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Dec. 29th, 2014 | 09:26 pm
location: Hollywood, CA

Hey guys!

I decided to get a brain, so I've been studying screenwriting the past two years--since earning degrees in Theatre Arts and in Liberal Arts.

I'm finding that screenwriting is a very exciting business! There are lots of prizes to be won and sales to be made!

I thought it'd be a good idea to start an open blog for anyone who may know of any great screenwriting contests that shouldn't be missed, throughout the year.

Please feel free to post them!

Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Andrea Calabrese

Independent Spirit Awards
Beverly Hills Film Festival
Nicholl Fellowships
Burbank Film Festival
Creative World Awards
Page Awards
Catalina Island Festival
Action On Film Fetival


If you know of anymore, please post! Thank you!

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Apr. 24th, 2014 | 06:22 pm


Please visit my IMDb page! THANK YOU!

Andrea Calabrese

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To: Victoria Secret Executive Staff and Fashion Industry Professionals

Aug. 5th, 2013 | 10:43 am
mood: sadsad

To: President of Victoria Secret and the Executive Staff(s) of Fashion Industry Professionals

From: Andrea Calabrese, 11-14-74 (God's Creative Will with Leonardo Di Caprio, 11-11-74)

Re: Problems with a model named Toni Garrn from Hamburg, Germany.

Date: 08-08-2013


An urgent matter has taken precedence. I believe you should know, and understand, some of the facts.

On July 4th, 2013 my significant other (Leonardo Di Caprio) and I had a date with some very prominent celebrity friends of ours. I'm ashamed to admit that his mother, Irmelin Birken, had cause to believe there was something more important for Leonardo to address other than taking care of his wife and baby as he should have been doing on the Fourth of July holiday. (I have seven decorated military officials in my family. I come from a family of Doctors and engineers. I graduated Dean's Honor List and currently hold three college degrees with a primary focus on: Theatre Arts and working as an actress in the movies. I've been on stage since I was three years old--which was back then, 1977. My mother put her entire inheritance into my performing arts career to work as an actress in the movies.)

It has come to my attention that my significant other (who is: Italian-American, an entertainer since childhood, and three days before me because we were born into God's Creative Will with each other) has been seen with one of your models from Victoria Secret, recently--a Hamburg, Germany native--Toni Garrn.

To cut to the chase, Leonardo Di Caprio disappointed us all on July 4th weekend when he was discovered worshipping satan at an event in Malibu with prostitutes and whores from other countries. He should have been taking good care of his wife and baby and being an honorable Italian man. He should have been taking care of his wife and children and respecting American Veterans on the Fourth--as well as respecting our: intelligent, loving, prominent, well-respected friends. (We were saddened and outraged to see him choose the wrong path--the path of evil and destruction.)

Three days after he "no-showed" to our VIP meeting in Beverly Hills to shake hands in peace and to show respect for our: friends, families, communities, seniors and veterans--on July 7th, 2013--one of the worst airplane crashes in the history of San Francisco took place, causing two dead and 178 injured. [I know and believe 100 percent in my heart that this plane crash would not have happened had Leonardo (11-11-74) shown up to meet with me (11-14-74) to respect: God, God's design of us, and to show respect for our communities on July 4th, as he should have been doing. (Instead, he chose to worship satan with a prostitute from Victoria Secret. Now, both of them are: disrespecting God, disrespecting God's plans and disrespecting the facts. We all know when safety is put last, instead of first--as it should be, children get hurt or killed.

Three days later, on July 10th, I wrote @RealToniGarrn (who we now know is a deceitful liar who was not being honest with anyone about anything--as proven in the history of her texts and tweets) on Twitter (knowing that many dangers had happened previously when my significant other, Leonardo Di Caprio, had committed adultery on God's Creative Will he has with me in the past). I warned her and pleaded with her, PLEASE DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY with the man I have God's Creative Will with before more children get hurt or killed as a result. [It clearly states in the Bible (in 2Peter 2:14) that children will be hurt or killed as a result of adultery or adulterous images.] Toni Garrn was already lying on all of her social media(s) to everyone.

I've suffered through this many times before knowing the potential harmful effects of a married man--in God's eyes, committing adultery on the wife God chose for him, and what harm can be done to others and to innocent kids if and when adultery is committed and we pretend it didn't happen or pretend it isn't going on.

I believe all of the following tragedies would not have happened had Leonardo Di Caprio (11-11-74) not committed adultery on God's Creative Will he has with me (11-14-74), as clearly stated would happen in 2PETER 2:14:

Tuscon murders--committed adultery with Blake Lively
Japan Tsunami--committed adultery on J. Edgar miscast
Aurora murders--committed adultery with Erin Heatherton
Brown Deer & Sikh Temple murders; Severe fire damages to Australia--committed adultery on Gatsby-crap TERRIBLE MISCAST
Sandy Hook murders & Hurricane Sandy--committed adultery with Margot Robbie & The Wolf of Wall Street TERRIBLE MISCAST

[There is also suspicion of many others Leonardo may have committed adultery with. Even though he had already known--THROUGH PERSONAL EXPERIENCE--tragedies would happen as a result of his adultery on his significant other and how angry God would become towards his disrespect and towards his betrayal of God's Will. For example, Leonardo was seen with a prostitute from Brazil on a boat near the Solomon Islands--earlier this year--just before the Santa Maria (South American) fires happened, and apx. 230 kids were killed. Wikipedia.org -- "The Kiss nightclub fire started between 2:00 and 2:30 (BRST) on 27 January 2013 in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, killing at least 242 people and injuring at least 168 others. It is considered the second most-devastating fire disaster in the history of Brazil..."]

On July 10th, 2013 when I pleaded with Toni Garrn on Twitter not to commit adultery with the man--MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER--I have God's Created Will with, she pretended like she barely knew him and there was hardly anything between them at all. I let her go. I believed she wasn't sleeping with my significant other behind my back.

On July 23rd, 78 people were slaughtered in one of the worst train crashes in European history (including four children) in Santiago, Spain. I checked the news to see what possibly could have caused this evil (disrespect for God) to happen. VICTORIA SECRET MODEL TONI GARRN: COMMITTED ADULTERY, HAD DINNER & SEX WITH MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER (AND LUKAS HAAS) WITHIN 12 HOURS PRIOR TO THE SANTIAGO TRAIN CRASH--ONE OF THE WORST TRAIN CRASHES IN EUROPEAN HISTORY.

TONI GARRN HAD BEEN LYING TO ME AND LYING TO THE PUBLIC--A PUBLIC SHE IS NOT CAPABLE OF DEALING WITH BECAUSE IT IS NOT HER POSITION (BY GOD) TO BE WITH MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER. SHE WAS LYING TO ME AND TO EVERYONE IN THE INDUSTRY. SHE DISRESPECTED ME AND WENT ON TO SECRETLY COVERT WITH THE MAN GOD THINKS I'M MARRIED TO, MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER. The problem with that (besides the fact that she almost got several hundred, possibly thousands of kids killed by lying) is that she is not qualified to do my job. She is not qualified to be in my position. I have three college degrees and graduated Dean's Honor List. She lied about her qualifications to do my job and to be with my significant other. Toni Garrn is a janitor lying about her qualifications to do the work of a brain surgeon. She is not qualified to do my job as an actress, nor is she qualified to be in my position as a public figure. This is why hundreds of innocents are being slaughtered in the trail she leaves behind with my God-given husband on her escapade of adultery, lying, stealing and evil corruption. Toni Garrn is putting everyone in danger and is hindering the entire entertainment industry and everyone's productions.

1. Toni Garrn committed adultery with another woman's significant other and God-given husband.

2. Toni Garrn (uneducated foreigner) disrespected me (Dean's Honor List graduate w/ seven decorated US military officials in my family) when I warned her of the consequences on July 10th, 2013 of having an adulterous affair with my God-given husband. She disrespected my warnings of the dangers of corrupting my family unit or our marriage.

3. Toni Garrn lied about being with my significant other behind my back to me and to everyone on social media--something only a deceitful, lying, whore would do. Everyone knows she committed adultery on July 23rd--just hours before one of the worst train crashes in the history--when 78 people were brutally and mercilessly killed.

4. Toni Garrn disrespected me: Leonardo Di Caprio's significant other, with absolutely UNACCEPTABLE DISGRACE AND SHAME UPON: ME, MY FAMILY, MY FRIENDS, GOD AND OUR COMMUNITIES. Since then, I have caught Toni Garrn lying several times and being deceitful several times.

5. She was a deceitful liar, up until the day of the #Santiago train crash when 78 people were killed, and her adulterous affair and malicious intent to corrupt God's plans were exposed. She pretended nothing was going on when the whole time she was in an evil, adulterous plot to sleep with someone else's husband. (This is very disgusting from my perspective--since Leo and I are the exact same age. This would be like me having sex with someone half my age--very gross to me, and I never would. I don't have sex with children of whom I'm old enough to be the parent of.)

6. Toni Garrn is disrespecting God and disrespecting God's plans for 11-11-74 and 11-14-74 to be married and have the baby God has intended to bring forth onto this Earth.

7. Toni Garrn caused children to be murdered by committing adultery with a married man who is twice her age. This is UNACCEPTABLE GENOCIDE and a violation of the Commandment of God for 11-11-74 and 11-14-74 to be together. (ESPECIALLY, WHEN TONI GARRN WAS WARNED NOT TO, AND DIDN'T CARE IF SHE CAUSED KIDS TO BE INJURED OR KILLED. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE SHAME AND DISGRACE TO OUR TEAM WHEN LEO IS THREE DAYS IN FRONT OF ME.)

To the Executive Staff at Victoria Secret offices: I recommend to you that Toni Garrn--the lying, deceitful, adultering whore who disrespects the wives of married men behind their backs--be fired, IMMEDIATELY. Toni Garrn should be referred to the cover of Hustler magazine where she belongs--if they'll even take her. Toni Garrn needs to be punished for causing all those people to be killed by committing adultery with a married man and disrespecting his God-given wife's request to not commit adultery with her God-given husband/significant other. AGAIN, it clearly states in the Bible children will be harmed or killed if adultery or adulterous images are witnessed. (2 PETER 2:14) TONI GARRN KNEW THAT ALREADY.

Everyone, including the parents of the children who died, will always remember Toni Garrn as the prostitute who caused the Santiago train crash as a result of her adultery and her dishonest, deceitful plot to sleep with a married man.

In summary, I think we can all agree that the boys over at Hustler magazine would all have a better understanding of what to do with Toni Garrn--the: lying, disrespectful, deceitful, adultering whore who is out and about corrupting family units in society.

"Operator ‏@911BUFF 30 Jul Twitter.com

Also: San Francisco plane crash on July 7th, PA helicopter crash, several bus crashes including: Arizona and Italy

*****I think it's quite obvious, considering how many damages Toni Garrn--the prostitute who is half Leonardo's age--has caused over the past one month that she is clearly not the right girl for Leonardo Di Caprio.*****

Before ever letting Toni Garrn work for Victoria Secret ever again, PLEASE REMEMBER THE CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES WERE LOST AS A RESULT OF HER: DISRESPECT TO GOD, DISRESPECT OF OTHER PEOPLE'S MARRIAGES, LYING, DECEIT AND OF HER ADULTERING TRAMP WAYS. Why not refer Toni Garrn to Hustler magazine? I'm sure those guys will know better what to do with a disrespectful, evil slut like Toni Garrn.

Lori Greeley and Sharon Jester Tourney: It's wrong to continue letting Toni Garrn disgrace Victoria Secret and the good angels who work there who: don't sleep with married men, respect the relationships of significant others, and who don't corrupt family units the way Toni Garrn corrupts family units. Toni Garrn has been proven to worship satan, so children can be hurt or killed, intentionally--that is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE! Is it in Toni Garrn's nature to exhibit merciless acts of nazism because she's from Hamburg, Germany? The nazism, atheism and inhumane cruelty that Toni Garrn has is: careless, disgraceful and disrespectful. The disregard Toni Garrn has for human life and for the lives of innocent children she is putting in danger with her adulterous affair is absolutely sickening.

Thank you for your consideration of my honor, and for the honor and excellence of our Los Angeles communities,
Andrea Calabrese, 11-14-74
Dean's Honor List graduate and Leonardo Di Caprio's God-given significant other

I believe God has chosen me (11-14-74), so I can help straighten Irmelin Inden Birken's "BIRKENAU CONCENTRATION CAMP" WAY OF THINKING out. God has chosen me to be three days after Leonardo so I can help Irmelin become rehabilitated of her blind and ignorant authorization of: child molesting, child murdering, abuse of power, malicious intent, disrespect for God, disrespect for her son's marriage in the name of God and of God's design, lying, stealing from me and my mother (AGAIN), and to help redeem her from the sins she commits as a result of her continued: denial, ignorance and disrespect of the facts.

Irmelin Birken absolutely must stop abusing power and stop trying to oppress me--a Dean's Honor List graduate. I know the only way to get straight A's is to respect the facts. The Bible teaches us every time God's Will is rejected, evil is created. The facts are Leonardo Di Caprio (11-11-74) and Andrea Calabrese (11-14-74) have God's Creative Will with each other, and Irmelin Birken is going to stop lying about it.




Facebook Media
Twitter Media
Academy Members
Golden Globe Members
Just Jared
Perez Hilton
Sports Illustrated
Vanity Fair
Larry Flint
Star Magazine
The National Enquirer


What about the idea of simply throwing Toni Garrn in jail for soliciting prostitution to a married man and showing everyone who her pimp really is when everyone sees him bail her out? (It won't be my husband bailing her out!)

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It's a Locked Oppression

Dec. 22nd, 2010 | 11:25 pm

I wrote this paper for my Liberal Arts degree With Honors in 2007. Not only did it help Arnold and Maria with a minimum wage increase to 8.00/hour for all of our supporting actors at Central Casting, but it also helped to encourage the minimum wage increase on a national level to 7.25/hour. I hope you enjoy it!

written by Andrea Calabrese

Santa Monica College
Spring, 2007

"OUCH! What the hell did that guy just do to me?" cried Cindy. On November 29, 2006 at Cal State Fullerton, she was unexpectedly grabbed on her left side and put into a headlock. Suddenly, her neck was twisted and her face was red. A principal actor on the Fox production, "The Comebacks" is currently under investigation for the physical assault of a non-union background actor employed by "Sessions" Casting. They were both working on the same set. She was playing a reporter, and he was playing a 6’5" football star, but because she was working as a non-union actor on the set (after working on hundreds of television and film productions) to this day she has not been allowed SAG union actor's rights, insurance, or other benefits and is scrounging on minimum wage. Cindy was left stranded holding the hospital bill.

On another film set in Hollywood, another non-union background actor employed by Central Casting (the casting agency used by almost every major studio in Los Angeles), "Nicole," (whose name has been changed to protect her identity) complains "Jesus Christ! I thought slavery and segregation ended when Martin Luther King Jr. perished! I have been working on this set for 12 hours today and they are putting up signs that say, DO NOT TOUCH on coffee and snacks reserved for SAG actors and technical staff only."

The non-union actor quietly proceeds to the segregated section of the cafeteria and says to another, "Why do they divide us like this? We are doing the same acting work as them. We are all working on the same show together. Why do they treat us like second class citizens?" She continues, "They don’t let us into the Screen Actors Guild so they can abuse their power over us. They hold our SAG union vouchers over our heads and do not let us have them just to get the background actors to bow down to sexual harassment and discrimination."

Turn on the TV. Every day on every television in America, there is a silent injustice going on that not many household audiences realize or understand. Every day, non-union background actors are seen on television entertaining audiences across America. They are the silent ones, without a voice in the background on TV and in the movies, pretending to talk. They are the lives that fill the stands, the people on the dance floor, the populace in the bars, the citizens of the town, and the patrons on the screen working to support the television show making it look cool, like it’s a hip place to be.

Take a closer look. Who and what are those life forms in the background? They are not lifeless mannequins and they are not robots. They are people with lives, emotions, and responsibilities. In reality, Central Casting is being paid millions of dollars by the movie and television studios for the townspeople working on television programming that are seen in the background: the waiters, the pedestrians, the shoppers and the givers of life to the TV. Many are non-union background actors because they are not being allowed to join the actors union, SAG. Many of these actors are skilled workers and have been working on minimum wage for many years with no increase to their wages as their skills develop. On the set, they are treated unfairly by the production companies and many times are segregated from the one or two celebrities because of discrimination via agents that do not want to represent them--even though the law (labor code 1700.4) states that every artist in the State of California must "procure work through a Talent Agency." It is difficult to imagine that entertainment industry leaders and celebrities find it acceptable to pay non-union actors (their very own supporting actors) minimum wage because the acting skills they hold and have worked to acquire do not qualify as quality attributes of a skilled trade.

Television would be lifeless if the principal actors were the only people in the town, and on the screen. By taking a closer look at these "extra" artists, many of whom have been denied representation because there are not enough talent agents to handle the demand, we find that the lack of 'artist's own rights' incorporates all sorts of problems that these oppressed non-union background actors are dealing with on a daily basis: low wages, no benefits, no residuals, sexual harassment and discrimination to name a few. With no extras union available to assist non-union background actors into the Screen Actors Guild, the real question is: Where is the money going that is allocated to pay the townspeople in television programming?

At almost 400 movies produced in America each year and over 100 million dollar profits from each film--after cinema sales, Internet sales, DVD sales, cable sales, satellite sales and pay-per-view profits off of each movie (400 times 100 million dollars each year), there is no damn reason why the background actors that work on these productions should have to be sleeping in tents on the sidewalks, going to the sets with sickness making everyone who doesn't have a private trailer sick and over 80,000 homeless people in the City of Los Angeles, many of whom are homeless because they've been forced to work as a non-union actor on these multi-million dollar productions. The fact of the matter is that if these studio workers/non-union background actors were paid proportionate wages to the few celebrity contracts written to benefit the agent's cut, the City of Los Angeles would not currently have the highest levels of poverty in the country.

Besides the lack of representation for non-union background actors, there also seems to be a few misunderstandings in the matter of how these actors should earn their way into the Screen Actors Guild on their own. SAG officials have expressed that any actor (employed by an agency, such as Central Casting) has the right to work on a SAG union voucher whether they are union or not. According to Terry Becherer, a contracts specialist at SAG, non-union "actors don't have to be a SAG member to be hired on a SAG union voucher." The contradiction arises because the casting agency (Central) is telling the non-union actors that non-union actors are not allowed to work on SAG union vouchers unless they are SAG members.

One solution to solving this "locked oppression" could be to create a new department or new job position at the SAG headquarters in Los Angeles, such as "Official Voucher Person" available to assist non-union actors if they are having problems getting their SAG union vouchers because they are trying to be SAG members, working as non-union actors at Central Casting or other agency.

If this type of assistance was made available to non-union actors, it would help to minimize the extreme and unfair poverty levels in the City of Los Angeles, help to reduce the homeless crisis, and greatly improve the quality of life for Los Angeles families and communities everywhere. What kind of life is someone to have that works 20 years at minimum wage with no increase to their wages as their skills are developed?

According to "Nicole," who says the production assistants at Central Casting "take advantage of the non-union actors and use their power to get what they want out of them" (ranging from bribery to sexual favors in exchange for SAG union vouchers) before letting them have a SAG union voucher. "The entertainment industry would be lifeless without background actors," she says. "If there was no movement, no life, no customers, no pedestrians, no fans and no supporting actors, the television would be boring and dull. If people turned on their television sets and only saw the principal actors and no people in the background, the show would be dull and lifeless. The audience would question the TV shows' legitimacy and say, 'Where are all the townspeople? Is this a real show?'"

Cindy has worked almost 1,000 days as a non-union actor and only has one SAG union voucher. She has an excellent reputation, but unfortunately has been given many excuses for why she is not being allowed to have a SAG union voucher. For example, she has been told by the production company on the set that they "would be fined $1,000" if they let her work on a SAG union voucher, which has been proven to be an illegitimate excuse by a SAG representative. Other excuses have included: Central Casting didn't have any SAG vouchers to give out to non-union actors that day; they didn't have the power to hire a non-union actor on a SAG voucher; the "P.A." didn't have the power to give out SAG union vouchers; or the production company had already met their quota for the day. Many times when non-union actors arrive on a set, they are faced with signs put up by the production companies that say: "DO NOT ASK FOR SAG UNION VOUCHERS."

Other non-union actors are complaining because they are being asked to do sexual favors in exchange for SAG vouchers. Some are being asked to wait until the show has wrapped to see if there will be any time left in exchange for SAG union vouchers and others are even being told that they would be given SAG union vouchers if they are willing to go to hotel rooms after the shoot.

If what children are watching on television is such an important issue, then isn’t it time for our leaders to realize that if what our children are watching on TV has any relevance at all, then isn’t it important to pay the people on television more than minimum wage? Paying the non-union background actors more than the minimum wage (Such as, an increase of five cents per day of work on each television show or movie set. Since they do not currently receive any annual or biannual relief from basic minimum wage after several years of working on productions—compared to 22 million per year for a few agent contracts to benefit five percent of the population of actors in Los Angeles—a five cent increase per day of work for over 90 percent of the entire acting community wouldn’t be very much.) would allow the presentation for television programming to be of higher quality.

How can anyone expect to deliver quality television programming for the children of every television household when the actors are suffering on minimum wages? After all, children reflect what they see. Isn't it important to be concerned about what they are watching on TV?


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Sep. 21st, 2010 | 10:27 pm
location: Hollywood


Please set any and/or all home pages to: http://www.imdb.me/andreacalabrese

If you send me your email to: mustcastandrea@gmail.com, I can send you a copy of my most recent screentest by email!

FACEBOOK: Andrea Calabrese

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bxR7FOovuQ

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/leomarriedandi

Voice Demos available at: http://www.joematters.com/VoiceDemos.html

Goal: To be cast in speaking roles in movies and on TV.

Quote: I've been on stage since I was three years old--in something every year growing up. I was Miss Wisconsin Pre-Teen 1983, Graduated Modeling School 1987, Won Best Actress in High School 1990, Won several Awards for Local Origination Television 1996-1999, Graduated Theatre Arts Degree With Honors 2008, Won Best Feature Film 2009, Featured in July 2010 Players Guide for Casting Directors

Blog: http://andreacal.livejournal.com/
Facebook: Andrea Calabrese
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theultimateloudmouth
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/andreacalabrese

Available for screentests and/or auditions in Los Angeles!
Please contact: mustcastandrea@gmail.com

Thank you for your consideration!


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"South of the Border" directed by Oliver Stone

Aug. 1st, 2010 | 02:58 pm

"South of the Border"
directed by Oliver Stone

A Film Critique
written by Andrea Calabrese


Oliver Stone has created one of the best movies about the continent of South America that I've ever seen. In the movie, "South of the Border" Oliver Stone takes us on a journey around the continent of South America with his cameramen and crew to give us an inside perspective of what's really going on there. In "South of the Border" Oliver Stone meets with eight presidents in the South American region to decipher the in-depth perspective's of who they are and how they feel about us, the Americans. 

In the beginning of the movie, "South of the Border," Oliver Stone questions the quality of U.S. mainstream media and the information that is being provided to us through mainstream media sources.  He encourages U.S. journalists to do their jobs better. Oliver Stone questions the definition of "media," the lack of media representation and the lack of insistence from journalists who should be fighting to preserve the rights of the people to Freedom of the Press as stated in the Bill of Rights. For instance, we see clips of Michael Moore questioning the legitimacy of the war in the Middle East. Michael Moore demands, "Why are we here? Why are we in this war?"  He says that mainstream media has "refused to demand the honest questions, and here we are, in this mess!" I believe there is meaning to the relevance between Michael Moore's presence at the beginning of this film that may be concurrent with questions of war in the Middle East that are pursuant to the meaning behind the creation of "South of the Border."  What does the in-depth analysis of "South of the Border" directed by Oliver Stone have to do with the war in Afghanistan, today?

Can the Middle East learn something about economic freedoms from the countries in South America? Can the Middle East learn from the countries in South America about the governing of their own oil? Would it be best if the Middle East learned how to become independent of the IMF (International Monetary Fund of the United States of America) and independent of foreign persuasions regarding the control of oil in their regions as the majority of South America has? Oliver Stone proves he is a genius, once again. Would socialism work in the Middle East as it has in South America? Are the leaders in the Middle East educated enough to understand what socialism is and how it could help them to become more sovereign (from war) in the global economy? Who the heck does anyone think he or she is to use the U.S. military for his or her own financial gain?

Oliver Stone begins his quest in Venezuela. He introduces us to the president of Venezuela, Mr. Hugo Chavez. The first impression of Hugo Chavez is that he is a very hard working man. Chavez is educated and well-mannered. Oliver Stone has made it clear that Hugo Chavez is a president who runs Venezuela with a love for the people in his heart. Chavez is interested in developing Venezuela's history with the intentions that the Venezuelan government can benefit from serving its people.

What is the IMF? How has it affected the governing of these countries in South America? The International Monetary Fund is controlled by the US Treasury Department. It monitors the currencies of 186 countries. It's purpose is to maintain the global economy.

In 1988-89, Venezuela was declared a State of Emergency. The Venezuelan Army was used to massacre its own people, producing Chavez. In February, 1992, Hugo Chavez launched a rebellion with the intent of a Bolivarian movement. He was arrested and jailed for two years. He was pro-Bolivarian movement. The majority of the population of Venezuela saw Hugo Chavez as a hero. In 1993, the then president Carlos Andres Perez was arrested for embezzling 17 million dollars of government monies. In 1997, Hugo Chavez ran for president. In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela, reclaiming Venezuela as a Bolivarian Republic. He said, "It will be a government of the people." He greatly loves and continues to follow the thinking of Simon Bolivar, who had previously led six countries in South America to independence and freedom(s).

In 2002, George Tenet, Director of the CIA for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, made it clear that the U.S. had interest in Venezuela's oil. Venezuela is the third largest supplier of petroleum in the world. There began the attempts of a coup d'etat via Pedro Carmona. Oliver Stone quoted Hugo Chavez as saying, "The reasonings behind the coups in Venezuela and Iraq are the same." Chavez reveals that the problems Iraq and Venezuela are having of being pushed around by international private interest groups are similar. The media in Venezuela was used to justify a dominate perspective which showed Chavez as an evil man vs. the truth--that Hugo Chavez wanted to use the Venezuelan oil industry to benefit the people of Venezuela versus the corporate interests of the United States and other foreign private interest groups.

The media in Venezuela became part of the opposition to Hugo Chavez in what is known as the first "media coup d'etat." The IMF was already declaring support for the new political administration that had hoped would overthrow the political genius of Hugo Chavez. The IMF assisted in setting Chavez up to look bad. The IMF was already supporting a new administration in support of Pedro Carmona--who was friendly to U.S. oil interests, and the statesman at the head of the coup d'etat. Pedro Carmona was used by the IMF in attempts to overthrow Hugo Chavez, while Washington was asking for Hugo Chavez's resignation. This means that US special interest groups were funding the support of Hugo Chavez's rival, Pedro Carmona, because of the pro-U.S. interest in Venezuelan oil--that Carmona supported. Pedro Carmona was forced to flee the palace when Hugo Chavez was rescued from detention. (Does this have meaning relevant behind the thinking in the war in Afghanistan? How is this funding of a rival of the political sovereignty of a nation and independence from foreign persuasion of a country's oil economy relevant to what's going on with the war in Afghanistan, today?)

Hugo Chavez is not a criminal. He is a man of the people of Venezuela who fights for the rights of the Venezuelan people to use Venezuelan oil for the benefit of the people. Back in his role in the palace as the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez says, "The law respects virtue and honor." Pedro Carmona was an "ouster." Carmona made it look like Chavez was the problem when in reality, Chavez was fighting for the human rights of the people of Venezuela. There is evidence in "South of the Border" which proves that the U.S., under the Bush administration, funded and was hosting people in the coup (Venezuelan opposition leaders) against Hugo Chavez with 3.3 million dollars and failed. Chavez made an infamous trade with Fidel Castro: Doctors and medicine in exchange for cheap oil. The poverty in Venezuela was reduced by half. "This farmland belongs to the community," Hugo Chavez said.

Oliver Stone presses on with his course--venturing into the country of Bolivia. Evo Morales is the first Indian indigenous person to be elected to the presidency of Bolivia. Bolivia is the second largest supplier of natural gas in the world. In 2005, Morales was elected president of Bolivia. He is a great leader of the coca farmers. La Paz is the capital of Bolivia. Throughout history, there was great conflict over the monopoly of water in the country. Historians say that at one time it was illegal for residents of Bolivia to collect water on the roof-tops. Bolivia has the highest altitude of any International airport in the world. Mr. Evo Morales is great friends with Hugo Chavez. Oliver Stone shows us, the viewer, the correct way to survive upon the cocoa leaf. Morales is very honest about not allowing foreign military bases to exist in their country. Morales wants to lead with peace and prosperity, not violence and opposition in Bolivia. He fears international disputes and rebellion of corporate tyranny against his efforts of truth, peace and justice for his country of Bolivia. He fears international involvement and the communication barriers that provoke ousting of "uncomfortable" conflicts due to his insistence upon human rights for the people of Bolivia versus a lack of understanding for his excellent leadership.

Oliver Stone proceeds to the study of Argentina. In 2001, Argentina collapsed, and the president Fernando de la Rua resigned. Nestor Kirchner was elected. Inheriting millions of dollars in debt, he was the first to challenge the IMF directly. When Mr. Kirchner's term expired, his wife Christina Kirchner took over as president. The Kirchners were and are great friends with Hugo Chavez. The Kirchners uphold the honor and dignity of the Simon Bolivar spirit as Chavez does. When asked about the IMF, Christina Kirchner says, "It was terrible...the IMF was interested in recognized privatizations." She continues, "In 2003, we confronted the IMF." Mr Kirchner adds, "...They were only about their benefit, and not about the benefit of society." Meanwhile, the Kirchners wanted to "...ease poverty and help to create jobs." When Mr. Bush visited the Kirchners in Argentina, Mr. Kirchner suggested "The Marshall Plan." At the time, Mr. Bush laughed and mentioned that the only way to economic progress was through war. The Kirchners disagreed.

Oliver Stone's voyage of South America intensifies as he treks to Paraguay. There he meets with the president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo. Fernando Lugo has also become a leader for the people, by the people and of the people. In Stone's interview with Mr. Lugo he discovers that Paraguay is 2.3 billion dollars in debt to the IMF. Lugo clarifies that during the history of his family, his ancestors were persecuted by Streossner. Lugo is quoted as saying, "We want to be consistent with Hugo Chavez's neo-liberation movement and we want dignity for our institutions." President Lugo finds it to be a paradox, yet he is quite content that the palace he currently resides in was once home to the very people who tortured his own family. President Lugo is prepared to stand-by and defend the honor of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian movement every day for the rest of his existence.

Oliver Stone's odyssey in South America continues when he soars into Brazil to meet president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Da Silva is known as a working class leader of the people of Brazil. He was a labor union leader and prisoner of war. Brazil is known for being the ninth largest economy in the world. As a trade union leader, Mr. Da Silva has learned that, "One only respects someone who respects themselves." Mr. Da Silva goes on to proudly say how in the past few years Brazil has paid off the IMF, the Paris Club and goes on to proclaim with fierceness, "We don't owe anyone, anything!" Da Silva says, "I dream that one day we will have a structure of common currency in South America." He is friends with Hugo Chavez and wants unity with the other countries. For the first time in Brazil, the poor are treated like human beings.

Oliver Stone navigates his adventures into Ecuador where we meet Rafael Correa. Correa, like the others, honors and respects Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez's great leadership has led many countries in South America to great developments. "We love the United States. I studied there," Correa asserts. He expresses that we must admit the U.S. foreign policy in South America is questionable. Correa perseveres, "We're going to continue the fight against drugs, but we are going to do it independently."

The mission continues to Cuba where we meet Raul Castro. Raul Castro is the brother of Fidel Castro. Raul Castro is great friends with Hugo Chavez. He carries on the legacy of his brother who for 50 years fought off the United State's stronghold to dominate the land of Cuba. He agrees with Chavez's ideas of socialism and believes strongly that Cuba has the right to be a sovereign nation.

Oliver Stone's beautiful masterpiece on South America comes to a conclusion when he returns home to the United States to find the first African American man ever elected as the president of the United States. Barack Obama emphasizes to Hugo Chavez that no further destabilization offensives will threaten the South American regions. Oliver Stone, an expert in military politics states, "I hope we see the end to predatory capitalism."

Oliver Stone does an excellent job of bringing it all together by quoting Chavez as saying, '"I hope that Obama will introduce a "New Deal" to the world--to all continents."'

Da Silva has three requests for Obama, of whom he admires: "Lift the embargo on Cuba. There is no need for it, anymore. Work towards solving peace in the Middle East. It is for everyone's benefit. Invite Hugo Chavez to the United States. He is a great man."

Mr. Kirchner of Argentina reminds Hugo Chavez that it is better to have 10 leaders of a continent than just one. What would happen to the people of South America if a sole leader were to pass on? It is better to have 10 great leaders to "build collectively."

Overall, one of the most important aspects in "South of the Border" that Oliver Stone emphasizes is the importance of reminding and teaching to today's journalists that they have a responsibility as journalists to ask hard questions and demand answers as to who, what, where, when and how things are happening. What can we do to help? What is really going on there? Most importantly, journalists need to realize that their jobs in mainstream media include the responsibilities of informing, educating, and recording the truths of both sides of the stories in an objective, unbiased point of view. We want to know the truth and we want the media to stop fooling around with precious airtime. We need today's journalists to understand and to appreciate the value of the viewers' time and to also use their time more wisely when educating and informing us.  (For example, how would the United Nations view what the journalist or reporter did with his or her airtime?)  Oliver Stone contributes to the accomplishments of world peace in "South of the Border." It is a great movie that everyone should see.

The music plays out to the tune of "The South American Way" and the credits roll.


Cuba, Raúl Castro
Columbia, Álvaro Uribe Vélez
Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Paraguay, Fernando Lugo
Ecuador, Rafael Correa
Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías
Bolivia, Juan Evo Morales Ayma

My only request is that I get to wear polka dots in an upcoming movie. :)

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"Restrepo" directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

Jul. 27th, 2010 | 03:52 pm

directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington

A Film Critique
written by Andrea Calabrese

In the beginning, the camera opens up on a group of guys hanging out with each other, laughing and having a good time.  We, the audience, see their free-spirited innocent perspectives of life and love for the United States of America.  The camera introduces us to some of the characters that we'll see in "Restrepo" through "home videos" shot by a young man in a vehicle, traveling with his buddies.  These young men are embarking upon a ride into the future they will never forget.  The screen cuts to black.

The credits roll.  It is May, 2007 and the 2nd Platoon is heading into the Korengal Valley, East of Afghanistan. Korengal Valley is considered to be one of the most dangerous deployments for the United States military in the Afghanistan War.  The movie is called "Restrepo" and it is directed by Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington.

Suddenly, the friendly home videos we have become familiarized with turn into home videos of slaughter as these same young men shooting handheld footage of themselves, are no longer laughing and having a good time, but are now live in action, on the battlegrounds.

The audience is thrust into the harsh reality and awareness of what thousands of US soldiers are going through every day when they struggle to put their lives on the line for the safety of the American people here at home. The camera begins on a journey in a panoramic array of film shots portraying the vast terrains of mountain ranges and pine bluffs hiding the enemies beneath the tree-tops in Afghanistan.

The Arabic music is edited perfectly into the film causing spine-chilling sensations in the viewer, knowing that this rare perspective we are fortunate enough to experience for ourselves is known only to those brave enough to devote their time, energy and livelihoods for the well-being of us, here at home.  Viewers experience the warm-hearted "home movies" shot by a few innocent kids turn into a massive war film with serious inside footage shot first-hand by soldiers on the battlefields of Afghanistan in the middle of a treacherous war zone.

"Restrepo" is an excellent reminder to the people of America that the war in Afghanistan has not ended, yet. Although we feel peace and comfort here at home, we are reminded that it is because of the men and women overseas--that are away from their families, getting shot at every day, putting their tails on the lines for us--that we, the American people can: live, love and work in peace and safety every day.

The audience begins to experience a full-fledged feature worth budgeting as extreme closeup shots of survivors are intermittently edited into camera shots of the expansive Afghanistan landscapes full of mountainous terrains. For example, the director cuts to an extreme close-up shot of Mr. Caldwell, 1st Lieutenant of the 2nd Platoon, who gives the audience very intense and emotional briefings as he narrates his war filled memories of the battles on the Afghanistan hillside.  Another survivor exclaims, "I felt like we were fish in a barrel.  We were new to this terrain and the enemy that has been there for hundreds of years was now looking down upon us."  Another soldier explains how the enemy was already learning how to attack us and developing advanced war strategies while we were just beginning to identify who they were and where they were located on the terrain.

The film cuts to the Korengal outpost, also known as "The Kop."  We see a US battalion (teams of US soldiers) in the midst of the Afghan foothills struggling to survive and fighting for their lives.  Soldiers are being shot down at by gunfire from up above in the Afghanistan mountainous terrains.

The soldiers of the 2nd battalion lead the audience with an inside perspective (to help the viewers understand) of what's going on there.  The mountains of Afghanistan are filled with hundreds of years of ancestry.  The people there have well developed villages and have struggled over the years to achieve a way of life for themselves which is sustainable.  One soldier explains an understanding of these people and their terrain, "The civilians in Afghanistan are deep-rooted;" whereas, we are new to their terrain.

Should we be introducing ourselves to the people of Afghanistan by firing guns and missiles?  The people of Afghanistan are hundreds of years of ancestry and we are invading their villages.  Instead of invading their communities with guns and missiles, shouldn't we be taking our diplomacies to their grounds and homelands with peace and logical reason?  Would we be losing so many United States soldiers if we proceeded into their valleys with love, peace, kindness, understanding and legible diplomacy instead of introducing ourselves, what we represent and what our intentions are with: violence, bloodshed, tyranny and destruction?  Shouldn't we be more advanced in our thinking in our offensives for peace instead of the old-school way of progress in the Afghanistan developing regions?  "They (The Taliban) see us and of course, they are going to flee."

We are trespassing against hundreds of years of developing ancestries.  One of the biggest concerns the civilians in Afghanistan have is that when we trespass against them, we are shooting at their family members.  According to the soldiers of the 2nd platoon in "Restrepo," we are telling the people of Afghanistan that we are there to build roads and to help make their villages more productive communities.  (While we kill their children and elders to do it?)  Really, what is the purpose for us being in Afghanistan?  To produce peace and stability with guns and knives?

Why are we introducing the meanings of peace and stability to the people of Afghanistan as intrusion, invasion and trespassing onto their: lands, homes, families and livestocks--with guns and missiles?  Shouldn't we be teaching the meaning of peace and prosperity with diplomacy and understandable communication methods, with plenty of interpreters, instead of teaching them peace and prosperity with bloodshed, ambush and weapons? What are we teaching them when we force ourselves into their communities with little or no respect for their lands, their families, or their agriculture?  Are we not teaching them to fight back at us when we help them to understand nothing but the barrels of our guns?

The realities of the conditions of the soldiers we see in "Restrepo" is that the US soldiers are building their own shields and bases with very little armor.  "We dropped 70 percent of our ordinance (artillery) in the Korengal valley," the lieutenant says.  He explains how our soldiers are dying and losing limbs while the troops are being shot at every day.

Live hand-held footage from the inside of the battle as it is happening portrays real emotions, real thoughts and real actions of what is going on there.  We see the anger, frustration, and desperation of these young men in ultimate survival mode pushing the limits of human capacity.  They are in a quest for survival in a war zone that is happening NOW.  This is a very important reminder that the war is not over.  Meaning, the people of the United States are currently in a quest for survival, as well.

"Restrepo" is a great film because it teaches us not only what strategies and war tactics we can do better on our offensive, but what we can do better as a country on our defensive.  If this war in the Middle East is the longest war in the history of the United States, at what point does it end?  We are trespassing against them into territories the United States has never tread before.  Of course they are going to shoot back at us.  They are afraid and struggling to do their best to defend their families and the lands that their ancestors worked hard to obtain and to build.  It is not them on our land.  We are on theirs.

Doc "Restrepo" was a soldier of the 2nd Platoon.  He was shot in the neck and bled to death in the helicopter on the way to the emergency room.  Was the helicopter ride too long to the emergency room?  Do we have enough emergency rooms in Afghanistan for our soldiers?  In his honor, "Outpost Restrepo" was built.

To the people of Afghanistan, we are the war child.  Further on into the movie, the Majors visit with the platoon and are briefed by the soldiers.  They leave the scene with the attitude, "We'll take their hearts and their minds." The sergeants orders are to push forward, through the villages to push the enemy back.  (Trespass against villages of women and children with no intent to hurt or violate the civilians?)  There are weekly meetings held between soldiers and the elders called, "Shuras."  The elders say, "If we talk about the Taliban, we will be killed."

Patrolling villages is very scary for the US soldiers.  The soldiers cannot communicate without an interpreter (which there are not enough of), and when patrolling new areas the men do not know where the bullets will come from next.  The enemy could be standing five feet away and the US soldiers would not know it unless they were being shot at.  One of the soldiers mentions "the police," but says that there aren't enough of them and "they are too far away."  Sometimes after repertoire with the villagers has been established, planes will come in and drop bombs.

One day, in the middle of the film, the troops at Outpost Restrepo are visited by elders.  The elders have come to complain that their cow was killed and want to know how they will be repaid.  The troops offer: rice, beans and sugar in return, because funding is not approved through the Majors over the telephone when the troops ask for it. This brings up another point that every time the US soldiers invade the Afghan villages there is a cost for the Afghanistan villagers.  The villagers lose: family members, materials, cattle and agriculture that they have worked their tails off to acquire for hundreds of years.  Some of these items are greatly cherished as they may have been passed down from previous generations.  The Afghani's want monies for:  our intrusions on their properties, stolen goods, and for the burials of their family members.  The United States' soldiers are there, invading their villages, because they are looking for information and clues as to the whereabouts of the Taliban and the Mujahideen.  Do these villagers even know who or what the Mujahideen is?

"Restrepo" is an excellent perspective of the way things are really happening in Afghanistan.  The soldiers agree that "Operation Rock Avalanche" was one of their most dangerous missions.  The live footage shows the soldiers preparing for battle, and then executing the mission.  There is a large poster hanging over the meeting grounds that reads, "Live in Freedom in Ohio."

On Day One of "Operation Rock Avalanche" the soldiers proceed through the village.  The audience sees now that this is definitely real footage shot from a real battle as it is happening.  The bombs start going off and the audience sees big, red clouds of fire and smoke just a few meters away from the troops.  Bullets start flying at the heads of the young men, including the camera man.  The adrenalines of the soldiers starts pumping to the smells of gunsmoke, fireballs going off around them, and to the surround sounds of live artillery being shot off, right in front of the camera. The soldiers are learning which doors to look behind, which crawlspaces to search and what not to touch because it is hot.  Every soldier hopes he will be the hero to find Bin Laden.  Are we supplying the villagers with enough medical materials to repair the damages of the bombs that are being dropped?

Is the right way to proceed through villages to bomb them and then try to make peace with their friends and families after the dust settles?  The innocent women and children lay bleeding and dying with little to no medical attention for them.  The high ranking military officials visit the troops again and this time they are led into the villages that have just been overthrown by the 2nd platoon.  They are speaking English to the Afghani's.  We see close up shots of the faces of the villagers whom obviously have no clue as to what is being said in English.  Are we doing this right?  We're explaining to 90 year old elders that we: invaded their property, wounded and killed their children, and stole their cattle because we're going to put them to work?  One soldier remarks, "The enemies eyes are on us at all times," for we are strangers on their land.

Suddenly, the 2nd platoon is ambushed.  A soldier explains, "This means every position is hit at the same time." The enemy starts shooting at the troops from every direction, causing US soldiers to be wounded.  The US soldiers respond by "bum-rushing" the enemy without knowledge of "where they're at."  As the days of "Operation Rock Avalanche" continue, the US soldiers go down one by one.  The "bum-rushing" causes unnecessary damages to US troops.  Why?  Because we're looking for Bin Laden behind every door?  Heartfelt explanations are given explaining the absurdities and questionability behind the thinking to any further advancements with the war in Afghanistan.  One soldier follows a blood trail thinking it will lead him to a bigger pack of enemies?  Our soldiers are soaked in blood, and struggling, to find sanity in a reality that has become completely insane.  One thing is for sure that more interpreters are definitely needed to travel with the high ranking military officials into the villages and the Majors need more patience when communicating to the villages being intruded upon by us.

The troop pushes forward, hiking into the mountains where it gets colder.  We begin to see snow on the ground. Here the troops become bored out of their minds searching for something they cannot find when they hear on the radio that their sister company has just been ambushed.  Why are we proceeding with this war with the perspective that we should make them pay?  We seek revenge upon them when we are the intruders on their land?  They should pay us for intruding on their land?  Money is being wasted on artillery to shoot into villages at an unknown enemy.

In April 2010, troops withdrew from the Korengal Valley.  Approximately 50 US soldiers had been killed there.

Before the film cuts to black, we see a reality of the soldiers perspectives that shows us the psychological impact of war upon young men that would not have been understood had this movie not been filmed.  Young men are running around chasing each other imitating the actions of Norman Bates, "Psycho" style.  One young man runs around with his arms in the air flaring at the other soldiers as if he had a large butcher knife in his hand.  He is pretending to stab the other soldiers as they are preparing their deployments back to the US.  This proves that the US specifically needs to reconsider further psychological medical assistance to soldiers returning home, so that we may be a better America in honoring our soldiers when they return.  The theme song plays out, "We've got to keep these fools from lying, so we can keep ourselves from dying."

The most important point in "Restrepo" is to remember that our US military service men and women are busting their tails every day to protect every minute of freedom in America that we breathe.  We need to remember that although the diplomacy may not be perfect, as long as we are in Afghanistan, we the people are in Afghanistan. The US soldiers are our fellow Americans.  They need our support to get them out of there, so they may return home to their families safe and secure as they have provided for us.

"Restrepo" is an outstanding reminder that our peace and happiness as Americans are appreciated at the expense of so many Honorable men and women with their lives on the lines for us.  The reality of Bin Laden and his attacks against the US and our families has not ended, or we would not be there.  For every breathe of joy we take--as this war in Afghanistan continues--there is another bullet to the heads of the men and women overseas fighting for our rights and for our freedoms to live in the peace and comfort of our freedoms, here in America.


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"Ghost Writer" by Roman Polanski

Feb. 23rd, 2010 | 05:49 pm

First of all, I have to say I totally loved Roman Polanski’s new psychological conspiracy thriller, “Ghost Writer.” As in many of Polanski’s films, the music alone is cause enough to see this great movie. The music grips the viewer from the opening scene and doesn’t let go until the credits are rolling. Intense violins matched with spine-tingling rays of high-pitched notes on the treble clef of the piano is a classic signature of Polanski in this thought-provoking masterpiece.

Another element that is equally distinguishable in Polanski’s “Ghost Writer,” is the riveting chemistry between the brilliant characters. The actors work so well together it seems as though they could be family members. It is evident that the harmony of elements soulfully connecting the actors together has been meticulously chosen as Polanski has been known to do before in his previous Academy Award winning movies. Ewan McGregor, Pierce Brosnan, Olivia Williams and Kim Cattrall create fountains of serene good work in “Ghost Writer.” Their souls immediately intertwine as their beings of light shine together to set the stage for the outstanding intellectually compelling genius of a metaphorically challenging screenplay. There is great heart powering Roman Polanski’s “Ghost Writer,” which is reflected in all elements of this beautiful addition to his collection of masterpieces.

“Ghost Writer” provides: mystery, suspense, intellectually challenging thought-provoking conspiracy in this political adventure which gives the audience an exciting ride for two hours and 15 minutes of outstanding entertainment and inspiration to new and old fans of Roman Polanski. The director once again proves his mastery in making motion pictures by presenting to the audience skilled and experienced filmmaking on screen, captivatingly defined as another simply irresistible Roman Polanski masterpiece. The cinematography, the lighting and the technical direction of “Ghost Writer” are absolutely beautiful examples of excellence in filmmaking. The cameras waltz in zen with political dialog that is a tour de force of thought-provoking insight any intellectually advanced “movie-goer” would enjoy.

Without giving too much of the multi-layered metaphorical genius of a story plot away, the gist of the movie is that Pierce Brosnan plays former Prime Minister, Adam Lang, who hires Ewan McGregor as an editor and as a ghost writer (a second opinion) to transform Lang’s multi-layered political history as (former) Prime Minister into a book of fact and fiction that results in a decently honest memoirs.

Olivia Williams plays Ruth Lang, the former Prime Minister’s wife who falls in love with the ghost writer due to problems and questions regarding a possible love affair between her husband, Adam Lang, and his secretary played by Kim Cattrall. The plot is set ablaze when viewers discover the CIA is trying to set the (former) Prime Minister (a political leader of metaphorical grandeur) up as a war criminal who is being accused of torture authorized by the CIA.

The incredible plot of “Ghost Writer” thickens when the meaning of the malicious intent grows deeper. Specifically, when the audience discovers “Hatherton” (possibly referring to Dick Cheney’s "Halliburton") and the thrilling truths behind the definition and meaning to “war” and how it is politically funded for corporate profits. “Ghost Writer” is a beautifully intelligent masterpiece providing an entertaining battlefield for the truths and the fictions of the characters.

Many lessons of life are taught, lived, learned and remembered in this eloquent monument of masterwork. The aim is not just to be politically enlightening, but “Ghost Writer” hopes to inspire intellectual developments in all human beings, possibly as a personal accomplishment for Roman Polanski himself. It’s a good reflection of his subconscious that he is making an effort throughout this film to prove to others that he is much wiser now. Polanski sets out to teach to others something they can learn about humanity and the love that people share towards each other.

“Ghost Writer” teaches us not only about the relationships between corporate politics and the abuse of power through military etiquette, but also about the use of force through authorized torture and how human relationships can survive amongst inhumane cruelty. The audience learns what we can learn from each other at the most advanced levels. Some relationships are of eternal, unconditional love--that will never change, whereas some are “too good to be true” and completely paid to exist. Who knew that love could be bought and used for malicious intent against another? Hence, the meaning of “Too good to be true.”

Where entertainment drives technology, “Ghost Writer” inspires even the best of us. The underlying twisted metaphorically genius cast and crew of “Ghost Writer” are reasons enough to see this outstanding motion picture by Roman Polanski.

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For Your Consideration to the following story on Polanski

Dec. 23rd, 2008 | 11:17 pm

The previous post on Polanski reads to me "Field Full."

Therefore, I would like to add a few points:

Let's' all ask Jack Nicholson, "Would you prefer to have the cops at your house or not at your house?"

Who called the cops on Jack Nicholson?

I believe that Samantha Geimer was prostituted by her mother who then called the cops on Jack Nicholson. It may very well be true that her mother prostituted her daughter into Jack Nicholson's house, and then called the cops trying to get money out of Nicholson.

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Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby"

Dec. 18th, 2008 | 05:22 pm

Why should a man have to suffer 50 years after his family was murdered twice--by criminals, because Samantha Geimer: "the Gold Digger" is probably on drugs, has possibly no education and obviously has no work ethic?

I'm posting this because I feel a sense of responsibility to help him. I believe Roman Polanski is an innocent victim. He has the right to be a free man. Just because an uneducated person that may not understand his work is jealous of him, doesn't make him guilty of crimes he did not commit. I'm posting this to prove that I understand his work and to show everyone that I've worked really hard to earn an understanding of his films, as well as the films of other directors. I have a 4.0 at three colleges in Los Angeles and am on the Dean's Honor List at one of the schools that Clint Eastwood attended. It's absurd that Roman Polanski, the employer, is not being allowed to hire people to work with him in Los Angeles. We all want to see this Academy Award winning film director in Hollywood where he belongs.

Honorable Judge Peter Espinoza
Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center
210 West Temple Street
13th Floor, Dept. 100
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Dear Honorable Judge Peter Espinoza:

As one of Roman Polanski's best students I am attaching an 'A' paper that I wrote on his work to help you understand this tragic case.

Human beings have the right to be geniuses without being condemned or accused of crimes they did not commit. Polanski became the rare outstanding artist that he is as a result of severe suffering and torture bestowed upon him when he was forced to grow up in a nazi concentration camp.

THIS MAN DOES NOT DESERVE TO SUFFER ANYMORE PAIN! Jesus Christ...or shame, or embarrassment, or humiliation, or torture! He has the right to be a free human being, for crying out loud. Who the hell are any of us to take away the human rights of another person just because he/she is a great artist?

Please read the attached paper from the perspective of a beautiful film student who understands his work and has the right to experience great stories and great art through film.

We, as human beings, suffer so much pain and tragedies throughout our lives that it is with great appreciation that I, Andrea Calabrese, a 4.0 student at three colleges on the Dean's Honor List, understand with utmost respect this need and demand for mercy upon this great artist, Roman Polanski. He is an Academy Award winning film director. We, his best students, deserve to see him receive a little dignity before his death. This man is one of the greatest geniuses that the uneducated-in-film-mind would not understand.

From my perspective, Samantha Geimer is a lazy bitch with probably no education, possibly on drugs, no work ethic--obviously, whose mother randomly selected victims with malicious intent. Her mother waited outside, while she forced her daughter into prostitution to rich men. Then she called the cops on Nicholson. Samantha Geimer's mother is nothing but a "Gold Digger," and neither her nor her daughter's poor judgment will ever be respected by me. Do you think she would have done the same thing to Samantha had she known she was sending her in the house to seduce a nazi concentration camp victim? She probably would have picked a different house.

Your Honor, we Roman Polanski's best students deserve to see these ridiculous matters and this major injustice put to rest. In the recent article in the LA Times, it states that Roman Polanski already served 42 days in jail for this absurdity and the only reason he fled was because of mass confusion and false judgment against him. They wanted him to serve time again after he was already told he was free to go? After the love of his life, Sharon Tate and unborn child had just been found brutally murdered. This is unacceptable inhumane cruelty to Roman Polanski.

Your Honor Judge Peter Espinoza, please put an end to the insanity in this honorable film director's life not only for his sake, but for his hundreds of thousands of film students who are broken hearted and deeply saddened at all of these injustices that have happened to one of their most beloved filmmakers.

Please let him come back to Hollywood with the dignity, respect and honor he deserves. We would love more than anything to see him on the walk of fame where he belongs.

With best regards,

Andrea Calabrese, Award winning actress and film student With Honors
PO BOX 2255
Hollywood, CA. 90078
Email: coolsponsors@yahoo.com


Just because someone is jealous of a gifted person doesn't make an innocent man guilty of crimes he did not commit.

written by Andrea Calabrese

This Roman Polanski classic opens up on Mr. & Mrs. Woodhouse (Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes,) looking at an apartment for rent in present day New York, which was at that time, 1968. Rosemary Woodhouse, a delicate young woman, is ecstatic about the possibility of being able to move into this particular, spacious, Victorian home. Guy Woodhouse, a sensitive, struggling actor, seems a little precocious about the cost, but easily develops an interest when he sees his beautiful wife take such a fancy to the home. As they are being given a tour by the renter in Scene I, the door to Polanski's imagination is opened, and he begins to develop a repertoire with the audience. While the couple is enchanted by every nook and cranny of their newly found fortress, Polanski uses sound as the key to express his creativity.

While the couple explores, Beethoven's magnificent "Fur Elisa" is heard on piano (off screen) somewhere in the distance, suggesting that this home would be an idealistic one to live in. Although she doesn't see the piano, Rosemary reacts to the synchronic sound by looking up into the air with a glimmer in her eye, suggesting an awe of where the sound might be coming from. The echo of the high pitched piano also illustrates how greatly spacious the dimensions of the elegant structure are.

In scene two, the couple is excitedly walking away from the structure, agreeing to take the offer and move in, if their current landlord—Hutch, will allow them to get out of their current lease.

Scene three consists of dinner between Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse and their landlord Hutch. All of the sounds are in synch as we see shots of the three surrounding a stove, preparing to sit down to dinner. When they sit down to eat, every cut and slice of the lamb is heard in every detail, along with luscious sips of red wine. Meanwhile, Hutch is telling them what he knows about the history of the house they are planning on moving into. He says that very strange and mysterious things have happened in the house throughout history. At the turn of the century the Trench sisters, who were once long time "proper Victorian" tenants there, "…conducted dietary experiments. They cooked and ate several young children." Also making a "splash" in the house, Hutch says, (as he pours himself another glass of wine), "...was the tenant Adrian Mocotto." Mocotto had been known to practice Witchcraft and was attacked and killed in the lobby by angry citizens who had heard he had means to conjure up the devil. Hutch goes on to tell them about how more recently, in 1959, a dead infant was found, wrapped in plastic in the basement of the home. During this conversation between Hutch and the Woodhouse's, the history of their landlord's eating habits are felt and heard through his large build and almost animalistic features. The sounds are so detailed and delicate here that through the landlords luscious British accent—as that of Alfred Hitchcock or Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes—we can almost hear his saliva drooling as he is cutting his meat. "Speaking of the devil," he says, "Have some more wine." Guy responds with more subtext and gratefully says, "Mmmmm…you really rouse my appetite."

All of this talk is a lot to take in—in one viewing—the tempo of the dialogue is upbeat and complex. Not only does what is consciously heard produce the effect of building tension and suspense in the viewer, but by hearing these stories of murder and psychosis, these feelings of tension are also being taken in deeply at a subconscious psychological level.

Despite the stories they have heard, scene four consists of the couple moving into their new home. Rosemary, who has a gentle, but hollow, high-pitched empty voice—like that of Shelly Duvall in the Shining, one that begs for sympathy every time you hear it—is unpacking and preparing for dinner in the first night of their new home. The dishes clank with an echo, portraying the emptiness of their spacious apartment. As the couple sits on the floor to have their first meal, we hear the echo of Rosemary opening a soda pop can as he takes a luscious sip of soda also, setting it down to echo throughout their new enormous abode. She says, "Lets make love."

Polanski cuts to the next scene of the two of them in bed kissing and Guy says, "SShhhh………………I think I hear the Trench sisters chewing." Before she giggles, we hear a tremendous pause of defecating silence when the audience is caused to respond to Guy's request and listen with them in anticipation of what might possibly be heard. This beautiful moment is left up to the viewer's imagination arousing an internal suspense and fear of what might be happening.

Without a clue as to how much time has passed exactly, the first indication of something gone wrong in their new home happens one night when the couple is sitting in their bedroom, getting ready for bed (he is reading a newspaper with a picture of a group of musicians on the page facing the camera), when they hear a mysterious eerie voice of an old woman through the walls. The couple jokes and laughs as Rosemary jumps on the bed showering Guy with warm hugs and kisses. Suddenly, they realize the old woman's voice that they were hearing through the walls has turned into a group of people chanting something bizarre. (Off screen synch) The camera tilts up from the couple to a hard point-of-view shot of the blank wall and a mysterious shadow that flickers for an unknown reason. The only other action in the shot is the sound coming from behind the wall.
The next scene is of the couple walking up the street towards their apartment to find one of their neighboring tenants lying in the street—dead, thought to have jumped out a window.

The next night, Rosemary is laying in bed next to Guy, who is sleeping. We see a birds-eye-view shot of Rosemary (looking up into the ceiling) just before she closes her eyes. The camera tilts up to the wall behind her, passing over the shadows, to a blank shot of the wall and we begin to hear the old woman's voice through the wall again. This time, we get a vision of what lies beyond the wall. First, we see various shots of a nun holding a bible extremely tight as she is chanting something (possibly in Latin). She turns to chant violently towards an ensemble of schoolchildren and we see through the nun's raging--that the sound format has changed. It is now dubbed over the image, telling us that the scenes were originally photographed without sound, to later be dubbed over the image.
I found this to be a glorious effect by Polanski when portraying such scenes as Rosemary's visions. The time delay of the sound over the image is meaningful in the same sense of the visions/dreams that Rosemary experiences—also signifying other dimensions of reality. This complex, technical addition/effect also contributes to the building tension and feelings of suspense amongst the viewer.

In addition to how sound is expressed throughout the rest of the movie, a continuous, high pitched formalistic screeching sound/music is heard to also build tension and suspense throughout the rest of the film. The piano that once played beautiful realistic melodies is now heard—in moments of high tension—as fast waves of eerie scores: "Fur Elisa" gone mad.

Another significant sound would be that of Guy's domineering voice, under the spell of the witches. His domineering outrageous voice contributes to the influence and domination of Rosemary's thought and sanity. The constant dominating and torturing of Rosemary through his voice, over time, influences Rosemary's gradual acceptance of his outrageous behavior. Life and/or hope is sustainable by the periodic intermittence of Rosemary's baby kicking or the symbolic, soft lullaby music (non-synch) being played. When Hutch—Rosemary's only connection to sanity—dies, her voice changes again to become very soft and quiet, expressing deep sorrow and hopelessness. After Hutch wills Rosemary a book of clues to what is going on with the insanity of her house, Rosemary begins to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Every time she realizes the dreadful truth of another clue, formalistic high pitched screeching noises can be heard—to intensify the visuals/plot.

After Rosemary's baby is born and kidnapped by the witches who live in her house, Rosemary is told by the "family" "doctor" that her baby has died. Rosemary is sick and determined to find the truth. Out of the love for her unseen baby, she rebels and becomes strong enough to stick to the truth and search for her baby. She uncovers a secret door in her closet and as the tension builds, the tempo of the piano plays excitedly—simultaneously—in rhythm, with Rosemary's movement. (Off screen, non-synch)

When she finds her baby, the most unforgettable, horrific noise/music is played. Rosemary becomes ecstatic and starts screaming, "What have you done to it?!?" The witches/other tenants celebrating the birth of the child respond by telling Rosemary to be grateful, "Satan has chosen you to be the mother of his child."

As Rosemary sinks in a chair trying to make sense of everything that she is taking in, the baby starts to cry and Rosemary walks slowly over to the cradle. What we see is a close-up shot of Rosemary's face with a gradual look of love and acceptance as she slowly begins to the rock the cradle.

As the story comes to a close, we see an overview/high angle shot of the building, and the lullaby theme plays, as the credits begin to roll.

"Actors are like cattle."
--Alfred Hitchcock

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Critical Analysis: A Midsummer Night's Dream

May. 5th, 2008 | 03:15 pm

Critical Analysis: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Andrea Calabrese
English 60
Gordon Dossett
Santa Monica College

As learned in History of World Theatre Class, Aristotle’s six elements of dramatic structure (from “The Poetics,” by Aristotle) include: plot, character, diction/dialogue, theme/thought, rhythm/song and spectacle. These parts determine the quality of a good play. A few of these that repeatedly appear in my journal are: character, spectacle and rhythm.

The meaning of character, as defined in Aristotle’s “The Poetics,” is to mean the personalities of the characters, as shown in their words and actions. The characters are the agents of action and must be related to the plot. I felt strongly that my character, Starveling, was much too small of a part for me and I found myself in tears from absolute boredom throughout most of the play. I definitely think that Peter Quince and I were both miscast. Rusty should have been cast as Starveling and I should have been cast in at least the role of Peter Quince. I believe, in the end, although Rusty departed, it worked out well as I very much enjoyed his replacement, Anthony Soto. The highlight of playing Starveling was definitely in balancing the actual words with the underlying meaning that Shakespeare intended in “horned moon.” “Horned” means: glory, honor and strength. It was interesting to experiment with different ways of acting out the meaning of these words (the diction) while speaking the surface dialog at the same time. This was the most challenging but fun aspect of my character, Starveling.

A second element of Aristotle’s dramatic structure that I’ve chosen to write about is spectacle. According to Aristotle, the spectacle includes all of the visual elements: set, costume, lights, etc. I noticed in the critical analysis after the show that the biggest complaint the judges had was lack of spectacle. There are a lot of things that we could have done to improve the physical elements of our production. For example, we could have made trees out of wood and decorated them. My original suggestion was to have one giant tree made from wood decorated and painted to exemplify the depths and velocity of the forest. Everybody said Janie wanted to go with the bare stage to highlight the actors’ performances and obviously Janie is the director and therefore has the final say, of course. One thing I agreed with Judith Lawyer about, however, and really liked was her recommendations to involve more of the natural elements as they had done in medieval times: air, water, fire and earth. The adjudicators both thought that our play would have been better performed had we incorporated more of the four elements into our production. Some of the other things we could have added to make the show more entertaining for the audience would have been to involve, integrate and engage more elements of nature with the elements of our theatrical production. Like the trees made of real wood representing the earth element, we also could have used the theatre element of lighting to reflect the other elements in nature like fire by having such props as: candles, tap lights or torches. Another interesting effect that works well is to match the lighting gobos to the sound effects for a more entertaining spectacle.

This brings forth the third element of Aristotle’s dramatic structure known as rhythm and song. This includes the sound effects and music in the play. I absolutely loved Meg’s work on the piano. She did a wonderful job. To use the element of sound more effectively, however, there are a lot more things we could have done to transcend the audience to the forest in the 1930’s. We could have used more 1930’s music to reflect the time period better. Even if we had just used little cuts of 1930’s music to symbolize transitions, it may have helped support the spectacle better. I think the French horn that Meg was playing was great and I loved that aspect of our play. To heighten the spectacle of sound even more, we could have used other sound effects, such as: flowing water, rustling of leaves, chirping birds or splashing water. We also could have used the sound of flowing waters on the overhead audio while the lighting gobos animated the sounds.

All of these elements could have been used to further develop and support the plot, spectacle, characters and dialogue of our 1930’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If these elements had been more effectively woven together, we probably would have received a much better review. Maybe that is what the adjudicators were really thinking when they were judging our show. They may have been comparing their analyses of our play to Aristotle’s six elements of dramatic structure, and then asking themselves, “Is this the best they could have done?” There is enough studio equipment in our new high-tech theatre to make these kinds of integrated spectacles a part of our performances. Hopefully, as we all learn how to use more of the equipment in our new theatre, these kinds of spectacular integrations of theatrical elements combined with elements of nature will enable further developed and more entertaining theatrical productions at SMC in the future.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream: Character Analysis

Mar. 24th, 2008 | 02:05 pm
location: Santa Monica, CA
mood: lovedloved

Here's a paper I've written on my character in A Midsummer Night's Dream to give everyone a little more background on the play (I got an 'A' on it):

Andrea Calabrese cast as “Robin Starveling”
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Santa Monica College Studio Stage
April 18-20, 2008
For tickets, call 310/434-3000

Order tickets online at: http://www.smc.edu/theatre/SSProds.htm

A Midsummer Night's Dream:
A Character Analysis

written by
Andrea Calabrese

My character Robin Starveling, the tailor of Athens, is a member of the Rude Mechanicals (aka the industrial workers of the kingdom) in Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night's Dream written in 1595. The creation of my character, Robin Starveling, involved his personality, presence and performance being planned in a play (within a play) called, Pyramus and Thisbe. In the story A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Duke of Athens is Theseus who is preparing to marry Hippolyta. Theseus falls asleep and dreams of a forest filled with magic, fairies, lovers and the King and Queen of the forest: Oberon and Titania.

Robin Starveling is a member of the Rude Mechanicals, a group of actors who were hired by Theseus to entertain at his up-and-coming wedding to Hippolyta. The Rude Mechanicals arrange to perform a play called, Pyramus and Thisbe, a love story. Included in the Mechanicals are: Starveling, Snug, Snout, Quince, Flute and Bottom. They all look up to Bottom, especially Starveling. Starveling is a timid character and the most fearful of the group. As proven when Starveling says, “I fear it, I promise you.” (3.1.21) This is spoken in reference to the ladies’ fear of the lion. Starveling works very hard to overcome his fears and to be the best that he can be. “Starveling” is a word for a thin person lacking food.

There are many depths to A Midsummer Night's Dream and many different perspectives that one may learn when studying this beautiful masterpiece. Robin Starveling is first cast as Thisbe’s mother, but when Peter Quince (the actors’ manager) announces that the lovers will need “to present, the person of Moonshine” (3.1.45), so the lovers may meet by night, Starveling’s character changes from Thisbe’s mother to Moonshine. Is there meaning to this change? I believe there could be meaning intended to the relationship between the roles of Thisbe’s mother and Moonshine. For example, the change from Thisbe’s mother to Moonshine may have happened to assist Shakespeare’s character development of the tailor’s multidimensional depths of character. Meaning, there may have been a metaphor intended there in regards to the thinking of Starveling’s character: a change of clothes for the tailor means a change of thought for the man. This would have helped to develop the depths of Starveling’s character while enhancing his presence on the stage. Originally, it may have been true that the tailor was to be cast as Thisbe’s mother to prove the point that “A man is a man by what he wears” as an object (the lantern as the moonlight) is what it is by what it does.

Later on, after his role changes from Thisbe’s mother to Moonshine, Starveling says, “This lanthorn doth the horned moon present; Myself the man i’th’ moon do seem to be.” (5.1.230) At this point, Starveling may have been meant to exhibit zen with the lantern to portray his unity of character with the moon. I believe this may have been intended as another metaphor for Starveling’s character. This unity between a human being and a moon—as big as a planet, millions of miles away—is spoken as a metaphor when Starveling says, “I, the man in the moon.”(5.1.241) I believe there is greater meaning to this metaphor as well. Not only does it elevate the thinking of the 16th century to astronomical proportions, but may have been written as a reflection of Galileo’s Copernican Theory which he wrote in 1595, the same year that Shakespeare published A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Copernican Theory declared that the earth revolves around the sun, which was contradictory to previous thinking of Aristotle’s and Ptolemy’s assumptions that the planets circled a fixed earth. I believe there is relevance to the relationship between the developments in Galileo’s telescope to Shakespeare’s creation of Starveling’s character, Moonshine.

One of the morals to the story that is brought about by Starveling’s character as Moonshine is that his character represents something greater than himself. This may also be representative of a Pagan view. What religion, if any, is Shakespeare representing here? As in a Pagan religion, the presence and cycle of the moon serves as a constant theme throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although there are four separate plots in this play, the moon appears to light the way for all four separate groups of characters. First of all there is Theseus and Hippolyta planning their wedding, ”…And then the moon, like to a silver bow New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night of our solemnities.” (1.1.9) This is significant because it introduces the moon as a common theme that will be proven to represent a common theme of love throughout the rest of the play—serving as a “steady norm,” a light a parent might leave on for a child yet to come home. Secondly, Theseus declares that if Hermia does not marry Demetrius, she will live an unproductive life, “chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon.” (1.1.75) Hermia has until the next moon to make her decision. The moon is also a symbol in the flight of Hermia and Lysander. Thirdly, the moon appears again shining over Oberon and Titania. “Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, Pale in her anger, washes all the air, That rheumatic diseases do abound.” (2.1.106) This is meant to say that because of Oberon’s and Titania’s argument, numerous human illnesses have been caused. Lastly, the moon serves as the “constant,” the guiding light and symbol of the Rude Mechanicals. In the play, Pyramus and Thisbe, when Starveling is cast as the “Moonshine” and attempts to portray the light that guides the way when the lovers meet at night, it is relevant to note that the moon is such an important symbol throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream that it was crucial to not continue the play unless someone was physically cast as the moon itself. The fact that it wasn’t enough for the Mechanicals to rely upon an open window at night proves how critical the symbol of the moon was to Shakespeare. (3.1.43)

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More Essays on Movies

Mar. 5th, 2008 | 03:24 am

To read more essays on movies, click:


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Stagecraft: A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 07:28 pm

A Funny Thing Happened
on the way to the Forum

A play critique
written by
Andrea Calabrese
October, 2007

Doug Forsyth
Santa Monica College

On Friday, October 12th at 8pm, I attended SMC’s theatrical rendition of A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum. Filled with explosions of laughter from the audience, I thought it was honestly one of the best musicals I have ever seen. There was lots of action and lots of comedy.

There were only a few problems that I noticed. The first being: “Uh-oh, I wonder if Doug knows about this.” There was a dark cloud hanging over the light blue sky. This seemed incorrect. It haunted me throughout the entire play. In fact, the guy sitting next to me mentioned that it may be a shadow from another curtain hanging too low. I don’t know for sure, but I got the feeling that it may have been easily corrected by simply tilting up the light more. I strongly felt that the entire scrim should have been well-lit with the beautiful light blue sky lit all the way to the top of the scrim. Unfortunately, there was about a foot and a half of dark cloud hanging over the blue sky throughout the entire performance. I called Doug about it after the show and left him a message. I also felt the spotlight could have been a bit broader. The rest of the lighting was absolutely gorgeous. I really liked the mixture of colors in the opening scenes of red and purple on the props and green and blue on the floor. The scenery was awesome. I loved the multi-dimensional look of the two story houses.

The orchestra sounded fabulous. I loved the live instruments accompanying the play. The live orchestra helped to animate the scenery. However, at the beginning when the orchestra didn’t stop playing while the actors started talking, I had difficulty hearing what the actors were saying because certain instruments were too loud. I felt like the microphones were unbalanced and I really wished they could’ve turned down the volume on a few instruments, like: the flute, the piano and the drums. Otherwise, the music was beautiful and I loved the coordination and synchronicity of the actors movements with the sounds of the instruments. One of the best aspects that worked really well throughout the play was the choreography amongst the actors with the music. The choreography and coordination to the music was superb.

The costumes were tremendously great. The only thing I didn’t like was that Mrs. Senex’s costume was faded to a lavender purple, while her husband’s, Mr. Senex, stayed a royal bright purple. I felt that Mrs. Senex’s should have been bright royal purple as well. However, I loved the crown. I thought it fit Pasikowski very nicely.

I also really liked the make-up on the actors. In fact, the make-up was so good on some of the characters that I had a hard time identifying some of my friends!

One more little problem I found to be quite vexing was that near the end of the performance, about the time when the actors were all chasing each other around the set, I noticed that the curtains in the background (open and on the sides) were moving a lot. We couldn’t see why they were moving or who was moving them because the scenery was in the way, but it was very distracting to see the curtains moving—above the scenery, behind the houses.

Overall, I felt the production was hilarious! I found myself laughing hysterically several times! Seeing this musical comedy was definitely a great way to lift spirits and to nurture one’s inner-child, for sure.

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Stagecraft: Radio Ghost Stories

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 07:17 pm


A Play Critique
Written by Andrea Calabrese
Professor: Doug Forsyth

On November 2nd, 2007 at 8pm, I attended Radio Ghost Stories, performed on Santa Monica College’s studio stage. Written and directed by Terrin Adair, I thought Radio Ghost Stories—although long and drawn out at times—was a delightful and entertaining production.

The acting was great and the lighting was perfect. I really enjoyed the hair and make-up on these characters. I thought the hair and make-up was done so well that it helped to define the characters personalities a lot better. I especially liked the 1940’s costumes and hairstyles. The characters of Penelope, Fabritzio, Hester Willis and the Ghost of Louie Montelli could not have been so perfectly presented if it hadn’t been for the excellent job (work) on hair and make-up. I thought the comedy was well written. I especially loved the variety of character in Hester Willis’s costumes and make-up.

To mention a few things about prop details, I thought it was strange that there was not a telephone in the office on stage. It seemed very strange to have microphones, donuts and couches with no telephones in the room. I really liked the color coordination as well. There seemed to be a lot of bright colors being used which really helped to animate the misc-en-scene of the stage: the red jar, the blue light on the back wall, the pink donut box and the red and white polka dots on the costume.

I also really liked the foley table. The bells, whistles, chimes, pots and pans used as special effects helped to give realistic sound quality. I also liked how they used foley sounds as transitions from scene to scene. It helped to indicate what was going on during the transition to commercials and other significant aspects of the production. There would always be foley chimes to call in the jingle girls (to signify commercials), and I really enjoyed this because it helped the audience to believe that we were really witnessing a radio show being broadcast in the 1940’s.

Something I found weird and distracting was how the ghost of Louie Montelli was hanging out in the corner for a half an hour before he spoke any lines. I saw him come in right away, but he didn’t identify himself for a half an hour. I realized he was the dead guy, but I honestly found it distracting that this great character, well-dressed with white scary looking makeup was on the set, but no one knew who he was for a half an hour—until he announced that he was a ghost!

I thought Penelope did a great job with memorization. I don’t know if it was her mic or what, but at times she was talking so fast it was difficult to understand what she was saying and at other times her voice was so loud and at such close range that it came off as somewhat annoying and overbearing. There were times when I thought she was adorable and I really enjoyed her use of the props: the gun and the case file, both having very high energy and great drama.

One of the biggest problems I noticed with the entire play was with the costumes. There were several small holes in many of the costumes and it looked like Penelope had a run in her stockings. This I did not like at all. When the costumes are under the bright lights, even the littlest hole will stand out. Among the most obvious was the problem with Fabritzio’s green jacket. There was a hole in the back of his jacket showing his white shirt underneath—making the hole stand out.

I thought that other than these few mishaps, Radio Ghost Stories was superbly entertaining and a great story.

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Voice Analysis: You Never Can Tell

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 07:12 pm

You Never Can Tell

Voice Analysis
written by
Andrea Calabrese
Professor: Crystal Robbins, Arthur Lessac Certified
Santa Monica College

On December 1st, 2007 at 8pm, I attended Santa Monica College’s rendition of You Never Can Tell. Mixed with live theatre and silent film, I thought this brilliant production was full of awe-inspiring acting and beautifully coordinated directing on camera as well as on the stage.

The first character I’ve chosen to write my voice analysis on is that of Fergus Crampton, played by Rene Vega. I thought Vega had the most variety and best use of his vocal range. I also thought that of all the actors, Vega had the best knowledge and practical use of vocal trinity. His voice was healthy and incredibly believable as the 67 year old Mr. Crampton. He used the body NRG’s shaking and trembling to promote the vocal NRG of “radiancy” extremely well. His body trembled so realistically as a hunchbacked old man that we all believably felt he really was a lot older that he really is. He also used a cane, gray hair and false teeth to symbolize the body and soul of an elderly character.

The only vocal tension I noticed with Vega was a tiny bit of a strain to uphold his elderly character’s voice consistently (without any interruption) throughout the two hour performance as an aging senior citizen. There were only a few times when I noticed a break in Vega’s voice--when maybe he seemed to forget the character of the 67 year old man he was playing. As much as I loved his performance, I also noticed that the dialog called for him to mention his British history, but yet, he spoke without a British accent at all.

Rene Vega (Mr. Crampton) sustained a strong potent voice, using the vocal NRG “potency” many times throughout the production. I thought his potent strength and power was beautifully portrayed via tone and his excellent use of “the call.” I noticed he seemed to have knowledge of the body NRG, “yawn” not knowing whether or not he ever really had any Lessac training. Overall, it was a delightful experience to witness the explosive harmony and well-balanced vocal trinity of Rene Vega as Mr. Crampton.

Since this was an 18 person cast, the amount of dialog was pretty well-balanced throughout the rest of the production. The other character I’ve chosen to write about is the mother, Mrs. Langfrey Clandon, played by Shaina Zalma. Her voice was perfectly believable for the role. Unfortunately, she came off very strong and too loud. Her tonal vocal NRG was extremely potent, but she didn’t ground her voice at all. It would have really helped her if she had known how to use the ybuzz technique. Her body NRG would have been much more pleasant for the audience member to view and to experience.

I felt that vocal tensions were exploding all over the place with her and I felt sorry for her because she did such an excellent job memorizing her lines. Her best line was when she was up close and said quietly with caution to the lawyer, “I have always trusted your judgment.” That was the line that she delivered the best! It must’ve seemed to her that she was too quiet for everyone to hear, but in reality, it was then that her voice sounded the most beautiful.

However, I did not think that Zalma was using her most healthy voice. There was obvious vocal tension from Zalma when all the characters seemed to be yelling at each other even though they were all standing right next to each other. The vocal tension was so noticeable that you could see the strain in her facial muscles and neck. She definitely used a lot of potency in her character. However, it made me realize what can happen if an actor’s body NRG is over taken by too much inner vivid intensity. I felt as though she overused “the call” so much that her character came off sounding completely annoying. The funny thing is that I thought she was best in the silent film. Her actions, movement and body NRG’s looked great on the silent film (playing on the giant screen intermittently throughout the theatrical production), but it was only because she wasn’t making everyone feel like they were hearing the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard whenever she spoke her lines. Zalma had been “throwing her voice” in almost every scene. She was literally yelling at the other characters so much that it was difficult to understand her dialog.

Overall, I really enjoyed You Never Can Tell. I think Terrin Adair is a wonderful director and a creative genius. I loved how she intertwined the black and white silent film with the live actors on the same stage at the same time. I also thought it was an incredibly great idea to have the actors—while performing live on stage—take their cues from what they were watching on the movie screen along with the audience, as they too had their backs facing the audience and looking up at the screen with us, so that we were all facing the same direction together. I had never seen this done before, and I totally loved it!

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Stagecraft: You Never Can Tell

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 06:59 pm

You Never Can Tell

A Play Critique
written by
Andrea Calabrese

Professor: Doug Forsyth
Santa Monica College

On December 1st, 2007 at 8pm, I attended Santa Monica College’s rendition of You Never Can Tell. I really enjoyed this play, and I thought the way it was presented to the audience—using both live theatre and film was absolutely brilliant.

First, I would like to point out a few things that I really liked about the production. I arrived early to make sure that I had plenty of time to write down lots of details. I loved the film story on loop-mode in coordination with the beautiful classic music. This was much better than just having the same lyrical song play over and over again. I absolutely loved the set design. The color coordination was perfect and the giant curtain that came down over the screen was exquisite. I also loved the choice of colors: peaches, golds and yellows. This helped to bring a welcoming warmth to the stage. The luxurious upholstery and beautiful flower arrangements also helped to bring a warm welcoming feeling to the audience. On Stage Right, I really liked the plant with the gold tassel on it. I thought this distinctly signified luxury, wealth and classic art. I really liked how the film started loop mode 10 minutes prior to the official show opening. This helped to hustle the audience into their seats. It was even more entertaining to have the maids slowly ascend onto the set one by one, before the play actually started. This was a nice gradual build-up to the grand performance taking place in the charming New England seaside resort. All of these details amounted to a realistic and genuine feeling of really being there in the resort with them. It was wonderful!

Throughout the production, I thought the music selection such as that of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 theme by Strauss was magnificently edited in coordination with the silent film being shown on the screen. While the audience had their eyes on the film, the theatre stage quietly filled with one live actor after another, making You Never Can Tell an enjoyable feast of a performance for any age. Although it did seem a bit loud at times, I also enjoyed the audio of the dog barking over the silent film. This was coordinated very well. As an audience member, I felt transported back in time to the early 1900’s wondering if this is what the silent movies were really like before audio tracks were added to the film.

Another aspect I thought that was beautifully crafted was the color coordination of the costumes with the lighting on the set. The light blue and yellow costumes seen on the golden lit set were excellently construed. I thought this all played together very well and helped to transcend the dialogue when the young children (Dolly and Phil) were telling their mother of Gloria’s kiss with Mr. Valentine. The bright and uplifting heavenly array of colors between: costumes, lights, curtains and set props (flowers, candles, etc.), altogether amplified Dolly’s exclamation of, “She liked it!” when announcing the first kiss in front of everyone. In addition, I thought it was very cool that all of the accessories (the gloves, the hats and the shoes) matched perfectly together with all of the beautifully designed costumes.

I also really liked how the scrim in the background would change colors to coincide with each little skit being played on the screen. This also helped to transcend the mood and feeling to the audience (i.e. the pinks and purples with the Spanish danza, and bright reds behind the sheik skit). One problem that I noticed at this time was that a few of the black and white sentences (graphics) being shown on the film were too fast, when the dancing was over—between Gloria and Valentine. It seemed as though because the film was sped up, the old-fashioned lettering (graphics) being shown in between the black and white pictures on the film were at times too fast and the audience couldn’t read them!

Honestly, throughout the production, there weren’t very many problems. I noticed the importance of keeping the costumes clean. I noticed on the maids’ black dresses there were specs of something white—which stood out greatly when reflecting the bright stage lights. This may have been intentional to show that the maids were busy working and cleaning, but I found it distracting.

The biggest problem in the entire show was during the second half of the play, after the film of Zorro and the dancer when the butler elegantly lowered the curtain with his white gloves for the party scene. The curtain came down over the movie screen and someone forgot to bring up the lights on the curtain (where the movie screen had been)! This was royally disturbing. I mentioned it to one of the stage crew afterwards because it was dreadful to see half the stage in darkness while the actors were trying to perform. To explain further, right after the intermission, the upper half of the set was dark so the audience could better see the film on the movie screen. When the film was over and the curtain came down, no one turned up the lights where the screen had been. The entire second half of the performance was viewed with a cloud of darkness hanging over the actors’ heads! This was very disturbing, especially when Judge Bohun came out onto the stage. He was taller than everyone else and Center Stage, the top of his head was directly in line with the darkness on the curtain of where the movie screen had been. I felt terrible for the actors because I know they all worked very hard to put on a beautiful production. I really wanted to say something about it at the time, but wasn’t sure who to go to or who to tell about it.

Almost everything else in the production was beautifully grand. I thought the clapping over the film was kind of strange. It made me wonder why it was done that way, and whether or not it was always done that way. Also, I didn’t like the bright yellow lights on the rusty brown marble painted columns. I thought this gave an awkward glare to the columns and made the set look dirty. I kept thinking that it probably would have been better to go with the plain, stone-looking columns instead, knowing that these columns were meant to look like they were on the inside of the clean, expensive, “white-glove” resort. The rusty brown splotches, under the golden lights made the columns look dirty (as if they were meant to be placed outdoors, instead of inside), which made the presentation confusing.

Another little thing that I noticed that was wrong was during the show opening, when the smaller columns in the background were highlighted to a silhouette-look (with the sunset-looking scrim in the background), the little columns on Stage Right were uneven, while the little columns on Stage Left were perfectly straight. This gave it a slightly awkward look. It reminded me of a loose stone in a rocky path. It could have been done intentionally, but no one knows for sure. Even though the little columns in the background on Stage Right were slightly uneven, I really loved the way it looked and how these little columns worked to make the entire set look as if we the audience, were on the balcony of a giant sized mansion overlooking the sunset yonder. I thought this was beautifully designed. I also loved how these little columns looked 3D against the sunset background—knowing that they were really paper-thin. VERY COOL!

Overall, I absolutely loved this production. I think Terrin Adair is a brilliant writer and director, and after seeing this masterpiece one could only have the utmost respect for her. I’ve been studying cinematic arts for a very long time and I’ve never seen a performance so beautifully designed and well-thought out. The editing and coordination of music to film was excellent and I especially liked the closing (when all the actors came out with their backs to the audience and each actor turned to bow/nod to the audience at their own individual cue as the camera panned to each one of them around the dinner table on the film), when all of the actors on stage were facing the same direction as the audience and were all looking up at the movie screen with us! I thought this was great. I’d never seen this done before. I totally loved it! The only thing that I wished would’ve happened would’ve been to see them all come out at the end together, all holding hands in a line, and all bowing together at the same time. I always love seeing that because it’s a great cue to the audience so the audience knows when their last chance to clap for the actors will be.

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History of World Theatre: Theatrical Presentation

Feb. 12th, 2008 | 06:50 pm

You Never Can Tell

Theatrical Presentation:
A report written by
Andrea Calabrese

Professor: Martin Zurla
History of World Theatre
West Los Angeles College

On December 1st 2007 at 8pm, I attended Santa Monica’s rendition of You Never Can Tell on the new Main Stage Theatre (proscenium arch) at SMC. I really enjoyed this play, and I especially liked the way it was presented to the audience. The director, Terrin Adair, used both live theatre and film as a part of the theatrical production to present a very brilliant comedy with a lively and magnificent cast of 18 great characters.

To begin, the plot in this presentation of You Never Can Tell consisted of four acts. It is the story about the fortunes of a writer--Mrs. Clandon (played by Shaina Zalma), her three children, and her estranged husband: the old, grumpy, wealthy, hunchback Fergus Crampton (played by Rene Vega). After 18 years of separation, he wants to reconcile with her, which she has no interest in. Crampton insists that if Mrs. Clandon refuses, he will demand custody of her two youngest children. There are also several sub-plots throughout the production regarding the relationships between the other characters. One of the major conflicts in the play would be "Man Against Himself.” The protagonist, Mr. Valentine (played by Zack Cram), a tenant of Fergus Crampton’s, falls in love with Mrs. Clandon’s oldest daughter, Gloria (played by Jennifer Kursinski), and throughout the entire play we see Valentine wooing and courting the snooty, prissy Gloria in the hopes that he will win her hand in marriage. Gloria (without a father) is the antagonist in the play who has just met Valentine and is unsure of her feelings towards him. Part of the reason Gloria Clandon, a civilized intellectual who has never had a love affair, is unsure of her feelings towards Valentine throughout the play is because of Mrs. Clandon’s (Gloria’s mother) demanding and strict upbringing of her children. Mrs. Clandon demands respect over affection and teaches her children to do the same. She says, “Women have to unlearn the false good manners of their slavery before they acquire the genuine good manners of their freedom.” Mr. Valentine’s conflict arises because he fears that he does not have enough money to win the girl.

In Act I, Valentine is working as a dentist and pulls the tooth of Mrs. Clandon’s youngest daughter: the sweet, innocent, and vibrant Dolly (played by Jessica Lynn Gunson). The over-friendly and curious Dolly invites Mr. Valentine to lunch with her family, the Clandon’s, where he meets and falls in love with Dolly’s older sister, Gloria. It is also in Act I, where the audience meets the waiter, William (played by Harvey Rodriguez). His character was named after William Shakespeare, and he serves as a narrator throughout the play. The author of the play, George Bernard Shaw, is known as one of the greatest English-language dramatists of all time. He uses many clever theatre techniques throughout the play to entice and provoke the audience with thought and insight. Throughout his life, Shaw inspired new ways of thinking, bringing forth new intellectual development throughout societies around the world. You Never Can Tell was completed May 18, 1896. Shaw is known for using many clever and brilliant theatre techniques throughout his plays. One of them being to “reverse the traditionally accepted roles of servants and employers,” as is the case with this particular narrative character he’s created, William the waiter. William the waiter/butler is shown to be better educated than his master and his friends. I believe this is one of the ways Shaw became such a well-respected and appreciated playwright: for his influence and encouragement of further development in the thinking of social standards at that time.
In further studying George Bernard Shaw, I learned that besides a great playwright, author, and dramatist, he was also a great thinker and an intellectual who had much influence on the development of the thinking and behaviors in the late 1800’s. This is relevant to the performance and meaning of my theatrical presentation report because one of the themes in the play is in Gloria’s learning and development of what love is and what it means. In the late 1800’s, Shaw protested that, “other than Oscar Wilde (one of Shaw’s greatest influences and rivalries), Shakespeare, and himself, he could not think of any plays that did not have love as the sole motive.” Shaw implies “love as the sole motive” (theme) through the plot and the dramatic characters he creates. He also said, ”Love gives the lover earnest and beauty.” Shaw believed that “a woman’s love cannot give a man new gifts.” He said, man’s “own gift is lightness of heart” to which in this scenario, Gloria Clandon adds lightness of head and faith (for Mr. Valentine).” The root meaning belonging to the production of You Never Can Tell stems from the following Shaw quote: “Vital necessity to evolving society” of a “chronic ecstasy of thought” where there is “no reaction, no disgust, no love turned to hate,” unlike feelings evoked by “physically reproductive pleasure.” Shaw declared that great art “can never be anything but didactic.”

The plot continues with Act II consisting of: the luncheon where Valentine learns that Dolly, her sister Gloria, and her brother Phil (played by Tony Ochoa), are all the missing children of Mrs. Clandon. Not one of the children knows who their father is, where he is, or what happened to him. While Valentine goes to meet with his landlord about his overdue rent, Mrs. Clandon is busy challenging the children’s demands for their right to know of their father’s whereabouts. Mrs. Clandon complains of his terrible temper, refuses to discuss him any further with her children, and leaves to go and meet with a friend. Meanwhile, Valentine comes back with his landlord, Fergus Crampton. The friend that Mrs. Clandon had gone to see is named Finch McComas, a solicitor (played by James Davis). During their meeting, she asks him to explain the family history to her children. When the family comes together, the father, Mr. Crampton, gets trapped into being the head of household. This is when Valentine really starts to make his romantic advances towards Gloria. He kisses her and Gloria is outraged with her mother for not educating her well enough.

Act III consists of an announcement about the resort’s evening dress party, the childrens’ invitation to attend, and their excitement about attending the festive party. Meanwhile, Gloria continues to reject Valentine while Mrs. Clandon refuses to reconcile with Mr. Crampton, causing him to demand custody of their under-age twins. Act IV consists of the evening costume masquerade ball at the resort. Another one of Shaw’s clever theatre technique’s is used here, which is common throughout his play repertoire, which is that whenever there is a need for new vitality, Shaw will introduce a new character onto the scene. This has been consistent throughout many of his masterworks: an unidentified character will light up the stage, unannounced, usually with an outrageous way of speaking or capturing the audience’s attention. In You Never Can Tell, the role of this mysterious character is filled through the identity of Judge Bohun. He boasts onto the scene, parading around the stage in a bold, statesmanlike manner during the middle of the party. He begins to treat everyone badly, including William the waiter, but no one knows why. The audience is stunned when they find out that the William the waiter is Bohun’s father. Also at this time, Gloria and her father, Mr. Crampton, reconcile their relationship. Finally, Mr. Valentine and Gloria become engaged and all the characters continue on with the masquerade ball in celebration of the new engagement.

The other three parts to Aristotle’s Six Elements of Dramatic Structure (Aristotle’s major contribution to drama), not mentioned thus far, include: Dialogue (diction), Rhythm (music), and Spectacle (physical production). Since I have been thoroughly trained in the area of dialogue, there is much to say about the diction of this two hour performance. All of the characters seemed to be on different levels of expertise. One of the character’s I liked the best was that of Mr. Crampton, played by Rene Vega. Vega seemed to have the most vocal training, which helped to give his character and his dialogue more life and believability. I thought Vega had the most variety and best use of his vocal range. I also thought that of all the actors, Vega had the best knowledge and practical use of vocal trinity. His voice was healthy and incredibly believable as the 67 year old Mr. Crampton. He used the body NRG’s “shaking” and “trembling” to promote the “vocal NRG” of “radiancy” extremely well. His body trembled so realistically as a hunchbacked old man that we all believably felt he was a lot older than he really was. He also used a cane, gray hair, and false teeth to symbolize the body and soul of an elderly character. The only vocal tension I noticed with Vega was a tiny bit of a strain to uphold his elderly character’s voice consistently (without any interruption) throughout the two hour performance as an aging senior citizen. There were only a few times when I noticed a break in Vega’s voice, when he seemed to forget the character of the 67 year old man he was playing. As much as I loved his performance, I also noticed that the dialogue called for him to mention his British history, but yet, he spoke without a British accent at all.

Another character I would like to use as an example regarding dialogue and manner of expression would be the character of Mrs. Langfrey Clandon, played by Shaina Zalma. Her voice was perfectly believable for the role. Unfortunately, she came off very strong and too loud. Her tonal “vocal NRG” was extremely potent, but she didn’t ground her voice at all. It would have really helped her if she had known how to use the “ybuzz” technique. Her “body NRG” would have been much more pleasant for the audience member to view and to experience. It also would have been much more enjoyable for the audience if her enunciation of the dialogue would have sounded much clearer and more precise. I felt that vocal tensions were exploding all over the place with her, and I felt sorry for her because she did such an excellent job memorizing her lines. Her best line was when she was up close and said with caution to the lawyer (McComas), “I have always trusted your judgment.” That was the line that she delivered the best! It must’ve seemed to her that she was too quiet for everyone to hear, but in reality, it was then that her voice sounded the most beautiful. I did not think that Zalma was using her most healthy voice at all. There was obvious vocal tension from Zalma when all the characters seemed to be yelling at each other even though they were all standing right next to each other. The vocal tension was so noticeable that you could see the strain in her facial muscles and neck. She definitely used a lot of “potency” in her character. However, it made me realize what can happen if an actor’s “body NRG” is over taken by too much inner vivid intensity. I felt as though she overused “the call” so much that her character came off sounding completely annoying. The funny thing is that I thought she was best in the silent film. Her actions, movement, and body NRG’s looked great on the silent film (playing on the giant screen intermittently throughout the theatrical production), but it was only because she wasn’t making everyone feel like they were hearing the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard whenever she spoke her lines. Zalma had been “throwing her voice” in almost every scene. She was literally yelling at the other characters, blaring so much that it was difficult to understand her dialogue.

The final elements of Aristotle’s dramatic structure that I would like to present are Spectacle and Rhythm. Mixed with live theatre and silent film, I thought this brilliant production of You Never Can Tell was full of awe-inspiring acting and beautifully coordinated directing on camera as well as on the stage. First, I would like to point out a few things that I really liked about the spectacle of the production. I arrived early to make sure that I had plenty of time to write down lots of details. I really liked how the silent film (on the giant screen set up in the middle of the stage) started playing in loop mode 10 minutes prior to the official show opening. This helped to hustle the audience into their seats. It was even more entertaining to have the maids slowly ascend onto the set one by one, before the play actually started. This was a nice gradual build-up to the grand performance that took place in a charming New England seaside resort. I absolutely loved the set design. The color coordination was perfect and the giant curtain that came down over the screen was exquisite. I also loved the choice of colors: peaches, golds, and yellows. This helped to bring a welcoming warmth to the stage. The luxurious upholstery and beautiful flower arrangements also helped to bring a warm welcoming feeling to the audience. On Stage Right, I really liked the plant with the gold tassel on it. I thought this distinctly signified luxury, wealth, and classic art. All of these details amounted to a realistic and genuine feeling of really being there in the resort with them. It was wonderful!

Throughout the production, I thought the music selection such as that of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 theme song by Strauss was magnificently edited in coordination with the silent film being shown on the screen. While the audience had their eyes on the film, the theatre stage quietly filled with one live actor after another, making You Never Can Tell an enjoyable feast of a performance for any age. Although it did seem a bit loud at times, I also enjoyed the audio of the dog barking over the silent film. This was coordinated very well. As an audience member, I felt transported back in time to the early 1900’s wondering if this is what the silent movies were really like before audio tracks were added to the film.

Another aspect of spectacle that I thought was beautifully crafted was the color coordination of the costumes with the lighting on the set. Shaw understood that clothes send specific messages to the audience that say, “Dress for Success.” Shaw’s clothes “exceeded their usual meaning” because “he used his costumes like a weapon.” The light blue and yellow costumes seen on the golden lit set were excellently construed. I thought this all played together very well and helped to transcend the dialogue when the young children (Dolly and Phil) were telling their mother of Gloria’s kiss with Mr. Valentine. The bright and uplifting heavenly array of colors between: costumes, lights, curtains, and set props (flowers, candles, etc.), altogether amplified Dolly’s exclamation of, “She liked it!” when announcing the first kiss in front of everyone. In addition, I thought it was very cool that all of the accessories (the gloves, the hats, and the shoes) matched perfectly together with all of the beautifully designed costumes.

I also really liked how the scrim in the background would change colors to coincide with each little skit being played on the screen. This also helped to transcend the mood and feeling to the audience (i.e. the pinks and purples with the Spanish danza, and bright reds behind the sheik skit). One problem that I noticed at this time was that the rhythm of a few of the black and white sentences—the graphics being shown on the film—were too fast. When the dancing was over between Gloria and Valentine, and the film was sped up, the old-fashioned lettering (graphics) being shown in between the black and white pictures on the film were at times too fast and the audience couldn’t read them! However, this effect helped to produce explosive harmony between the rhythm of the silent film tempo and the rhythm of the live action being contrasted on the stage. One example of a striking use of an image or simile by character in this version of You Never Can Tell is during one of the intermittent little skits being shown on film when Valentine is in a sheik’s headdress and is trying to win Gloria over. The black and white graphics read, “When a sheik wants a woman, he takes her!” Then the audience sees (on film) Valentine (who, by the way, works as a dentist) pick up Gloria out of her sun chair on the beach while she’s reading and trying to ignore his efforts, throws her over his shoulder and runs away (film rhythm is fast-paced like an old black and white Charlie Chaplin film), and his is running down the beach in a zig-zag fashion with her feet kicking frantically in the air.

Honestly, throughout the production, there weren’t very many problems. I noticed the importance of keeping the costumes clean. I noticed on the black maids’ dresses, there were specs of something white—which stood out greatly when reflecting the bright stage lights. This may have been intentional to show that the maids were busy working and cleaning, but I found it distracting. The biggest problem in the entire show was during the second half of the play, after the film (The director’s way of showing greater spectacle emphasis on the characters, theme, plot, and story of Mr. Valentine courting Gloria Clandon.) of Zorro and the dancer when the butler/waiter elegantly lowered the curtain with his white gloves for the party scene. The curtain came down over the movie screen and someone forgot to bring up the lights on the curtain (where the movie screen had been)! This was royally disturbing. I mentioned it to one of the stage crew afterwards because it was dreadful to see half the stage in darkness while the actors were trying to perform. To explain further, right after the intermission, the upper half of the set was dark so the audience could better see the film on the movie screen. When the film was over and the curtain came down, no one turned up the lights where the screen had been. The entire second half of the performance was viewed with a cloud of darkness hanging over the actors’ heads! This was very disturbing, especially when (in Act IV) Judge Bohun came out onto the stage. He was taller than everyone else and Center Stage. The top of his head was directly in line with the darkness on the curtain of where the movie screen had been. I felt terrible for the actors because I know they all worked very hard to put on a beautiful production. I really wanted to say something about it at the time, but wasn’t sure who to go to or who to tell about it.

Almost everything else in the production was beautifully grand. I thought the clapping over the film was kind of strange. It made me wonder why it was done that way, and whether or not it was always done that way. Also, I didn’t like the bright yellow lights on the brown/rusty marble-painted columns. I thought this gave an awkward glare to the columns and made the set look dirty. I kept thinking that it probably would have been better to go with plain limestone-looking columns instead, knowing that these columns were meant to look like they were on the inside of a clean, expensive, “white-glove” resort. The rusty brown splotches (the prop crew had painted on the columns), under the golden lights, made the columns look dirty (as if they were meant to be placed outdoors, instead of inside), which made the presentation confusing. Another little thing that I noticed that was wrong with the spectacle was during the show opening, when the smaller columns in the background were highlighted to a silhouette-look (with the sunset-looking scrim in the background), the little columns on Stage Right were uneven, while the little columns on Stage Left were perfectly straight. This gave it a slightly awkward look. It reminded me of a loose stone in a rocky path. It may have been done intentionally, but no one knows for sure. Even though the little columns in the background on Stage Right were slightly uneven, I really loved the way it looked and how these little columns worked to make the entire set look as if we the audience, were on the balcony of a giant sized mansion overlooking the sunset yonder. I thought this was beautifully designed. I also loved how these little columns looked 3D against the sunset background—knowing that they were really paper-thin. VERY COOL!

Overall, I absolutely loved this production. I think Terrin Adair is a brilliant writer and director, and after seeing this masterpiece one could only have the utmost respect for her. I’ve been studying cinematic arts for a very long time and I’ve never seen a performance so beautifully designed and well-thought out. The rhythm created through editing and coordination of music to film was excellent and I especially liked the closing—at the end of Act IV, when all the actors came out and lined up below the giant screen with their backs facing the audience. I loved how the director intertwined the black and white silent film with the live actors on the same stage at the same time. The live actors then proceeded to turn and nod/bow their heads to the audience one by one as the camera on the pre-recorded film panned to each one of them around the dinner table on the screen. The live actors on stage were taking their cues from what they were watching on the film with the audience. I thought this was great! I’d never seen this done before. I totally loved it! The only thing that I wished would’ve happened would’ve been to see them all come out at the end together, all holding hands in a line, and all bowing together at the same time. I always love seeing that because it’s a great cue to the audience so the audience knows when their last chance to clap for the actors will be.

“And so, to the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the Gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand.” --George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra


 “George Bernard Shaw,” G.E. Brown

 “The Ascent of the Superman,” Sally Peters

 “The Bernard Shaw Companion,” Michael & Mollie Hardwick

 “The Use and Training of the Human Voice,” Arthur Lessac

 “The Essential Theatre,” Oscar Brockett

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Acting Critique: Burn This

Oct. 5th, 2007 | 01:02 am
mood: productive

Acting Critique of Burn This written by Andrea Calabrese, STAGECRAFT, 09/28/2007

On Friday, September 28, 2007 at 8:00pm, I attended the opening theatrical performance of Burn This at Santa Monica College’s Studio Stage. Directed by Aric Martin, Burn This is a ferocious comedy about the lives of four friends and how they cope with the tragic death of their friend and roommate, Robbie “the dancer.”

The scene takes place in a Manhattan Loft Apartment in New York City where Robbie (the deceased) used to live with his two roommates, Anna and Larry. The other two characters in the cast play visitors to the scene: Pale—the brother of the deceased, and Burton—a wealthy friend who seems to know something about producing performances for Anna and her deceased dance partner, Robbie.

The two and a half hour play is spent dealing with dramatics, emotions, problems, and developments of their relationships as they all begin to learn to live without (the third roommate) Robbie. The dialog begins to pass over as an episode from Seinfeld with provocative and obscene language allowed.

When Pale’s dramatic and emotional character comes into the scene, he enters the play by standing hidden in the dark pounding and screaming behind the door on the set. While we were all sitting in the dark waiting for Anna, played by Liz Federico, to turn on the lights—Pale, played by Brian Ramian, had come over in the middle of the night and waking Anna up—and he started yelling, “Annie!” so loudly that I swear to God I almost got up to see what he wanted because I thought it was Doug (Forsythe, the Technical Director) calling for, “Andi!”

There were many aspects of this play that I really enjoyed. First and foremost, the acting was excellent and not once did any of the actors flub any of their lines. I was very impressed by this considering the small cast and great length of the play.

Secondly, I really enjoyed the music and sound effects. Although there was no mention of, or credit given to, individual songs in the program, the selection of music was beautiful and appropriate ranging from Frank Sinatra to Bjork. Audience members really took a liking to the popular choices in music as I noticed they were dancing and singing along. I also very much enjoyed the excellent coordination of sound to the dialog and to the actors movements. At one point, when Pale opened the windows, the city noise could be heard as if it was really “city noise” happening in the streets of New York. This added a very cool effect and made the play a lot more realistic. The only thing I didn’t like about the music was at the beginning, while we were waiting for the play to start, they had “You make me feel so young” on loop mode, so we heard that one song about 10 times, over and over again, while we waited for the show to start.

Thirdly, the lighting was totally awesome and beautiful. The only problem I saw with any of the lighting throughout the entire play was during the first morning when Pale and Anna woke up together. We knew it was morning because of the very cool and great new gobos brought in from up above. However, it was difficult for the audience to recognize this transition from night to morning light because at this time—the light through the windows in the background (where the ladder/escalator was) did not change at all. This made it a bit confusing, but it helped the scene to have gobos from straight above with brighter light. From the audience, it looked a little strange because the background lighting did not change from night until morning. (It stayed dark on the back wall throughout the transition.)

Finally, I would like to add that in watching this awesome production, it was really neat to see how the lighting changed the appearance of the colors on the set of the props we painted. Mixed with the gold lighting, it made the grey look more appealable and it was cool to quietly think to myself, “Hey! We painted those tables! They look great!” Beautiful job on the sets, if I do say so myself.

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I've Always Loved Horror Movies

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 01:30 am

When I was a baby, I got stuck in a haunted house with my grandmother at the town's travelling summer carnival. I believe that the haunted house that we got stuck in was being spiritually effected by supernatural spirits. This experience has had an effect upon me my entire life and has caused me to be who I am today.

I was in diapers and my grandmother was carrying me. To this day I can picture her pounding on the door of the tiny little room in the haunted house that we got stuck in. It was the only time I ever heard my grandmother scream. It was the only time I ever saw my grandmother cry. After we had entered the haunted house (We had gone on all the other rides at the carnival together--since I was a baby and she was my guardian at the time.), we came to a door, and entered a little room. The door closed behind us. The only thing in that little room we had entered was another door, facing us. There was a giant demon face, above the door knocker, looking down at us. I remember her reaching out with her right hand, while she carried me in her left arm, to open the door before us. There was one problem. There was no door handle on the door before us. My grandmother started feeling the walls for some kind of switch, and there was none. My grandmother could not find the way out of the room. We had gotten trapped in this tiny little room inside the haunted house. My grandmother was carrying me in her arms and trying to find the way out. But there were no handles, no switches, no buttons, no levers, nothing but a giant door knocker and this demon face up above it looking down at us. Of course she tried using the door knocker, over and over again. She tried everything, but the door would not open. It was like we were outside facing the front of the door, even though we were inside the haunted house, stuck in this little room. The lights went out. I remember her saying words like, "open sesame," and she started laughing about it. She tried saying all of these "magic" words to try to get the door open. It must have been about ten minutes and she could not get the door to open. Then it seemed almost as if the door came to life--causing a strange illumination from an unknown source, and suddenly, the demon face looking down at us started to change. The demon mask above the door knocker suddenly flipped around and changed into a different face. It was a scarier demon face then the one before, and it was a different color. Red, blue, and then suddenly, the demon face changed again. But my grandmother could not open the door. It wouldn't budge. We were stuck in the haunted house and the lights around us had suddenly gone out. My grandmother started getting angry because it was ridiculous that we could not get out of the room, as the demon faces seemed to start to laugh at us. My grandmother started pounding on the door. The power went out on the haunted house, and my grandmother started screaming, "Let us out of here! Let us out of here! I have a baby in here!" Of course, no one could hear us, because there was a carnival going on outside. I can still remember to this day the experience of realizing that something was wrong the moment my grandmother started crying. (Why is my grandmother crying like me? Something is definitely wrong here.) When I saw her crying I remember looking up and around to see why she was crying, and there were these giant masks--demon faces spinning--flip, flip, flip--each one painted a different color, above the door knocker, on the giant door in front of us. They were spinning into view at a temporal rhythmic pace--brightly colored demon faces changing face as they rotated into view. They were up above looking down on us. She became hysterical realizing that the action of the various demon faces was churning, but how could this be? The power was out of the haunted house and the rest of it was shut down and completely dark. She started yelling for my grandfather. It seemed like an eternity that we were stuck in that haunted house together. I think she started praying actually. Then I remember being rescued by fire and police as they tore down the door of the haunted house to get us out. Ever since then, it became ritual my entire life to watch scary movies with my grandmother. At the moment of extreme scariness, she would take me by the hand and we'd go running down the hallway together, in extreme fright, knowing that everything was going to be all right since we were already home.

Although my grandmother is gone now, I still love watching horror movies. It is a dream of mine to work as an actress in a horror movie. I believe I have been preparing my entire life to work as an actress in horror movies. To this day, when I walk into a video store, I always ask the clerk, "What's the scariest movie you've got in this store?" I know that I would make the perfect supporting actress for any horror movie. It is my grandmother's dream that I would come to Hollywood. It is my dream to see myself in theatres and major video chains as an actress/co-actress in a horror film. The scarier, the better. All film directors, writers, casting directors, and producers, please see my portfolio at: http://www.geocities.com/joematters/portfolio.html Know that I would do my absolute best to be a great supporting actress in the movies.

I sincerely thank you for your consideration.

Andrea Calabrese, http://www.joematters.com, portfolioroyalten@yahoo.com

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A History of Discrimination in the Media

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 12:56 am

A History of Discrimination in the Media written by Andrea Calabrese

written by Andrea Calabrese
November 9, 2005
Professor Martinez
Santa Monica College

Sleepy Lagoon and the Zoot Suit Riots

In the 1940's, Los Angeles newspapers were not in favor of Mexican Americans and instead, often stereotyped Mexican-American young people as hoodlums. "Zoot-Suiter" and "Pachucos" became code words in the media to stand for Latinos and Mexican-American kids up to no good. PBS's documentary, American Experience Zoot Suit Riots reports, "Unwritten rules demanded that people of color remain unseen and unheard in public spaces, but the zoot suit...was loud and bold." The zoot-suit wearers were characterized in the media and stereotypically identified as Black and Latino youth associated with gangsters and crime wearing outfits consisting of: long coats with broad shoulders, pancake hats, and baggy trousers that were tight at the ankles. Many Angelenos, particularly older generations of Mexicans who cherished American values objected the zoot suits, while preferring the traditional, more conservative style.

Sleepy Lagoon was a reservoir in Los Angeles that became a hangout mostly by Mexican-American kids who were denied access to city owned recreation facilities. On August 1st, 1942, the Sleepy Lagoon, of rural Los Angeles, went down in history when Jose Diaz was beaten, stabbed, and left for dead in the park. He died later that night at Los Angeles General Hospital. He had been murdered. The mystery of his death caused public concern for safety, causing the police to clampdown on Mexican American young people. The Sleepy Lagoon incident in 1942 was the beginning of what would become known as the Zoot Suit Riots.

The Sleepy Lagoon incident sparked the Zoot Suit Riots in many ways. For example, when Jose Diaz was murdered, the governor, Cuthbert Olson used the incident at Sleepy Lagoon to call to action the attention of the media to show people in California why they should be concerned about juvenile delinquency. This is how much of the discrimination and stereotyping of Mexican Americans in the media began. The LAPD took the murder as an opportunity to show their force in the community. On August 4, 1942, on a mere "suspicion of involvement with the Sleepy Lagoon murder," the Los Angeles Times prints that police took into custody more than 600 youth--mostly Mexican-Americans known as zoot-suit wearers--in one weekend. Shortly thereafter, twenty-one "zoot-suiters" were indicted for the murder of Jose Diaz, and Hank Leyvas was sentenced to life in San Quentin. Although Hank Leyvas did not kill Jose Diaz, he later testified that police admitted him to the station under a false name so his family could not find him. The police continued to beat Hank Leyvas until he agreed to say that he was the one who murdered Jose Diaz. In the months following these Sleepy Lagoon convictions, major rioting broke out in Los Angeles between zoot-suiters and servicemen.

While Hank Leyvas was in jail, the worst violence against Mexican Americans to date occurred on the streets of Los Angeles. These clashes between military servicemen and Los Angeles Latinos became known as the Zoot Suit Riots. Hundreds of servicemen and civilians attacked those who matched the stereotype of a zoot-suiter. Zoot-suit wearers were discriminated against and assumed to be gang members and juvenile delinquents. As reported in the Los Angeles Examiner on 08/11/1942, "300 youths and girls were jailed in weekend arrests." A few months later in early 1943, many young Mexican Americans became victims of racial discrimination, suffering incident's of extreme violence due to a major reaction of stereotypical generalizations. Zoot-suiters were viewed and treated as criminals even though many of them were innocent of any crime. Many boys were beaten and stripped of their zoot suits, guilty only of respect for their culture and pride of their well-kept clothing. Many Mexican-Americans could afford nice clothes because many jobs were made available in Los Angeles when sailors went off to war. As noted in the PBS special on Zoot Suit Riots, "White men went off to fight in a segregated military. Women and people of color filled the jobs in the defense industry previously reserved for white males." Many Mexicans were rejected from joining the service and not allowed to be drafted, making them then eligible for jobs in LA.

In the Los Angeles Times in June of 1943, the County Board of Supervisors issued a statement in which it asked the public to "view the situation without prejudice toward any group but as a problem aggravated by war conditions." This is an important example because the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors had to determine an understanding and find a solution for these bloody encounters between gangs of zooters and servicemen happening in Downtown Los Angeles. Anglo and Latino residents had previously "had cordial and friendly relationships, living as neighbors and friends for many years." The Zoot Suit Riots became know as the Zoot War in the LA media. Although the Los Angeles press favored the servicemen by prioritizing articles about violence against sailors, the reality was that many times it was the sailors seeking out anyone wearing the pachuco zoot-suit. The sailors were hunting them down, taking their clothing, and beating them. In the PBS special, American Experience--Zoot Suit Riots, sailors admitted to having thirteen pennies sewn into their collars on their uniforms so the collars could be removed and used as weapons against the zoot suit wearers, or zooters. On June 7, 1943, the Los Angeles Times reported that the sailors sought vengeance for "acts of violence against servicemen and assaults on women relatives of servicemen." The Los Angeles Times also reported on June 7, 1943 that an entire truckload of 16 youths were arrested and booked in County Jail on riot charges simply because they had told police they were on their way "to have it out" with a bunch of sailors who had sent word calling them, "zooters."

A week later, LA City Council banned the wearing of zoot-suits on Los Angeles streets. PBS Online People and Events reports that Military commander Clarence Flogg said, "There were hundreds of servicemen prowling downtown Los Angeles mostly on foot--disorderly--apparently on the prowl for Mexicans." The rioting finally came to an end when military chiefs threatened to court-martial any or all soldiers caught fighting on the streets of Los Angeles. The naval commander, Admiral D.W. Bagley, declared Los Angeles an "off-limits zone," prohibiting sailors from entering the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Daily News reported on June 9, 1943, the declaration from Adm. D.W. Bagley read, "Untill further notice, except for special occasion approved by the commanding officer, the City of Los Angeles will be out of bounds for all enlisted personnel of the naval services not attached to the stations within this city or in travel status." As stated on June 9, 1943 in the Los Angeles Times, "...described the sailors as acting in self-defense against the rowdy element." The police admitted to taking sides of the servicemen. PBS Online, People and Events reports that one policeman was quoted after the riots as saying, "...Many of us were in the First World War, and we're not going to pick on kids in the service."

A year later, on October 2nd 1944, the Second District Court of Appeals overturned the Sleepy Lagoon verdicts and Judge Clement Nye dismissed Hank Leyvas's case, clearing his record. As stated in the PBS documentary on Zoot Suit Riots, "The court ruled there had been serious errors in the trial: a biased judge, the denial of counsel, and a lack of evidence. Whoever killed Jose Diaz got away with murder."

The lawyer who defended Hank Leyvas on the appeal should be remembered as a great leader. His name was Ben Margolis, and he should be remembered because he stood up to the discrimination and fought for the Civil Rights of Hank Leyvas and other jailed innocents. It is people like Ben Margolis who should be remembered and honored in US History for protecting the civil and human rights of US Citizens and the U.S. Constitution.

written by Andrea Calabrese
November 9, 2005

Japanese-American Internment Camps in the United States

The concept of imprisoning all U.S. citizens because of their nationality would be like putting all of the U.S. Citizens from Iraq in a detention camp because of the U.S. war in Iraq. This is what happened in California on February 3, 1942 when President Roosevelt ordered every Japanese-American in California to be moved at least 200 miles East from the coast. Thousands of Japanese-Americans were shipped to detention camps in Arizona and expected to stay there until WWII was over. PBS Online P.O.V. reports, "On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forcible internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry. More than two-thirds of those interned under the Executive Order were citizens of the United States, and none had ever shown any disloyalty." It would be in denial to say that the media did not play a part in the negative portrayal of Japanese-Americans leading up to the internment camps.
The media helped to define the discrimination against Japanese-Americans by placing a negative label on any U.S. citizen of Japanese decent, calling them "Japs" and "Aliens." On Sunday, February 1, 1942 the San Francisco Chronicle issued a warning to every alien in California that they must register citizenship papers or risk being arrested. "The order also includes aliens who have applied for but not received final citizenship papers." The Department of Justice stated in an announcement to "close in on the 186,000 enemy aliens living in California." The San Francisco Chronicle printed big headlines that labeled Japanese-Americans as "Enemy Aliens" and "Dangerous Japs." The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the detention of four Japanese Americans because they were assumed to be "dangerous aliens" because of their heritage. There was suddenly an outburst of anti-Japanese sentiment and a Japanese man was shot and killed in Gonzales at point blank range by two unidentified men. Was the media looking for suspects? Were they offering a reward for information as to who killed him? On the contrary, the media did not question the illegitimacy of his murder, and instead passed him off as an acceptable murder to society because he was a Japanese man. This sent across the message to all San Francisco Chronicle readers that it was ok that this man had been killed because he was Japanese. This is an example of discrimination in the media and teaches wrongful stereotypes to the people.

On February 2, 1942 Japanese, Italian, and German nationals learned the U.S. Federal government had begun escorting enemy aliens in California to concentration camps. On February 2, 1942 the San Francisco Chronicle announced, "FBI agents swooped in on vital areas in San Francisco, Terminal Island at San Pedro, and San Diego, sending hundreds of aliens on their way to internment." U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle announced in Washington that California "must be cleared of every enemy alien by February 24. After that date, no alien can live there, work there, or even visit there." California Governor Cuthbert Olson supported the persecution of Japanese-Americans by stating in the San Francisco Chronicle on February 4, 1942 it "has become absolutely necessary that comprehensive and effective measures be taken for security against possible sabotage and Fifth Column activities by the Japanese in California." This reinforcement of fear and hostility by Governor Olson helped to single out Japanese-Americans amongst all nationalities of enemy aliens. In the documentary, Visible Target, a Japanese citizen recalls the discrimination, "We were treated like second class citizens. Many of us had our business licenses revoked, and we were not allowed to join the unions." The narrator of Visible Target goes on to say that all Japanese were ordered to the Ferry. He says, "From Seattle to Southern California, 100,000 Japanese were ordered to live at Camp Manzanar until the war was over."

The Rafu Shimpo was the name of the L.A. Japanese Daily News. The Rafu Shimpo was sympathetic and compassionate towards Japanese-Americans. In early 1942, the Rafu Shimpo made it clear to Japanese-Americans every advancement of further restricted zones and curfews by the Federal Government. The Rafu Shimpo helped to warn Japanese-Americans of changes and updates to the Federal law. For example, on Febrary 6, 1942 the Rafu Shimpo helped the Japanese-Americans to be informed with announcements as to where and when they should go for assistance in filling out "alien certificates of identification." This helped to foster a sense of community for Japanese-Americans in Los Angeles. The Rafu Shimpo delivered bonds of communication easily understood, and with respect for each other helped to unite Japanese-Americans in Los Angeles. The Rafu Shimpo also helped to teach all American citizens about the distinctions between Nisei--American Born Japanese, and the Issei--Japanese born Japanese-Americans. This is important because the Rafu Shimpo showed more respect for loyal Japanese citizens in the writing of the paper by not using slang such as the words, "Jap" or "Enemy Alien." Instead, the Rafu Shimpo taught people to see loyal Japanese citizens as human beings, and as friends.

On February 8, 1942, the Rafu Shimpo displayed a bulletin from the National Headquarters of the Japanese American Citizens League stating, "The National Headquarters suggest that all Japanese nationals involved begin to plan now when to move, where to go, how to get there, where to stay, and what to do after reaching their destination." By March of 1942, the Rafu Shimpo stated clear animosity towards the dominant media's portrayal of Japanese-Americans. For example, an editorial in the Rafu Shimpo comments, "Twisted statements take their place here and there...bald lies are taken at face value, and are soon bandied about as gospel truth. Thus, the hysteria we seek to control and prevent, grows and spreads." When discussing a recent public hearing, the Rafu Shimpo blatantly describes the injustice in how the metropolitan newspapers reported and exploited the Japanese perspective, "...they've misinterpreted the whole. They've extracted one-fiftieth of all your testimony, ballooned it...The Rafu Shimpo, impelled by the motive of serving the resident Japanese of America consistent with the best interests of this country, are living in the hope for a better world, both at home and abroad. We are at present living in a world where we must be segregated because of our race...We are still living in a world where some governments are run by a little gang." It is clear that although the Rafu Shimpo felt compassion and duty towards Japanese-Americans, there was much dissonance and dismal attitude towards the dominant media's portrayal of Japanese-Americans.

While the Japanese were in internment camps, including Manzanar, thousands of Japanese-Americans lost their land and their property, including expensive farming equipment. It was confiscated by the Federal authorities and put into storage where farmers needing it were unable to get releases, according to J.R. Bright, chairman of the Kern unit of the Department of Agriculture War Board.

It wasn't until June 7, 1942 when State Senator Hugh M. Burns said that the "return of interned Japanese to the Pacific Coast area" was up for discussion at the Committee meeting on American Principles and Fair Play. Dr. Hubert Phillips, dean of the lower division of Fresno State College and leader of the local unit argued Burn's statement. He said not enough was being done to release the Japanese that were innocent and had been law-abiding citizens. It was because of great leaders like Dr. Hubert Phillips who made public statements to fight for the rights of Japanese-Americans that caused public opinion to reconsider such harsh discriminations against innocent people. Dr. Hubert Phillips helped to broaden awareness by publicly stating, "Any attack on the constitutional rights of minority racial, religions, or political groups, if not protested, ultimately will endanger us all." This helped to make the public aware of a non-discriminative perspective, one that was just and fair, and upheld true loyalty and respect for the U.S. Constitution.

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Our Country's Good

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 12:47 am

Play Critique written by Andrea Calabrese on July 16th, 2005

Play Critique of Our Country's Good
written by Andrea Calabrese on July 16, 2005
Professor Campbell
Santa Monica College

Lashings, hangings, chains, ropes, whips and plenty of screams kept the audience on the edge of their seats during Our Country's Good, Santa Monica College's premiere theatre production on July 14, 2005 by Theatre Arts 54 on the Hangar Stage at Santa Monica Airport.

Our Country's Good is the true story of the first theatrical performance in Australia. When performed on June 4, 1789 it was called The Recruiting Officer, and directed by Ralph Clark. Then, in 1987, Thomas Keneally wrote a novel about the story called, The Playmaker. Today, in Our Country's Good, playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and director Janie Jones reincarnate the cast of marines, officers, seamen and convicts destined to settle in Botany Bay, Australia in 1788.

Our Country's Good is developed from real historical accounts, as well as from letters and journals of First Fleet Officers who wrote about what happened on the ships that were sent to settle in Australia by King George III in the 28th year of his reign. Most of the convicts aboard the ships had been guilty of stealing and instead of being sentenced to hanging, they were sentenced to seven years transportation or exile for life.

Our Country's Good is a story about the philosophies of convict reform by presenting and teaching the opposition of punishment versus rehabilitation through a play, for the King, on his birthday. The cast of the play tells the story of real convicts from England sentenced to exile who populated the new Australian settlements.

Due to budget cuts at Santa Monica College, the Theatre Arts department was forced to give their student play on the Hangar Stage at Santa Monica Airport. This did cause slight technical interference which may not have effected the performance had the new theatre on campus been completed by the expected date of January 2005.

Some of the technical difficulties that I noticed having an effect on the play due to the inadequate theatre staging were things like a very small floor plan to work with. There were twelve actors crammed to perform on a stage approximately twenty square feet in size on a ground floor suitable for rehearsals but not beautiful costumes and tremendously great monologues.

The faulty stage may also contribute to the reason why the lighting seemed to be slow to key. Actors on stage were being spoken to while they were being lit. Was this bad response time by the person in charge of lighting, or bad wire connections to the lights due to improper stage lighting? There were other distractions to the audience like bugs flying around the lighting equipment on the stage. Also, if you go to see this play at the Hangar Stage, be sure to take your own personal fan or other handheld cooling device with you. Many people in the audience were waving their home-made fans at themselves due to lack of good circulation in the airport theatre.

Despite the disappointment at the incompletion of the new theatre, the Hangar Stage did provide for an excellent audio sound system. I had no problem hearing the actors or music, which included Beethoven's 5th at the plays end. The director, Janie Jones, did a very good job bringing to life the truth of what happened and the spirit of the characters. Considering the circumstances, she was able to deliver a successful production on the Hangar Stage at the airport.

The best part of Our Country's Good is the acting. This play of two acts was cast with seven men and five women with doubling of the same actors to play different characters for a total cast of twenty-two. This play teaches to the audience, while metaphorically selling to the King, the benefit to the development of society by teaching to the audience good behavior, morals, proper language and dialect, as well as advanced thinking that law abiding citizens are good and worthy people in society.

Several outstanding performances come to mind like that of Captain Arthur Philip played by Gable McManus. His height, character and personality were perfect for setting the tone and the mood of the 18th century. I also enjoyed Radoslav Cembrzynski in both of his doubling as Captain Watkin Trench and Black Cesar. His Madagascar dialect as the wretched, bland convict in rags was very believable and crafty. It was interesting to watch the same man change into the colorful and demanding intelligence Captain right before your eyes. The excellent makeup proved its expertise in the flesh of Brad Nummers's character, Robert Sideway. The portrayal of lashings through makeup and acting were so real that the audience may quiver at the perfection of the players. The portrayal of the Australian aborigine played by Munetaka Kurosu was a very cool and artsy way of reminding the audience of the 18th century reality in Australia when the land was used as a confinement for prisoners until it became colonized. It was the production and development of the theatre in Australia that had the King to see a greater purpose in Australia besides just housing for convicts.

If you're interested in watching real actors portray characters with excellence, giving spirit to the words and life to the cast straight from the pages of Wertenbaker's script right into beautiful costumes and outstanding makeup, then go to Santa Monica College's rendition of Our Country's Good. It is worth the eleven dollars just to witness and learn an understanding of what great acting is, and how it is done. There is also a discount price offered to students for eight dollars.

The budget cuts have had an enormous effect on everyone at Santa Monica College and the cuts reflect poorly in the perspectives of young people today. What is the worth of the effort and hard work put on by the students compared to the lack of respect by government leaders who cut the funding for their projects? If the performance is important, the actors are important, the portrayal of history important, the education and development of student perspective important, then so should be the funding for the theatre department. Afterall, how can we write good reviews of the plays if they are not satisfactory due to harsh budget cuts by the government on the college?

Although I would give a "Thumbs Down" to the budget cuts, I give a "Thumps Up" to Our Country's Good. It's a great little performance put on by excellent actors and proven to be worthy of a good show.

Visa/Mastercard orders accepted at 310/434-3000 otherwise tickets for Our Country's Good may be purchased at the door. Play runs July 15th-24th at the Hangar Stage, Santa Monica Airport, 2800 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Call for the specific dates and times of available tickets.

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A Tribute to James Dean

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 12:20 am

A Tribute to James Dean written by Andrea Calabrese

A Tribute to James Dean
Essay on Michael J. Sheridan's, "James Dean--Forever Young"
Written by Andrea Calabrese
Professor Martinez
Santa Monica College

October 1, 2005

On September 30th, 2005 I attended the James Dean 50th Anniversary Tribute called, "James Dean--Forever Young" directed by Michael Sheridan and narrated by Martin Sheen. Having been not that familiar with James Dean, the legend, prior to seeing Sheridan's picture, I would have to say that I am really glad I saw the screening of this new documentary at Santa Monica College. It is definitely a beautiful masterwork of film, one that is educational and heartwarming. The film captures the spirit of James Dean in many ways that I hadn't known before. Michael Sheridan interviewed over three hundred people who worked with Dean, compiling film footage, interviews, commercials, still photos, and never before seen television performances of James Dean to tell the world about him, and the greatness of his short lived film career. "James Dean--Forever Young" tells about the true story of the life and films of James Dean, from his birth in Marion, Indiana on February 8th, 1931 to his death in Cholame, California on September 30th, 1955.

James Dean had done a lot more work than what is typically known about him prior to his three feature films. He was a student at Santa Monica College, and on the SMC basketball team from 1949-1950. James Dean had written in High School that he wanted to live "a talented life." After Santa Monica College, he went on to study at UCLA. There, he made friends in the film department who helped him begin his film career as an actor. He was invited to be an extra on the set of a Pepsi commercial. From there, he was called the next day to have a lead role in another Pepsi commercial. James Dean's positive attitude and good guy persona of the guy who never wanted "any trouble" led him to be invited to work on many more projects in film and on television. He began working with many famous directors, network executives, and entertainment industry producers. He appeared in director Sam Fuller's, Fixed Bayonets. He also worked as an extra next to many legendary icons such as Humphrey Bogart and Rock Hudson. The networks: CBS, NBC, and ABC all have frozen frames--pictures in the archives, of James Dean once captured on television and still available today for print as still shots, frozen in time, next to older, more developed legendary stars.

At the age of 20, James Dean moved to NY where he met and worked with Elizabeth Sheridan. He was cast in 10,000 Horses Singing with John Forsythe. James Dean preferred his apartment in New York with the family of actors he had made at the Actors Studio, compared to the loneliness of Hollywood. James Dean was the youngest student ever to be admitted to Lee Strasberg's Acting Studio. In NY, his Broadway debut happened in 1952 and was called, See the Jaguar. It was at the 57th street coffee shops in NY where Dean met with Martin Landau to discuss future film, theatre, and television projects. Then, James Dean met Sarah Churchill, daughter of Winston Churchill which led him to a part in Forgotten Children with Cloris Leachman.

In 1953, James Dean appeared in sixteen television shows working with big stars like John Carradine, and NBC's Rod Steiger. He tried out and auditioned for many major roles like that of Fred Zinnemann's version of Oklahoma! He didn't get the part, and returned to Hollywood seeking more work. People began to know him so well that everyone started calling him Jimmy Dean, and he won the part of a psychotic janitor in Death is My Neighbor on CBS. Jimmy became known as the "young hood on the lamb," and co-starred with Jessica Tandy in Glory in the Flower, and also appeared on NBC in Keep Our Honor Bright directed by George Hill.

When he wasn't acting, James Dean kept himself busy in many other ways. He loved to race sports cars, ride motorcycles, draw, paint, write poetry, and pretend to practice real bull-fighting in a full matador costume. He also played the recorder and the bongo drums. In addition to all of these talents, James Dean loved photography. He made friends with many photographers and actually took many pictures himself. In one of the last scenes in Michael Sheridan's film, after all the rare pictures we see of Dean, it is neat to see the 16mm black and white film footage shot by Dean himself. It is interesting, after all of the shots we see of him, to see what he sees through his perspective of the camera. He was a great cinematographer as well and many people believed that if he had lived he would have gone on to be a great film director.

In November of 1953, James Dean appeared in Rod Serling's Long Time till Dawn for NBC, and by Thanksgiving he was working next to screen legends like Ed Begley and Dorothy Gish. Missing his apartment in NY, James Dean went back to Broadway where he appeared as a corrupt errand boy in The Immoralist. This is where he was spotted by Elia Kazan, and began to screen test with different actresses like Joanne Woodward for the part of Cal in East of Eden. When he screen tested with Julie Harris, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers approved--officially making Paul Newman who had also tested for the part a loser to James Dean for the lead role in East of Eden. Jimmy Dean had many more major influences in the advancement of his film career, like Marlon Brando of whom he idolized, and Piere Angeli of whom he was in love with but lost when she married another.

In 1954, James Dean starred on television with Natalie Wood and then they also went on to work in the movies together both being cast as stars of Rebel Without a Cause. On December 6, 1954 East of Eden premiered and James Dean had raised the standards of acting to new heights, and to new behaviors. Jimmy continued to work in television winning a role next to Ronald Reagan in Mort Abraham's, The Dark, Dark Hours, Episode: #3.12. While East of Eden was in theatres across the United States, James Dean began screen testing with Nicholas Ray in the director's bungalow at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Blvd for a lead part in Rebel Without a Cause. During this time, Jimmy also practiced racing the first porsche he ever bought. Friends are noted as saying, "Jimmy always had to be the best at everything he did." In March of 1955, James Dean graced audiences everywhere in Rebel Without a Cause. It was at this time, when Jimmy started doing hair and makeup tests for George Steven's Giant. It was then that James Dean also started shooting behind the scenes pictures himself with and of co-star Elizabeth Taylor.

On September 17th, 1955 James Dean completed his work on Giant and along with Hollywood agents he was the first actor in Hollywood's history to negotiate a million dollar deal with Warner Brothers. He was contracted to receive one hundred thousand dollars per picture for the next ten pictures. He had just finished developing a safety video for television on wearing seat belts and on the benefit to driving safely when he went shopping for his new love, a Porsche Spyder 550.

On September 30th, 1955, James Dean drove his new porsche to the race he was going to be in that day in Salinas, California. His mechanic rode with him. Although his porsche had originally been scheduled to be towed to the race that day, Jimmy changed his mind and decided to drive himself to the races to "add miles to the new engine." Whether or not the mechanic had convinced Jimmy to drive himself that day is up for speculation. It was on this drive to Salinas on September 30th, 1955 that James Dean crashed his new Porsche Spyder and was killed.

Afterwards, in a Q & A with the director, Michael Sheridan, I asked the director, "Do you believe there was any conspiracy to his death and what was it that made him change his mind that day to drive himself?" Sheridan replied, "It was an accident. His foot got caught under the accelerator and his chest was crushed." Jack Tucker, Sheridan's assistant editor on the film who had also worked at MGM with Sheridan proceeded to say, "The mechanic was thrown from the vehicle, and then later died in 1981, in a car crash himself." Sheridan's intention in the making of the film was not to entice conspiracy or questions involving his death, but to show James Dean as he really was, a great person, "pursuing his career as an actor." Michael Sheridan himself recently attended the memorial service on California 46 in Cholame, California in dedication of the new James Dean Memorial Junction at the intersection where he was killed. "Everything he loved, he lost," says Michael Sheridan, the director.

Overall, after watching Michael Sheridan's, "James Dean--Forever Young," I'd have to say that because of this movie, James Dean will forever be remembered in my heart as a beautiful legend that will forever more be an inspiration to me in everything that I do in the constant future. I think to myself, "Was there a spiritual connection there?" Was the mechanic killed in 1981 in a car crash because the spirit of James Dean finally got his revenge? Is James Dean at peace now? It is possible that the mechanic had involvement in his death, but we will never know the truth. The real truth is that "James Dean--Forever Young" is a film worth seeing as it is the true story of a legend, a man who wanted to be the greatest actor in the world, and will greatly be missed by us all.

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."--James Dean

Michael Sheridan's "James Dean--Forever Young"
is available on DVD at Amazon.com

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Essay on "Citizen Kane"

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 12:11 am

Essay on "Citizen Kane" by Andrea Calabrese September 15, 2005
Professor Martinez
Santa Monica College

Charles Foster Kane's Declaration of Principles:

"I'll provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell all the news honestly.

I will also provide them...the true news--quickly and simply and entertainingly.

And no special interests will be allowed to interfere with the truth of that news." --Charles Foster Kane played by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

ASSIGNMENT: Write on Charles Foster Kane's Declaration of Principles

Charles Foster Kane's
Declaration of Principles
From the movie:
"Citizen Kane"

Essay written by:
Andrea Calabrese
September 15, 2005

Charles Foster Kane's "Declaration of Principles" conflicts with the quote, "If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough" in many ways.

The first sentence of Kane's Declaration reads, "I'll provide the people of this city with a daily paper that will tell all the news honestly." The audience sees the contradiction to this in the film when his wife asks him, "What will the people think?" Kane blatantly responds, "I'll tell them what to think." This is conflicting with his Principles because it shows that his personal bias and personal persuasion will have influence on what the public will read. This quote proves to the viewer of the film that the information they will receive will be limited according to his standards and liking.

In his second principle, Charles Foster Kane states, "I will also provide them...the true news--quickly and simply and entertainingly." Mr. Kane certainly was truly entertaining in his reporting of the news, but as far as what the true facts were of what he reported, was thought by many to be propagated conjectures that Mr. Kane inferred to be true. For example, when Mrs. Harry Silverstone turned up missing, Kane demanded to his employees of the newspaper that Mr. Silverstone should

be found, and proven to be guilty of her murder. Kane believed that the glorification of this inference based on incomplete evidence would engender an increase in the circulation of his newspaper "no matter what." This shows more contradiction to his Declaration because Kane intentionally tried to set the editorial direction causing the conflict of "the true news" as stated in his Principle versus the inference of what he actually reported.

Finally, in his Declaration of Principles, Kane lastly states, "and no special interests will be allowed to interfere with the truth of that news." Kane's key goal was to make money. "If the headline is big enough, it makes the news big enough" means that Kane believed the issue would be important enough (to buy) if he made it look important enough. Many people believed that it was because of Kane's exploitation of the Cuban war that the United States achieved the Panama Canal. In the movie, he states on the telephone, "Just keep writing the poetry, and I'll make the war." The cause and effect process was proven to be effective by Kane's personal belief of what he thought to be important. This proved to

the viewer: an understanding of the capabilities of what the news media could do, how big the results could be, and just by his personal passing of daily judgment, how important he could make the issue look simply by exalting the headline of the NY Enquirer to the truth that he conveyed. Another example of this specific contradiction of the third principle is when in the movie it is stated, "Policy's were bought by the men employed." This teaches to the audience that Kane really followed the dollar, and not his principle of "no special interests." Kane claimed to be looking out for the people when at the same time his newspaper was destroying people and
their reputations.

Overall, Charles Foster Kane wanted love more than anything. He was taken from his family at such a young age that he spent his life trying to find the love that was taken away from him as a child. "Rosebud" was the name on the sled he was playing with when he was taken from his family as a child. Since Orson Welles had him say this the moment before his death, it must of meant that after all the wealth and power in the world, Kane would have traded it all in return for a long happy life with a loving mother and father, and the togetherness of a supportive, loving family in a happy little town.


(No more than three pages.)

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May. 16th, 2007 | 01:29 pm
mood: thoughtfulthoughtful


written by
Andrea Calabrese

Intermediate Acting
Dan Green
LACC Theatre Academy
Spring 2007

On Saturday, April 21st, 2007, I attended the Pulitzer Prize-Nominated courtroom drama, Voir Dire. Voir Dire was written by Joe Sutton, directed by Al Rossi, and performed at the Camino Theatre on LACC Campus.

The first character I’ve chosen to write about is Michael, played by Benjamin Clark. Michael is the only male juror out of the six jurors summoned to serve verdict on this jury. He is a financial consultant and friends with many attorneys. In his spare time he enjoys reading and playing cards. The first objective for Michael is finding the truth. He wants to see and show all of the facts. His obstacle is the other jurors and their arguments against him. The tactics Michael uses to find and determine the truth are asking questions and demanding to see all of the evidence. The others (that try to prove the man on trial, Lester Carmichael, is innocent before he is proven guilty) argue with Michael as they try to defend why Carmichael should be acquitted. Michael constantly questions the other juror’s presumptions of Carmichael’s innocence. Michael says, “If the evidence was planted on Lester Carmichael, then why did he not start screaming bloody murder when he was arrested? Why did he not start yelling, ‘They planted these drugs on me!’” Michael doesn’t believe there is a conspiracy surrounding Carmichael’s arrest. He believes in the innocence of the arresting officers: Cooney, DeMarco, and Borgia. Michael points out that 25 drug sales were witnessed by these officers between the hours of 2-4pm on the day of Carmichael’s arrest. Michael trusts in the oath of honor that the officers testified to. A second objective of Michael’s is to obey what the judge has told the jurors to do. The judge has told them to listen to each other when deciding a verdict, to harmonize, and to make an honest decision based on the facts. Michael wants to “listen to the judge,” and make a decision based on integrity. When deciding the fate of Lester Carmichael, it is very important to Michael to make sure that he and the other jurors are all on “the same wave-length.” He believes Carmichael is guilty and does not want to acquit him because that would mean Lester Carmichael would keep his job as a principal and continue influencing a negative fate for the children that know him as “father.” Michael’s obstacles to reaching this harmonization, and making a judgment based on facts, are the other jurors and their continued efforts to rant about other possible solutions (conspiracies and contradictions) to finding Carmichael guilty. Debra raises the issues of racism, while Gloria distracts from the truth by making comparisons to the statistics of the entire city. Michael uses many tactics to stay on track. He insists at looking at only the facts of the case, and continues to defend the arresting officers. Michael says of Borgia—the arresting officer, who is constantly ridiculed by the other jurors, “She was doing the job she was trained to do.” Michael sticks to the facts and restates the crime scene over and over again. He continuously reinstates, “The facts are that Lester Carmichael approached Simon Brown, and was witnessed to have purchased vials of crack-cocaine.”

The second character I chose to critique is the character of Debra, played by Lesa Jacks. Debra is a native New Yorker and is a counselor who works with teenage girls. She also acts as a spokeswoman for the six jurors—writing the notes to the judge and then passing them off to Michael who delivers them to the bailiff. She also likes to read. She turned down a request to hang out with the other jurors at the hotel they were put up at, because she had brought a book with her to read. She also stated in her monologue that she had "received a B.A. and a Masters Degree," but felt strongly that she had trouble with people believing in her throughout her past because she is a Black-American. She felt that this disbelief in her was due to discrimination against her because of her nationality. This contributes to her level of personal experience and to her knowledge of racism in America. One of Debra’s main objective’s is to determine whether or not Lester Carmichael is guilty or innocent. She wants very badly to prove that Carmichael is innocent, specifically because he is African-American. Debra feels special interest and personal obligation to defend Carmichael because she is the only black juror. She wants to give the black man “more,” and feels that it is up to her to prove his innocence. Her obstacles are the other juror’s arguments and complaints. The majority of the other jurors repeatedly try to say that it is not a matter of racism, or because of a specific hatred against blacks. The tactics that Debra uses to question the idea of racism against Carmichael is in questioning the validity of the other juror’s ability to make sound judgments, and their abilities of having a clear understanding of what it means to be discriminated against. Debra complains that Faith, played by Darcy Weinberger, cannot possibly understand the meaning of racism because Faith comes from Nebraska where there “are no blacks.” Debra says that Faith couldn’t possibly understand what it means, or even know how to have a relationship with a black person. Therefore, according to Debra, Faith is incapable of understanding or defending a black man’s perspective. I felt that Debra’s objective evolved throughout the play from simply wanting to know the truth to a definite objective of “reasonable doubt.” Debra does not think the facts are against Carmichael. She does believe “beyond reasonable doubt” that Carmichael is not guilty. Her obstacle is that the other jurors believe he is guilty, and they argue to prove so (“beyond reasonable doubt” that Carmichael did purchase the crack-cocaine). Debra uses many tactics to prove her “reasonable doubt.” She says she has seen Simon Brown (the accused seller of the drugs) on the street, and knows how he acts as a tough criminal/gangster in front of everyone. Debra again defends Carmichael by suggesting to the jurors the idea of a possible set up by Brown or the police. Debra does not believe that the police who arrested Carmichael: Borgia, Cooney, and DeMarco are being honest, and she states that when she herself looked through the binoculars from where Borgia was standing on the roof, she could not see anything. Debra does everything in her power to try to convince the other jurors of Carmichael’s innocence. Debra feels that if she convicts Carmichael, that every black man in Staten Island will see her as a “trader.” Debra defends her tactics by reminding the jurors of the character witnesses that defended Lester Carmichael on the stand before the judge. She beseeches with the other jurors to consider the testimonies of the character witnesses that “testified under oath” in favor of Carmichael vowing that he was a “fine man.” Lesa Jacks gives an unforgettable performance on the stage as she pleads with the jurors to acquit Lester Carmichael, offering that it would be enough punishment for him to lose his dignity, as well as his job as a principal. Debra also states very clearly that there is no possible way that Borgia’s accusation of Carmichael could be an honest one, pointing out that Carmichael was writing notes in the courtroom with his right hand, but there was nothing seen in his right hand. Debra also insists that Borgia said Carmichael placed the vials in a pocket that didn’t even appear to exist on the photo of the jacket that Carmichael wore that day.

Throughout the majority of the play, all of the actors sat together discussing the case at a long executive-style cherry wood board-room table, on the stage in front of the audience. Since the audience was on the stage with the actors it was easier for the audience members to see the evidence and the details of the staged “exhibit 18” which depicted the scene of the arrest. What I found most interesting was that all of the actors seemed to keep their notebooks open and on-hand (on the table) with personal notes and reminders available, if needed. I think all of the actors did an excellent job of using their notebooks as props, and not making it obvious but rather questionable as to whether or not they were using their notebooks just as mere props, or as cue cards for their lines. Their monologues were impressive and I honestly walked away inspired to be as good of an actor as all of the actors who performed in Voir Dire.

Overall, I thought the play was well composed and performed with excellence in acting. All of the actors did a terrific job. It was apparent that all of the actors in Voir Dire shared a common objective. The common goal amongst the six jurors (determining the fate of Lester Carmichael) was to be fair in their pre-judgments, to be fair in their verdicts, and to be fair in considering the facts.

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May. 12th, 2007 | 08:41 am

A Day at Beltaine

written by
Andrea Calabrese

Santa Monica College
Spring 2007

It is Sunday, May 6, 2007. The directions on the website, http://www.witchvox.com, say to gather by the Merry-go-round at Griffith Park in Los Angeles at noon.

It is a hot day, approximately 80 degrees, and very sunny. The leader, Kenneth Finegan, 37, announces, “We are here to celebrate the holiday, Beltaine.”

Beltaine is recognized as one of the brightest days of the year and is honored as a day to celebrate the fundamentals of Paganism. Finegan continues, “We give thanks on Beltaine to those that give life: the Sun, the Earth and our ancestors. These things give us life and allow us to be alive. These things are literally a matter of fact, based on scientific truth. We have come here to celebrate Beltaine: the beginning of the time on Earth of maximum sunlight on our hemisphere.”

He begins the ceremony in a large open space, and with his arms extended outward, he closes his eyes and prays—defined as: “harnessing personal energy and sending it.” With his long dark hair, green eyes, and Irish Gaelic descent he looks like he’s a character right out of “Harry Potter.” Suddenly, he throws his arms towards the sky and says, “I am sending energy to the sun, to the Earth, to the trees and to the sky.”

His followers listen and learn respectfully. “We take from the Earth, therefore we must give back to it to show our appreciation. Gather your energy and send it to the sun. Send thanks for all that is given to us.”

Beltaine (also known as "May Eve," "May Day," and "Walpurgis Night" according to http://www.circlesanctuary.org) is celebrated once a year, at the beginning of May. Beltaine was originally formed by ancient Celtics (people of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) and was carried into holiday tradition by the Druids—the learned class of high priests implementing Druid law. Throughout history, “offerings were made to Bona Dea (Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name.”

In ancient times, “the entire month of May was dedicated to the union of the Goddess and God (to awaken the fertility of the land), and it was considered very unlucky to marry during the month of May. Thus, there came to be a flourish of weddings in the month of June,” as noted on (http://www.Malewitch.com)

Beltaine is one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals and is recognized as the midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. A complement to Samhain (a celebration of the darkest days on Earth, six weeks prior to the winter solstice on Dec. 20th, hence: Halloween), Beltaine is celebrated six weeks prior to the summer solstice on June 21st in recognition of the brightest days on Earth.

According to Kenneth Finegan, leader of the Neo Pagans of Los Angeles (formed in 2005), many current traditions and holidays have Pagan roots dating back to the cave paintings and to the beginnings of the first civilizations when the Egyptians worshipped the sun.

When asked about his Pagan religion Finegan says, “My parents were Catholic and they tried to raise me Catholic, but I lost my faith in Christianity when I went to college.” He first attended Iowa State University and then Antioch College in Ohio. The more educated he became, the less faith he had in religions based on beliefs and myths. He explains, “even the Christmas tree is derived from the ancient Pagan worship of the evergreen tree which is decorated with lights for the original purpose of lighting up the Earth’s darkest days.”

Beltaine is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folklore and Nature Spirits. Today, even “in Christianized Ireland the May dance of the Maypole has remained as did the giving of flowers to those you loved or cared for as friends,” notes(http://www.witchway.net).

Finegan says: “Religion is the most important thing in my life.” He doesn’t like the idea of an “invisible man in the sky who condemns people that He supposedly loves.” He is not into Paganism for profit, but merely to worship the fundamentals of science. He has learned well from historians such as Michael Hart, a scientist. Finegan also gives credit to “World Folklore” by LaRousse.

“Are we going to be doing any naked rituals in the nude?” asks one of the members. The leader kindly responds, “We’ll see what happens as the group develops.”

Love for Earth Science, respect for nature, and concern for environmentalism is the order of the afternoon. “It is the holiday of free love. It is said that a child conceived on Beltaine will grow up to wield great power and knowledge and to be healthier than upon any other," (http://www.witchway.net)

For more information, contact: Kenneth Finegan, Neo Pagans of Los Angeles, at specialkfinland@yahoo.com

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The Truth About Iraq

Mar. 12th, 2007 | 04:29 pm

Title: War On Iraq

Co-Authors: William Rivers Pitt, Scott Ritter, 2002

Book Report by Andrea Calabrese
Professor Antoine
Santa Monica College

June 5, 2006


War On Iraq was published in 2002 with the hopes of preventing war with Iraq. This book was written to inform and educate policy makers, military officials, and the public, of the reasons for conflict in the Middle East and the potential consequences of going to war with Iraq. The co-authors discuss the facts and the controversy behind the truth regarding going to war with Iraq.

In War On Iraq the co-authors did an excellent job of providing the facts regarding the history and structure of Iraq from the mid-20th century to present day, 2002. I believe this book should definitely be considered by U.S. policy makers when considering who or what should govern Iraq beyond 2006. The co-authors make the point that, "the Western democratic model is based on majority rule," and that implementation of this kind of democracy in Iraq is not realistic. Mentioned are many facts supporting this idea that "efforts for regime change" could be more damaging to the U.S. in the long run and explain why. Today, 60 percent of the Iraqi population are Shiite Muslims--theocratically aligned with Iran. The authors explain that there is a problem with allowing the Iranian Shiites to rule Iraq because then we would be competing with them for the "strategically necessary oil." Iraq is the second largest oil reserve in the world. U.S. interests do not want Iraq and Iran aligned as the world's two largest oil producers. "We don't want democracy in Iraq because we don't want the Shiites to have control," says Ritter. I believe this argument is very informative and an eye-opener for the American people. I like how both authors were concerned with informing readers with the facts, making it very clear to everyone the dangers involved without sugar-coating the truth. The second majority in Iraq is the Kurds--23 percent of the population in Iraq. The Kurds cannot rule because the neighboring Turks, who have been fighting the Kurds to prevent an independent Kurdistan, will not allow it. The remaining 17 percent of the Iraqi population are the Sunni's, supporters of Saddam Hussein and his brutal strategies. The Sunni's are ruled by Saddam Hussein's family, the Abu Nassir, of 20,000, and in 2002 controlled a nation of over 20 million. The co-authors say that if we allow this group to rule, then the new leader would be just like Saddam Hussein, or worse. They both agree that "The development of a viable middle class that cuts across religions, ethnic, and tribal lines is the only thing that can give birth to democracy." War On Iraq was published before we removed Saddam Hussein from power. It is very interesting to read this book from the perspective's of a political analyst and a United Nations Weapons Inspector. Working together as co-authors of this book, they give intelligent insight into what has been going on in Iraq (through 2002), while questioning what should be done in the future regarding military strategies and U.S. policy in Iraq. The central message of War On Iraq also includes Saddam Hussein's role as leader of Iraq and whether or not he is a threat to the U.S. This is significant, because many times Bush's reasoning for constantly sending more troops to Iraq is to "Keep the war over there." The co-authors point out that if there were WMD's in Iraq, they would most likely be used internally by the insurgents to thwart against their own evil ruler, Saddam Hussein. Now that we've removed their ruler, who or what will be the target of the insurgents? Pitt points out how easily we defeated Iraq in the first Gulf War. Back then, we were on the same side as many of the insurgents in not removing Saddam Hussein from power, but that we were both against his regime. Saddam Hussein used to be in charge of the "Islamic fundamentalists," and had control over insurgents and extremists. The co-authors bring to light the controversy involved if Hussein is removed from power. Who will rule the new Iraq? Who will be responsible for controlling the dangerous culture clashes of people in Iraq, and how is one person going to do it?


I definitely agree with both of the author's realistic perspective(s). War On Iraq provides innumerable points of interest and significant facts. The first is in reference to the Iran Contra Bans involving the Reagan administration. When Ronald Reagan became president in 1981, the Reagan administration began to fear the rise of Soviet influence in Iran. "It was during the Reagan years that the seeds of our current crisis were sown." The co-authors believe that American involvement became two-faced. "American fears of a powerful Iran motivated policies that ignored terrible actions perpetrated by Iraq. At the same time, American interests in the rest of the world motivated the Reagan administration to provide illegal military support to Iran, even as it aided Iraq in the war." President Reagan and Vice President Bush were supporting American military assistance to Iraq, even as they knew Iraq was using chemical weapons. These facts are "part of the basis for George W. Bushs claims that Saddam Hussein must be attacked and removed."

The second interesting point began on Aug. 3, 1990 when the U.N. passed Resolution 660, condemning Iraq for the invasion of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein refused to withdraw from Kuwait believing that Kuwait was still part of Iraq boundaries although it had already become its own country in 1921 by the British Colonial Office. By refusing to withdraw from Kuwait in 1990, Saddam Hussein was ignoring U.N. Resolutions, and disrespecting the international community. By November of 1990, 400,000 troops formed by President George Herbert Walker Bush were in the region. "The majority of these troops were placed in Saudi Arabia infuriating a wealthy Saudi named Osama Bin Laden."

The third most important fact presented is regarding UNSCOM. UNSCOM stands for United Nations Special Commission--an establishment of weapons inspectors teams, authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 687 in April 1991. The purpose of UNSCOM was to ensure that any and all WMD capability was destroyed in Iraq. In 1991, UNSCOM banned Iraq's weapons, and stated that if Iraq did not comply, the U.N. would use military force. I whole-heartedly agree with the U.N. The United Nations had very legitimate reasons for declaring war with Iraq illegal in 2003, and War On Iraq, proves it. There are many facts, details, and information that the U.N. already knew about Iraq that the people of the U.S. may not have known. By 1998, the UN inspection program had ended and the industrial infrastructure needed by Iraq to produce WMD's had been 100 percent eliminated. "We have the U.N. record of Iraq's disarmament from 1991-1998." All chemical weapons factories in Iraq had already been bombed and eliminated during the Gulf War. After the Gulf War, there wasn't much left to inspect. Everything left standing after the Gulf War was being closely monitored by the U.S. and the U.N. No one detected anything suspicious on radar, or on other frequencies which would have been picked up in the detection of gamma radiation emitted by the facilities used to make weapons. What is most surprising to me, after reading War On Iraq is how compliant Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi's had been over the past ten years with the U.S. and with U.N. inspectors. "The Iraqi Oil Minister has made it clear that once the sanctions are lifted, Iraq will do whatever they can to ensure the strategic energy requirements of the U.S. are met." Iraq was not denying the United States access to oil.

A final point I found to be imperative is regarding War On Iraq's description of "pre-emptive strike," and its significance to the situation in Iraq today. "If a nation expresses hostile intent and is accumulating the means to strike you, you're not obligated to sit back and wait for them to strike, as stated in Art. 51 of U.N. Charter." The logic behind the thinking is that, for example, if someone had pre-emptively attacked Germany (prior to WWII), they may have saved millions of lives. The co-authors go on to explain the difficulties involved. How does anyone determine hostile intent? "How does one separate a real threat from a rationalization that covers aggressive tendencies? At what point is a pre-emptive strike justified?" WMD's have been outlawed in Iraq since 1991. We crossed Iraq's lines on March 19, 2003 knowing Iraq's WMD's had been 100 percent eliminated according to U.N. record. Had Iraq been planning to attack us to justify a pre-emptive strike? Throughout the 1990's, Iraq repeatedly cooperated with U.N. weapons inspectors. However, at the same time, "the U.S. actually violated the terms of the U.N. resolution by using their unique access to operate inside Iraq in a manner incompatible with Security Council Resolutions by spying on Iraq." 


Both authors hoped to inform the people enough to cause them to write Senators, to stand up against the Bush administration, and to acknowledge the priority of putting the safety of the American people first. They list the names, phone numbers, and addresses of US Senators in the back of the book. They tried to warn the people of what could happen, why the U.S. shouldn't go to war with Iraq, and also provided alternative solutions to going to war. The co-authors accomplished informing the public of the facts and of the potentially harmful results of going to war with Iraq. Pitt points out who would be an intelligent informant, and a knowledgeable, trustworthy resource for the truth. He explains the ramifications objectively. He says, "The war on terror would spin out of control. Further terrorist attacks on America would be a foregone conclusion. We will not get approval from the U.N. or the international community for this war, and our unilateral action will disgrace us across the globe." Pitt makes alternative suggestions for peace by stating that based on his research, the best thing to do would be to not remove Saddam Hussein from power, to remove sanctions on Iraq, and allow its people to become again the first world nation they were before Hussein's "disastrous engagements with Iran and Kuwait." He warns that the alternative would be "a disastrous war, tens of thousands of civilian casualties, hundreds or thousands of American casualties, the condemnation of the international community, a deadly explosion of rage in the Muslim world, and a new Iraqi leader who would in no way be an improvement over the current one." Pitt's objectives are further justified by Ritter's support that says, "There is no basis for war on the grounds cited by the Bush administration." The co-authors did accomplish the purpose of informing the people. However, they did not succeed in preventing the war. The costs to the American people are skyrocketing and world deficits are now out of control. There is a website running called, Iraqbodycount.net that lists current civilian death toll in Iraq as of 05/27/2006 as 42,346. Antiwar.com has a current American death toll reported as 2,464 and another 17,648 U.S wounded. The cost of the war in Iraq is almost $285 billion dollars, and going up everyday. On http://www.halliburtonwatch.org, it says, "Halliburton is serving contaminated water to US troops." To me, this is evidence that William Rivers Pitt and Scott Ritter were absolutely correct in their forecast of devastation of war with Iraq. The co-authors tried to teach to people the importance of working with the U.N., instead of against them. Now that we have taken control of Iraq without respect for the U.N., we have created world tension and conflict by involving numerous countries to participate in world illegalities against the U.N. I do not believe that God would approve of this kind of world conflict or disrespect for other world leaders. I really like this quote posted on Antiwar.com from James Madison who said, "War...should only be declared by the authority of the people...instead of the government which is to reap its fruits."


William Rivers Pitt is Managing Editor and Senior Writer for truthout.org and a political analyst for the Institute for Public Accuracy. Pitt also spent several years as a High School teacher, and was Press Secretary for Dennis Kucinich (D) during the 2004 presidential election. Co-author Scott Ritter (Marine Corps Vet and CIA Intelligence Officer) was a U.N. weapons inspector responsible for removing WMD's in Iraq, as well as all production facilities, equipment, and delivery systems from 1991-1998. Ritter had been a former arms control inspections officer in the Soviet Union from 1988-1990 and had developed a reputation for "being both an excellent intelligent officer and an effective arms inspector." In August of 1990, after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Ritter was assigned by the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps to a special planning cell focused on Marine Corps combat operations in Iraq. Ten years later, he was labeled a traitor and an Iraq agent for speaking out against the Bush administration's stance on Iraq. Mr. Ritter is noted as saying, "The right to free speech is the most important principle of American Democracy. My speaking out has everything to do with empowering democracy." "This war with Iraq is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. It destabilizes the Middle East even further, and puts Israel more at risk. It's just bad policy."--Scott Ritter, 2002. He made a movie representing his perspective titled, On Shifting Sands.

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A History of Genes

Feb. 25th, 2007 | 09:12 am
mood: creative
music: FRNK Radio

October 2006
A History of Genes
written by Andrea Calabrese
Dr. Hodson
Santa Monica College



Gregor Mendel described how traits were inherited. Mendel proved that the views of the French Naturalist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck views (influence of environment upon species) to be not nearly as effective as Mendel’s own theories on hereditary traits. Mendel experimented on peas, mice, and plants. (See essay) It took seven years of cross-sectioning and planting genes and families of plants to the thousand to prove his theory. Mendel’s work became the foundation for modern genetics and has helped to understand the mystery of millions of diseases and medicines.


What he studied: Organic chemistry and physiology
What he discovered: The nucleic acid
How this discovery related to cell structure: Relevant to CO2 concentration in the blood as well as the first ever concept of a single celled fertilization process called nuclein.


His experiments: Frederick Griffith and his discovery of Transformation
The organisms used in his experiments: Bacteria and mice
The reason for doing the experiments: He was trying to find a vaccine for pneumonia
What happened in his experiment: He discovered two strains of endoplasmic reticulum, and that only one of them was responsible for the death of injected mice. This lead him to discover the process of Transformation.
Define the term transformation as used in these experiments: When one strain of bacterium absorbs another strain, and turns into the type of material it absorbed.
How his experiment supported the conclusion that genes were made of DNA: DNA is made up of two strains intertwined to form a double helix. It was Griffith that discovered that there was a difference of activity between two different strains in the prokaryote bacteria.


Oswald T. Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. Provide the information in the following ordered list and include this in your story.
What organism did he work with? He was a bacteriologist, research physician, and one of the founders of immunochemistry.
What did he discover? Avery discovered that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) serves as genetic material.
Why scientists say that he provided the historical platform of modern DNA research: He was favorably honored by the Noble laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg and “betokened the molecular revolution in genetics and biomedical science.” Dr. Lederberg regularly collected the materials from Avery and provided them to the National Library of Medicine.

{GTC 5} “Hershey-Chase Experiment” of 1952

Name the organisms used in this experiment: E Coli and a T2 virus
Which of these two organisms was a prokaryote? T2 is a bacteriophage, therefore prokaryote
Describe this experiment: The hypothesis Hershey—Chase sought questioned, “Is it the viral DNA or viral protein coat (capsid) that is the viral genetic code material which gets injected into a host bacterium cell?”
Explain how/why the data forced everyone to begin thinking that genes are made of DNA: The results that Hershey and Chase obtained indicated that the viral DNA, not the protein, is its genetic code material. After their hypothesis was proven, and people finally acknowledged that DNA was the genetic material, there was a lot of competition to be the first to discover the chemical structure of DNA.


a.) What genes are: The study of nucleic acids, such as DNA, using chromatographic techniques for the first time.
b.) What they are made of: Chargaff discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA.
c.) How they work: The number of Guanine units matches the number of Cytosine units, and adenine matches with Thymine in DNA.


Name the organisms used in this experiment
i. Exposed spores of neurospora crassa to x-rays or UV radiation
Describe this experiment.
ii. Single gene mutations that required enzyme material
Explain what they said genes do
iii. Capable of having one-one relationships between gene and enzyme
Explain how their data demonstrated this.
iv. They exposed spores of Neurospora crassa to X-rays or UV radiation. The mutant molds had a variety of nutritional needs i.e.Thiamine
v. They went on to create single gene mutations that incapacitated specific enzymes

{GTC 8}

Name the people in the three groups that were in the race:
i. JD Watson and Crick
ii. Pauley-Corey Model
iii. Rosalind Franklin
iv. Linus Pauley

Describe the data that was used to find the structure:
v. an X-ray crystallographer provided the data

Describe the model, including nucleotides, how the bases fit together in the helix:
vi. Paul-Corey model—three strands and the bases on the outside
vii. Watson-Crick model—two helical chains each coiled around the same axis, organic chemistry composed of 5 carbons, a ribose that’s missing an oxygen—hence, deoxyribose, connected to a phosphate in the middle, and the two strands are anti-parallel, also complimentary

Describe how DNA is replicated:
viii. Replication was discovered five years later by Miselson and Stahl. They developed the experiments that tested whether DNA was compiled by “semi-conservative” or “conservative” replication. The results, published in 1958, supported the “semi-conservative” mechanism.



a.) mission
b.) techniques
c.) purpose

{GTC 11}

First answer the following in sequence as an ordered list. Then separately begin your description of gene history. You may wish to include some of the information in the ordered list. You will also need to supplement with other information that you find.

Describe what was accomplished by the human genome project:
i. an understanding of what each chromosome in the human body is made of.
ii. what each chromosome does and what it means
iii. what a persons DNA consists of
Include the cost of the human genome project:
i. In 20 years cost estimates have gone down from $3billion to $2million today
Describe how the genome scientists stored the human genes that they were studying?
i.there is discussion of formatting a human genome--a personalized DNA report, to a 1GB computer chip

d.) Name some benefits provided by the human genome project:
i.personalizing one's own healthcare
ii. cost-efficient, truly effective medicines for the right purpose

e.) What is junk DNA and what has been found in it?
i. 4% of regulatory elements within DNA other than coding for proteins

f.) Describe/discuss the intelligent subset of human genome. What is this intelligent subset and how is it used?
i.what doctors can make use of

g.)What is a gene?
i. Now: Parts that code for proteins
ii. Back then: the common definition has been that genes contain DNA coding--simple instructions for proteins.

h.)Give functions of proteins:
i. transport nutrients
ii. communication between cells
iii. recognizing foreign invaders, i.e. viruses, bacteria


GTC 1}. Now you tell the rest of the story about how this monk changed the world's view of inheritance of traits.

Gregor Mendel changed the world’s view of inheritance traits. Many others before him such as Darwin and LaMarck tried to get the answer but were unsuccessful because predictions could not be made from their theories. Mendel used higher math to support his reasoning and to prove what has become the foundation for modern genetics.

Mendel proved that by planting atypical variety of an ornamental plant next to atypical variety that their respective offspring retained the essential traits of their parents and therefore were not influenced by the environment. This allowed proof to Mendel for the existence of heredity. He experimented by crossing different varieties of peas and mice. He saw that traits were inherited in numerical values. Then, he set out to test the ideas of dominance and segregation in peas. After seven years, Mendel proved the laws of inheritance. He proved that each member of the parental generation transmits only half of its hereditary factors to each offspring and that different offspring of the same parents receive different sets of hereditary factors.

{GTC 2}. Before scientists rediscovered and took Monks concept of inheritable factors seriously another important discovery was made by Miescher.

Johann Friedrich Miescher is famous for discovering the nucleic acid in 1869. Miescher also proved that the existence of CO2-concentration in the blood is necessary for the regular breathing process.

Throughout his life, Miescher studied organic chemistry as well as physiology. He proved that the previously undiscovered substance he found in cells came from the nucleus of the cell alone, tentatively naming the substance, ‘nuclein.’ By the time he published his newly discovered knowledge, he had realized the presence of a non-protein phosphorus molecule in the nuclei of a large number of cells.

{GTC 3} In 1900 the importance of the monks work was discovered.  Three different scientists separately collected data that also suggested that inheritable factors existed.  To make certain this was a new discovery, they all searched the scientific literature and found Mendel's work. They gave Mendel full credit when they published their data.  Find the data that shows genes are located in chromosomes.

"The processes of mitosis and meiosis were discovered in the 1870s and 1890s. It was observed that, as cells divided, chromosomes moved around in a cell, and people began to wonder what their function was. It was determined that chromosomes were made of protein and DNA, about which people knew almost nothing. People began to suspect that chromosomes had something to do with genetics, but couldn’t explain what/how. When enough evidence was accumulated to confirm that chromosomes did, indeed, have something to do with genetics, most people thought that in some way the protein in the chromosomes served as the genetic material.” --http://www.biology.clc.uc.edu

After the data was published that genes did exist, the next big question was in regards to whether genes were made of nucleic acid or protein. Chemists had already published that chromosomes were approximate half nucleic acid and half protein. Most scientists were thinking protein because nucleic was much too simple. More hereditary information could be stored by making strains of twenty amino acids than strains of four nucleotides, or so they thought. Griffith changed all that when working with two strains of prokaryotes that caused pneumonia. He was working on a vaccine for pneumonia and accidentally learned something else, Transformation. Now you tell the rest of the story.

Frederick Griffith was working to develop a vaccine for pneumonia when he discovered something more specific to the foundation of genetic make-up: the foundational structure and components for the chromosome containing DNA molecules. DNA is a long molecule composed of a double helix intertwined strand of hundreds of thousands of nucleotides.

It was Frederick Griffith that tested experiments on bacteria and mice to discover that there was another protein in the bacteria that affected the life of the mice besides the one he was injecting into them. The opposing strain of bacteria either caused the mice to live, or to die depending upon Griffith’s tests. This evidence pointed to DNA and led Griffith to discover, Transformation—the process where one strain of bacterium absorbs genetic material from another strain and turns into the type of bacteria it absorbed.

{GTC 4} Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. Provide the information in the following ordered list and include this.

Oswald Theodore Avery (1877-1955) was a bacteriologist, research physician, and one of the founders of immunochemistry. Avery is best known for his discovery that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) serves as genetic material. Scientists say that Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. He was honored by the Noble laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg, and “betokened the molecular revolution in genetics and biomedical science.” Dr. Lederberg regularly collected the materials from Avery and provided them to the National Library of Medicine. There has recently been an online Exhibit of Oswald T. Avery’s work collaborated with the Tennessee State Library and Archives to digitize and make available on the internet a selection of Oswald T. Avery Collection for use by educators and researchers.

{GTC 5} In 1952, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase did an experiment which is so significant, it has been nicknamed the “Hershey-Chase Experiment”. This experiment directly addressed the question, are genes made of DNA or are they made of protein?

The organisms used in this experiment are E Coli and a T2 virus , bacteriophage—a virus which infects a bacterium, because the host bacterium is killed as the new virus particles leave the bacterial cell. In order to do this, the virus must inject whatever is the viral genetic code into the host cell. The people realized the viral genetic code had to be either its DNA or the protein, capsid. The hypothesis Hershey-Chase sought questioned, “Is it the viral DNA or viral protein coat (capsid) that is the viral genetic code material which gets injected into a host bacterium cell?” Isolated T2, like other viruses, is just a crystal of DNA and protein, so it must live inside E. coli in order to replicate itself. When the new T2 viruses are ready to leave the host E. coli cell, they burst the E. coli cell open, killing it. Thereby, confirming the results to Hershey & Chase indicating that the viral DNA, not the protein, is the genetic code material.
The results that Hershey and Chase obtained indicated that the viral DNA, not the protein, is its genetic code material. After their hypothesis was proven, and people final acknowledged that DNA was the genetic material, there was a lot of competition to be the first to discover the chemical structure of DNA.

{GTC 6} Be certain to include the very important rules about nucleic acid that Chargaff made.

Erwin Chargaff, a biochemist, discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helix in DNA.

1.) The first rule Chargaff is known for was that in natural DNA the number of guanine units equals the number of cytosine units and the number of adenine equals the number of thymine units. This gave great insight into the nitrogen base pair makeup of DNA. By proving this, he disproved Pheobus Levene’s hypothesis that DNA was composed of a large number of repeating nitrogen bases. Chargaff was able to do this with the new technology he had available to him called, paper chromatography and ultraviolet spectrophotometer. Chargaff met Crick and Watson in 1952, and explained his understandings of the nitrogen based pair in the DNA to them.

2.) The second rule Chargaff is recognized for is that the composition of DNA varies from one species to another. Specifically, in the amounts of nitrogen bases, eliminating the previous notions of protein based DNA.

Chargaff’s lab also developed research on the metabolism of amino acids and inositol, lipids and lipoproteins, and the biosynthesis of phosphotransferas. Chargaff studied nucleic acids such as DNA using chromatographic techniques for the first time, leading the fields of science with revolutionary new thinking, and Watson and Crick right behind

{GTC 7} In 1909, Archibald Garrod, an English physician, suggested that genes dictate phenotypes through enzymes. It wasn’t until the 1940s when two scientists at Cal Tech and Stanford collected the data that supported what Garrod had predicted. Now the one gene and one enzyme theory was proposed....with data.

Archibald Garrod, an English physician, suggested the concept that a gene is responsible for the production of a specific protein. Beadle and Tatum, however, set out to provide proof of the connection between genes and enzymes. They hypothesized that if there really was a one-to-one relationship between genes and enzymes, that it should be possible to create genetic mutants that are unable to carry out specific enzymatic reations.

As Beadle and Tatum had predicted, they were able to create single gene mutations that incapacitated specific enzymes, so that the mutations required an extra substance of the enzyme normally produced. These results led them to the one gene/one enzyme hypothesis, which declares that each gene directs the building of one ezyme.
We now know that all genes code for enzymes and that many peptides are made up of more than one polypeptide chains. Beadle and Tatum’s result is, one gene—one polypeptide.

{GTC 8} Now you tell the rest of the story.

JD Watson and Crick publish a structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) in 1953. The lead sentence stated, “We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA). Watson-Crick model suggested two helical chains each coiled around the same axis, organic chemistry composed of 5 carbons, and a ribose that’s missing an oxygen—deoxyribose, all connected to a phosphate in the middle. They also proposed that the two strands are anti-parallel, and that DNA is complementary—knowing what one strand is, will tell you what another is. The Hydrogen bonding between A (adenine) & T (thymine), and C (cytosine) & G (guanine) prove the nitrogen based pairing, explaining Chargaff’s rules. In 1962, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins receive the Nobel Prize for determining the molecular structure of DNA.
DNA Replication was discovered five years later by Miselson and Stahl. They developed the experiments that tested whether DNA was copied by “semi-conservative”or
"conservative” replication. The results, published in 1958, supported the “semi-conservative” mechanism.

The Paul-Corey Model consisted of three interwined chains, with the phosphates near the fibre-axis. They believed there to be three strands and believed the nitrogen bases on the outside.

Linus Pauling (1920-1958)—invented an ingenious way of elucidating the structure of crystals. He utilized the methods of X-ray crystallography to determine the structures of organic molecules. He was also the first to describe how atoms bonded to form a molecule. He pursued the biological manifestations of chemical bonding. His group at CalTech was the first to determine the structure of such a huge molecule and describe its characteristics, such as the very important mechanics of bonding to oxygen. His work also provided the foundation for understanding the molecular basis for sickle-cell anemia. Paulings achievement in science ranged from physical chemistry to molecular medicine to genetics. He used in expertise in chemistry to help halt nuclear testing! Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize twice. The first time was in Chemistry, and the second Nobel Prize he won was for his achievements in seeking world peace.

Rosalind Franklin was chemistry expert whose knowledge of the X-ray crystallographer provided the data and made the results. She graduated from Cambridge University, and went to work for John Randall at King’s College. She made many original and essential contributions to the understanding of the structure of graphite and other carbon compound even before her appointment to King’s college. It had been Franklin that was given the task by Randall of elucidating DNA’s structure. Afterwards, James Watson came out with a book called, the “Double Helix” depicting Franklin as an underling of Maurice Wilkins—who ended up walking the finish line with Watson and Crick. Franklin wasn’t an underling of Wilkins. They were peers in the Randall laboratory.

Rosalind Franklin applied her chemist’s expertise to the unwieldly DNA molecule. She was the first to state that the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA lies on the outside of the molecule. She also elucidated the basic helical structure of the molecule.
In the end, the guy that hired her—John Randall, sold her out by presenting her data to her competitors, and the competitors stole the credit. She died an early age of 37 due to cancer.

{GTC 9} (REPEAT #7)

{GTC 10} You decide what you wish to include about this project in your story.

The mission of the Human Genome Project is to identify the full set of genetic instructions contained inside our cells and to gain the ability and comprehension necessary to better understand the complete text written in the language of the hereditary DNA. This will help everyone to better define, understand, and communicate information necessary regarding the physical traits of a human being. Knowledge and insight of further understanding DNA completely will provide new strategies to diagnose, treat, and possibly prevent human diseases. It will also help to explain the mysteries and unanswered questions about science and medicine.
There have been many advances made in technology and scientific technique to better understand DNA in the past twenty years. One of these techniques is known as, “gene-splicing.” Gene splicing allows scientists to map out genetic molecules—genes, that control life processes in microorganisms. “Biotechniques” like these are what has allowed researchers to develop maps of human chromosomes. These maps have led to the discovery of important information about genes, chromosomes, and traits of the human body.

Further knowledge and understanding of human DNA has led researchers and scientists to the Human Genome Project. The HGP has brought about scientific interest from around the world. The purpose is to take a closer look at each individual chromosome to better understand the microscopic material thereof. There are many reasons for doing this. Most importantly, it will help scientists find and study the genes involved in hereditary diseases. The HGP consists of two major components. The first, consists of close-up detailed maps of the 23 pairs of chromosomes. The second is to further understand the sequencing of DNA contained in all chromosomes. Currently, the machines needed to improve greater insight and better understanding of DNA sequencing are still being developed. More specifically, the primary purpose of the HGP is to help doctors and scientists better understand the structure and characterization of the mutations in genetic DNA that are responsible for the potential hereditary diseases of a person. Right now, there are over 3000 disorders known to result from a single altered gene. The goal of the Human Genome Project is to provide scientists with new tools to help them understand the microorganisms that have ‘cause and effect’ involved with illnesses in humans, such as: Alzheimer’s Disease, Heart Disease, Diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.

Scientists, doctors, and researchers are hoping that one day it may be possible to treat genetic and/or hereditary diseases by correcting errors in the gene itself. They believe the Human Genome Project will help them to achieve these goals.

{GTC 11}Describe what was accomplished by the human genome project.

One of the primary goals of the Genome Project was to help people better understand what it is exactly that is in the gene(s) that signifies the difference's between people. More specifically, the human genome project has helped to bring forth studies regarding human toxic reactions to medications, as well as a better understanding of how humans will genetically react to certain kinds of medicines depending upon their medical condition, one that may possibly be predetermined by their genes. Meaning, their medical condition and therefore the prescriptions they are given may possibly be better configured chemically for faster, better results on a person’s health and well-being. All this due simply to the knowledge and format being configured of a persons personal genome/report. The purpose is to better suit a person with a diagnosis/prescription that could possibly prevent potential diseases. A persons personal human genome analysis could provide a warning to that person of potential disease that he/she may be at risk of due to their DNA structure. The goal is to further help people in the field of medicine by using their genome.

What is the cost of the human genome project.

The goal is to get the sale of an individual's personal genome to apx. $1000./per person. When the first map came out in 1985, the estimated cost for a human genome was about three billion dollars. In the early 90's that price was adjusted to a bit more realistic quote of twenty million/per person. Most recently, the cost estimates have been adjusted to a much more realistic view of two million dollars/per person. Scientists are estimating that ten years from now, it may be much closer to $1000/per person. However, they are trying to quicken that drop in cost to about one hundred thousand dollars per person four years from now. When at the same time, they are hoping to sell pieces of individual genome(s) for about ten thousand a piece in about four years. This could save a person hundreds of thousands of dollars in surgery and medicines. Scientists and doctors are trying to make it affordable for health-care providers to purchase the human genome information necessary that may provide specific information regarding prescription, and predicted/preventable medicines/diagnosis necessary.

Currently, testing DNA for diseases directly, can be done online for about $200-3000. More and more internet services are being made available to the public to help them personalize their own healthcare.

Describe how the genome scientists stored the human genes that they were studying?
There is the discussion of the knowledge and the ability to format a personal human genome into a one gigabyte chip of information, small enough to put on a computer chip, or in a cell phone.

Name some benefits provided by the human genome project.
Many people who have become personally interested in the genome project, or DNA research are people that have had family members that have died from a medical condition, and they want questions answered. What can they learn from a genetic test? Will it help their children live longer? Is there something that can be done to prevent hereditary diseases? Can these diseases be predicted by diagnosis of one's personal genome? One of the great benefits personalizing research on one's own DNA would be to personalize one's own healthcare, helping them, their families, and their doctors to make better decisions regarding his/her medical condition.

Another benefit would be that if Doctors discover that it is possible to diagnose a human genome, then would it be possible to prescribe better medicines more suitable to cure that particular person or person's Genome? This could save lives, by saving time and money in prescribing the right medicines needed/predicted, the first time. Rather than, prescribing several medicines for something that might be the cause, or that could possibly do something to prevent, or cure, a disease--something the person may or may not even have. Or, it may be a different disease, and by use of the genome project--information in the chromosomes can help to detect a more exact diagnosis providing the exact prescription the first time.

No drugs can be sold to a deceased person, right? We have to keep the patient alive in order to do anything for them. According to the NPR recording, 100,000 illnesses occur every year because of inaccurate medicines prescribed to a patient, as well as over two million deaths per year.

What is junk DNA and what has been found in it?
The one percent makeup of DNA that we are sure of is called genes, the code for proteins. The other four percent of regulatory elements within DNA that do other things besides coding for proteins is still known to many as undiscovered terrain. One of the purposes involved with the Genome Project is to find out in full detail what is going on with this four percent of DNA that is considered non-gene element. What is its purpose? Why is it there? Doctors suggest that mutations (diseases) are discovered frequently within this four percent non-gene range of DNA. Is there information there that they are overlooking that might hold answers to cures or prevention? Scientists and Doctors agree that we do not know enough about this four percent of DNA to fully define the purpose of this non-gene area of DNA. There are many unanswered questions. Such as: Are there new kinds of DNA, like RNA--recently discovered in 2001, that we don't know about?

Describe/discuss the intelligent subset of human genome. What is this intelligent subset and how is it used?
One aspect of the “intelligent subset” is what “doctors can make use of,” and how further knowledge of a patient's personal Genome can help the doctor help the patient. Are there genes that control other genes?
This leads to many other issues, such as: Technology issue vs. Social issue, as well as moral and ethical views. There are many issues regarding concerns as to what could happen based on what doctors and scientists might find. For example, what about the idea that if the human genome were to become a household name, the "norm" in society, how would it effect different groups of people and the vast diversity we have here in America? If it was proven to be vastly significant to a human's health diagnosis and genetic makeup, could this possibly lead to people using their own Genome as a form of identification? Is it possible then that the genome could be required of people to be carried with them, as say, a Drivers License? What about that? What about a persons right to their privacy and their right of their human bodies to be free of government interference as long as an individual is a law-abiding citizen? How could that possibly heighten tensions in society? Would there be rioting because people refuse to give up their human rights of freedom and privacy? What if it became law that every US citizen were required to have their human genome with them at all times, for example? Well, what if someone couldn't afford the price the government required people to pay for their own personal human genome? Could an individual be penalized for not abiding by these new rules? What about discrimination? Who has the right to know what another person’s medical file is? Will there come a day when we have to show our medical files to the police just to identify ourselves? What about the right to not have to share that information with anyone? Just because someone likes the color of your eyes, or the color of your hair, why should anyone have to share that information with another person? It is their human right to not have to be forced to share anything.

Throughout history, the common definition has been that genes contain DNA coding--simple instructions for proteins. Proteins have many functions. Some of these include: transporting nutrients, communication between cells, recognizing foreign invaders, i.e. viruses, bacteria. It is in further studying areas like genetics, and it is in doing further DNA research that will allow doctors, and therefore everyone, to gain a better understanding of the human body and the genetic DNA code.

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The Meaning of Algae

Feb. 25th, 2007 | 05:49 am


written by Andrea Calabrese
September 2006
Dr. Hodson
Santa Monica College

Webster's Third Addition describes algae as, "Any of several divisions of simple organisms: thallophytes, various one-celled, colonial, or filamentous, containing chlorophyll and other pigments (red and brown) and having no true root, stem, or leaf. Algae are found in water or damp places, and include seaweeds and pond scum." This is a very clear definition of what algae, or alga, is. Algae can also be defined as any group of chiefly aquatic nonvascular plants (as seaweeds, pond scums, and stonewarts) with chlorophyll often masked as brown or red pigment. Along with chloroplasts, algae may also possess photosynthetic storage materials and cell walls.

Algae is a general name used for the single-celled plant plankton, seaweeds, and other freshwater plants. Plankton consists of plants and animals occurring at any depth in bodies of water, often microscopic in size. All algae are of the kingdom Protista, except for the blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria, which is of the kingdom, Bacteria. Therefore, algae may be either prokaryote--organisms belonging to the domains Bacteria and Archaea that lack a membrane-bound nucleus, or eukaryote--organisms whose cells have their DNA contained within a membrane-bound nucleus.

There are eleven different divisions of algae. One of these is the scientific division, Heterokontophyta. Heterokonts, such as algae, produce cells having two stucturally distinct flagella. The heterokonts are a major line of eukaryotes. Most range from the giant multicellular kelp to unicellular diatoms, which are a component of plankton. Heterokont algae have chloroplasts surrounded by four membranes, the last being the endoplasmic reticulum. The chloroplasts characteristically contain chlorophyll. Originally, the heterokont algae were treated as two divisions, first with the kingdom Plantae and later the Protista.

There are eleven divisions of different types of algae. Each division of algae varies from one another, containing different pigments (colors), characteristics, origins, habitats, and classifications. Only one of these divisions of algae, classified as the cyanophyceae of the division cyanophyta (also known as blue-green algae) is prokaryote. The other ten divisions of algae are eukaryote. The ten types of eukaryote algae divisions are:

  • Rhodophyta (red algae)

  • Chlorophyta (green algae)

  • Euglenophyta (Euglenoids)

  • Chloromonadophyta (Chloromonads)

  • Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae)

  • Bacillariophyta (diatoms)

  • Chrysophyta (golden-brown algae)

  • Phaeophyta (brown algae)

  • Pyrrhophyta (dinoflagellates)

  • Cryptophyta (Cryptomonads)

Each of these divisions has one or more classes of different types of algae, and each classification has one or more different pigmentations. However, color does not necessarily categorize algae to a specific class, but the morphology of the algae does. Meaning, some algaes are colorless due to loss of chloroplasts over time, but are still classified in the same division as algaes with color.

  1. Rhodophyta (red algae) –The majority of red algae consists of red seaweeds of the seashore. The pigment in red algae is phycoerythrin, which reflects red light and absorbs blue light, allowing photosynthesis to occur at greater depths of water. In Asia, Europe, and Japan Dulce and Nori have been popular sources of high vitamin human food for almost three hundred years. Some red algae can be found in tropical reefs, known as coralline algae, because they secrete a hard shell of carbonate around themselves, like coral. Unlike other algae, no cells with flagellum are found in any member of the group. There are around 4100 known species of red algae, almost all of them marine, and only about 200 that live in freshwater.

  1. Chlorophyta (green algae) –Almost all forms of green algae have chloroplasts. However, there are many different types of chlorophyll pigments including: carotene, lutein, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin, causing many different shades of color to occur. Green algae also produce/produced embyophytes, known as “higher plants” and usually include unicellular & colonial flagellate with two flagella per cell. All green algae have mitochondria with flat cristae. Some of the first land plants evolved from green algae. The location of green algae varies depending upon classification. Some may be found on rock surfaces near high water marks, whereas other genera of green algae may be found occurring in small bodies of water, in sewage oxidation lakes, and in the soil.

  1. Euglenophyta (Euglenoids) –This division of algae is known for unicellular flagellates of varying shapes. They are lacking a cell wall and many are colorless. Those that are not colorless possess discoid chloroplasts distributed throughout the cytoplasm. The Euglenophyceae possess an unusual form of nuclear division, and there is no evidence of a mitotic spindle. Euglenoids occur in both salt and fresh water where they are found in a variety of habitats.

  1. Chloromonadophyta (Chloromonads) –A very small division of little known flagellates. They exist in freshwater bogs and ponds. The cells are pear shaped, having two flagella. The pigmented organisms possess numerous yellow-green chloroplasts. The algae of this Division have not been known to store starch, but oils instead.

  1. Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae) –Usually possess two unequal flagella, the short one being simple, and the long one being pleuronematic. Yellow-green chloroplasts are derived from carotenoids, which mask the chlorophyll. There are many different genera of this division to be found. Some are free-floating, tree, soil, or rock dwellers, but most are freshwater inhabitants. Some of these may also be found attached to aquatic phanerogams. One genus, the tribonemataceae, can be found in sheets covering ponds and pools.

  1. Bacillariophyta (diatoms) –A characteristic feature of these plants is their cell wall, which is composed of silica and pectin. Each cell contains golden-brown chloroplasts. Diatoms are unicellular, but often occur in colonial forms. They can be found in marine or freshwater plankton, and also as epiphytes on other algae and higher plants. Diatoms are also found on the bottoms of lakes, ponds, and in soil. As well as in rainforests of the tropics, on the leaves of the trees. The chloroplasts are olive green to brown in color and possess chlorophylls with fucoxanthin and acetylenic carotenoids. There is estimated to be apx. 100,000 species, and 200 genera of living diatoms.

  1. Chrysophyta (golden-brown algae) –Unicellular organisms, lacking a cellulose wall, having pigments of chlorophyll and fucoxanthin. There are many different genera and many different families in this division. One example is the phaeodermatium, brown small discs found on stones in cold, quickly flowing waters. Most chrysophyta, however, are both marine and fresh water. Many form a major component of the nannoplankton.

  1. Phaeophyta (brown algae) –Common brown algae of the seashore are mostly marine algae. Only a few fresh water species exist. The brown color is due to the fucoxanthin protein, which masks chlorophylls. Most of the species is confined to colder waters, many being restricted to the North Pacific. However, there are many different genera of brown algae having many different families with many different qualities. Phaeophytes are a large group of multicellular algae, including many seaweeds. The macrocystis kelp may reach 60 meters in length, forming underwater forests of algae. The upper part of the plant floats on the water surface, kept there by the blades of the leaves. One distinctive characteristic of this class of brown algae is the rate of growth, which averages 7 centimeters per day on the Pacific Coast of N. America, which equals apx. 1-1 ¼ blades per day. At a depth of 20 meters, whole fronds can grow as much as 45 cm per day, the most rapid plant growth known. Brown algae lack plasmodesmata and starch production of land plants and relatives. The colored flagellates develop into multicellular forms with differentiated tissues, reproducing flagellate spores. Many of the brown algae species are and have been used as food by the Russians, Chinese, and Japanese people. They were also valuable as a source of iodine, and as a potassium fertilizer.

  1. Pyrrhophyta (dinoflagellates) –Most of the members of this algae division are unicells and are most noted for their large nucleus, containing distinct moniliform chromatin threads, even at resting stage. The products of photosynthesis are starch or fat. Characteristic resting cysts are also produced by many of these forms of algae. The majority possess flagella and get their class name of dinoflagellates because of the characteristic spiral motion of the motile cells. The chloroplast is a brownish color due to the carotenoid peridinin. Some dinoflagellates are also characterized by the ability to luminesce, and by the presence of potent neurotoxins. Although the majority of this Division are free-swimming or attached, marine or fresh water forms, they are also quite common as sand dwellers and parasites in fish and invertebrates.

  1. Cryptophyta (Cryptomonads) –This division is interesting in that it is the only group that possesses chlorophylls and biliproteins. It is one of the few algal groups that synthesize a-carotene instead of b-carotene. The color varies from reddish-brown through olive green to blue green due to the presence of chlorophylls a & c, carotenoids, and biliproteins. The cells have a tetrahedral shape. Both marine and freshwater species are known of this class. One of this species, Tetragonidium verrucatum is a rarely found organism that has been recorded from freshwater ponds in Europe, the United States, and New Zealand.

There is also another important form of algae known to mankind as fossil algae. Fossil algaes have been claimed to appear in deserts, on other planets, and evidence of algae existence as far back as 3.5 billion years ago. The facts have yet to be determined or classified on many of these types of fossil algaes. However, “in 2002, William Schopf of UCLA published a controversial paper in the scientific journal Nature arguing that geological formations possess 3.5 billion year old fossilized algae microbes. If true, they would be the earliest known life on earth.” There have also been recent discoveries of green algaes and cyanobacteria found amongst 30 desert lineages, and further evidence has been studied regarding hypolithic algae. Hypolithic algaes grow on lower surfaces of translucent stones, existing on quartzite rocks that are translucent—allowing photosynthesis to occur, and have also been found embedded in soil.

The eleventh Division of algae is Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae, may also look reddish brown or bright green/blue) –Cyanobacteria differ from the other divisions of algae in that it is the only division of algae from the kingdom: Bacteria, and also the only algae to be considered prokaryote. Cyanobacteria is found in almost every habitat: oceans, fresh water, bare rock, and soil; and include unicellular, colonial, and filamentous forms.

Cyanobacteria produces one of three toxic metabolites: neurotoxic, hepatotoxic and non-specific (mostly cytotoxic effects). Cyanobacteria have lipopolysaccharides (LPS, similar to compounds found in the cell walls of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli), which can be harmful to the health of the human immune system. However, the mortality rate from cyanobacteria is most commonly heard of in veterinary reports of pets and livestock that have consumed of waters densely packed with algae. In humans, exposure to airborne components of cyanobacteria algae can result in irritant and allergic symptoms and are likely mediated by non-toxic cellular components of the algae. “The mouse bioassay is a method used to determine presence of toxic substrates in algae, and there are numerous laboratory methods for elucidating chemical structures from algae-tainted water.”—http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/hab/bgahh.html

Blue-green algae in small numbers are a natural part of the water system. In large numbers, algae will multiply rapidly, causing a “bloom” to occur, possibly turning the water a different color or causing a bad smell. Chemical changes in the water may offset an imbalance to the water’s ecosystem causing an unusual rapid bloom of algae to occur. This intense increase of algae on the water surface may affect many or all of the other elements in the algae’s surrounding ecology. Blooms are not always caused by only one species of algae, but may consist of several species. However, cyanobacteria can usually be identified. The rapidly multiplying algae, known as “algae bloom” may form a densely thick coating of foam or scum on the water’s surface. This will cause many changes to occur. For example, algae blooms cause a greater consumption of oxygen in the water due to a greater number of algae decaying and further stimulating growth of higher increased levels of bacteria. This de-oxygenation of the aquatic system will not only cause the immediate aquatic life and plant forms to die as a result of oxygen deprivation, but may also cause chemical changes in the mud at the bottom, lowering the oxygen value of the sediment, releasing chemicals and toxic gases. A thick algal bloom floating on the surface of the water may also alter or damage the community underneath by over-shading the aquatic life that is normally prone to nourishment by the sun. Algae blooms also disrupt bigger parts of the food chain because the entire ecology will need to adjust to the loss and inaccessibility of the previously existing aquatic life. i.e.birds, forest animals, and other seashore plant life.

Four decades ago, in the 1960s, there was a sudden burst of algae blooms rapidly occurring along the Great Lake shorelines. These drastic increases in algae blooms made human inhabitants miserable due to the outrageous size, smell, and drastic effect the algae blooms had upon the populated waters. This rapid increase in algae blooms caused policy makers to change the rules regarding elements of phosphorus pollution and industry requirements. One lb. of phosphorus can stimulate growth of up to 500 pounds of algae. To reduce the number of occurrences of algae buildup, legislatures in Michigan and some neighboring states imposed limits on phosphate laundry detergents in the 1970s. However, phosphorus continued flowing into the lakes from other sources.  These new rules contributed to reducing further dramatic increases in the algae blooms occurring there.

Today, further suggestions are being made to reduce the current number of algae blooms in Michigan to also limit the amount of phosphate produced and used in dishwashing machine detergents as well.

Another cause of the increase in algae blooms since the 1980’s is the arrival of two exotic species: the zebra mussel and its cousin, the quagga mussel. Mussels filter the water, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper into the lakes, enabling algae to thrive at greater depths than before. This would contribute to greater levels of redox in the soils on the floors of the aquatic systems.

Other known disruptions in the normal ecology of algae are:

(The following reasons for increased algae blooms were taken directly from various lists from several different websites)

  • Runoff into waterways with nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from sewage, agriculture fertilizers, industrial effluent, etc.

  • Poor water flow, Algae blooms generally do not occur in steadily moving water.

  • Alteration of lake and river ecosystems through land clearing, agriculture and settlement, and water management systems (locks, dams, etc.).

  • Eutrophication of surface water from industrial and agricultural activities has been cited as the stimuli for blooms.

  • Temperature affects the oxygen concentration since warmer water cannot dissolve as much oxygen as colder water.

  • Most of the Chesapeake Bays' more visible living resources will not survive exposure to waters of less than 1 mg/l for more than a few hours. Supersaturation (over 100% DO saturation) can occur when there is a large algal bloom. During the daylight, when the algae are photosynthesizing, they can produce oxygen so rapidly that it is not able to escape into the atmosphere, thus leading to short-term saturation levels of greater than 100%.

  • The amount of oxygen dissolved in Bay waters is probably the single most important measure of habitat quality; without oxygen, all of the living resources familiar to us perish.

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$10,000 Writing Contest

Feb. 25th, 2007 | 05:13 am

$10,000 Writing Contest
What makes you the best spender?

written by Andrea Calabrese 
February 2006

First of all, I should get the $10,000 because I am one of the most discriminated against actresses in the history of Hollywood.  I have been in California since 1995 and I have learned many lessons from experience, making me the best spender.  I graduated from modeling school in 1987 in Madison, WI.  I was 13 years old and my family was suffering the repercussions of my parent’s gruesome divorce.  I was told that I wasn’t allowed to join the union unless I went to work in the big markets—Chicago, New York, or Los Angeles.  At 14 and powerless, I could not drive myself there or pursue SAG membership myself
without one of my parents.  They were both too busy suffering the consequences from their divorce.  Since my family life had been very content and happy prior to their divorce, I had a very prosperous and well-developed childhood.  My parents first put me on stage at the age of 3 years old.  I trained to work in TV and movies every year of my life—in a different costume every year growing up--from a frog with green satin when I was 3 to a pink lace tutu as an ice-cream cone when I was 4.  As I got older, I played everything from a cat with a long furry tail and furry ears, to a flapper with ribbons and beads.  I wore beautiful costumes such as that of a Southern Belle with beautiful lace Victorian umbrellas to a pop star dancing on stage with blue eye shadow, red sequence, checkered silks, satins, and fishnet stockings.  I won best actress in High School, graduated in 1992, and moved to Denver in 1993 knowing that a life in show business was the place for me.  I was doing so well at the television company in Denver, they transferred me to San Francisco in 1995 to work in television for broadcast audiences.  I won many awards in TV in SF and even attended the Emmy’s in 1996 as a part of a channel 3 studio production—a PSA for NASA.
When I was just about done with college in 1998, I started sending out my very hard-earned, as perfect as
I could possibly be, headshots—in response to movie casting calls and auditions.
Suddenly, all of these very bad things started
happening to me.  I went to the post office (I had been
very successful working very hard making $30,000/year
at the age of twenty-four (in 1998)—sometimes working two or three
jobs just to save money to move across country--when I
naturally started sending out my resume and headshots
as I approached my final year in school)—and when I
went to the post office, suddenly there was no mail.  I
thought, “That’s odd, very unusual.”  The next day, no
mail.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.  I
filed 12 complaints at the SF post office for missing
mail from 1998-2000.  I called my creditors to see if
they had sent my statements and they said, “Miss
Calabrese, we’ve already sent them.”  And then I
couldn’t get my paychecks, my phones stopped ringing, I
would be constantly booted off of the internet--making
it very difficult for me to earn money or get a job.
This never happened before I started sending out my
headshot and resume in response to casting calls like
Any Given Sunday with Oliver Stone, Memoirs of a
Geisha—Steven Spielberg, and Flawless directed by Joel
Schumacher.  Prior to this I never had any problems.  I
had already lived and gone to school in SF for four
years!  It was almost as if someone or some
organization saw my headshots, ripped my US citizenship
rights from me (because I was being discriminated
against) & tried to force me into pornography.  (Is
this why all the beautiful girls are in porn, and very
few of them in the movies?  Why?  Is it because they
are forced there when their US citizenship rights are
ripped from them?)  I lost my brand new Nissan 200SXSE that I had just bought with money from the previous
car I owned and sold myself--that I paid off from five
years of perfect credit history—not one missed or late
payment in five years.  Fortunately, my roommates had
been my friends since High School, and knew that
something or someone (beyond my control), was abusing
power or causing me not to have rent.  Needing money very
badly, I anxiously awaited the arrival of my Holiday
Greeting cards –which always included  gifts from my
family.  When Christmas came in 1998, no mail.  I
called my mom and dad back in Wi.  I said, “Mom, Dad,
did you guys send my holiday greeting cards?”  “Yes,” they said
separately, as they are still divorced and sending from
different households.  Everybody sent me money in
Christmas cards—mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, aunts,
uncles, cousins, friends—all from different households.
  I did not receive one Christmas card in the mail in SF
from anyone in my family.  It wasn’t until several
months later, around Easter, when I sporadically
started receiving the missing Christmas cards, when at that
time it was too late to cash the checks.  The political
torture that I received in SF was so harsh and so
painful during the most beautiful and hard-earned prime
of my life that out of panic, I jumped into a Taxi to
survive this political threshold that political
authorities abusing their powers had over me.  This went on
for two and a half years until I finally left San Francisco and
moved to LA in 2001.  I had always wanted to work
with Oliver Stone as my favorite actor is James
Woods.  One of the only pieces of mail that I was
allowed to receive in that two and half years of hell in San Francisco,
was a letter from Oliver Stone’s office--that I still
have to this day--which says, (Don’t worry, we’re working
on it.)  “We’ve given your materials to our casting
agents.”  I didn’t realize until several years later
that he had just finished filming “The People vs. Larry
Flynt” and may have been in cahoots with the porn industry.  I
started driving a Taxi to fight for my rights as a
legitimate performing artist.  Let's make one thing perfectly clear:  I am not a porn star, I've never been a porn star and I never will be a porn star.  My mother's father was a doctor in the military and she spent a large amount of her inheritance on the 34 different schools I've attended in my life, including several performing arts schools.  I would like to get married someday and I feel very strongly that I'd have to get permission from my husband to do something like that.

 I have been driving a cab for almost eight years now--two
years in SF and six years in LA—out of panic and fear of
being disqualified from the rights as a performing
artist that have rightfully belonged to me since I was
three years old.  I have seen many terrible things driving
a cab the past eight years.  Although my image and soul
were meant to be used in the movies and for National
TV, Taxi driving has allowed God to use me to help
people on the street.  I saved a woman from being
kidnapped and I helped a teen-ager get home who had
been severely beaten and left with nothing.  People
bleeding, women raped, I stopped a man from repeatedly
smashing a woman’s head into the cement, deadly
accidents, tongues hanging out of people, women’s
pretty blonde hair mangled with thick red and black
blood clots.  I have seen many bad things driving a cab
in LA.  One time I found a girl bleeding to death on the side of the road in Hollywood, and I took her to the
hospital in my Taxicab.  The doctor said I saved her life.  Two years later I saw the girl jumping and skipping outside Hollywood High School.  She recognized me, smiled, and waved hello. 

Driving a Taxi in Hollywood has made it possible for me to go to auditions and
meetings that I need to go to.  Just a few days ago, I
broke up a fight when I came across two young asian
kids beating up a senior Latino man in the middle of
the street in Koreatown.  I had just finished working.
It was about 3am and I stopped at Walgreen’s on my way
home at 6th and Vermont.  When I left Walgreen’s to go
home, I had just driven a few blocks, near Berendo/6th,
heading to Western when I passed a fight in the street.
  I looked in my rear view mirror and I saw two guys
punching and kicking an old man lying in the street.  I
immediately swung a Uturn in my Taxi and went a half a
block back to the fight scene.  It looked like they
were just beating up an old dirty homeless man, but
regardless, I drove as close as I could to them, and
started whaling on my horn—nonstop.  They wouldn’t
stop, so I got closer in my vehicle and didn’t lay off
the horn.  I must have been pressing the horn about
30-40 seconds at least when the two young kids started
to break away from their beating, kicking, and punching
of this poor old man lying in the middle of the street.
  I just kept laying on the horn, and wouldn’t stop
until they did.  Then one of them jumped up and got
scared, looked at me, and started heading for a vehicle
parked at an angel about twenty feet away.  The other
one continued to punch and kick the old man lying in
the street.  I just kept laying on my horn.  Obviously,
I was no match for these hoodlums.  Finally, the second
one jumped up and ran to the driver’s seat of the
silver middle-sized car.  My heart was really more
concerned with the well-being of the old man.  Did he
need an ambulance?  He got up and looked at me.  He
looked scared, but was walking ok.  Then I became
scared (I didn’t know why they were attacking this man,
and he was taking a good, long look at me), so I just
stepped on the gas, and drove towards Wilshire.  After
they stopped fighting, I just continued on driving the
Taxi.  I drove to Wilshire—as I had been—on my way
home.  I wish I would’ve gotten the License plate number of
those punks.  I feel guilty and stupid that I didn’t
get their number.  But at the same time, having just
approached the situation, I didn’t know exactly what
was going on.  I just tried to help someone who looked
like they needed it.

If I won the contest I would use the money to make the world a better place.

That’s all.  Thanks for listening.

Andrea Calabrese, Email: mustcastandrea@gmail.com

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