HUMA318 – Literature Blog #3 – Poetry Blog

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For the final Literature blog, I have chosen to look at a Mid Twentieth Century poem by Tupac Shakur and replicate his style to create my own poem of my travels through New York. The poem I looked at for this is Tupac’s “Demise” poem.

In the event of my Demise
when my heart can beat no more
I hope I die for a principle
or a belief that I had lived 4
I will die before my time
Because I feel the shadow’s depth
so much I wanted 2 accomplish
Before I reached my death
I have come 2 grips with the possibility
and wiped the last tear from my eyes
I loved all who were positive
In the event of my Demise!

Just quickly the noticeable features I need to try and replicate are every second line rhymes with each other e.g. No more, Lived 4. He also uses multi-syllable rhymes in different sections of the poem e.g. Shadow’s depth, reached my death.

I wanted to do a short poem about walking about in the rain and getting to go to Central Park on the tour.

The streets are packed with people
clambering to get out of the rain
The streets are so damn busy
It’s driving me insane
I did initially like the commotion
The hustle and bustle of city life
But the hustle and bustle ain’t so fun
When you can’t sleep at night
But the Park is a break from the rush
a gentle resting place
A place where I can relax my mind
Where my mind can get things straight.
And so I enjoy my walk through history
it’s quite interesting, all the sites.
But regardless of how hard we pulled
We just couldn’t take that damn spike.

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HUMA318 – Literature Blog #2 – Walt Whitman

 

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Blog Entry – Walt Whitman Poems.

For this blog entry, I decided to look at the 2nd stanza in Whitman’s poem Song of Myself.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it.
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contract with me.

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark colour’d sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the beth’d words of my voice loos’d to the eddies of the wind.
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag.

The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? Have you reckon’d the earth much?
Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the food of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, no look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through the eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter from yourself.

I think this stanza shows Whitman’s love and admiration for the area he is living in, It’s somewhere he truly believes is beautiful, and one that pleases all his senses. At the same time, I also think Whitman is claiming that instead of reading about such scenes that the viewer should instead indulge their senses and go out in the world to discover them first hand. Something that we did in NYC as we roamed around on our free days, Because of this I have written the following short poem about my experience, not in Washington square like Whitman, but instead of the trip I took out to the Bronx and further up north to a small Super Smash bros melee tournament I attended. (it’s probably not that good sorry)

 

The streets thick with cuisine, the aromas travel softly in and out of the sinuses, tempting passerbys in,
The taste of cheese permeates my tongue but now is not the time to indulge and so I carry on.

The metal beast roars forward, screeching and howling as it is pulled to a stop, but the beast is tamed and despite the sweet smells slowly simmering away only to be replaced with sourness, I know that I am on the right path.

With a smile and a wave greetings are exchanged, and even in the cold it only takes a smile to warm oneself.
And soon that bitter coldness would fade away and instead be replaced by the neon lights, softly humming along to dreamland and drinks.

If you listen closely the constant clicks clattering about can be distinguished.
Attah! Hiyuh!
Y, Down, A, Down, B, Y, Diagonal Down, R, C-stick up,  D-pad Up.
Come on.
Those are the sounds of victory.

 

HUMA318 – Drama Blog #3 – True West

 

truewestFor this Blog, I wanted to look at the play True West, and a theme I think was prevalent throughout the whole play, Whether or not the “truth” matters, does a stories real-life authenticity matter when trying to deliver a message?

Now when I speak about “truth” in this context I’m specifically referring to a stories real-world authenticity, ie, is it historically accurate, and if this even matters when the aim is to deliver a message?

Within the play we constantly see Austin trying to make an authentic western story. He strives to create a work that accurately represents the western life (And when I say western I don’t mean it in the modern sense, I mean it in the whole, Wild West, Jessie James and Billy the Kid style West) Austin is constantly reminding Lee and the Producer that his script is authentic to the way life was back in that time. But does that matter? Does a story need to be set in reality to portray a message? I don’t think so.
Now originally I was going to use the fact that the Producer chooses Lee’s idea over Austins as a kind of proof that the play gives this message too, but after thinking about it I think that Lee’s was chosen instead of Austins due to it being an idea that would be easier to make and probably a bigger crowd drawer in the mind of the producer.

But then why did I still chose to bring this topic up? Well, to be honest, I thought it was interesting. The concept that a story doesn’t or does need to be a certain way to convey a message.

I find it interesting because there are multiple ways a storyteller can convey their message and story and found it increasingly interesting that the producer of the Broadway version we saw was designed to be eerily realistic, despite being able to clearly see this “realistic” world in a box, almost like a toy box. And I think it’s through the play itself, from the staging, the sound effects, the lighting and the acting that the producer has been able to challenge the notion that something has to be seen as realistic to be able to send an impactful message. I want to look at each aspect mentioned and why I think they worked so well to give a sense of uncanniness that helps drive home this plays message on whether or not audiences even care about realism.\

Staging: The whole play is set within two, very detailed, and very realistic looking rooms. It’s as if someone took a room from an old house and plopped it inside a box and put it on a stage. Yet as the audience we can clearly see that this realist set is displayed all within a large box. Much like a toy doll house this set gives off an extremely uncanny vibe. I think this helps sell the notion that a story doesn’t need to be realistic to deliver a message.

Sound design: The sound design in this play was quite minimal, often only acting as a faint chirp of crickets, the howling of a coyote or the ringing of a telephone. Other than that the sound is nearly non-existent. Now while I understand this could also be because this is a play, and the audience needs to be able to hear the actors properly, I can’t help but feel that this choice was intentionally done to heighten the audience’s senses to the play and have them focus more on the uncanniness of the production.

Lighting: The lighting for the most part (as much as I can remember) was somewhat realistic, often only having lighting coming from places that a ceiling light would give light from. Again to me, this feels intentional to make the scene be as realistic as possible. 

Acting: This is where I’m torn up, on one hand, you have Lee and Austins performances in which they felt slightly over the top in areas and in others genuinely sincere. Possibly playing on the fact that the audience knows this isn’t real and that to be more engaging they need to be more over the top? The mother too was quite strange, seemingly unphased by the destruction of her home and death of her plants, which in my mind, could symbolise the thought of “Who cares if it’s real as long as it was entertaining”.

Overall True West quite honestly, was my least favourite of the plays we watched, I give it Five “Extremely overpriced theatre drinks” out of Ten.

HUMA318 – Drama Blog #2 – Waitress

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Blog Topic – Waitress, Are we normalising toxic relationships?

For this blog entry, I felt encouraged to explore a slightly different topic that was brought up within our morning meetings when it came to the Waitress, and that was relationships and if we are normalising Toxic relationships. Relationships are often depicted as being the end all and be all and if you’re not in one, something’s probably wrong with you. But when it comes to relationships, in reality, are they really all that cracked up to be?

Within the Waitress, I think we get our answer on relationships as a whole, whether intentional or not. And in the eyes of the viewer i think relationships have become simultaneously a big joke and something we as humans put on a pedestal and treat it as if it’s the ultimate goal, to find Mr or Mrs Right, the other half of us, the Ying to our Yang, The Moe’s fingers to Curly’s eyes… too far? Well personally i quite like the last analogy so deal with it.

The reason I’m claiming that relationships in today’s society are seen as something that is overpraised and quite frankly not taken as seriously as they should be is from looking at the divorce rates within America with some researchers going as far as claiming a 40%-50% divorce rate. 40-50%!? That’s tremendous if someone asked you to get a surgery where the mortality rate was 40-50% How many people do you think would actually go through with it?  Now while I can’t accurately check those numbers, and it may be hearsay, it’s still a terrifying number to think about.

 

Now your probably thinking “Ok, so what does this have to do with the Waitress?” Well within the Broadway adaptation think back to Ogie. Now personally. I don’t like this character, but I understand why and I don’t think you’re meant to like him either. Think about who he is as a person. Someone who meets a girl for a FIVE MINUTE DATE, becomes absolutely obsessed and follows her back to her place of work and refuses to leave without seeing her. Does this sound healthy to you? How about we look at some of the lyrics from his song “Never Ever Getting Rid Of Me” I mean the title alone is enough to know this guy is a creep.

“I’m not going, if it seems like I did I’m probably waiting outside”…
“I love you means you’re never ever ever getting rid of me”

“She (A stray Cat Ogie found) played hard to get hissing while she scratched me, what she was trying to say was Ogie come and catch me!”
“Wherever you go I won’t be far to follow”

 

After reading these lines it should be setting of alarm bells in your head because holy crap they are creepy. Now I’m fine with having a stalker character, nothing wrong with it. But when this character is presented to be a lovable guy who’s just “quirky” there’s something seriously wrong with how we perceive relationships and the idea of romance. The fact that this character is praised, rewarded and cheered on by the audience, in all honesty, makes me feel extremely uneasy.

 

Saying this I can separate the performance from the message, and the actors did one hell of a job, Waitress was extremely well put together, the songs and scene transitions were top- notch and there wasn’t a single second where I was bored during the play.

I have to give Waitress Seven “Hey, your pretty good” Pies out of Ten. I deducted two because the way Ogie was represented still makes my skin crawl, and I also ate one of the pies…

 

HUMA318 Literature Blog #1 – The Great Gatsby

america today.jpgBlog topic two: Lit – Great Gatsby

For this blog, I’ve chosen the 3rd question from the Great Gatsby category, in which I want to look at the breathtaking mural by Thomas Hart Benton titled America Today. Painted with egg tempera (something I’m totally touching upon soon) and between 1930-31 and spanning thirty metres all lined up and standing at an average of two and a half metres tall, this mammoth of a mural depicts many facets of American life, but the one I want to particularly focus on is the depiction of construction and technology (shown via the train) which really screams out how America was striving to be the powerhouse of the world.

Within the mural, we see depictions of men working with steel, one of Americas biggest trades and Industries throughout the 20th century. This depiction of hard manual labour is something that is engrained within American culture itself. The idea that if you work hard enough, you can make it in America. Next, to the depiction of steelworkers, we are treated to a show of Americas emerging power and technology through a large depiction of a train, possibly carrying resources to help build America to even new heights. The way the train is painted, slightly skewed forwards, gives the impression of speed, and this speed is solely moving forward with no intent on stopping, Possibly symbolising Americas never-ending effort to advance as one of the world’s superpowers.

As I mentioned earlier I also wanted to touch upon the fact that this mural was painted with egg tempera, a first drying, permanent paint. While it may be coincidence on the artist’s behalf, I mean it simply could just be the medium Benton was used to painting with, I can’t help but feel the paint in a way represents America itself. Being in New York it was hard to find a slow place to relax outside of those dang comfy hotel beds or central park. The pace of life within America seems to be fast, and even more so today with services where one can order anything to their front door within hours it’s hard not to make the connection. The paint is also permanent, which to me, symbolically represents the nature that America will never change in their ways of striving to be a powerhouse of the world. That hard work and ingenuity will always be strived for within the country.
Walking through this piece was truly breathtaking. Not only in this piece huge, but the amount of detail In each panel is astonishing, and it clearly shows that Benton has a great deal of skill and pride in his work.

I give Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today eight “New York Pizza Slices” out of Ten. I deducted one point because I couldn’t see the whole thing at once due to not evolving eyes all over my head….yet… and one point for not being able to take a piece home with me…Security are such buzzkills.

HUMA318 Blog #1 – To Kill a Mockingbird

atticusBlog One: To Kill a Mockingbird
For this first blog, I’ve chosen the drama question revolving around To Kill a Mockingbird and how it’s portrayal of Atticus Finch differs, in my opinion for the better, to Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus in the 1962 film adaptation.

For this Broadway adaptation Jeff Daniels took the leading role of Atticus, a far cry from his days opposite Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, and honestly, if anyone told me that was a role he was known for I wouldn’t have believed it. Within his performance, Jeff really did a terrific job, and for the three or so hours we where there, He wholeheartedly embodied the role of Atticus Finch, Stern but loving father and lawyer. But unlike Gregory Peck’s take on Atticus, Jeff took Atticus in a different direction, whether this was his own influence of the directors, I don’t know, and quite honestly, I don’t think it really matters.

When you think of Atticus what comes to mind? slow talking? Intelligent? Methodical? Stern? always serious? Smartass…wait, Sarcastic wiseass? Surely not Sarcastic wiseass right? Well if the only version you have viewed is the Broadway production then Sarcastic smartass might just be a descriptor.

Now when I say Sarcastic smartass I don’t mean that in a bad light, In fact, I mean it in quite the opposite. While being a sarcastic smartass is often seen as an obnoxious trait to have Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus is able to pull it off so well because at the core he keeps the same characteristics of Gregory Pecks classic portrayal, while also giving the audience a bit of the smooth-talking stereotype we often see portrayed by actors who play lawyers within film and television, think a far more toned down version of Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad, but put into the early30’s, that is the kind of Atticus we see in the Broadway play.

But Adam, you may be thinking, how on earth can you portray Atticus as a wiseass? Isn’t that the opposite of Atticus? Well, Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Atticus is not a wiseass in the original portrayal, but like I said Jeff has managed to keep the features of Gregory Pecks version of Atticus. While he may be quick to make a smart comment to Jem and Scout he still keeps the same core values. He tries to do what’s right for his family, He tries to help those in need, and most importantly he keeps his strong sense of Justice and maybe equally as important his belief that deep down everyone has a shred of decency in them, Yes even ol racist Mrs Dubose.

The final comparison I’d like to make, and this one is personally my favourite, is that Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus feels more authentic. He feels like a real person who’s passionate about the law instead of a cold methodical, almost robot-like individual. This was shown through Atticus losing his cool and getting into a small scuffle with Mr Bob Ewell (played by Frederick Weller) outside his home when Bob comes to threaten Atticus and Tom Robinson.

All in all, I quite liked Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus, even more so then Gregory Peck’s. While he was definitely different, he felt more authentically human and much more engaging to watch, and out of all the productions we watched, Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus made me enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird the most, which when put up against The Book of Mormon is no easy feat!

I give To Kill a Mockingbird Ten “I Love NYC shirts” out of Ten, if you’re ever able to go watch this performance then you better hecking go… Or ill know…