Category Archives: On-Campus

CCSU’s Own John Tulley Hosts Semester’s Final Edition of ‘Central Authors’

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

Wednesday afternoon marked the final edition of this semester’s Central Authors Lecture series, held in the CCSU Bookstore. This episode featured professor John Tulley, who was given an enthusiastic introduction by CCSU’s own Dr. Gil Gigliotti, a Professor of early American literature in the English Department at the university.

The event took place towards the back of the bookstore, and chairs were aligned, audience-style, for the arriving crowd. Tulley’s own parents even happened to be in attendance. Professor and author, John Tulley, was here to discuss one of his published works in his Understanding and Teaching series, this one being “Understanding and Teaching: The Vietnam War.” Fresh bags of popcorn were handed out upon arrival to the completely free event, and was surprisingly delicious. A paper with a few paragraphs and also bearing the famous photograph of the execution of a Vietcong prisoner by General Loan, was also handed out as Tulley was about to begin his lecture and discussion.

The lecture began with Tulley discussing the said photograph from the handout, as well as the photographer behind it, Eddie Adams, and offers some excerpts that Adams stated after the fact: “I won a Pulitzer Prize for a photograph of one man shooting another. Two people died in that photograph: the recipient of the bullet, and General Loan. The General killed the vietcong [prisoner]; I killed the general with my camera. Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world…people believe them, but photographs do lie even without manipulation. They’re only half-truths. What the photograph didn’t say was: What would you do if you were the general at that time, that place, on that hot day, and you caught the so-called bad guy after he blew away one, two or three American soldiers…The picture really messed up his life. He never blamed me, he told me if I hadn’t taken the picture, someone else would have.”

After discussing the photograph and the motives, as well as misconceptions behind it, Tulley pushed the discussion forward and continued to explain some of the challenges that are faced in the classroom on both the high school and college level. “Was Ho Chi Minh a communist, a nationalist, or was he both? Was it even one war? I call my class Vietnam Wars: Home and Abroad. Was it a civil war, a war of communist aggression, a war for independence, a hot battle in the cold war…and what about the battles about the war fought then and now among and between Americans? Those fights influence and still influence American culture and our sense of identity as a nation, and our mission and role in the world. These are just some of the host of questions that teachers at all levels face when teaching about the Vietnam war. Understanding these questions, exploring the frameworks for discussing the war, and deciding which or what combination of them to present to students are the first tasks teachers face. This book’s goal is to help with those decisions and to provide specific ideas [to help] to carry them through to the classroom,” Tulley explained.

Before getting into a Q&A segment, Tulley delved into what inspired him to write and publish the book in the first place: “I’ve always thought that it would be very handy if I had something that would remind me of some of the ideology on the topic, and give me some really clear ideas of how to teach it well. That’s what this book is designed to do for high school and college teachers around the country. When the book was done – I sat down and read it completely, and I found 21 specific ways that I could improve my teaching of my Vietnam War class.”

“Understand and Teaching: The Vietnam War” is a part of the Understanding and Teaching series by John Tulley, which includes other topics such as LGBT, the Cold War, slavery and the Holocaust. “Understand and Teaching: The Vietnam War” is available online and in stores at most bookstores, and is also available for the Kindle.

Annual Charity Drag Ball is Success with Huge Turnout

By: Kiley Krzyzek

The annual Drag Ball for charity took place during last Thursday inside of the Devils Den at 10pm. Both professional drag queens and student amateurs volunteered to perform to a song, which consisted of: posing, dancing, strutting around, and interacting with the cheering crowd who threw dollar bills in their direction. The event, which was sponsored by Pride and raised money for Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective was a huge success, and a blast for everyone who was in attendance, which was a huge turn out.

 

“This years Spring Charity Drag Ball was a huge success!!” exclaimed Pride Vice President Alexyss Fuller. “We had over 400 people attend the event and have since received extremely positive feedback on all of the performances.  Through tips to the performers we raised $143 for the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective.  There were 14 different amateur acts and two professional drag performers had two songs each for their routines.”

 

Semesters went under a quick one-night renovation, and was transformed into the designated floor for the Drag Ball. There was even a retro disco ball hanging and lights flashing constantly. Some students received glow sticks after they checked in with their blue chip card, which were used heavily throughout the show, making for a colorful and exciting setting. Seating became quite limited thanks to the somewhat unexpected huge turn out as far as the audience goes, so students stood on the sidelines watching the drag queens closely and eagerly, all the while showing and maintaining their full support to the entire LGBT community on campus.

 

“I was genuinely surprised by how many people came out to support.  The performers were great.  Events like this make me proud to go to such an open and accepting school,” said Kristen Baclawski, sophomore. The show was most definitely entertaining. Everyone in attendance seemed captivated and interested by the endlessly surprising things that performers would unexpectedly get into. The people in attendance had the chance to constantly engage with the performers as the show continued, making for a successful, as well as interactive, event.

 

“It was a blast.  Everyone who performed rocked that stage and gave it their all!” said Summer Nagy, a junior.

 

The student performers enjoyed themselves as much as the audience enjoyed their performances, which was clear in their effort and interest in getting a rise out of the audience’s attention.

 

“It was actually my first time performing in a drag show!” exclaimed Cecelia Cannavo, junior. “I’ve always wanted to perform in one, but never really had the balls I guess you can say.  The show was fun and the audience was so supportive.  The fact that there were dollars being tossed at me for charity was a wonderfully added bonus.”

“The Illusion” Dazzles Spectators & Actors Alike

By Kiley Krzyzek

It was all an illusion, thanks to last week’s theater performances at the black-box theater in Maloney Hall.

The Illusion, by playwright Tony Kushner, tells the story of a father, Pridamant, who learns what became of his estranged son through glimpses revealed by a magician, only to realize that these were memories from theatrical performances.

“A man who is close to death comes to a magician’s cave to seek out the truth of what happened to his son, who ran away as a young boy.  The magician proceeds to show him three episodes from his son’s life as he gets older. You find out at the end all the scenes have been plucked from theatrical performances.  It’s really a testament to how theater evokes emotions that surprise people and [how] it’s really irrevocably changed them.” explained Ashley Malloy in detail, who played the role of Alcandre, the magician.

The story was told eloquently by Central Connecticut State University students of the Theater department.

While the changing of names and scenes became slightly confusing during the show, the dynamic performances, intricate wardrobes and stage visuals held the audience’s attention.

The play also took hold of the actors’ attention when they first encountered the script.

“I read it about a year ago when I first found out we were going to do it and it felt like a movie. A lot of the times you read a script for the first time and you’re kind of getting a feel for how the story is going to come together. So, the whole time I’m trying to piece together this story as it’s happening, and they’re all changing names in every scene… is it supposed to be one actor or three actors?” Michael Serignese, Senior CCSU theatre student, who played Pridamant, asked, likely taking words out of some viewers’ mouths.

“You find out at the end that it’s supposed to be like that. The ending definitely is a huge surprise to everybody who sees it the first time, I don’t think anybody sees it coming.” claims Serignese.

At the end, the audience learns that the visions portrayed of Pridamant’s son are not entirely real, because he is alive and well. What his father saw was merely scenes from his performances as an actor, making the basis for the eventual major plot twist.

“I knew the ending before I read it, and I wish I hadn’t. Reading a play out loud is always so much different than reading it silently. When I read it by myself I was like ‘I don’t really like this play’.” Malloy claimed.

This feeling quickly shifted, possible through time and a great director, who is backed and highly praised by all of the show’s cast.

“When we read it as a group, and I could hear the different voices and characters as we went through. Thom, the director, was giving us suggestions as we went along, it was like ‘oh, wow! This is taking place on a much more epic plane than I ever thought was possible for the show.'” said Malloy.

Serignese also had great moments to share in his working with the director, Thom Delventhal.

“Working with Thom is always a breath of fresh air. He has this amazing ability to pull things out of your soul that you don’t even know are there. You’ll look back at the end of a run and you have no idea where it came from. It’s been a larger than life experience.” said Serignese. “It has been such an honor working work this particular cast and crew. Normally, we rehearse for six weeks before putting up a show; this production gave us only fourteen rehearsals after snow cancelations; a testament to the talent and commitment of [all] those involved.”

“And here we are — it’s the last night with the makeup and the wig and fat suit. I think my favorite part of this entire process has been the fat suit.” joked Serignese. “For those of us who are on our final college performance, or close to it, we couldn’t think of a better way to go out than with this group. It’s been a ride, that’s for sure.”

The cast worked on several techniques to develop their respective character portrayals correctly.

“We do a lot of physical and vocal work to create character. You explore how does wind feel on this part of your body, how does fire feel on that part of your body. It’s allowing yourself to be open to unexpected things. Vocally; I worked a lot on this piece, imagining what kind of voice would Alcandre have?” said Malloy.

“And in the moments when Priadamant’s having a lot of fun and letting himself be a part of the magic – vocally I was able to use a lot of the upper register of my voice, and be more fluid in my motions.” said Serignese.

When Pridamant reverts back to his old ways, it is a pivotal point for the characters.

“You see Pridamant go on this powerful journey, only to see him go back and be just as cold in the end.” said Serignese.

After showcasing their skills in what may be their final college performance, what lies on the path ahead for these two graduating theatre students?

“I’m moving to Boston and I’m really excited to be a part of the theatre scene there, I’m really interested in creating my own devised works. Doing theatre for social change and that kind of thing. ” said Malloy.

As for Serginese, the future is looking somewhat similar. “I’ll be taking a year off from school, re-auditioning for graduate programs next year.”

Serignese also plans on continuing something he and some fellow students began some time ago. “Last summer, a bunch of theatre students from Central, and friends from home, shot a pilot: ‘Clifford’s Sacrifice-An Italian Bistro’.

When asked what else the fall holds for him, Serignese responded, “Auditions, auditions, auditions … no one’s going to come to you, you have to seek out the work yourself.”

Alum Biographer William Mann Comes Back to Campus

Writing Hollywood, a talk hosted by author and CCSU Alum William Mann, took place on March 4 in the Elihu Burritt library.

Mann, a 1984 CCSU history graduate, spoke of his discoveries through writing biographies of famed Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand and Katherine Hepburn. Mann penned “Hello Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand”. With his reasearch and writing, Mann gained insight about the creation of celebrities.

Barbra Streisand is a singer and actress whose career began in the 1960s with simply determination and talent, pushing her way into fame.

“At the age of seven, Streisand said she felt an uncontrollable itch to get out in the world and prove herself. So she did. Streisand had elbowed her way to the attention of critics and casting directors, forcing them to notice her. She possessed the desire to be great, not necessarily famous.” explained Mann. Streisand’s mother constantly reassured Barbra that she was not pretty enough to be successful.  Despite this negative reinforcement, from the person who is supposed to be her biggest supporter in life, Barbra “barged ahead with her dream,” Mann explained.

“Hepburn wanted the spotlight, Taylor wanted the Diamonds and the Yachts, Streisand wanted something else entirely; she wanted to prove that she mattered.” said Mann of Streisand’s drive to become great. She found a way to draw attention to herself aside from her looks, so she altered her name.

“People assumed that the young girls name was misspelled, but Barbra Streisand had removed that superfluous “a” [in her first name] because she wanted to stand out, be noticed, make an impression. There were thousands of “Barbara’s” at the time, but there will only be one “Barbra.” asserted Mann.

While Streisand became successful in her perseverance as well as her talent, Katherine Hepburn, whom Mann also spoke about in some detail, worked on using her image to her advantage.

“Hepburn grew up wanting fame, so she looked out into the public and decided to give us what we wanted to buy. Whether that be the liberated feminist, the glamorous movie star, or the fun, no nonsense american icon.” stated Mann.

Mann went on to tell the story of how Elizabeth Taylor smoked a cigarette during her acceptance of her Oscar, after she was supposedly diagnosed with a severe illness.

“She had won back people’s hearts. That’s not to say she faked her illness. Elizabeth Taylor never faked anything,” Mann assured. That’s what made her so unique in Hollywood, she knew how to use the epic twists and turns of her life to her advantage.

Taylor generated press and intrigue regarding her personal life to fuel her popularity.

“Her face graced thousands of magazines. Taylor is the reason paparazzi developed into such a force, and why we still have them today.” said Mann as he showed a picture of Elizabeth Taylor reading a tabloid about herself while filming Cleopatra. “Here she is on the set of Cleopatra, reading about all the fuss she was causing on the set of Cleopatra,” joked Mann, much to the amusement of the crowd.

“Brooklyn Salon” Showcases Select Artwork of Recent Brooklyn Exhibits

Kevin Jachimowicz

“Brooklyn Salon”, an exhibit of artwork, is on display at CCSU starting March 6, running until April 6, and features the artwork of a host of famed American artists.

Every semester, Central Connecticut State University Art Galleries hold at the least, three major shows. This exhibit displays artwork selected from recent exhibitions that have been shown in Brooklyn, New York. The show contains artwork from a host of skilled and renowned American artists: Michael Ballou, James Esber, Tony Fitzpatrick, and Jim Torok.

Ballou has been living in Brooklyn since 1983. During the 1990s, he was one of the guiding spirits of Four Walls, hosted in his garage studio, which was something of a combination of clubhouse and laboratory for the exchange of art and ideas. His work ranges from sculptures to mixed media, to film.

Fellow New York artist, Jim Torok, has a portfolio with a feel of much the opposite, with more of a self-critical sense to it. Torok is a cartoonist of current events and painter of miniature portraits using oil paint on panels. Torok typically utilizes tiny portraits, and is also a hilarious storyboard narrator; typically covering the topic of his life as an artist.

Tony Fitzpatrick owns an even more eccentric style. Fitzpatrick’s piece “Midnight City #3″ has a feel reminiscent to that of James Esber’s style, colorful, bright and eye-catching, although the focus of the imagery is crystal clear — something Esber’s work does not always necessarily just hand to its viewers.

One of the most impressive pieces, and a definite eye-catcher, was the very recent piece by James Esber, which was just completed in 2013.  “Untitled (Boy with Five Legs)” is the name of the warped, distorted, colorful piece.  In late December of 2010, The New York Times praised Esber for his series of portraits of Osama Bin Laden, reminiscent to that of the “Untitled (Boy with Five Legs)” piece, as far as the distortion aspect goes, at the very least. Esber is also known for another one of his more distorted pieces, this one depicting President Lincoln.

For the process of his creations, Esber paints with Plasticine, a pigmented modeling material that adheres to the wall in low relief and never dries completely. His technique confuses painting and sculpture. Known for tackling taboo social issues in his artwork, Esber gathers images from modern and popular American sources, plies at them and distorts them through his artwork — creating an alternative train of thought for the viewer. Esber seems to have developed a theme of addressing notions of distortion and perception, through mining some of the more over-saturated icons of the media and American pop culture.

Skillfully balancing the pieces with a mixture of both illusionism and objectiveness, Esber’s artworks are significant memorials to the individuals they portray as well as reminders that these pictures are first and foremost objective; the significance in which they are recognized, portrayed and interpreted is completely subject to change viewer to viewer, in regards to the context and light they are perceived in.

Esber’s artwork covers those who may have accidentally stumbled into the media spotlight, depicting and portraying them in a warped and distorted fashion amongst heavily textured surfaces to create depth in the piece — created using clashing colors with varying widths of thickness. Some of Esber’s newer works are created with the intention of looking drastically different in different volumes of lighting; leaving the possibility for the piece to change throughout a single day.

The Brooklyn Salon Art Gallery can be seen in the CCSU Art Gallery, Maloney Hall, and admission will be free up until April 6th, every weekday.

CCSU Spring Concert Selection Process

By Kiley Krzyzek

The annual announcement of CCSU’s Spring Concert artists often brings grumblings of complaint from the student body, who may be unaware of the forces that shape the decision on who to pick.

Tickets for the Spring Concert featuring three rap artists – Ab-Soul, A$AP Ferg and Joey Bada$$ – and 3lau, a DJ, went on sale after the announcement at the Snowball Dance in the beginning of February. The acts were chosen by the Student Government Association (SGA) and Central’s Activity Network (CAN) back in the fall.

Many factors go into choosing the acts with finances being the main one.

“The executive boards of CAN and SGA sit down together and figure it all out. Usually we start meeting in early October and we sit down and kind of figure out what our budget is. For CAN it’s a very set budget. They don’t have any wiggle room really. SGA decides what they can take out of our reserve account. What acts are in our price range really kind of narrows it down for us,” explained Brian Choplick, president of SGA.

“CAN gives about $56,000, which comes from the Student Union Board of Governors and that money is our investment. We don’t get any of it back. SGA will do the other half. We’re not there to make a business out of it. It’s there so we can keep supplying the concert,” said Michelle Zohlman, president of CAN.

CAN and SGA also try to gauge what kind of music the student body likes primarily using a survey that was on collegiate link, an online network used for connecting with clubs and organizations on campus.

The questionnaire allowed students to pick their favorite genre of music from a list and answer an open-ended question: “Any suggestions on what you’d like to see on campus?”

“Overwhelmingly, every year, it comes out that they want hip hop,” said Choplick, who explained that the survey was hosted during CAN’s welcome week events at the beginning of the semester.

“This year was the first time our survey was on the link. 3,000 people are signed up to use the link. In the past we’ve done a paper survey. It’s only been in our welcome week carnival, which is the first two weeks of school. This year we had it at the carnival, we had the computers and the tablets to sign up and we also had it at our events at welcome week and as well as it was available online so anyone could take it and it was advertised,” said Zohlman.

CAN acknowledges that not everyone may be happy with the choices for the concert and is open to suggestions on how to improve.

“You can’t please 10,000 people and I know some people are going to have negative comments and say they didn’t see the link thing but we had it up for a few weeks. But we are looking for people who can think of ways to do it better,” said Zohlman.

Of the 174 people who filled out the collegiate link survey, 48 voted for hip hop/rap and 47 voted for the pop category.

“But even though it might not have been as large of a quantity as people may like I think that the numbers still tell what the past seven years have been: hip hop is what the people want. And it doesn’t mean when we go through the process we exclude anything,” ensures Zohlman.

There were also various write-in suggestions.

“The intention of it is that somebody might mention somebody that we haven’t really thought of. I know that during last year’s process, Kendrick Lamar’s name actually came up so we’re always just looking for the student body to suggest someone who we may not know of,” explains Choplick.

To try to predict the future, the organizations took a look at the past. Rap has been the winner for the past seven consecutive years.With the majority of people in favor of hip hop/rap over pop, it was justifiable for the committee to make those choices, especially when considering cost.

“We did look at both but having pop is difficult. Once they have one hit they probably want up to $50,000. ​We try to do the best for our money and also who we think is going to do well in the long-term. We start thinking [of who to sign] by September and by October we start acting. You almost have to try to see the future. It’s fun to do from our perspective but it’s nerve-wracking,​” explained Zohlman.

Tickets are $15 for full-time students, $20 for part-time and graduate students and $25 for guests and can be purchased at the Centix Box Office located at the Student Center’s Information Desk.

“And there are four acts,” emphasized Ashley Anderson, vice president of SGA. “And it’s only $15 [for full-time students]. So four acts for $15 is pretty good.”

There is no cut off date for ticket sales; they will be on sale only until there are no more left.

Ticket sales are important, but the main priority is for those in attendance to have a good time.

“I do hope that the students there enjoy themselves and have a really great time. It’ll be if not just as good but better than last year, ” promises Zohlman.

The 2013 spring concert was very successful with Steve Aoki and Kendrick Lamar.

“Last year there was a really good turn out with a mix of a rap artist and a DJ and that’s kind of what we’re doing again this year. With last years spring concert, Kendrick Lamar, when they first chose him, he wasn’t popular yet. And then ‘Swimming Pools’ came out and by the time it was announced everyone was pumped,” said Anderson.

The student government is hopeful that by the time the concert rolls around the popularity of the acts will spike again.

“Some of the artists have been featured on bigger artist tracks. The people who follow that kind of music know them. We have the talent booked by the first week of November. So that’s pretty far out that we have to plan for,” said Anderson.

The up and coming acts have already started to get noticed.

“So that’s the really cool thing about concerts here at CCSU. You’re going to see somebody, and a year later they’re going to be huge and you’re going to be able to say you went to see them before anybody else,” added Choplick.

“To be honest, I didn’t know any of these people when we picked them but I’m going to go because it’s always a good time anyway,” said Anderson.