Remembering Gil Scott-Heron

 

Gil Scott Heron

Gil Scott Heron

 

 

 

I will not assume that many of my peers have an idea who Gil Scott-Heron is, or have any real knowledge of his impact. Most of his work until, recent was produced during the 1970s. By the time I was born in 1988, Gil Scott-Heron was rarely heard from unless to highlight the hard times he had fallen on.

However yesterday, at the announcing of his passing, people across the world responded. Many from various circles and backgrounds. Even Eminem  tweeted ” RIP Gil Scott-Heron, He influenced all of hip-hop.” As word continues to spread and more people becomes aware of his passing, the praise and adulation will undoubtedly pour in. Although his impact was felt world wide, his spoken word often dealt with the social issues felt by those within the black community. He became a social activist through the lyrics and lines within his poems and spoken word. Over percussionist sounds his words would flow touching upon political issues , poverty and disparity within government programs.

Gil Scott-Heron’s most popular piece The Revolution Will Not Be Televised took aim at mass media,mocking through references of pop-culture items and the role they played in distracting Americans from real issues.

To truly understand the talent and amazing spirit in which Gil Scott-Heron connected with millions isn’t to read about it, but to experience it for oneself. That is how he impacted a culture and helped to influence generations after. Through his words, his prose , his unique approach to addressing social issues over those rhythmic drums. That is after all how he impacted mine.

So I leave you with the link to his spoken word and the explanation that would come years later to what is regarded as his best work. RIP Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

“The catchphrase, what that was all about “The Revolution Will Not  Be Televised” that was about the fact that the first change that takes place is in your mind. You have to change your mind before you change the way you’re living and the way you move. So when we said that The Revolution Will Not be Televised we were saying that the thing that is going to change people, is something that no one will ever be able to capture on film. It’ll just be something that you see and all of a sudden you realize “I’m on the wrong page or I’m on the right page but the wrong note and I’ve got to get in sync with everyone else to understand what going on in this country”

-Gil Scott-Heron

Visit to Tyler Art Gallery – South

Today, I visited the Tyler Art Gallery, the South one, which has a lot to do with the mixing of cultures. I was therefore able to connect most of what I saw to this class, because this class has a lot to do with assimilation, the mixing of cultures. There are many pieces of art in the display, so it unfortunately would have taken a great deal of time to cover everything and then write about it. I picked five sites that really stood out to me and decided to primarily focus on those, even though I did examine everything.

The first piece of art that I examined was called “Clash of Cultures.” Like everything that I saw today, I absolutely loved it. It is a painting and portrays an older woman standing in front of a house with another older woman in the left window of the house, a Protestant pope in the right window, and a Catholic pope in the upstairs window. The painting is meant to be a depiction of the artist’s parents’ wedding day in 1946. The artist’s parents came from different religious backgrounds; one was Catholic, and one was Protestant, and for this reason, there were parental issues involving disapproval, ultimately resulting in religious hybridity. The painting, anyway, was gorgeous, very colorful, and by the way, I have that background knowledge because there was a panel of information located directly to the right of the painting, which I had to take the time to read. The painting, along with a number of other paintings that I looked at, was in a style known as “egg tempera.” I didn’t know what that was, but running a quick search on Wikipedia told me that it is “a permanent fast drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium (usually a glutinous material such as egg yolk).”

The next art piece that I looked at was a collection of photographs. There were two photograph collections that I looked at, and they were really neat because they were in a window display with curtains, as well. I really like this idea, because it made me feel like I was looking into a window to the past. However, what I don’t like about the window displays is that there is only a title next to them, no information, so I was left wanting to know more. For example, the first window display that I looked at was called “The Life of the War Hero” and featured photographs of a soldier during what I presumed was World War II, and that’s all I know. I wanted to know – who is this man? What was his name? I knew nothing and wanted to know more.

The second window display that I looked at was called “Ancestors.” The collection of photographs seemed, to me, to be different photographs of someone’s family, and one in particular really stuck out. It was a photograph of an older woman standing outside in a gown. She was staring ominously at the camera, and the photograph was a negative, so her eyes were white, as was her dress (which meant that it was actually black). It was, in a word, creepy. I examined the photographs and made note of the time period – a lot of time spent outside, and families were very close. There seemed to be a very high respect and admiration of the elderly, since they were photographed quite often. Once again, however, I was left wanting to know more. Whose families were these? Who took these photographs? None of this information was provided.

The next art piece that I looked at was another egg tempera painting. The painting was titled “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” This was the exact opposite of the photograph collections. Like the “Clash of Cultures” egg tempera painting, I got some information. The painting was based on a photograph of the artist’s uncle, Peter Barone, who had been a sailor. The photograph, which was also on display, showed Barone standing on a ship. The artist changed the background, however, to feature an array of adventurous displays. There is an array of exotic places, the sea, and a dragon and knights. The artist really seemed to be proud of his/her uncle and was displaying that pride in this painting. Once again, it was very colorful, and I loved it.

The final piece that I looked at was called “La Mia Vita.” The painting looked like it might have been another egg tempera painting and shows an older woman in bed, and she doesn’t look all that happy. Again, there was some background information provided. The panel told me that the artist’s grandmother (the elderly woman in the painting) was, in a sense, stuck in time, that she thought that it was still forty years ago and that Roosevelt was still president. In the painting, behind the woman, were hills, fields, and an old barn, which I interpreted as memories. In front of the painting was a bed with a very colorful quilt, which I assumed was a replica of the artist’s grandmother’s bed. The old woman’s name, by the way, was Carrie Barone, so it was the same artist that did this painting and “The Adventures of Great Uncle Pete.” One thing that I really liked about this painting and the background knowledge behind it is that it kind of has this theme of being frozen in time, and, to me, that is kind of the whole theme of the art gallery, in a sense. The point of paintings and photographs is to capture time and make it a constant, just like it was in Carrie Barone’s mind.

I really wish that I had gotten photographs, but I didn’t want to risk being reprimanded, because I didn’t know if it was allowed or not. I really enjoyed attending this gallery and really appreciated all of the art. I also really enjoyed the music that was playing. It was very light, classical music and helped put me in that mindset of being in the time period. I was really able to link concepts such as assimilation and hybridity to what I saw.

Happiness

This past Saturday and Sunday I was very busy. Despite it being Halloween weekend, I did a quite a bit of community service.

Saturday I worked at Camp Hollis a camp for Youth in Oswego County. We worked there for about 5 hours doing everything from chopping and stacking wood, to cleaning the kitchens. We cleaned, cut, stacked, un-knotted, swept, scrubbed, moped, carried, shoveled, organized and covered. It was a very rewarding day for the almost 15 of us who attended. This is not my first time working at Camp Hollis. Last Spring we helped open the camp and were invited back twice this fall to help close. And there is no doubt in my mind we will be back next Spring.

Sunday I helped throw a Halloween party at Sunrise Nursing home, not too far from Campus. We provided decorations and games for over 30 elderly residents of Sunrise. This nursing home is very short staffed and with so many residents they have a difficult time providing activities. At first I will admit I was a little nervous to go to the nursing home, they’ve always had a stigma to me. But, when I walked in the door and saw how clean the facilities were and nice the staff I felt a little more comfortable. I was also nervous because I had no idea what to talk about with the residents and I was afraid of hearing problems, or Alzheimer’s but, before I knew it all of the Volunteers had found a few residents we clicked with a had quite an afternoon. We helped serve food, watched a nursing home Pinata go down and overall I got a new perspective on something I had been narrow minded about. This was an awesome experience and I believe everyone should try and take part in an event in a nursing home, you will leave with a new perspective.I know that in a few weeks APO will be underway of making Christmas decorations for a next venture with the Sunrise Residents. Below is a picture of Catherine who goes by Kat who played a special role in helping me to loosen up and enjoy a wonderful afternoon.

Thanks to those in APO who participated in both events this weekend and a special thanks to fellow blogger, housemate, APO brother and best friend Danielle Ferrara who played a huge role on organizing the Sunrise event.

Livin’ the Dream

After completing six local journalism internships, I knew this summer was my chance to break out of my comfort zone and really chase my dreams. What it all boils down to is New York City. I’ve always wanted to live here and I’ve always wanted to work in the magazine industry. So after months of scouring for internships, frantically filling out applications and sending off my best work to people who didn’t know me, I waited.

And waited.

Whenever life got me down and I second-guessed my skills and education, I turned to two things. FRIENDS, and “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. The two completely capture the essence of New York City and the dreams that I want to achieve. “Empire State of Mind” became my theme song, my mantra to keep me motivated and inspired.

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of

There’s nothing you can’t do,  now you’re in New York

These streets will make you feel brand new

These lights will inspire you

Let’s hear it for New York

It didn’t matter that I grew up in wide open spaces, in a town with more cows than people. Or that our best option for a night out was a 30-minute drive to the closest movie theater with some friends and a bag of popcorn. All that mattered was that the glossy pages that came in my mailbox each month meant the world to me, and I needed to immerse myself in that world. New York City wasn’t about the hustle and bustle that people automatically associate with this place. To me, New York City was about livin’ the dream.

FRIENDS captures the homey, loving and endearing side of New York City, and it’s the show that made me fall in love with this place before I realized what journalism really was. It emphasized that New York City, again, wasn’t always about hustle and bustle.

Instead, it was about opportunity. It was about being carefree. It was about enjoying life. I wanted that life.

The witty banter and carefree friendships on this show captured my hometown and the people I wanted to meet while living my dream. Whenever I need to relax with a few laughs, I pop in one of the ten seasons (yes, I have each one) of this show and it works every single time. This show not only made New York City about fulfilling a dream, it became about getting the lifestyle I wanted.

Without these things, I’m not sure what my mantra would have been, what my support system would be like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not doubting my friends, family and teachers who have helped me along the way. Without them, there’s no way I would be here. But you need to enjoy the small things in life, too. You need something to keep pushing you, to remind you of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. These two things do it for me. I encourage you to find yours.

There’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York.

Let’s show ‘em what I’m made of.

Living the Crazy, Good Life

Life in New York City is crazy.

But in such an amazing, satisfying, beautiful way.

I’ve been so extremely busy at work but I love every second of my day. I work almost nonstop from 9 a.m. to around 5:30 p.m., but I love everything I’m doing. The days just fly by and then I have events to go to at night so I can get my networking on.

Tonight I went to a Microsoft preview event at Stage 37 with my ASME mentor, Lorelei, and my ASME coordinator, Nina. Technically, they were set up with me to help me succeed, but they’ve become so much more than that. They’re my friends, my confidantes, and they’ve got my back in this crazy magazine industry we all love to immerse ourselves in. Believe me, there’s nothing like having a few good people behind you to make sure you succeed in the end. And when you’re friends with those who have already broken into the industry, it’s even better.

So back to the Microsoft event. They had some pretty cool new equipment coming out — my favorite involved a system for the XBox 360 called Kinect. It tracks your movements through camera sensors and allows you to move around without any controllers. My favorite game was Dance Central, which was made in collaboration with MTV Games. It reminded me of Dance Dance Revolution, but it’s a lot less complicated and more fun. You can pull off silly dance moves (such as disco moves and chicken leg) and advance the levels through a wide variety of songs. We were able to test out the game right then and there, and it was a lot of fun. Personally, I rocked Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” This game is definitely going to sell.

But my night wasn’t over.

After we left Stage 37, we headed over to West 30th for Robert Verdi’s fashion event. It was held at this really high-end apartment (I wish I could live there) and we enjoyed casual conversation while learning about his new endorsements. I wish I had some pictures of the apartment for you, but here’s some of the stuff from the goodie bag.

There was a lot of other great stuff in the bag, but Lorelei, Nina and I split the bag.

So that was basically my day, once you add in a lot of work for FITNESS, too. Oh, and did I mention I had lunch with the Deputy Editor at The New Yorker today? Yeah, that also happened.

So yes, I love my life. I’ll have some more stories for you soon!

Getting ready to celebrate the earth!

Mother Earth Week is coming up NEXT WEEK AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

On a sidenote: I’m stressing out right now. Amidst my several articles due for JLM 310 and 309, papers for Eng 220, exams for Fre 202, homework for GLS 316, upcoming concert and voice lessons for MUS 497, events to organize/publicize for JLM 495, AND putting together a whole week of environmental awareness events = I am trying to remember to eat and sleep!

I overbook myself, but it’s an addiction because I love being busy from 7 a.m. to 11/12 p.m. every day. It’s a curse I tell ya. But, something tells me that this will all amount to something in the end, so I’ll keep at it.

Bitching aside, are you ready to love ya Motha? Mother Earth Week starts next Saturday at 10:30 a.m. by Mary Walker Health Center where we will be walking along the lakeshore east and west of the building, cleaning up loads of plastic and general trash. That’s just the start. Sunday is our prep/have fun with Indian color festival pigment battle day. That should be fun… the rest of the events are online at our Web site: Students for Global Change.

Two things I wanted to highlight, though were the environmental panel and Oswegostock.

The environmental panel (check the event page on Facebook) is on Tuesday, April 20th at 7 p.m. in Lanigan 104. The point of this panel discussion is to spread the awareness about particular, multidisciplinary sides of climate change and the move toward sustainability. We have professors from the psychology, chemistry and political science departments addressing issues from each of their respective disciplines.

Dr. Kestas Bendinskas, a very active scientist who studies the impacts of coal gasification and such, will address the science aspect of climate change.
Dr. Lisa Glidden is a political science teacher who will talk about existent and future energy policies and the different global policies on the environment.
Dr. Dave Sargent will address the issues of behavioral changes to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle. He will address issues behind the psychology of climate change and sustainable life as a whole.

I will sit on the panel too as a moderator and move the conversation along while addressing and student questions there are.

The second event that I wanted to talk about is Oswegostock! This will be the most exciting festival you’ve been to ever, better than the orignal Woodstock!!!! Okay.. maybe not, seeing as how there won’t be any drugs or alcohol floating around the event. But, nonetheless. this will be an event to remember.

During Oswegostock, we will have several bands playing sets while we partake in arts and crafts, food, and games. There’ll be frisbee games, bubble making, tie-dyeing, eco-friendly craft making, and anything else you would like to do. THIS ISN’T A HIPPIE EVENT! It is meant to bring together the Oswego community where people will be enjoying good music and listening to speakers on the environment.

So, with all that said, I won’t bore you anymore! Come out and enjoy Mother Earth Week. E-mail me at kraymond@oswego.edu for more information or visit our Web site at http://s4gc.blogspot.com.

Watermelons already?

So one of my housemates’ boyfriend was soo excited about spring coming that he decided he needed a watermelon. After objections from my housemate Jackie, she finally agreed to go to pricechopper with him to get one. Now I had no idea they even had watermelons at this time of year, but apparently they do…. except that they are about half the size, haha. The preemie-looking watermelon was still a hit at the house, and I think that it reminded us that spring is approaching (finally!) and summer is no too far away. Everyone should use these few days that we have to their advantage. Have a “redneck cookout” on the beach, go for a walk, or a jog if you are feeling athletic, and enjoy the sunshine that Oswego shares with us on rare occasions during the school year. When the sun does come out it IS GORGEOUS, but if you really wanna see gorgeous check out our sunsets! Make a date of it! My reccommendation is walk down to Bevs, grab an icecream, and sit by the water and watch this amazing natural wonder. It helps remind be why I love Oswego, despite the pretty crazy winters.

check that out!

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus at SUNY Oswego!

Well, apparently, it’s been made official. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is playing here at SUNY Oswego on April 26. Originally, I thought the major band playing here was going to be O.A.R. I recall seeing a flier posted in Hewitt a few months ago saying it was O.A.R., but I don’t mind. I like this much better. I love RJA, and I’m so ecstatic about this!

I remember first hearing The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on the radio with the hit “Face Down.” I’m pretty sure, in fact, that that was when most everyone heard them, unless, of course, you’ve been a diehard since the self-titled debut, which I don’t think was even signed to a major label, but I could be wrong. I’ve only heard the song “Angels Cry” from that record, although I think there’s an earlier version of “Face Down” on there as well.

The new album is amazing. They did change their style, and Ronnie really doesn’t scream like he did on the previous record (The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has often been closely associated with the term “screamo”), but I think his vocal ability and range is proven to be amazing, especially with songs like “Pen and Paper” and the emotionally epic “Godspeed.” I love “Godspeed” so much. I love songs that touch my heart somehow, and art related to war always does. The story told in the song is heartbreakingly painful to hear. If they perform that at the concert, it’s going to be something epic.

I’m just so excited for this concert! I first found out at the Twilight showing at the campus center, which I want to say was early March? I don’t recall the exact date. Anyway, one of the girls who was working there said that the concert had been confirmed and that it was The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus on April 26. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. In fact, I’m not even kidding, I thought for sure that I had misheard her, especially since when I did my own online research that night, I found nothing regarding them playing here, not on April 26 or ever. However, it has since been made official on their MySpace and Facebook and various other sites, and I am so psyched! Have I not made that clear enough? In fact, even though it’s 1:30 AM on Friday morning, if I were to still count this as Thursday, then I could say that it’s a month from today!

Great concert, poor promotion

On Sunday, November 2nd at the Campus Center, I attended a concert that featured The Score, Thieves and Villains and Nightmare of You. I have been a fan of Nightmare of You for a couple of years now, and I just find it somewhat disappointing that I had to find out from a friend of mine in Manhattan that they were playing here tonight. If it wasn’t for her randomly mentioning it in casual conversation over AIM, I never would have known about it, probably not even afterwards since there were less than twenty students at the concert, none of whom I knew. My point is that I really do think that when events like this happen on campus, students should be made aware of it. They shouldn’t have to find out from friends who don’t even live here. There really should have been more promotion, because I didn’t see any posters around campus.

Anyway, I want to use this blog entry to talk about my concert experience, not to rant about that. The concert was, in my opinion, amazing. Admission was $5.00 and was paid before the concert began. Nightmare of You was the only band I had heard of prior to attending the concert, but that turned out to be ironic, because I enjoyed the first band, The Score, the most. I loved the energy in their music, and all of their songs were extremely catchy. Of course, I was under the impression at that point that there were only two bands playing and therefore assumed that it was Thieves and Villains that I was watching, so when their set was over, I headed over to the merchandise table to buy the Thieves and Villains album that they had for sale, only to discover later that it was the wrong band, but it was okay, because even though not nearly as good as The Score, they were good as well. What’s also really exciting is that The Score’s album, Songs for a Halfway Home, will be available legally for free download in a couple of weeks, as the band’s frontman pointed out at the concert.

The second band, which I eventually discovered was Thieves and Villains, was also good but not as good as The Score. Although their music was also energetic, it didn’t have the same power, emotion and melodic catchiness that The Score’s music featured. Also, (which was actually a problem for all three bands) the sound system obviously wasn’t adjusted correctly, because the bands’ instruments were too loud and therefore drowned out the frontmens’ voices, making them difficult to hear. Their set was short, as they only played a handful of songs.

Lastly was Nightmare of You. I recognized a few of the songs, because, again, this was the only band that played that I had heard of beforehand, and they therefore influenced me to go to the concert initially. In fact, when I went, I thought they were the only band playing. However, even though I also enjoyed Nightmare of You, they were also not The Score musically. The Score was definitely my favorite set, and I am now very excited for the album to be released online.

Again, however, I’m sure that there were students on campus that like at least one of the bands that played and would have loved to have gone but didn’t because they didn’t know about it. In the future, even if it means having the concert in a larger location than the Campus Center food court (a band called Out of Hiding is playing here Wednesday in the Hewitt Union Ballroom, and it’s a free concert), events such as this really should be more heavily promoted so students actually know what’s going on and are aware of events such as this. I’m sure that it was advertised somewhere, but if I didn’t see it, then it wasn’t made obvious enough, because I love music and am constantly looking for opportunties to hear new bands, as I’m sure other students do as well.

Poetry Club

Reflecting on my high school days, I recall an annual magazine called Galleries that I took part in. Each year, my school released this magazine that contained student-written poetry as well as artwork. I enjoyed writing poetry and submitting it to the magazine, having students and teachers read it when the magazine was published and comment on it. Of course, their interpretation of what I had written didn’t always match what I intended when I wrote it, but that’s what art is all about. I’m also not going to say that my poetry is anything stellar, because it definitely isn’t. Poetry and free-writing are simply ways for me to express myself, and I feel as if those feelings are not fully expressed unless they have been published somehow.

As far as I know, SUNY Oswego doesn’t have such a club or publication, and I think that it would be very beneficial, or at least creatively stimulating, to the campus’s environment if it did. Even if it wasn’t a separate publication (even though I believe that would be the best route to take) but instead published as a section in the Oswegonian, at least students have a way for their work to be published. I also think that it would be a good idea, because I think that for some students, the thought of having their work published would encourage them to write outside of the classroom. As someone who writes as often as he can, I know that, for me, writing independently, especially creative writing, helps me relax, and again, also helps me express myself in a way that I wouldn’t know how otherwise.

SUNY Oswego really should have this available to students, and it doesn’t need to be exclusive to poetry. All forms of creative writing, such as short stories, could be published as well, and this goes back to what I said earlier about students being encouraged to write outside of the classroom, because it works both ways. If students are encouraged to write, then other students are encouraged to read, and the more students who are reading, the higher the incentive there is for writers to keep writing. I wouldn’t know how to go about initiating such a club myself, but I definitely think it can be done with a group of students who also think it would be a good idea.