Category Archives: On-Campus

The Helix presents Dead Poets Society

By Sheridan Cyr

Central’s own Helix literary magazine hosted a screening of “Dead Poets Society,” Thursday evening in honor of Robin Williams’ passing. Students were invited to bring a lawn chair, grab a cup of warm apple cider and cozy up outside of the Student Center to enjoy one of Williams’ most moving films.

The story opens up with a group of boys reciting Welton Academy’s four principles in the opening ceremony: tradition, honor, discipline and excellence. We quickly begin to see how strictly the all boys’ boarding school is run. The staff seem to do everything in their nature to keep students close-minded, get their work done and graduate as professional, robotic intellectuals.

Mr. John Keating, Robin Williams’ character, brings a bold, vibrant, unheard-of change to their seemingly dull education when he takes the place of the retired poetry professor.

On their first day of class, Keating instructs the boys to tear out the first chapter of their textbook that described poetry as an almost-mathematical phenomenon. He continues performing tactics like this, demanding that his students stand upon their desks to see the world differently, march madly around the University and shout lines of poetry in the classroom.

The students grow to love Mr. Keating, although they know his methods are risky. They learn of the Dead Poets Society and recreate their own immediately, as Keating had when he was a student.

In the end, the students had pulled far away from the university and their parents’ established ways. One of the main characters, Neil Perry, becomes so distraught that he takes his own life in reaction to his father’s disapproval. This, and the reinstated Dead Poets Society, is put on Keating’s shoulders, and he gets fired.

Keating asked the boys to invite into their lives the saying: “Carpe Diem,” or ‘seize the day.’ Apparently, the university did not agree.

Robin Williams took his own life on August 11, 2014. It seemed as though the world stopped for a moment upon hearing the news. He was a well-respected and adored actor and comedian. No one saw it coming, and all who knew of him felt the loss deeply.

Some of his most favored films include “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Jumanji” and “Good Morning, Vietnam.” He also starred in the show, “Mork and Mindy” (1978-1982). His career began with stand-up comedy in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1970s.

While students dealt with a few cool breezes and bent their necks to see passers-by, they watched in adoration, with open hearts and minds as Williams performed.

And to the man himself: we are saddened to know of his choice to leave. We only wish we could have given him the same lessons he left behind for us. As Mr. Keating said, “This is a battle — a war — and the casualties may be your heart and soul.”

Jay Dukes jokes

by Kiley Krzyzek

“Make sure you get a job before you graduate because you aren’t the same smooth dude when you move back into your parents crib,” warned comedian Jay Dukes while sitting with a microphone on the stage in Alumni Hall on Thursday.

The show was sponsored by Central Activities Network as part of the Homecoming Week festivities.

He covered a variety of topics, joking about girls having guys on call for certain days of the week and opening doors for girls and having a guy slip through.

Mostly, he joked about money or, rather, not having money.

“I’m grateful to be here, I gotta get this check,” said Dukes before listing crazy things you can do to save money such as cutting open the back of a tooth paste tube to get your money’s worth. “College students know how to stretch that refund check,” he said while stomping and letting out a loud ‘ohhhh’ exclamation. “We have to ball on a budget,” commiserated Dukes. Luckily for the crowd, the show was free admission.

Dukes was not shy when it came to addressing the audience of students, calling out a select few in the crowd for their reactions.

“Yo homie in the hoodie, you got a girl?” Dukes called out to a student sitting alone in the crowd with his hood up. “Nah” he replied. “But you have a girl you can call right?” pressed Dukes.

“Yeah” said the hooded figure, creating a nice segue into his interpretation of a girl pretending to be unavailable.

He asked ladies in the audience if they were single, at which a handful of hands went up, then confessed that he’s in a relationship.

“I’ve been in a relationship for two years… Give it up for me,” said Dukes, prompting the crowd to respond with applause. “Stop clapping,” deadpanned Dukes. “It was an accident,” Dukes said telling the story of a fight he had with his girlfriend when he didn’t want to get up from the couch to do the dishes like she asked and she kicked him out. He walked back soon after to apologize and she questioned what he wanted. Dukes then took off his belt, much to the chagrin of the crowd, just to say “What I want is to finish watching Law & Order,” said Dukes. And who could blame him?

“I love the way ya’ll laugh like ‘ha ha ha, next joke’” commented Dukes.

“I can’t stand lectures, especially college lectures,” he complained and gave the example of a professor saying the class will cover a certain chapter, getting side-tracked, and assigning a test the next class. “No we don’t, we have a test on your weekend because that’s all we talked about!” he exclaimed before making a show of acting like a preacher teaching a math lesson. “Professors should be more like preachers, I wouldn’t have failed man,” he said.

In addition to surveying relationship status, Dukes initiated an unenthused pep rally by calling out each class before addressing the freshman.

“Freshman, ya’ll know about the freshman 15 right? It’s so real, but it’s important to maintain yourself. I’ve also witnessed the sophomore 45,” said Dukes.

Dukes slipped in some real advice into his act such as “It’s important to know who your true friends are and keep them around.” Just when you think he’s gone soft, he tells a very descriptive story of accidentally feeling up his friend’s grandmother. Naturally, this resulted in events management dimming the lights, a student named Isaac being ushered from the crowd to beatbox, the right side of the crowd calling out “What” and the left side calling out “Gimme dat” on command as Dukes recorded the “Two-handed Titty song” for Instagram, a CCSU Original.

Student Starts Study Website

by Kiley Krzyzek

Junior Eduardo Sebastiao is the creator of einStudy.co, a website that launched this week to help CCSU students set up study sessions with other students in their classes.

“It’s basically an academic network that can help CCSU students create and join study sessions with students taking the same courses,” said Sebastiao.

Sebastiao realized that he had friends in other majors, but had a hard time connecting with students in his classes.

“I came up with the idea for the website about a year ago, last fall. Last year I was attending community college and I was taking large courses with over 20-30 people in it. And I realized I wasn’t making connections with the other students. Same thing happened when I came to Central because most kids commute. I was going to class and going home, so I didn’t have people to study with,” said Sebastiao.

einStudy aims to change that, allowing students to meet people taking the same class, even if it’s at a different time.

“It’s a good way to get to know people and it’s also a good way to study. Meet people with the same academic goals and make friends in school,” said Sebastiao.

“It’s free of charge, you select your school, the sign up process is fairly simple. You select your major, you need your school email. Once you login you have the ability to select your courses, every course availible this year is listed,” explained Sebastiao.

In addition to selecting courses there’s an about me section on profiles.

“We encourage people to write about academic stuff because we don’t want to get too personal,” said Sebastiao.

Once you’ve created your profile and selected your classes, you have the ability to create invites for study sessions, sent via email and notifications to other students taking those courses as well. Then you can get together in the student center or library and go over course work together.

“Because if something happens not on campus, we don’t want to be responsible for that,” said Sebastiao.

The study session invite includes the date, time, location, and course.

“You can message students and say, ‘hey lets study for this class I’m struggling,'” said Sebastiao.

einStudy is kicking off at Central, and hopefully expanding to other schools soon.

“I’m just trying to get as many students involved as possible. I go to Central so it made sense,” said Sebastiao.

In the future, einStudy hopes to generate partnerships with local businesses to place student oriented ads and coupons on their website.

“Hopefully by spring semester, you can come to the deals page and see the coupons. If someone decides to advertise on our website we’re going to ask what you offer to our users,” said Sebastiao.

It’s been a learning process in itself for Sebastiao who has been working on the website since March. He’s been working on the programming, coding, design, and business aspect of things.

“I’ve spend a lot of time on this. Hopefully it pays off and we get a few people on the website. The goal with every startup is to become big. And we’re still working on coding. Our goal was to start at the beginning of the semester. Every day you wake up with a new idea. We’ll launch it, hear feedback, and make changes accordingly,” said Sebastiao.

CCSU Shows Guardians of the Galaxy

by Kaitlin Lyle

While the rain drizzled down upon campus, the students of CCSU were treated to a movie night hosted by C.A.N., featuring the latest Marvel creation “Guardians of the Galaxy” last Thursday.

The floor of Alumni Hall had been cleared to set up round tables for the night’s crowd and chairs were organized to offer an excellent view of the most recent superhero release. In addition to the screening, the night allowed students to watch the movie in their pajamas and a popcorn machine was set up in the back. In spite of the small screen, the projection of “Guardians” showed great quality with stereo that echoed throughout the entire hall.

“We have a certain amount of movies that we play here. The movie got a lot of great reviews, so we thought everyone on campus would enjoy seeing it,” said Sara Bobbins, Program Director of C.A.N.

As Center Stage was hosting an event for Devil’s Den, C.A.N. planned wisely around the cabaret so that students could enjoy the movie and go to Devil’s Den afterwards. With a smile, Bobbins remarked how she had yet to see “Guardians” herself and was “really excited to see it”.

For those who aren’t familiar with the extended universe of the Marvel comics, the basic premise of “Guardians of the Galaxy” stars an intergalactic band of outlaws-turned-heroes in a mission to save the world.

Among the Guardians is an array of impressive characters, with Peter “Starlord” Quill leading the way as a self-proclaimed legendary outlaw who was abducted from Earth as a child. Following Quill is trained assassin Gamora who dons a green pigmentation and, like most Marvel women, is an overall badass. And then there’s Drax the Destroyer who seeks vengeance after the death of his family.

The Guardians are an unlikely, but memorable team of bounty hunters: Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a genetically engineered raccoon, and Groot, a humanoid plant whose communication skills are limited to three words. Each of them is notorious in their criminal ways, which eventually leads to their arrest where they become acquainted with one another. While there is initially conflict between the five, they decide to join forces for the purpose of taking down overlord Ronan the Accuser. After conducting their jailbreak, the newly formed Guardians set off to prevent Ronan from using a force called the Infinity Stone from destroying the galaxy.

The film features a 70’s pop and rock soundtrack that adds comedic value amid the action. Even with the sound of explosions going off full blast, laughter from the students could be heard echoing from the tables; the rest of the evening held silence in concentrating on the film’s plot.

The student crowd had nothing but enthusiastic reviews of the movie and the atmosphere that C.A.N. had set up for them.

“I think it’s fun that they get to show these movies on campus. It’s exciting and I get to hang out with my friends,” said Junior Hayley Noel.

“It’s pretty awesome: people, movies, popcorn,” said marine Anthony White, who assisted in serving popcorn to the long line of students. “I love the environment. The tables are all round, so everyone can interact with each other,” Sophomore Zoë Grant, who helped manage the popcorn line added.

Overall, for its first movie night of the semester, C.A.N. couldn’t have picked a better choice to draw in the student body for an action-packed night.

Students Perform for a Packed Hall

by Sheridan Cyr

The CCSU Department of Music held their first of four student recitals Thursday afternoon in the nearly-packed Founders Hall. The event presented ten talented students from the department, each eager to perform the passions that they had spent hours perfecting.

The recital featured a number of instruments as well as specialized vocalists, each taking the spotlight for two to three songs. Hired accompanist Kathleen Bartkowski played the piano alongside most of the performers.

First up, pianist Myles Ross, was the only solo performance. He first demonstrated his ability to quickly cover the full range of the piano’s keys with Claude Debussy’s “Arabesque No. 1.” His second piece, John Adams’ “China Gates,” showed off his keen memory as he performed the lengthy song without sheet music.

Next up was baritone vocalist Benjamin Kaminski accompanied by Bartkowski. The expression on his face seemed thoughtful and at ease while he sang a traditional English song, “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes” and Francesco Durante’s “Vergin, Tutto Amor.” Kaminski’s voice was soft, crisp and calming.

Soprano vocalist Corinne Prudente followed, also accompanied by Bartkowski. She smiled slightly throughout each song and looked as if she was narrating a story. She exhibited an amazing ability to reach a vast range of notes. Prudente hit every note with a voice strong enough to cut through stone.

Tenor vocalist Alexander O’Neil immediately caught the attention of the crowd with the very first note. His impressive capability to reach extremely high notes is very unique for male vocalists. Nevertheless, he sang effortlessly and when the crowd applauded, an evident sense of pride and appreciation came over him.

Charise Turner gripped her viola tightly as she took the stage alongside pianist Michael Korman. The two played a beautiful duet piece, “Märchenbilder, Op. 113” by Robert Schumann. The song went back and forth between the two, one petering out while the other rose, allowing both musicians to show their talent.

Soprano Sierra Manning’s performance was enticing and angelic. As she sang alongside Bartkowski, she seemed to embody the emotions that the original artists felt. Her second song resonated long after it was through, practically clinging to the walls. She sang, “Why do they shut me out of heaven? Do I sing too loud?” The question fit perfectly with the impeccable strength of her voice.

Tenor Kevin Schneider sang with nothing but passion. Everything – from his secured stance to his calmly clasped hands to his charming smile – showed that there is nothing he would rather do than sing. His songs featured feelings of triumphant excitement and thrill.

Andrea Shabazian demonstrated the soft, soothing sound of the flute. Her hands swiftly grazed the keys through many difficult bars and impressively fast fluctuations between notes. Both pieces were dynamic and skillful.

Last but certainly not least, soprano vocalist Kaitlyn Passons enchanted the audience with her first song, the familiar tune, “Lullaby.” Her expression was sympathetic and endearing as she performed. Her second song, “Johnny,” allowed Passons to show off her ability to perfectly keep up with numerous changes of rhythm as well as exhibit a large range of notes. The piano also gave way for Passons to sing a few lines “a cappella,” or without instrumental sound.

Students of the music department are required to sign up for one recital per semester in order to experience a real, professional performance but they finish with much more than “experience.” Every performer left the stage beaming with well-earned pride, confidence and satisfaction.

Three more student recitals are scheduled to be held in Founders Hall in Davidson at 3:05pm on Nov. 18, Nov. 25 and Dec. 4. The recitals are open to the public.

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.