Les journees du Patrimoine et Paris 8!

So these past few days have been really busy.  Like I said in my last post.  Saturday and Sunday were the heritage days in Paris (les journees du patrimoine) and they occur only once a year.  It is a really big deal and the French really appreciate and value their heritage.  Most of the government buildings that are generally closed to the public, open their doors to the world.  And for the most part, everything is free. 

Anyway, Saturday I went to the Assemblee National, the Centre Pompidou, and we went to a concert of 17th century music at L’oratoire de le Louvre.  The national assembly was very cool, the building had esquisite details in every room and all the details were painted in gold leaf.  They had a string quartet playing and in the courtyard they had some french military guys playing french horns.  It was really wonderful.  At the Church of the Louvre the concert was amazing.  We went to the centre pompidou after and it was free because of the heritage days, we lucked out.  After the museum closed I walked around paris because it was so beautiful outside.  The weather was perfect.  It was nice to see some of the nightlife before I headed home.

I got up at 6am sunday morning and went to the Moulin rouge for the last Heritage Day.  We waited for 4 hours to get in.  We were even close to the front (it didn’t open until 9, but then we waited until 11 to get in.)  It was the first time they have ever participated in the Heritage Days, and it was free to enter.  I am glad I went because they told us when we went in they said that this is the first and last time that they are participating in these days.  It is the 120th anniversary and they wanted to do something special.  We got to go and see the whole theatre and then they brought us back stage to see all of the costumes and the dressing rooms and everything.  We even got to go on stage.  It was amazing and worth the wait.  Even the people that pay to see the show don’t get to see what I got to see.  And it is the only time they are ever ever doing something like that.  What an opportunity.  It was incredible, we got to take lots of pictures, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures backstage of the costumes.  Oh well,  they were still amazing.  We also went to the Insitut de France.  It is comprised of 5 academies.  The most famous one, the academy francaise is the institution that decides everything about the French language.  They explain the usage of the language and its proper intentions.  It identifies the language of French and everything to do with speech, spelling, meanings, usage,  and the fields in which it is used.  They are the entity that decides what is French and what is not French regarding the language.  This building is never open to the public except for these two days, so it was really cool to go inside.    We did a lot and it was really fun.  I am glad I got to do these things.  It was really lucky that I was here for these days.  

I had my orientation French class Monday and yesterday then I just hung out and went to the gym to keep in shape for hockey.  I have been quite sore the past few days, it is starting to wear off a bit and I am almost able to walk normal again. 

Today I had class in the morning, then I went to my university for a tour.  It is called Paris 8: Saint Denis.  It is in the north of Paris, only about a 25 min metro ride from my apartment.  It was much bigger than the universities that are located in the middle of Paris.  I really liked it.  The area seemed very nice, although like I have said all along, things are always more difficult in Paris.  To register for classes we need to go to each department to register for differnent classes.  For example, you need to go to the FLE department to register for french as a foreign language classes and you need to go to the history department for history classes and the art department for art classes.  It is a pain in the butt and very inconvient.  Anyway, I found the office for international student relations, it was a cute little office in the adminstrative building.  There were little cafes all over the campus and in european style they all had beer.   I really enjoyed my visit. 

I have to go back to the campus on Monday to register for classes.  I get my student ID card either tomorrow or friday so then i will be able to register for classes.  There is no huge rush because classes don’t start until October 8th.  I am going to do lots of travelling and sign-seeing until then.  Anyway I have a little work that I need to do.  I will post soon.  Byye!

The Declaration

I know you guys are expecting me to start off my first blog by letting you know how my summer went and what are my plans for the semester but today I have something completely different for you, something that’s way more important… Don’t worry eventually I will give you the update! Here is the reason why I decided to skip all of that  it’s because I have something on my mind, which I would like to call the ” Declaration.”

Yeah I know you’re wondering what in the world is Sherrifa talking about?  Well I am a senior spending my last days of exploration in the land of Oz, and I have all these plans and dreams, where I want to go, what I want to do, who I want to work for, how much money I aspire to make with my BA, and the list goes on and on. All these hopes and dreams are because I want to be successful, and of course I do the preparation to fulfill all these dreams. I learned something very important this summer and I want to share it with you because it helped me understand what to do with your dreams, how to approach success. Ever since I have been making progress towards living in the moment and growing with new prospects and knowledge.

This summer I read a book by John C. Maxwell, ” How Successful People Think,”  Of course I am reading this book because I am panicking, I am thinking oh goodness it’s my senior year, I am going out into the real world, I am going out in the professional field, I want to be successful, who do I turn to?! But that was my first mistake, it shouldn’t have been now that I was hoping to focus on my success, so I say to you all… go and find a John C. Maxwell now!!! This is the time. It doesn’t have to be in a book, it can be your mother, mentor, or professor. Work towards your success now, don’t wait, make connections, reconnect with yourself, develop new plans! Don’t wait until senior year or before the interview, don’t wait!!! Don’t hope for success work towards it every day, maximize your resources.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen, that is the “Declaration” I am not just talking to my peers, I am speaking to everyone, get to it!!!  I will leave you with these last notes from John C. Maxwell, I hope you can use these words for encouragement,  to be a star,  to be spontaneous,  to pave your own path, and  to develop new plans to achieve your success. This is what John C. Maxwell said:

” People who rely on hope for their success rarely make change a high priority. If you have only hope, you imply that achievement and success are out of your hands.”

I will say this to you, place value on your success, leave no room for hopes, starting make blueprints for your dreams.

“Lizzie Is Dying To Know, How Much Blood Will You Be Giving To The Red Cross”

    This week, the Theatre Department will be hosting a Blood Drive to help promote “Blood Relations” but more importantly, to do something good for our community. The Blood Drive will be Tuesday, September 22nd though Thursday, September 24th. Each day, the Red Cross will be in the Campus Center (above the ice rink) from 11:30 A.M, to 5:30 P.M to take Donations. Walk-ins are welcome, but if you would like to make an appointment you can e-mail RedCross@Oswego.Edu. Everyone who comes out and donates blood will be entered into a drawing to win prizes. Each day, one lucky winner will receive two tickets to see “Blood Relations”!
     For those who are donating, please remember to eat a big breakfast and drink lots of water before your appointment. Students from the Theatre Department will be there to hand you juice and a snack once you’ve finished.

     For those students that need to see “Blood Relations” as a requirement for their class, donating blood is one way to (have a chance to) receive free tickets, another way is through the “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”. Approach one of your teachers and ask them if they can take you to see the play.  Every Faculty/Staff member who purchases a ticket can bring up to three students to the show for free.

     For more information about “Take Your Students to the Arts Program”, you can go to: http://www.oswego.edu/academics/tyler_box_office/tysa.html

Come out this week and support the Red Cross, we will see you there!

Thinking about things…

It’s 2am and I’m sitting in my living room wide awake.  I went to my friend’s birthday party and had a great time.  I got to see some friends and just have fun.  There was one thing…I was expected to drink.  I turned 21 in July and now everyone who is also 21, and some others assume that I’m going to join in.  I don’t see why I need to.  I had 4 Mountain Dews at the party and that kept me going..haha.  I didn’t feel like drinking and usually don’t.  I don’t understand how people can have fun by going to bars and just standing around.  I need and want to keep moving and be active when I’m hanging out with my friends.  Earlier today a few of us were riding 4-wheelers around the yard and it was the most fun I’ve had in a while.  My friend, Matt, has a barn and we cleaned it up so that the party could be in there.  I enjoyed this…I got to spend time with him and just talk about whatever is going on.  He, his girlfriend, their friend, and I all went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday earlier this evening and again, I had fun.  Then we got back and everyone started to arrive.  This is when I got instantly bored and wanted to go home.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being around lots of people and dancing and talking, but I didn’t see the point in having the keg and all of that stuff.  it was completely legal and we were all of age, but it just wasn’t and usually isn’t my thing.

This probably isn’t the best segway but that brings me to my point.  College is supposed to be about learning new things.  This doesn’t just mean academic but social and life lessons as well.  I want to try new things like hiking and snowmobiling.  It would be great to go out once in a while and just climb all day.  Maybe it’s a metaphor but I want to reach the top.  Ok is that an analogy? I’m not sure… Anywho…I need to find different things to keep myself busy.  I want to grow and I want to be able to add more experiences to my list.  College is almost over and I want to do as much as I can.  Time goes so fast and the past three years have just disappeared.  It’s so scary!!! Well I think that’s all I have for tonight.  It’s now almost 3am, I actually started this entry at 2:30, not 2am, but still, it’s late.  Until next time…

Involvement on campus.. more or less a plug..

SO, now that you know about my trip to Ghana, which is by itself amazingly exciting, you should learn more about my other items of interest and activism.

I’m currently involved in Students for Global Change here on campus, which I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts. We are basically an umbrella corporation that deals with a huge slew of global issues. The two main focuses of our group are: environmental awareness/sustainability (which I think we’ve designated as Ozzy-Eco) and then our human rights aspect. They’re too enormous topics, so we tend to keep ourselves busy in dealings within these spheres.

I love being a part of S4GC because it does give students an opportunity to make an impact in either the campus community or in the general Oswego community. For instance, last year I took it upon myself to figure out why the lights were on in the bathrooms in Funnelle Hall for 24/7. I always wanted to turn the lights off upon exiting because I was always taught to conserve energy. I asked my RA if I could put a sign asking people to shut off the lights when they left. He replied that it was a safety issue, and we couldn’t actually turn off the lights. (He meant more specifically for inebriated people stumbling in the bathrooms at 4 a.m. to throw up). Needless to say, I didn’t stop at that answer.
I went to hall council, various administrators and Students for Global Change to figure out how we could work getting motion-sensor lights in the bathrooms. At first, I thought that it was going to be a significantly easy process. I mean, come on, we all know motion sensors cut back on energy! It’s common sense, right? Well, that may be true, but in the real world, getting anything done requires lots of research and paperwork, as I found out.

It took me from the first month of school in the fall of 2008 to the very last week of the spring semester in May 2009. I spent a lot of time e-mailing and researching different types of motion-sensors. Jerry DeSantis in Facilities on campus was extremely helpful and empowering throughout the whole experience. He was able to meet with me and help me develop a business plan, making the proper proposals, outlines, contacts, etc. to see this project through. DeSantis got me in touch with Pat Riley of Utilities on campus who was able to help me come up with a game plan to install the sensors. We got in touch with Larry Lively of Grainger Company, which provided us with motion sensors and timers. Riley provided John Ferlito, electrical supervisor in Utilities, with the necessary information to have his men, in turn, install the sensors.

So, through a collaborated effort, DeSantis, Riley, Ferlito, and I were able to set up two bathrooms on the 9th floor in Funnelle with light timers. These pro-logger light timers allowed us to get exact figures on how much time the lights were on in the bathrooms when people weren’t using them. These timers also provided estimates to how much money we could save on energy costs with the installation of motion-sensor lights.

We had these installed a month before finals week was over. In the girls’ bathroom on the 9th floor, the bathroom was vacant with the lights on for 45.3% of the time. The boys’ bathroom was on and vacant for 17.6% of the time (who ever said girls take longer in the bathroom? I have proof they don’t!) When we installed the motion sensors, we saved 26% of the energy used because the lights turned off when vacant. We saved 19.4% with the boys’ bathroom.
Since the installation, there have been some concerns with the safety of the sensors because several times the lights have shut off on people in the showers, but that’s easily remedied with a foot stuck out of the shower curtain. The boys’ bathroom is set at 20 minutes for the sensor, while the girls’ is set at 15 minutes. The overall response of students has been overwhelming support for the sensors.

NOW… John Moore, who has taken over Jerry DeSantis’s place as director of sustainability, is in the process of preparing to do a campus-wide installation of the motion sensors in the residence hall bathrooms. Moore plans on installing the sensors as well as an LED “night-light” for students in case the lights turn off while they’re in one of the stalls or shower (because there are no windows in Funnelle bathrooms).

The reason I brought all of this information up is to remind students that they don’t have to just accept things as they are on campus. If you come up with ideas to better the campus community, don’t hesitate to take action just because you may not be “old enough” or “wise enough” to do this. I personally had NO experience whatsoever with coming up with a business plan, but with the support of DeSantis and everyone else, I was able to succeed. And look at how far that got me!

Students for Global Change provides students like me with the resources to get in touch with the right people on campus to get something done. We do a lot of projects for educating about environmental injustice, human rights violations, and what students can do to better our community. We all work together to find a way to help individual students achieve their goals, just like I did.

SO… the moral of the story is to take initiative and not be afraid of taking a stance on something and working your hardest to achieve an end! The administration here on campus is open to hear ideas, so take advantage of the open door policy.

Thanks for your time and go out there and get proactive! :) Check out Students for Global Change on Facebook!

Settling down in paris

So things are starting to settle down now that i have been here for almost 3 weeks.  I have my apartment (and I am working on the internet).  I officialy signed up for my univiersity here in Paris.  It is called Paris 8: Saint-Denis.  It is only about 15-20 min from my apartment.  I have an official visit and  tour scheduled for this coming wednesday.  I am quite excited and maybe I will get to pick some of my classes.  They are very disorganized here, but at least classes don’t officially start until October 5. 

 In the meantime, I have been spending my time in language courses that are part of my orientation program with my exchange program.  We spend 3-4 hours a day in class practicing french and learning about the city to orient ourselves to be main-streamed into French Universities.  There are 4 different french classes that meet and i believe that there is about 80 students in my exchange program from the US, Canada and Puerto Rico.  It is really nice to meet so many new people from all over North America.

So besides classes I have been exploring the city and specifically the neighborhood i live in.  I really love where I live.  Within 5 min of me there are hundreds of stores, but in Paris you will never find a Wal-mart.  It has been very interesting getting used to going to 5 different stores just to do daily shopping.  There are Boulangeries, Patisseries, Boucheries, Fromageries, Creperies, Brassaries, Tabacs, Papateries, libraries, etc.   Most stores are specialty stores, so you spend a lot of time finding out where you can get certain foods, or school supplies or even household items.  It is in enriching to experience something so different.  It is a lifestyle  change that is for sure.

Tonight I went to “Le Lapin Agile” with some of the other people in my exchange program.  It was really cool.  The Lapin Agile (Agile Rabbit) is a Parisian style Cabaret.  It has been around since th1800’s and was a place that many famous artists and musicians spent their time.  The show was actually 5 hours long, but most of my class only stayed from hours which seemed to be the norm.  It seemed like there were people waiting to get into the show after people started leaving.  They sang a lot of famous french songs and there were instruments like th piano, guitar and accordian that were played.  The audience was very involved in the performance and it was a lot of fun.   

(Note: It took too long tonight when I tried, but I plan on getting a video of the Lapin Agile in here, So look for that eventually)

This weekend is a very special weekend in Paris.  Saturday and Sunday are called “Les Journees du Patrimoine.”  It means the hertiage days.  And on these days, and these days only, buildings and places such as the national assembly, the town hall, the national archives, ander govermentment buildings and other important places that are normally closed to the public are open for anyone to see.  It is a very special event in Paris, and I am looking forward to going to several places.  I also am hoping to do some home shopping with some of my friends at Ikea which is a little outside of the city.  With all of that and some homework to do, it is going to be a busy weekend.  Until then A Bientot!  (See you soon)

Dramaturgy’s Guide To An Axe Murder

     I am a Theatre History/Criticism major, and a chunk of the work I do involves an art form (and yes, I said art form) called Dramaturgy. American Dramaturgy today tries their best to recreate the successful models found in Germany and Europe, however this makes our jobs vast, ever-changing, and difficult to define. Out of all of the published definitions I could find, Dramaturg Mark Bly (The Alley Theatre) describes the job best in the introduction to the book, The Production Notebooks, Theatre In Process:

The Primary task for a dramaturg is to aid the artistic director in creating a long-ranging artistic vision and plan for their theatre and then implement short-range action to accomplish that goal… The dramaturg supervises the commissioning of new plays, cultivating relationships with the playwrights; and rereads the classics, searching for those works that make deep cultural connections. The Dramaturg takes the lead in season planning helping to select plays that fulfill the theatre’s commitment to its artists and its overall vision. Dramatugs work with directors to challenge fixed notions about new plays or classics being considered for staging. When possible, the dramaturg assists in picking the artistic team for each production…. [and] also serves as a resource and active collaborator during the planning stages of a production and throughout the rehearsal period. The production dramaturg is optimally that artist who functions in a multifaceted manner helping the director and other artists to interpret and shape the sociological, textual, acting, directing and design values. (Bly, xxii-xxiii)

Bly goes on to explain about dramaturgical work in text preparation, production casebooks and actor packets, and the necessity of attending rehearsals and previews so that, “The dramaturg will know the source of the creative choices. This will inspire ‘doable’ note or staging solutions and not merely obvious diagnostic commentary.” He then goes on to sum up his task during the rehearsal process into to words, “I question…I strive to be a supportive but questioning force, never an ‘echo’” (Bly xxiv).


Actor from "HAIR" (“HAIR” Actor: Paris Remillard)

     This summer I had a chance to talk to a few actors from the musical, “HAIR”. I asked if they had a theatre historian work with them, or if they had a dramaturg (doubting that they knew what a dramaturg was). To my surprise, not only did they know what dramaturgy was, but they said that their assistant director was the one who took on that role. I have only been to one Broadway show recently that had listed a dramaturg in the playbill and that was “August: Osage County”. Roundabout Theatre Company, located in NYC, has a dramaturg for every production. The dramaturg also does presentations for the audience prior to the show every Tuesday night. I discovered this when I went to go see “Hedda Gabbler”. The dramaturg did a short presentation where he spoke about the playwright, talked about the society of the time, and conclusions made by cast and director on why Hedda was the way she was. I unfortunately missed the Dramaturgy presentation for “Waiting For Godot” a few months later, so if you are able to see a Roundabout show on a Tuesday and are interested in dramaturgy, be sure to ask when the presentations are.

     This semester I will be the dramaturg for Sharron Pollock’s “Blood Relations,” directed by Keegan Bushey. “Blood Relations” is a play about Lizzie Borden and the events surrounding the murder of her parents. The playwright poses the question, “If you were in her place, what would you have done?“ This is an exciting opportunity for me because I was a part of the Play Selection Committee last year and was able to voice my love for this play. I presented the faculty with a list of things that could be done for this production with research and publicity. I was excited to hear that the play had been chosen for the season, and that I would be involved in the show. “Blood Relations“ is this year‘s Student Honors Production. Students submit resumes, go through an interview process and are selected to be lighting, set, and costume designers, directors, dramaturgs. Our crew is made up of students as well. It is essentially our first steps, with our mentors beside us to catch us if we start to stumble. I had the pleasure of working with a fine group of peers for last year’s Honors Production, and I am excited to work with the brilliant minds of this year. We do have some Faculty designers involved this year, which makes the experience even more interesting, learning from those who have had many years of experience.



Next Step, Auditions.

See you there.



Works Cited:

Bly, Mark. The Production Noteboks, Theatre In Process. New York, NY: Theatre Communicaions Grop, Inc., 1996. Print.


A new year means many new adventures

This is going to be so exciting! My name is Steven DiMarzo, and as my biographical information says, I am a Human Development major with minors in Conflict Studies Management and Business Administration. I am originally from Oakdale, NY, which is a small town on Long Island, but I live in Oswego all year round and I love every moment of it. I am technically a 2nd semester junior, but in my 4th year. I plan on completely 2 more years (this one included). I am very interested in Higher Education and plan on getting my masters in that field and hopefully getting a job on a college campus working in student affairs.

Enough about who I am…this year is going to be amazing.  My new position in SA will allow me to be more involved and meet so many new people.  In the past the Student Association has had a bad reputation and most students tend to shy away but this year I want everyone to know they can come to any member and how willing we are to help them.  Everyone has the right to speak their opinion and use their voice on this campus.  SA is one of the biggest organizations and we can get you heard.  One thing that most people don’t know is that a majority of student organizations on campus are funded by SA.  We use over 1.7 million dollars to fund all of these clubs and orgs.  It’s your money, you pay the student activity fee and it is used to go back to you.  Don’t be afraid, come talk to us, talk to me…I am here to help.

Enough of the plug.  I have a test today, my first one of the semester, in fact it’s in 10 minutes.  Human Sexuality, PSY 377. It’s an awesome class.  I guess I should get going and head to Lanigan.  Peace out cub scouts!