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First blog post!!!

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Hello, everyone!  This is my first ever blog post to my first ever blog! I’m so excited to share this experience with you! I plan on writing mainly reviews to books and any other media I consume. I also plan on writing some about current events.

Fame the Musical

Fame is a musical telling the stories of multiple high school students at a performing arts high school in New York City. The story begins with the students anxiously awaiting for their acceptance letters to PA, the high school’s name. The show ends with the characters’ graduation from the school.

I really liked the set design. It was simple, but worked well for the high school setting. The staircases could be moved to wherever necessary for the scene, which I felt was very clever. The lockers also doubled as classroom walls. I think that the set designer really made the most of the set pieces. This was such a nice job also considering the fact the set designer and carpenter had only just met for this show. The set pieces were also all built in the Stanley which is really interesting.

The costumes were really lovely. Each costume fit with each individual character; they were believable considering who was wearing them. The costumes were all also visually striking and stood out against the other costumes.

The musical itself, I have to be honest, I didn’t enjoy so much. The show lacked depth. There were so many characters with different plot lines that didn’t go together very well to create an overall theme. I felt that events were just happening to happen. There were also romantic plot lines that suffered from lack of development. Two characters, all heterosexual, shared the same scene and all of a sudden they were in love. The story was generally just cliché. It also relied too heavily on stereotypes for each of the characters, such as the fat girl who just loves to eat 24/7.

There were multiple moments that would have been absolutely wonderful if it didn’t feel like they were coming out of no where; and the themes that were brought up, weren’t elaborated on later in the play. Such as Schlomo’s feelings of resentment toward his father. That’d be an interesting story, were it developed. There were also instances where songs didn’t make sense. Like when Miss Sherman sings about how much she loves her students right after smacking one of them in the face.

I did enjoy the music however, and the cast were very strong singers. The choreography was amazing, and the cast were excellent dancers. I loved the dancing, it was really the highlight of the show for me. The acting was pretty good as well, the comedic scenes were just spot on. The actors did what the could with what they were given and that was just great. Generally the dramatic scenes fell flat, but the one towards the end just blew me away.

I had so much fun tonight. I really appreciate this opportunity to see the musicals of the 2016-2017 season. I’m so happy to be able to watch what I love. A big thank you to Broadway Utica and the Bank of Utica for making this possible. This is really such a great program.

WJMC 5 AND 6

This is two days and a day late.  I think I was too tired and emotional to really write much about the last two days of WJMC.  Fatigue and emotion is a dangerous combination when you want to get stuff done.

Day five was exhausting.  We spent most of it in downtown DC, starting at the Capitol Building where some of the kids had appointments.  I didn’t have one so I had the choice of either going to the Holocaust museum or looking around the Smithsonian.  I chose going to the Smithsonian with a couple of friends of mine.

First, we went to the National Gallery of Art.  There were two buildings, the east of which is currently under renovation.  We went to the west building to look around.  The building itself was grand, the epitome of what you’d picture if you heard the words “art museum”.  I’ll be honest though, art museums aren’t really my thing.  I thought it was kinda boring.

We had lunch at the Cascade café in the gallery.  It was crazy expensive.  It was eighteen dollars just for my food.  It was alright, but definitely not good enough to be worth eighteen dollars.  But, that’s a big city café for you, I guess.

Then we walked to the Air and Space museum.  It was super hot, but totally worth it!  I love the air and space museum.  Its got so many interesting exhibits.  It’s a mix of science and history and I just love it a lot.  I wish we were able to spend more time there.

We left DC around two and headed back to George Mason in order to get ready for the Gala.  I straightened my hair, shout out to my roommate Kelli for letting me borrow her straightener.

The Gala was really fun.  Not much to say about it, it was your regular high school dance.  We were all awkward and stepping on each other.  But it was fun.

I spent a few hours talking with my roommates after we got back.  I’m gonna miss them.

Day six was really emotional because that was the last day.  It was the last time we’d all see each other.  We had breakfast and then we went to our last color group meeting.  We signed each others yearbooks.  I’m really bad at notes so I hope none of them are too upset about that.  April, our faculty advisor, brought minion tattoos for all of us.  I hate the minions, but man do I love this temporary tattoo.

I didn’t think I was gonna cry, I’ve only known these people for a week.  I was wrong about that.  I’m gonna miss them all so much.  I’m glad social media is a thing so we can stay in touch.

Before I left, April had me take a selfie with her.  I still need to ask her to send it to me.  I think I regret not taking more pictures with everyone.  One condition of April’s was that we all had to text when we got home.  We all did, and I’m glad everyone got home safely.

I slept most of the way home, and I was glad to be back.  But, I really miss George Mason, and I really miss this conference.  WJMC was a great experience and I am really sad its over, but I’m happy I had the opportunity to do this.

 

 

WJMC DAY FIVE

Today we stayed on the George Mason campus.  My feet were very happy about this.  However, there weren’t any buses to sleep on this morning.  I was so tired.

Our day started out strong with a lecture from Carol Guzy.   Guzy is a Pulitzer prize winner for her photography.  She seemed like a very cynical person, which was understandable after hearing what she had to say.  She’s seen so many tragedies.  That being said, she was also so empathetic.  She felt the pain caused by every single of the tragedies she’s covered. I don’t think I’ll ever forget what she said, “Objectivity to me, total objectivity, is a myth”.  This was basically how she felt on the thought that journalists can just detach themselves from their stories.

There were numerous amazing speakers today.  I am so sad that this conference is ending so soon.

WJMC DAY THREE

Today was all D.C.  It wasn’t too hot today, which is always a blessing here.  We spent the day listening to three different speakers, and then we walked around various monuments.

Our day started at National Geographic with Susan Goldberg.  It was awesome!  She was an absolutely amazing speaker.  I love how National Geographic uses it’s multiple platforms to tease stories that will eventually come to print.  I was surprised about how popular National Geographic was, though now I’m not as surprised looking back at it now.  National Geographic is everywhere!  I have to say, I think I’ll be subscribing to the magazine when I get back home.

We went to lunch at this Italian restaurant called Buca di Beppo.  The décor was a tad eccentric.  Our table had a bust of a pope as the centerpiece.  There were flags of Vatican city everywhere around us.  There were numerous old pictures.  The food was pretty good, I loved the cheesecake!  I ate the whole thing and I don’t even like cheesecake!

Then we headed off to George Mason University’s campus in Arlington, Virginia.  We listened to Brian Lamb.  Though that felt more like an interview rather than a lecture.  We spoke mainly about politics, such as who you would vote for.  He always had follow-up questions.  He didn’t really speak much himself.

After him was Jamie Smith.  She works in communications, a type of Public Relations.  I felt that she was a very relatable person; more so I think than any of the other speakers honestly.  She was a good storyteller, but it was more of in the way you’d tell a friend of yours rather than an audience.  It was really interesting to see a career that related to journalism that wasn’t being a reporter or an editor.

The monuments were beautiful.  We went to the World War II monument first.  It was so beautiful there.  I loved the fountains in the center, even though people were wading in them.  There are signs specifically saying not to do that!  There were also ducks in the water.  I loved the ducks.

Then we went to the Lincoln Memorial.  It is so big, you feel so small standing next to it.  It was really hot there, as it warmed up from earlier.  We stayed there until a little after sunset.  It was amazing.

Day three is over with! WJMC is an awesome experience so far!

 

WJMC DAY TWO

Day two of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference was even better than the first.  It was much more eventful, and it was really fun!

Today we went to Washington D.C. for the majority of the day.  We were a tad late though, thanks to hectic D.C. traffic.  There were two stops planned for us in the city.  The first was at the Newseum and the second was at the National Press Club.

We were late to the Newseum, so we ended up being off-schedule.  Our group started off by looking at a gallery of Pulitzer Prize winning photos.  These photos were spectacular, definitely worthy of their prize.  They all captured emotional moments, good or bad.  All of them were able to take your breath away.

Next was the introductory 4-D movie, which explains the history behind several American journalists, such as Nellie Bly.  Honestly though, I really don’t like the glasses you have to wear.  So, that really took away from the experience for me.  The film was very informative, so I still really enjoyed it.

There were multiple other exhibits, such as the Berlin Wall.  I thought it was really interesting how on the side of the wall that was in West Berlin, it’s covered in graffiti.  On the other side, it’s mostly clear of any.

There were three exhibits that displayed front pages of newspapers.  The first I looked at was front pages from papers today.  These were newspapers from China, Qatar, Brazil, and many other countries.  The papers from the United States had headlines for the recent Baton-Rouge shooting in Louisiana.

The second exhibit was more historical.  There were newspapers from many points in history.  There was one newspaper that had a headline which was one word, “PEACE”.  That paper was published in 1918.  I noticed though, that many headlines seem to be about tragedies.

The third exhibit was all front pages released after 9/11.  There were so many; they took up a whole wall.  There were papers in Arabic, Spanish, Korean, Hebrew.  One particularly memorable headline was in English, “BASTARDS”.  The whole exhibit was somber, not that I’m surprised about that.  There was a short film about 9/11, and I really can’t believe it.  I can’t believe the responses people had to it.

There was a really neat FBI exhibit.  I particularly liked the “Ghost Stories” exhibit, which was about the Russian spies that were discovered in America back in 2010.  There was another about the Unabomber, and another about Charles Lindbergh’s son who was kidnapped and killed.  A short film about hackers and how the internet is home to a new black market, unlike anything before.

I’ve visited the Newseum before.  I was about eleven years old then, and I loved it then.  I’m really glad it held up to my memories of it.  It was amazing and I love it today too.  There’s so much I’ve seen there today that I’m not sure I could really do justice to on my blog post honestly.

Next we headed to the National Press Club to view a panel on politics and to hear a lecture from Terry Anderson.  I did really like the politics panel, but I have to say that Terry Anderson’s speech really took the cake.  I felt that he was an excellent speaker, and he was very passionate about journalism.  I really, really enjoyed his talk.

Day two is done, and I’m so pumped for the rest of the week.  I hope it’s as great as today was!

 

WJMC DAY ONE

So, today was the first day of the Washington Journalism and Media Conference.  I have to say, I was very nervous!  After all, this is the first time I’ve ever stayed in another state without anyone I already knew.  But, I have to say, if the rest of the week is like today I won’t have any problems.  Today was so much fun!

It was really hot today, so that wasn’t so much fun; but I’ve met some awesome people so far!  There are so many students from all fifty states.  I myself share a suite with two girls from Tennessee and a girl from Michigan.  As someone who hasn’t left her state much, I think it is pretty neat to meet people who live in another state.

I met my color group today as well!  Our group advisors are really nice.  We even have a group chat with all of us in it!  The people in the group are pretty cool too.  I’m really looking forward to getting to know them.

Today itself was honestly rather uneventful.  Though, I suppose that’s to be expected since it was the first day.  Most people were still checking in.  There was a tour of the campus.  I have to say, George Mason has a really nice campus.  The buildings are beautiful, its nice and big.  My dad said it was nice, but that he liked UAlbany better.  I think he’s a little biased since he went there.

We had dinner at Johnson Center, which is a really big building.  The food was really good and then after we had David Culver speak to us.  I felt what he had to say about journalism and getting on your way was very insightful.  “Breaking news will happen,” he said.  This was talking about how something can change at a moment’s notice.  That really struck a chord with me I suppose.   I think it’s important to remember in life that nothing will always work out the way you think it’s supposed to.

Day one done, my feet are tired, I’m sweating bullets, and I’m super excited for the rest of this week.

 

 

 

 

All the Truth is Out

All the Truth is Out
by Matt Bai

An interesting book, on the surface, written about politician Gary Hart. Gary Hart was a former presidential hopeful in 1987, until news of a possible affair came to light. Of course, this book was not only about that.

The book also talks about the changes in journalism that really caused that mess with Gary Hart. Bai details the differences between journalists when JFK was president to the 1980s. For sometime, journalists wouldn’t venture into politicians’ personal lives. They remained personal.

All around I felt it was rather interesting. If never heard of Gary Hart before this, so I was certainly learning something new. The author, I felt, had an issue with going on tangents about a subject that wasn’t relevant to the topic he was writing about previously. However, I do think Bai gets a pass for that since those tangents eventually lead back to the main topic and enhanced your understanding of it.