Sunday, August 5, 2012

Italy Soundtrack

This playlist pretty much narrates my experience here:

City of Black and White- Mat Kearney
A Man and a Woman- U2
Push- Matchbox Twenty

Plus a few that I've written, and, of course, this gem. They might have hit their peak thirty-something years ago, but I'm still a die-hard I Nuovi Angeli fan.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I was apprehensive about seeing Evita this past Friday. I had heard a lot of gripes about the production, and about the lead actress's, Elena Roger's, voice. Roger definitely had an Edith Piaf quality, so much that I was yearning for "La Vie en Rose" by the time "Don't Cry for Me" rolled around. I have an even bigger gripe than her voice quality, though, and that is the very strange accent in which she sang. For most of the show, she sounded French to me, and, at some points, her husband sounded Scottish! My friend and I were humming "Where in the World Is Carmen San Diego?" to each other during interludes; those actors did NOT sound like they were in Argentina. My friend, Greg, made a good point about this singing-in-accent ordeal when he noted that Shakesperian productions, though often set in Italy, are written and performed in English not Italian. Isn't that the beauty of them? Thank God Shakespeare wasn't trying to throw in Italian catchphrases or, worse, having Romeo flip his R's. I'm not sure why this director thought otherwise, especially since Roger is Argentinian, and her debut role was as Evita Peron (!!!) in earlier production.

Image c/o
As far as other gripes go, there was a major lack of narrative. They were highlighting moments of Evita's life rather than giving a fluid story, which was confusing (to the point where I thought she was a promiscuous person, not a paid prostitute, for a good portion of the show). Also, I was not at all impressed with Ricky Martin, although Greg was raving about his performance. And, about singing everything, I'm not a huge fan of that, either. Apparently, Evita is marketed as a "rock-musical" (bad bad bad bad idea), which puts the show in the tradition of Rent, Spring Awakening, and Next to Normal. Audiences who are not comprised entirely of angsty, fifteen-year-old girls will probably find the style of all of these shows to be really terrible, as they should. 
Image c/o
Now that I've complained extensively about the show, I guess I should admit that I didn't hate it. In the end, I walked away with an absolute fascination with Eva Peron, who I knew nothing about prior. I've already read her entire Wikipedia page and will probably take out a few books on her life because I'm confused, and intrigued, and amazed. And I think that's exactly what the show was trying to do.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My Favorite Graduate

I am so excited for my brother, who graduated today. He was the handsomest, and the coolest, out of 600+ grads! Congratulations, Nicholas!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Prom Fever

Oh, to think of when prom was cool. Here's hoping that the prommers of 2012  had the best night ever.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Winter Walks

This is well overdue, but I just uploaded some pictures from a walk in the Botanical Garden this December. Serene as they are, I'm still not nostalgic for winter.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Few Questions

Inappropriate, politically incorrect, and downright offensive, they Key of Awesome's One Direction parody is intended to raise laughs-- and questions. In an in-your-face way, the Key of Awesome encourages us to ask questions such as: Why do the boys of One Direction wear full-length pants while standing in an ocean? Why do all pop songs involve a na-na-na riff??? Which One Direction member is really Justin Timberlake???

Still, I have a question that KoA definitely didn't see coming. That is, why is their parody featured on Time Out: Kuala Lumpur's blog when it has NOTHING to do with Malaysia????? Don't get me wrong-- I'm happy to have laughed my tush off for the past five minutes (even if I am feeling slightly guilty about it now...). But I came to Borak Borak to learn about Malaysia, after all!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Revelations in the Key of R

I am the alphabet backwards
If R didn’t exist, I never could have.

On alliteration homework assignments,
I wrote my name next to generous, genuine, gregarious
All obtuse
R worked in the shadows:
Radiant, reflective, resolute .

Royalty, strangers called me.
I perfected my name’s soft curves,
I referenced a different history altogether.

The rhythm of my family pulses in my middle
It punctuates my symphony with a slow movement
It reminisces of my ancestors’ voice
Now lost under six feet of another country’s dirt
Better they don’t know.

Better they rest in unvisited tombs
Their deaf ears hardened
To crashing waves and thick Italian
Their hardwood caskets
Forever adorned with an immortal Rose.

(Inspired by Mary Karr's "Revelations in the Key of K")

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My thesis in review:

If you're one of the lovely people who helped out by being interviewed, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you so very much.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Who's Speaking at YOUR Graduation?

Cheer up, John Brennan!
You're comin' to speak at Fordham!
The Fordham community received news recently that John Brennan, the Obama administration’s deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, will give the commencement speech at graduation this year. Apparently, this is especially awesome since he works with Obama. That, and he graduated from Fordham in 1977.

We like to keep it "in the family" over here.

Personally, I was routing for Alan Alda, also a Fordham grad, to speak, because he rocks. He gave an insightful and all-around beautiful speech to Connecticut College in 1980. And he starred in M*A*S*H, which I'm too young to appreciate, but still. Who wouldn't want this shining face delivering a commencement speech!?
Alan Alda is not speaking at Fordham's
graduation this year, but he's still happy!
We may have scored Brennan, but we haven't lost our bragging rights. Alas, what our commencement speaker lacks in awesomeness our baccalaureate mass celebrator makes up for tenfold. Because he's not just a priest. He's not even just a Bishop. He's a stinkin' CARDINAL.

And, like the rest of us, he's pretty darn excited about it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All Night Long

I've had a slew of recent city experiences that I could write about here: tasty lox at a Jewish deli on the Upper East Side, the off-Broadway play Channeling Kevin Spacey at St. Luke's, mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, a hilarious improv show at the Upright Citizens Brigade, oh, and the Literary Death Match tomorrow night in which MY PROFESSOR is competing!!! And that's not even including the on-campus stuff like the production of Next to Normal, a relaxing retreat with my dorm, or that time I met David Gibson.

This sucker kept us entertained until the wee hours of the morning.
Photo c/o googleimages 
But instead I'm going to write about my all-nighter with a fine English man. He goes by the name John Milton. (Perhaps you've read his poetry? He has quite a way with words, that Milton.) Indeed, last Monday, my Milton class, including Professor Frank Boyle, stayed up until 3:30 am reading Paradise Lost from beginning to end. We started at 6 pm....... and only took ONE break as a group.

Pictured in the middle: the man who said, "Thou shalt read Milton!"
And we did, for a long time. But it's cool, because he gave us tons of free
sandwiches, coffee, and brownies, and 
now he's our favorite professor.
Photo by Michael Dames
The truth is, any average Joe can eat lox and see shows and do fun NYC stuff anytime. But how many college students read Paradise Lost straight through and are actually excited about it? Nine students plus twelve books of poetry in ten hours equals one awesome class.

We are determined. We are steadfast. We are literary moguls. We are Fordham.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crazy Coincidence?

The Mimes and Mummers, a theater group at Rose Hill, rocked Next to Normal tonight. It's a heavy show, but rather than focusing on plot, or characters, or the theme of mental illness, one interval had me trippin' for the entire show. That is, the F to D on "I was" from Who's Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist and I, which PARALLELS the F# to D# interval on "I'll be" from Edwin McCain's I'll Be.

I know, I know, it just seems like a little coincidence. And it IS coincidental that the song in which the husband swears to stay with his wife even if she makes him crazy mimics a chord from McCain's popular love ballad. The coincidence makes the parallel between the nostalgia of the distraught husband's "I was" and the refrain-vow of "I'll be" ring a little too true.

Hear it for yourself!
Edwin McCain- I'll Be
Next to Normal Original Cast- Who's Crazy/My Psychopharmacologist and I

Do you think it was written with the parallel in mind?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Writing, anyone?

I went to the MoMA today, and spent a lot of time in the Sweet Violence exhibit. It amazed me. This piece, -tentatively- titled Who Calls You Beautiful?, came from it.

You are wearing Gucci sunglasses that draw attention to your perfectly sculpted cheekbones, and I am wondering, “Who calls you beautiful?”
You are pictured on a black couch, sexy, smoking a cigarette.
You are posing for a camera, naked, splashing water onto your face.
You are bathing, radiant, under magazine-heading text that reads Risveglia la tua pelle!
You are brushing onto your cheeks rouge that conceals scars.
You are painting the image of your child, perfect and happy, smiling in a bubbly tub.
You are showing your pregnant belly in front of a window filled with light.
You are whipping egg whites, your cherry-patterned apron tied tightly around your waist as you stir in a cup of sugar.
You are wearing Gucci sunglasses that draw attention to your perfectly sculpted cheekbones, and I am wondering, “Who calls you beautiful?”

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Good Ol' Days

I tend not to be nostalgic. But, when Nicki Minaj was "exorcised" at the Grammy's last night, it was hard for me not to yearn for better days. Rather than gluing my eyes to her levitating body, I took a stroll into the history of Grammy's of yore to find respite.
This is terrifying! And not in a fun way.
Image c/o googleimages
The first Grammy awards, originally called the Gramophone awards, were held on May 4, 1959. Domenico Modugno took both Best Record and Best Song of the year. Perhaps more familiar to our twenty-first-centurion ears, the Chipmunks also brought home an award, as did jazz superstar Ella Fitzgerald. Music Man won Best Original Cast Album. And, if only out of pity, the red-nosed, half-lit picture of Frank Sinatra on the face of Frank Sinatra Sings Only for the Lonely won Best Album Cover Photography.
Sad Sinatra is STILL more aesthetically
pleasing than Nicki Minaj
Photo c/o googleimages
Even with its tinges of pathetic, I'd take the portrait of sad Sinatra over a performance of maniacal Minaj any day. It may be easy to view the past with rose-colored glasses, but the ceremony back then really did seem to be easier on the ears, and on the eyes. After all, at the Grammy's of 1959, there were no crimped, blue-haired wigs. No barely-there lace kimonos. No black, birdcage veiled, golden-sceptered, half-black-haired queen. No levitating, pink-lipsticked, little-red-riding-hood-with-the-pope-for-a-date....alright, I give up, this is ridiculous!
Domenico Modugno at the Grammy's,
back when they were classy.
Photo c/o googleimages
In celebration of the Grammy's 1959-style, I've been jamming to Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare). It's a simple song about the highs of love, accompanied by the visual high of Modugno's adorable 'stache. I can't get enough of it. Compared to the 2012 Grammy's hulabaloo, the Grammy's of yesteryear offer simple, and welcome, perfection.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Love, Loss, and What I Wore puts love and loss at center stage. The show features four women who go through multiple marriages, come out, lose their mothers at young ages, get raped, and more: all of life's worst bestowed on this small sample population. Veanne Cox and Lillias White deliver convincing performance, but the show's handicap is in the script, not the acting. While the actresses harp on their crises, the audience craves meaning in stability.

Perhaps the "what I wore" aspect of the show is meant to deliver the consistency so lacking in the leads' lives. However, the joyful, creative element of style is reduced to superficiality as the women put so much emphasis on that wrap dress or those suede boots. After sitting through one too many monologues about a purse, it behooves the audience to ask why the people in their lives then aren't given as much value as the material things these women adore. We yearn to see their fashion-centered romance and devotion play out in their human relationships, we hope that the play will conclude on this happy high, but such affection never leaves Filene's Basement.

Surely, the goal of Love, Loss, and What I Wore is not to expose a bunch of superficial ladies who have their priorities screwed up. It probably hopes to empower women. However, LLWW forgets that empowerment is a human phenomenon, one that requires a lot more than the occasional mention of fashion.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


2012 is upon us, and I have some pretty big items on this year's bucket list. Graduate College. Get TEFL certification. Travel like mad. Things of that nature.

Oh, and, of course, write until my pens run out of ink. Buy more pens. Continue writing.

On New Year's Eve, Neil Gaiman posted on his blog some advice that I found inspiring. He talks about creativity, the power of love, intentional kindness.

I got into reading Gaiman's wishes from new years past (which, by the way, are now old years, ha!). And, harking all the way back to 2001, I saw in front of me a goal that was already at the top of my bucket list:

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."

Surprising myself. A big goal for 2012.

I hope that you, too, surprise yourself in 2012. I hope you laugh with abandon. I hope you see beautiful things. I hope you love richly, in spite of yourself, when it isn't deserved, when it's inconvenient for you.

Here's to our best year yet.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Startin' Off the New Year Right

I thought I might start off the year with some writing. Really, could there be a better way to welcome 2012??
This is called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living; it's a meditation on Damien Hirst's exhibit by the same name. I got to see the exhibit at the Met and it was awesome.

Image c/o googleimages

Silence. Blood rushes to the ears and brain and quickly flows to the nose, chin, fingertips. Reality vanishes. There is pulsing, a hard pounding from within and, simultaneously, from the skies. Pounding rises from the ground. The heavy air throbs. Yellow taxi cabs and eclectic lighting, the smell of spicy, exotic foods and the hum of crowds are all drowned out of existence. Bright blue thickness surrounds, submerges, engulfs; it is vibrant like the neon advertisements of Times Square, overwhelming like the horns of taxi cab cars, tangy like the flavor of Little India’s ginger, though it is also acidic, stinging, viscous.

Removed from the busyness, a stranger stands in the still water of formaldehyde. He is silent, motionless. Open-mouthed and obscure under a grey coat of collagen, he is suspended. He does not breathe. He makes no sound. His eyes do not blink. Triangular razors jet out of his body; he is built to glide, to puncture. He is water-resistant and oblong and pointed. He does not swim. His jaws are large with sharpened teeth and opened nose holes. He does not sense. He acknowledges no existence. His sandpaper skin has turned to softness. His eyes are blinded and his blades are dulled. He is paralyzed by his vivid ocean, but he remains indifferent. He is encased. He is defeated. There is no threat.

Reality returns.