Technology in Entertainment

New technology can change an entire industry.  In the entertainment industry, the invention of the camera, and then the video camera changed the way that people consume there entertainment.  The most popular form of visual entertainment used to be plays, until the video camera came along and people became fascinated by movies. Technology has changed the way that people consume media throughout time.

For a long time the most popular form of live entertainment was plays, and operas.  People would go to a theater to have a day of entertainment of long plays by Shakespeare or other famous playwrights.  Once the video camera was introduced, plays and operas declined. The general public was fascinated with the new medium of entertainment that the video camera brought.  Plays and operas eventually found their niche audience, and have stayed in the spotlight. The niche group that plays and operas found was an elite group of people. Plays were for the highest class of people and not very accessible the general public.  This stigma is still attached to plays and operas, but it is smaller than it once was. Now plays will travel around the world so that everyone has an opportunity to enjoy their work.

Video cameras were a huge development in the entertainment industry.  Movies became very popular for the entire public, not just one demographic.  Movies popularity grew with the number of movie theaters that were added around the world.  Movies were much more accessible than plays were because people only had to travel to their local movie theater and not the nearest performance theater.  Movies were also much less expensive than plays so all types of people had the opportunity to enjoy them. With the innovations of video cameras also kept movies in the limelight.  From silent films to speaking films, then from black and white to color, and then the video quality continually improving, and finally with the introduction of the 3D movie. These innovations kept the movies new and exciting for everyone.  The theater didn’t have as much innovations as movies, which could contribute to why its popularity did not grow like the popularity of movies did.


The University of Michigan is a large campus composed of many buildings with diverse purposes.  While the majority of the buildings on campus are used for lectures and discussions, some are there for everyone-even non university students- to use.  A good example of these is the many museums that the University has on campus.

This most popular museum on campus is the University of Michigan Museum of Art, or better known as UMMA.  Art museums are common throughout the world.  Some art museums are specific to a type or subsection of art, for example photography or sculptures. Major cities often have multiple art museums of different sizes.  Chicago has dozens of art museums, the two most popular being the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Apart from that, most of the Universities have their own art museums as well.  College art museums tend to be smaller than the others that are found in big cities.

Another popular museum at the University of Michigan is the Museum of Natural History.  The museum has exhibits that show dinosaur bones and the process of evolution. Just like art museums, there are natural history museums in most of the big cities throughout the world.  Unlike art museums, there is generally one big natural history museum per city, this could be because natural history is not up to interpretation like art is. Most of the natural history museums have the same general information with different bones and animal exhibits to show the history of that area or others in the world.  These different bones and exhibits are what make each natural history museum unique.

The University of Michigan has an archeology museum that showcases artifacts from places in history like bowls and other artifacts that people of the past used to use.  Archeology museums are more uncommon than art and natural history museums. Some very large natural history museums have an archeology section in the museum that will give guests a small taste of how people of the past used to live.  Full archaeology museums are just larger versions of the small sections in natural history museums.

The University of Michigan has a Museum of Dentistry.  This is somewhat unique, most cities do not have a dentistry museum.  Museums of trades and specific events and places are common all over the world.  These types of museums have a niche audience for people who are very interested in the topic that the museum spotlights.  For example: the Museum of Dentistry at the University of Michigan is at the School of Dentistry at the University. So this museum has its audience of people that would enjoy the museum right on campus.

Museums are wonderful places to find to new interests and to learn about a variety of topics.  There are so many different categories of museums to learn about, and small museums are great to harvest that curiosity.  College museums are great to investigate topics on a small level and form curiosities that one can apply and go to larger museums to continue looking at and discovering their interests.  The museums at the University of Michigan are no different. People should utilize them and further their interest in a variety of things from dinosaurs to paintings.

Comics and Having Heroes

I love comics, especially the literary variety known as graphic novels. I was ecstatic when I heard that the art school was going to host a talk by none other than Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning comics artist, as part of the Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series. He solidified the genre of the graphic novel with his work “Maus”, a gripping account of his father’s survival during the Holocaust with Jews depicted as mice and Nazis depicted as cats.

Spiegelman’s presentation was titled “Comics is the Yiddish of Art”, the thesis that drove his roughly 90-minute talk. He described his inspiration from the greats, starting with Superman creator Jack Kirby, a Jewish American like himself. As the talk went on, Spiegelman argued how comics were not just a home for Jewish American artists, but for outsiders in general. He compared the  localized nature of Yiddish with the fluid grammar of comics as a visual medium. The unusual comparison felt justified and of personal interest to Spiegelman.

But his talk fell flat when he addressed the sexism and racism that has fueled comics for decades. After discussing how comics were condemned by authorities and even burned due to their provacotive content, he showed an example of how comics (by men) hid images of women’s groins and breasts in the background. This was followed by an anecdote of how he loved to draw women’s breasts and groins in junior high that he would then morph into the faces of dogs to avoid repercussion. This got a laugh out of the audience, but I was unsettled. The art professor who had introduced Spiegelman to the audience, the incredibly talented Phoebe Gloeckner of “Diary of a Teenage Girl” fame, had said she was interested in hearing the connection between Jewish identity and comics as she had always felt as an outsider due to being a woman cartoonist. The way Spiegelman showed comics’ history of objectifying   women made it feel inevitable, as “boys will be boys”. I wondered if male cartoonists ever considered how their crass attitude to portraying women alienated their peers like Gloeckner.

His discussion on racism had a similar problem of perpetuating the stereotypes that keep diverse artists out of comics. While calling out the racist caricatures that became a foundation for comics, he showed how he made a cover full of racist caricatures for “Harper’s Bazaar” after Danish newspapers went under fire for depicting the prophet Muhammad, which is prohibited by Islam.

Cover for “Harper’s Bazaar” that Spiegelman made in light of the “Jyllands-Posten” Muhammad cartoons controversy.

I was disappointed. Spiegelman spoke of his frustration with identity politics and his disillusionment in becoming a spokesperson of sorts for the Jewish community when he considers himself an artist first and foremost, leading me to believe he is against having art shoehorned due to the identity of its author. And yet he was continuing comics’ tradition of not being sensitive to the disrespect faced by people with marginalized identities in the art world.

I am cognizant that Spiegelman used coarse language with all social identities depicted in the art he included in his talk. He shared stories of being considered anti-Semitic for not portraying Jews or the Holocaust in a traditional way, a discussion best left to his own community. But as a Latina who is always striving to find representation in the media, I was not amused by his lack of interest in making comics a more inclusive medium. After his talk I was inspired to send an op-ed comic of my own to the Michigan Daily, and I finish this article with my head held high and hopeful of the future of diverse artists.

Celebrate the (corn)Maze and Blue this Halloween

Happy Halloween!  There are many ways to celebrate on the holiday, the most common throughout the US being trick-or-treating or Halloween parties.  There are many ways to celebrate the halloween spirit before and after the 31st.  A popular option in the midwest is by going through a corn maze. Corn mazes are a fun afternoon activity and each one is unique based on the shape and size of each maze.

2016 Corn maze from Gull Meadows farm in Richland, MI.

The process of making a corn maize is more complex than most people expect.  The farmers have to plan what pattern or picture they would like the maze to be in as they plant the corn.  The farmers plant the seeds and then very quickly before the corn grows too high they pick up all of the corn on the path of the maze so that it never grows there and the path is clearly defined.  Most farmers like to have a new picture each year for the maze, and once they pick what they want the maze to look like they have to execute it.  They do this by using gps technology to help them map out the pattern based 

on their land size and then the gps helps them to know what corn to pick up when they are using their tractors to create the path.  At some corn mazes the owners ask guests to guess what shape the maze once they have gone through it.  This is always fun because the guests think about how many turns they made and in what direction to determine what shape it could possibly be.  It also makes guests think about how complicated the maze is, which helps them to fully appreciate the effort, work, and creativity that they owners put into making the maze.

Big farms and orchards typically create a full day of activities for the whole family to enjoy.  They offer apple picking from their apple orchard, pumpkin picking from their pumpkin patch, apple cider and donuts to 

eat, a small country store selling homemade Halloween decorations, a hay ride, and a corn maze.  Some even offer pony rides and face painting as a bonus.  All of these activities draw more people to the maze which makes it worthwhile for the farmers to continue to put in the hard work and effort to make the mazes each year.  It also creates a great day for a family to enjoy the fall weather and get into the Halloween spirit.

A corn maize is a great attraction because it’s fun for every age.  Everyone likes to see how long it takes them to get through it, and competitive families like to split into groups and race to see who can finish first.  To make sure that people don’t cheat by walking in between the paths, corn mazes generally have 

several posts with different shaped hole punches throughout the maze to make sure that each group hole punches a card with every hole punch before they can get out.  To make it even more interesting some mazes have Halloween trivia on their on their posts and your answer tells you what direction to turn at the next fork in the path.  This way it’s more than just luck, but only if you answer the questions correctly.  Corn mazes create an atmosphere where everyone can have fun, enjoy the fall weather, and get into the spirit of Halloween.

Have You Seen This New Sculpture?


Has anyone seen this beautiful stain-glassed sculpture that was just recently put up by the Central Campus Transit Center??
As an architect, I am very intrigued by this structure. I have so many questions to ask about it!! But I guess that is the fun in creating and experiencing art in general… I’ll write my questions and attempt to give my own answer, so feel free to comment your thoughts, and ask more questions if you have any!! Also, give my instagram (@connecticuto8) a follow if you want to see more interesting views of our Michigan Campus!

Question #1: What’s with the shape?
Answer: Perhaps providing an interesting framed circular view (as depicted on the right), but not wanting to just use a basic circular frame for that view.

Question #2: Why all the colors?
Answer: Maybe a fun sort of way to symbolize the beauty of the ethnic diversity (like the diverse choice in colors in this sculpture) on our campus? And maybe experiment with lighting, in terms of how the different colored glass interacts with the sunlight to affect our perception of the framed view (shown on the right).

Question #3: Why glass, instead of other building materials?
Answer: If this project’s mission was to experiment with lighting, then this glassy material would definitely allow for that sort of interaction, since there would be light reflecting off of the metal framework of the sculpture, and glass would allow for the sunlight being absorbed by the glass to be refracted, thereby affecting the change in tints of the colors we perceive on the glass.

Question #4: Why this specific location?
Answer: Maybe administration finally found that grassy island across from the chemistry building as boring, so they decided to install this piecework there to add more character to central campus, after all, central campus is like the livelihood of Michigan’s campus, and it is in an almost introductory location (for anyone who just got off the bus from North Campus and was just now seeing Central Campus for the first time), so it would put a pleasant view to facilitate pleasant experiences on our campus.

This Is For You

This blog post is dedicated to all the people, all of my people, who think that what they like is weird, who think that they’re the only ones who have ever felt or been this way. This is my ode to you.

This is for the people who love music so much that they can’t help but sing along while they walk in the Diag.
This is for the people who can’t dance but can’t help but to move when they hear a song.
This is for the people who sit in their room and watch anime and wish that their lives could be more adventurous, more daring, more brave.
This is for the people who don’t understand why no one will watch every B and C horror movie with him.
This is for the people who spend hours alone in art galleries because nothing could be as breathtakingly beautiful as their favorite paintings.
This is for the people who see beauty in the smallest of things, and this is for the people who see the beauty in the grandest of ideas.
This is for the people who know every name of every actor and actress in every movie.
This is for the people who watch every awards show ever….and love it.
This is for the people who watch The Bachelor, wine or no.
This is for the people who are so afraid to tell their friends they like K-pop for fear that they’ll be judged for it.
This is for the people who love to sing even if they know their voice will never make it to the radio.
This is for the people who spend hours in an art studio even if they want to do something completely different after college.
This if for the people who spend hours watching their favorite TV shows for the second, third, twentieth time.
This is for the people who are so unapologetic about what they love that they are infectious, getting everyone they know to sing along to their favorite songs.

This is for my best friend, who challenged me to leave my comfort zone and try something new, and how it changed my life.
This is for my other best friend, who supported me when I didn’t know how to react when I realized I liked something I thought most people would think is weird.
This is for someone I know that is ashamed of liking something different, when they don’t know how awesome it makes them.
This is for my mom, who has never once complained when I talked to her about something I liked that she had never heard of.
This is for my best friend who watched hours of television with me just because I was having a bad day and all that could make it better was Jane the Virgin.
This is for my best friend who will never let me be ashamed of liking “un-literary fiction” and who will always fangirl with me over reading young adult books.

This is for everyone, anyone who has ever liked something they thought was weird. That liked something that no one understood. This is for when you felt alone. This is when you wished someone would sit on a couch and talk with you for hours about what you love.

This is for your love. Your unapologetic, inspiring love. Your love for your art, in whatever form it takes.

This is for you.