Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Of that Pain in My Side Known As New Media

So one of the terrible repercussions of being a modern, young, up-and-coming journalist is this little thing known as: the Internet. Who knew that magical device which made it easier for me to kill hours of time like a super stealthy ninja, and research from the comforts of my laptop when I was a naive youngster, would also make it that much harder for me to get a job?

Because the consensus I have heard since I have started this career path is that the old model is disappearing (ie: the paper newspaper). Instead, to be a journalist now, you cannot just be a writer. Oh no, you must be like Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance man or someone who knows how to do a lot of things and has a lot of free time on their hands.

That's because with the growth of blogging, social media, and Wikipedia with its mass-editing format, it's becoming increasingly easy for anyone to write and to shout into the universe. And with all of those voices, you have to fight to be heard now, and to attract paying readers.

Hence new skills for the journalist.

In addition to learning how to write better, I have been trying to master the art of the following things: blogging regularly, gaining more Twitter followers, shooting and editing video, master website coding and designing my own logo. All in the name of attracting readers into my story and keeping them there.

So far, I've gone through the first three and I'm kind of getting the hang of it. But then there's that last two.

And somehow, doing all of this new media work will land me a job, or at least put me in the running for one. At the very least, I get to play with the Adobe suite for hours on end...

I miss the days where all I had to do was worry about writing. Instead, it's not just about the writing, but how you present it. What new, eye-popping way can you present the information that will make people want to read it? And even more-so than that, how many skills can you show off to a potential employer, like a juggling monkey? In an increasingly slimming market, where there is more information coming out than there are writers, for perhaps the first time in publication history since the invention of the newspaper.

But on the upside, I have become quite skilled at the intricacies in Final Cut Express, so much so that I've gotten this little bit published. If you're not a Syracuse University admirer, or student, then the following piece might be a bit dull.

The Big Orange in the Big Apple (I designed the map myself)

P.S. And why did I decide to put Eve from "Wall-E" as the photo? Because she was designed by Apple.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Staging of "La Traviata" at the Metropolitan Opera

I never thought I'd ever go to the opera and see this: couch-surfing.

In the Met's newest production of Verdi's "La Traviata," the main character, Violetta, reclines on a red couch while she is held aloft by a barrage of be-suited men and women, in a moment reminiscent of "Hello Dolly" or "Chicago."

In fact, if there is anything that should get you to this opera, it's the droves of men in black suits, their deep, masculine voices singing strongly, ecstatically, in Italian. Is there anything else that as a woman, you can ever want at the theater?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dissecting the Tiger Mother

I had a conversation with a close Vietnamese friend who admitted one thing which knocked me cold and silent: "I hate my mom."

Mind you, she is 24, not 15. And her mom is that traditional Asian-American parent that Yale law professor Amy Chua wrote so favorably about in her article in the "Washington Post," entitled "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior." The slightly hyperbolic and seemingly article, a snippet from Chua's book, "Hymn of the Tiger Mother," was about the values of Chinese parenting.

Of course, when Chua said Chinese parenting, she should have said Asian instead, because her painful descriptions of her daughters not being allowed to participate in school plays and sleepovers, of her calling them 'garbage,' rang true with parents that I know who, while not Chinese, are definitely traditionally Asian.

I have previously stated that I love my parents. My overbearing, sometimes contradictory, ambitious, optimistic, maddeningly traditionally Asian parents. Yet while I admire their resilience in raising four girls, in a land where both of them spoke stunted English and worked minimum-wage jobs, I also see their flaws. That's one of the amazing things that comes with age and not living at home.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why Critics Should Review "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark"

Did I tell you guys that I've started writing a weekly pop culture criticism column for called "Culture Ninja?" No? Now you know. Here's one that I particularly liked, which means I'm posting part of it on here. It's about theater, so of course it's going here.

Waiting for "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" to finally open is like waiting in really bad traffic (think Los Angeles traffic at 5pm). You’re angry, you’re frustrated and technically, you can exit the freeway at any time. But you refuse to give in because it’s been an hour already so what the heck, you’re going to see this car crash!

And it better be good.

Except as the opening date inches ever closer, you realize, wait, there’s still another row of cars between you and the wreckage.

Then you wonder: are we ever going to see the real "Spider-Man?"

As a writer, the question in my mind is, will the critics ever get to review it? It has already been pushed back a record-breaking five times, now to March 15.

So now that bloggers and MTV, among others, have had their say about "Spider-Man," can the big critics finally be allowed in?

Read the rest here...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Journalists in New York City

What do you do when you put 15 graduate students together into one hotel and herd them around a snow-filled New York City for a week and a half?

Well, if you were are part of the Goldring Program at Syracuse University, then you get a germ-filled group as two were struck down with stomach flu, one with a chronic cold, another with an ear infection, and by the end three were developing cold-like symptoms. The rest fearfully stayed away though you can hear the germs beating down and crackling evilly outside of the immune system doors.

But joking about "Oregon Trail"-like bouts of sickness aside (whoops! Someone just died of dysentery), the trip was both awe-inspiring and almost frightening. It was an exercise on how little sleep you can get and how much you can force yourself to write invigorating, analytical prose despite it. All while meeting established writers and networking like your life depended on it (and for those whose career will become our lives, this applied).

It will forever become the week where I drank my weight in coffee (I recall one day where I had about three cups of black coffee in succession), where down-time was spent not exploring the wonderful Manhattan but napping, and where I fell asleep for about two seconds standing up at the MOMA (don't tell my adviser that). Then again, I lived there part-time last semester so I don't feel too guilty.

And within that, there was copious amounts of starchy, meat-based food (vegetables optional and need not apply) and shows! So many shows! Like two or three a day shows! Art shows, theater shows, jazz shows, an modernist classical music show!

Of which I will attempt to write about a small number of them in the upcoming days (and I already have, check the last two posts), as well as other thoughts I discovered during the trip. So watch for that.

Now back to reviewing...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Theater Review: "La Cage Aux Folles"

If one is to take the songs of “La Cage Aux Folles” seriously, then without a hint of irony, the “best of times is now.” And the production currently on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre proves it.

“La Cage Aux Folles” is based on the French play by Jean Poiret, the book was written by Harvey Fierstein with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman. It won the Tony for best musical when it originally opened in 1983.

It takes place in St. Tropez, France, the home of the drag nightclub, La Cage Aux Folles. It is run by Georges, whose gay lover Albin is the headliner. The two have a son, Jean-Michel who has fallen in love with the daughter of a prominent homophobic politician. Consequently, he has lied to his prospective in-laws about his parents’ true orientation and occupation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Theater Review: "John Gabriel Borkman" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

It is winter and a storm is raging. Unfortunately, this one is located not outside but inside. “John Gabriel Borkman,” now playing at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, takes place on a set where no walls separate the house inside and the outside snow.

“John Gabriel Borkman” is Henrik Ibsen’s penultimate play and deals with a late 19th century household trapped in a perpetual emotional winter.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Very Belated New Year's Reflection

One of the key moments that made me realize I'm not as neurotic as I was last year, a constant point I like to make, is the fact that instead of worrying about writing this post during my Christmas vacation, I decided to put it off until I got back over to the East Coast.

So here I am, on a graduate program trip with the rest of my arts journalism program-mates, and doing a quick write-up before bedtime (and another full day of gallery visits, fancy lunches, and shows).

If I think about who I was at the beginning of 2010 and who I am now, at the beginning of 2011, it's like looking at two different people and two different lives.

I graduated with a BA and moved across the country. I've become a better writer, a little more knowledgeable, a little more perceptive, and a lot less awkward when talking to people. And that has resulted in more confidence, in who I am, in my abilities and in what I want my life to turn out.

Considering such a large change has taken place, it's strange to think that I am still in that transitional state. I'm not a kid anymore but at the same time, not a full-fledged, independent (ie: out of school and working) adult. Yet this time next year, I will be. And the thought is both terrifying and exhilarating.

Then again, big question marks tend to be. They are also part of what makes life so exciting and splits up the years, which can seem monotonous sometime if you're restless with where you are and long for things to be different. Right now, I don't long for anything and am just satisfied with where I am, whether it's home in California during winter or running around New York City.

As for resolutions, I don't like to making them because I find that you tend to forget about it after a month has gone by. So instead, I have chosen to just make some doable realistic goals that before the New Year, I had already decided I was going to do.

1) Go to the gym. Since I will have more time this upcoming semester, I will go back to the gym and weight-lift again.

2) Get a job after graduation, preferably in New York City, hopefully in something arts-related.

Modest, easy to remember, and if I don't do them, I'll be both fat and unemployed. It's an unsavory thought which will force me to meet them.

And my resolution last year? I searched through my old entry from last year and I only had one: fall in love. I did. Though that's a tale too personal to share for now. Talk to me in another couple of years and I'll probably write all about it, and in nicer prose too.