can’t Fix Ugly”, the Fab Five are tasked with helping 57-year-old Tom, a bachelor with lupus who has been suffering from a dating dry spell, to find a date to his next car show. Prior to even meeting Tom, they have begun insulting him and criticizing his lifestyle. Upon learning that the elderly man is living in a basement apartment, Tan exclaims, “A basement apartment at 57? That’s concerning!” This was a cringeworthy moment for me, personally, because it emphasized the gap in privilege and wealth that exists between the Fab Five and the people they are supposed to be “helping”. It’s easy for them to enter a person’s life for a week, introduce them to new hair products and then go along on their merry way. But how sustainable are the changes the Fab Five have made to the lives of these people, realistically? Hair products and skin care routines add up, and when the money is hard to come by to afford such luxuries, it can be easy to slip into old patterns. They don’t know the details of Tom’s background, and it seems cruel to me that they would make snap judgments based on his current living situation. The Fab Five are supposed to build a relationship of trust throughout the week with whoever it is they are tasked with helping. How can they do that if they look down upon those they are helping? The Fab Five continuously condescend to Tom, who is surprisingly patient with the younger men as they go through his personal belongings and laugh at what they find. I don’t believe this is something the Fab Five do intentionally, but I think it’s important that they be more mindful of their own privilege as they work with these lower income people. It would also be reassuring if there were an episode in each season which were devoted to revisiting the previous nominees, in a “where they are now” type of montage. I would feel more satisfied if I could know for sure that the changes the Fab Five have helped these people make have been long lasting.

Not all of the episodes of Queer Eye left me with a bad taste in my mouth, however. In a heartwarming season two episode entitled “Sky’s The Limit”, the Fab Five help a transgender man named Skylar adjust to life following his top surgery. Karamo accompanies Skylar as he journeys to the DMV to have his gender marker on his State ID card changed to “male”, and Tan introduces Skylar to a suit tailoring company that specializes in working with trans people, after Skylar reveals the traumatic details of his previous experience shopping for a men’s suit. This episode was particularly meaningful for me because it showcased the Fab Five’s own ignorance in dealing with a trans person. Tan acknowledges this at the beginning of the episode, stating: “I think that, probably, most straight people assume that, because it’s LGBTQ, we must all understand each others’ plight. That couldn’t be more wrong. I’ve never met a trans person before.” Later in the episode, Tan discusses his own misconceptions about trans people with Skylar, and asks him what it feels like to be misgendered. Tan comes away from the conversation with a much better understanding of the trans experience and all of the obstacles that trans people face as they try to find a way to become comfortable in their own bodies. This episode stood out to me because it involved the Fab Five stepping outside of their comfort zones, and forced them to reflect on their own privileges and experiences within the LGBTQ community.

Queer Eye is far from perfect, but it has moments that are really exceptional. All of the members of the Fab Five contribute something unique and meaningful to the group and to the lives of those who are nominated to the show. For anyone struggling with self love or acceptance who would enjoy some useful tips on self care, I think this show could be really helpful.

Next time, we’ll be examining the film Battle of the Sexes (2017), starring Emma Stone, and its portrayal of the love affair between acclaimed tennis star Billie Jean King and her female hairdresser, Marilyn Barnett, in the ’70s.

Until next time!

Brittany

Next Week: A Review of Battle of the Sexes (2017)