Gardening in the City

It is becoming more and more popular for people to be growing their own food, or at least part of their food.  Many people have small gardens in their yard that they will grow tomatoes and other vegetables that they can put into their meals.  For people in larger cities this is a challenge because they do not have the outdoor space to plant a garden. People in larger cities are becoming creative in the way that they can plant things, even with their limited resources.

Several new trends has started in some bigger cities that don’t offer much grass and land to garden in, like New York City.  One is rooftop gardening. Most people are familiar with this concept from seeing it on TV shows and movies if nothing else. This idea utilizes the space that is available in bigger cities with lots of buildings and not much grass or open area.  It is also a great spot for a garden because of all the natural light that rooftops get. Some rooftops are also used as a community leisure area, with tables, chairs, and a grill for the residents of the building to go up there and enjoy themselves.  These rooftops are an alternative to a backyard.

Some other cities, like Ann Arbor, utilize community gardens.  Community gardens are spaces with lots of land that anyone can come and plant food or flowers in and they can continue to visit the spot to water them and let them grow.  Some, like the one in Ann Arbor, are sectioned off by the type of plant to keep the area organized. Community gardens are used in areas that don’t have a lot of grass in the city but the roofs aren’t built to have people utilize them.  For example; Ann Arbor utilizes a community garden because the houses on campus and downtown have little to no yard, and even if they did most yards are not suitable for gardening. So the community garden is a great place to go and make the garden that they can not have at home.

Spring DIY

Spring officially started March 20th of this year, but it does not feel like it.  The weather is still cold and occasionally Ann Arbor gets some snow. Until it starts to feel like spring, here are some DIY crafts to do to at least make it feel like spring in your house.

Succulents have been a big trend over the past couple years.  Even though you only have to water them once a week or so, that can be easy to forget.  To solve this problem, and to always have a succulent in your house to remind you of spring you can make one yourself.  All you need is a flower

 pot, pebbles, five or six normal size rocks, and some green and white paint. First decorate the flower pot however you want.  Then you paint the big rocks in the green paint, you can also buy several different shades of green to have a variety of succulents in your pot. Once the paint dries, draw small diagonal lines on the rock to make it look like the prickles on a cactus.  On other cactus’ you can draw polka dots and stars to have a variety. Then you place the pebbles in the flower pot as a base and arrange the cactus rocks in the pebbles to make them look like succulents. Then the only thing left to do is to find a spot in your house to display this wonderful spring reminding diy.

Another diy to make your house more springy, is to make a wall fixture of a mason jar string art flower vase.  This sounds much more complicated than it is. The supplies you need are: a small piece of wood, white string, nails, and fake flowers.  This first thing to do is to hammer the nails into the wood in theshape that you want your flower holder. You can make it any shape, like a wicker or wire basket, or the easiest being a mason jar.  If you need to, you can look up a stencil of a mason jar and nail into the spots that it tells you. After the nails are in place, you wrap the string around each nail once or twice like your playing connect the dots.  Once you reach the end, you can tie a knot with the string so that the entire picture won’t fall apart. The last thing to do it to staple your fake flowers so that the stem is inside the jar and the top flower part is sitting just on top of the jar.  Then you just move the stem to be under the string that you just wrapped around the nails, and your done! You can hang this on your wall and pretend like the real flowers outside have also bloomed.

Springfest

The University of Michigan has a lot to offer.  From academics to sports to arts and culture. The University and the city of Ann Arbor have several big events throughout the year to highlight the art and creative side of Ann Arbor.  The Ann Arbor Art Festival is the most popular of these events. The University puts on an all day event each year in the beginning of spring called Springfest. Springfest is a way to bring the community together and to highlight the arts at Michigan.  This year Springfest takes place tomorrow (4/4).

The highlight of Springfest each year is the musical guest that comes to perform at Hill auditorium.  This year the performers are Louis the Child, and the Lost Kings. This musical event is what makes Springfest popular because students get a chance to see some pretty popular artists.  In 2016, Migos performed during Springfest.

Music isn’t the only thing happening during Springfest.  During the day there are also events going on on the Diag.  Clubs and organizations set up booths for people to attend and play a game or do a fun activity in between or on their way to class.  There are also food trucks set up for students to buy food and walk around the Diag.

Springfest is an event to help students to relax and have fun in the middle of the day.  It showcases fun events and activities for people to try, and ends the night with a big concert.  It is a wonderful event to remind people what Michigan has to offer.

Scores

Some of the most famous songs across the world are not pop songs, or classics from the 80’s, but the film scores to some of the most popular movies around the world.  Film scores help to create a feeling for the movie and they add another level of emotion for the audience. One of the most successful film scorist is John Williams. Some of William’s most famous work is the scoring for Superman, ET, Jurassic Park, Jaws, and Star Wars.  These tunes are things that most people can recognize and hum along to after hearing just 3 or 4 seconds from the songs.

John Williams has been writing film scores for many years and in many different genres.  He knows how to evoke audience emotion with only music. Most, if not all, of his scores do not have words.  An example of the emotion that the audience can gather about a character from the scores is the Imperial March from Star Wars.  The Imperial March is what plays every time Darth Vader steps on to the screen, or is about to appear on screen. This composition is very deep, letting the audience know that the character that they are about to see is intimidating and powerful.  It also gives the audience a clue that he is a villain because the music is very dark.

Scores of movies are not only used to add another dimension to a character, but to address the overall feeling of the movie.  The scores for fun and action packed movies like to Star Wars, Superman, or Jurassic Park were designed to make the audience have fun.  The opening composition in Star Wars is an upbeat and exciting song that make the audience giddy to watch the movie and see what is in store.

John Williams also worked on the scores for very serious films like the Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, and the Book Thief.  These movies the goal of the music was to show the seriousness and intensity of the film. In the Schindler’s List, and the Book Thief, the goal is also to show the fear of the people who went through the experiences shown in the movies.  These movies were not to have a fun and light atmosphere to gear audiences for a fun couple of hours.

Lastly, the scores of movies can be used to emphasize a situation that the characters are in.  Even in a fun movie, a specific composition can be lower and darker if the situation that the characters face is intimidating.  On the other side, if the situation is fun, then the composition is bright and exciting. An example of this is the action scenes in the Indiana Jones movies.  These scenes are a little intense, but are more so fun for the audience to watch, and the composition reflects that with exciting music playing in the background to tell the audience not to worry too much about the character.

Scores of movies help to tell the story and the feeling of the movie itself.  They help the audience to know what to feel and can help to enhance their original feelings toward the movie, character, or scene.  One of the most famous and successful score writer is John Williams. Williams has done all of these things throughout his long and diverse career with films like Harry Potter, Home Alone, the BFG, and Catch Me if You Can.

Books to Movies

In the past ten years a trend in Hollywood has taken over blockbuster movies.  Studios love to make movie adaptations from popular books or comic books. The bigest and most popular has been superhero movies, both Marvel and DC, with adapting comic books into record breaking movies.  The audience for people who are going to see these movie adaptations are broken into two groups: people who have read the book/comic and people who haven’t.

The people who have previously read the book come into the theater with high expectations.  They have already pictured every aspect of the story and its world in their heads and are anxious to see how the big screen adapts it.  These people are more likely to be let down than the other group because unless you personally made the movie, it won’t be 100% like what you pictured in your head.  If fans of the book don’t like the movie than it could impact its sales as the movies reputation spreads by word of mouth. But no matter if the fans of the book like to movie or not, the movie is almost guaranteed to have a big opening weekend if the book has a big fan base.  People haven’t seen it yet to form their opinion, and generally people try to go into the movie with an open mind because they know that the movie won’t look exactly like what they are picturing in their head.

People who go to the movie but haven’t read the book are often less critical because they have nothing to compare it to.  The movie could generate positive word of mouth reviews from these fans if the movie was good but maybe didn’t follow along well to the book.  The problem that these viewers face is if they can fully follow the plot through the entire movie. Some movies assume that the audience at least has a small understanding of the plot or characters before walking into the theater leaving people who didn’t previously read the book with questions.

An example of movie adaptations that did well in the theaters with fans that read and didn’t read the books are the Marvel movies.  Now the movies have a three types of viewers: fans who have read the comics and seen all of the movies, fans who have not read the comics but have seen all the movies, and fans who only sporadically watch some of the movies.  An example of an adapted movie series that went poorly was the Divergent series. The fan base that read the books were disappointed in the movies portrayals, and it didn’t gain any new fans that did not read the books. The movies did so poorly that the third movie had only a tv release.

Movies that are adapted from books are almost guaranteed to have a big opening weekend and then the feeling that the first couple audiences have will determine the success of the movies.  The popularity of the movie also depends on how much it relies on its audience knowing the plot of the book beforehand, the more the audience needs to know about the movie before it starts, generally the worse the movie will do.

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.