“…you have to develop a conscience and if on top of that you have talent so much the better. But if you have talent without conscience, you are just one of many thousand journalists.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
“If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison
A Student Showcases from R Culture: Mixtape Blue
Photographers in New York City are a-plenty—from tourists aiming at the tall buildings to the inspired-semi-pro who just enjoy shooting up the city. And, of course, there are the true professionals who chose the most beautiful city in the world as their home.
Sometimes, within the 35mm and DSLRs, you find some green gems. It is truly incredible how these gems can be so young in age and in experience, yet blow your mind with their composition and passion. This is the story of four high school students and their journey growing up photographers in their city:
Sydnie L. Hyams, 16 years old, 10th Grade
Canon Rebel T4I & Vivitar 35mm.
“I have been doing photography for fun for about six years, but I’ve been doing it seriously for three. Photography is a way to capture moments. A box of film is full of potential memories, and I like to capture those. Certain songs can bring back memories, and I would like my photos to do the same. Some photographers I like include Petra Collins, Annie Leibovitz circa 1970 and Lauren Greenfield. My favorite thing to photograph is people.”
“I do photography for myself.” – Sydnie
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Comic vs Animated Movie… Two Sides of the Same Coin?
Days before the 2-day theatrical release of Batman: The Killing Joke, all the headlines pointed to one huge mistake the filmmakers made when adapting such a major comic story into an animated film: the fact that they changed the whole story. Okay, okay, that may have been a bit hyperbolic, but once rumors got out of the Batgirl/Batman sex scene, the nerds readied themselves with pitchforks and fire to rage-complain on the internet. Unfortunately, this animated film became the victim of overcompensation of past critiques, but not so unfortunate for the fans who can look past the first 30 minutes, it was still a very entertaining experience.
Batman: The Killing Joke is a 1988 one-shot story written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. The story focuses on the Joker’s origin, as well as his latest plan to cause mayhem to Gotham. The story is pivotal for many reason: Joker now has an origin story, Barbara Gordon is shot and paralyzed, Batman and Joker are juxtaposed as “two sides of the same coin,” and Batman has a dark monologue about the ultimate fate—maybe fatal—of the Batman and Joker rivalry. This story is quick, gritty, and shows many of the vital characteristics that both characters grow on.
And on the other hand, we have the animated film. Directed by Sam Liu and written by Brian Azzarello, but, more importantly, featuring voice acting from Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill as Batman and the Joker, respectively. The film was intended to be released directly to home-video and as digital download, but the studios then decided to premier the film at San Diego Comic-Con on July 22, followed by a 2-day theatrical release in select theaters. Read More
Be culture, love your culture, keep your culture.
Culture. History. Identity. Heritage. Blood. Lineage. Ancestry. Roots. Birthright… I could keep going on-and-on-and-on with different names for the same concept. I could go on-and-on-and-on about what it means to me and how I show mine… well, actually, I will. Because it took too many years for me to realize the importance of my identity—my culture—numerous years that I am embarrassed to admit here now, but will.
My journey first took me from Tucuman, Argentina, to Damascus, Maryland. I talk about this first move a lot. The change in scenery, in cultures, in attitudes, was big. Not something I totally understood as a 10-year-old, but something I now look back on and see with astonished eyes. I partly blame my surrounding, and partly my incapability to understand the importance of my culture, for the way this all happened.
Growing up in a vastly contrasting places in the States, I had been beaten down to loose my culture—my identity—throughout the years. “Beaten” might be a strong expression, but throughout the years I was made to feel like I had to hide it because it was outside the norm, outside the uniform of the United States of America that I was growing up in. But my name kept my strings close to my lineage, my name kept reminding me who I am, and my name kept me grounded to the roots that were embarrassingly close to withering. Read More
To raise awareness about veteran suicide rates.
I usually don’t take up challenges like this one, or even causes like these, but the 22 Push-Up Challenge—to raise awareness about veteran suicide rates—resonates with me on a different level. It’s hard for me to put into words my feelings towards suicide, once I start to think about it it’s hard to think clearly, but it’s something I now actively try to not ignore anymore. If you start to educate yourself on suicide rates in the U.S., and in the world, it’s a troubling path with numbers that astound. And although the numbers given in this challenge aren’t totally factual (22 veterans do not commit suicide daily), the rates for veteran suicide is 50% higher than of those who never enlisted, and that is troubling for many reasons. Read More
“In a writer there must always be two people – the writer and the critic.”
– Leo Tolstoy
“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.”
– Bob Dylan
Look to the monsters around you to fuel your creativity.
The monsters can surround you or hide deep inside. They can be the height of the tallest mountain or the little bug that keeps buzzing by your ear, keeping you awake. The monsters can be in your closet at night on just in your head, the wild imagination that keeps you uncomfortable in the dark. At the end of the day, monsters are anywhere and everywhere, they are big and small, they are physical and metaphorical, but what you have to remember is that the monsters are around to keep you in constant fear, to halt you in your tracks, but they should never keep you from doing what you need to do.
I left Los Angeles on January 1, 2014. This was a fearful time, as it was a step away from comfort, but more importantly, it was a step towards a dream I should have been following long ago. Hell, comfort can be the worst monster out there, but that’s a tale for another page. Read More
It took ten months, but I’ve found my bearings and the thrashing waters of life have settled.
The winter over-stayed, the spring was nonexistent, and the busy summer scorches through into eternity. With time having its fun, the weeks flew from tomorrows into todays, todays into yesterdays, and all-too-quickly, into last months. I studied the downtown and the midtown, the east side to the west, and the uptown is next to conquer. New York City, 2015, becomes mine. New York City, 2015, resembles the gentrified skyline of my Brooklyn streets: many lows and few high-rises. But as the heat rays start to hint at taking their many-month nap, the new high-rises fill the neighborhood with shadows, and life’s ups start kicking where the sun don’t shine.
Just last month I took a new job. You are now looking at the new Communications Manager at a private school in the Upper West Side. Not just any private school, but a progressive private school. What does that even mean? I don’t know yet, I guess I’ll find out (and I guess I’ll tell you all about it). But, what’s important is that in this crazy world of kicked up dust and pushy streets, I’ve found a place for the specs to settle, I’ve found a balance that shapes everything around me into an uncharacteristic calm. It’s kind of nice. Read More
“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.”
– Truman Capote