Friday, November 30, 2007

Millennials In The New Millennium

What The Future Holds
By Jamie Cohen

Echo Boomers are the upcoming prospects of this world. They are the generation that will carry the rest of us into our future. In which direction though, have they decided to take us? According to Steve Kroft, a correspondent for CBS News we might not be headed towards as bright a future as many of us anticipate.

When thinking of where our society is headed we hope for peace, equality and toleration of others, but can we ever meet those goals with a generation that prefers credit cards, fame and fast cars? In a 60 Minutes segment, Steve Kroft goes into detail when discussing this subject. Focusing on the faults of my generation, Kroft pinpoints our desires and emotional situations. He so cleverly shows us that our shopping habits and dependency issues will shape who we will become, and how we will lead. The only issue is that who we will become may not be enough to support us in the real world.

My generation, the generation of the Echo Boomers or Generation Y, or Millennials, is a generation of people who are dependent on others. We take more support from our parents than generations before us, because from childhood to adolescence, we have been pampered, or so says Kroft’s 60 Minutes segment.

Diana Zambrotaa, 20, Zac Walker, 21,
Reggie Lynch, 20, and Alex Andrejko, 20

Zac Walker, 21, a current student, wavers on this idea. He starts his sentence in contemplation, “Hm, I would like to say that isn’t true. I have a job, I buy my own clothes, so I feel like I’m not dependent. But, my parents pay for school, my apartment, food. Is it really a bad thing though? I don’t have to worry about money or living in the real world now, so I can concentrate on school and getting an education, which will help me be more successful in the long run. So isn’t it a good thing then?” He asks this question as if this is the key to success. Others disagree, saying that not being dependent on your parents is what will make you successful.

Neil Scibelli, 21, another student stands strong in his independence. “I go to school full time, and I work full time. I pay for my own food, my own clothes, my own apartment, cell phone, I pay for everything myself. Me having to do all that is what gave me the reason to get a good job and do well. If my parents paid for everything, why would I work? Why would I do anything? Being spoiled only creates one thing -- a spoiled person who needs to be taken care of.”

Both Scibelli and Walker bring strong reactions to the information that was a key point for them in the 60 Minutes segment. Whether it is being dependent or independent, both Scibelli and Walker are motivated and drive to make them successful, which is another common thing they share. Success is a top priority to both Echo Boomers, which goes to show that when Kroft spoke about the Echo Boomer dependency on materialistic items and the billion dollars that this generation spends on clothes, IPods and other items like these, he hit the right mark.

While it’s easy to see negative statements about this generation, this is just one segment of our growing generation. Both Scibelli and Walker are motivated and focused on their future. What does dependency or lack of it matter when discussing this generation when there is an overwhelming theme of motivation and drive towards a future. What Generation Y is good at is planning, being organized, setting goals and reaching them. It will be interesting to see where this motivation takes us when those of us who do, no longer live co-dependently off our parents.


Insight Into A Dancer’s Life
By Jamie Cohen

Emotional strain, multiple injuries, career threatening decisions and life altering situations, these are only a few of the unstated side-effects of living the life of a dancer. Many people say a career in the arts is a path of life that is chosen for you by a higher being. It is a wonderful craft in which not everyone can excel. But if you ever get the opportunity to watch a dancer perform, you would never know about those side-effects, because there is nothing more beautiful than watching a this craft onstage.

Kelly Lafarga, a senior at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, agrees that dancing is something “You just do.” Lafarga grew up in Miami, Florida and started dancing at the age 3, and continues to do it successfully today. However, life for her isn’t the beautiful picture that many see.

Kelly Lafarga

“A lot of the time when people think about dancers, they believe that’s so cute to get in little costumes and tap across the floor. People don’t understand that dancing is a serious sport that pays your bills just like every other job. But when you’re a dancer your career is over by the time you’re 35,” Lafarga says.

It’s a pessimistic stance that Lafarga expressed, but when listening to her reasons why, you realize that dance for her is a love story, the kind of love unimaginable, and a forbidden love.

“I went through my phases of trying different career paths, but when it came down to it, the way I live and breathe is through dance, not science or singing, but dance. When I would come home from a long day, I would always choreograph my stuff, even if it was 3 am,” Lafarga said. “I always have to dance. And I think the reason why I wanted to try other stuff was because I know that to be a professional dancer, there isn’t longevity or security in that profession but it’s something I can’t refuse.”

It breaks your heart listening to her talk about dance and the limited amount of years she has cast upon it, when asked why the 35 year old retirement plan, you can see the worry in her eyes as she tells the saddest part of her story.

“I’ve already messed up my ankles in high school, my shoulder and recently I hurt my spinal cord. All of that means, taking time off from working, which means less exposure, missing out on choreographing and of course…losing a paycheck. If you don’t take time off to heal, you’ll hurt yourself even worse and then have to take more time off. If you do take time out, you’re missing out on learning newer techniques and jobs,” Lafarga said. “In this line of work, knowing the latest dance moves or techniques is exactly what gets you more jobs. In this industry if you don’t know your stuff, you’re yesterday’s news. It’s a catch 22.”

Lafarga tries not to think about the future too much, that’s what she’s in school for, a safety net to catch her at her 35-year mark. But for her, retirement from professional dancing is a worst-case scenario. The more comfortable Lafarga feels, the more optimistic she becomes about her future.

“There are many people who do retire at a really young age, and that’s the limit you need to live by, with the logic of knowing how things could turn out,” she says. “If my life goes to plan, I won’t be retiring for a long time. I want to choreograph. I want to bring dancing to another level. If you have the drive and motivation to push the level of art that you’re at then you need to push forward. I have that motivation. I have the drive to change the world when it comes to dance, how many people could say that? So 35 isn’t so much a retirement marker as a larger reason to push myself to do great.”

Lafarga lives by her word. She goes to physical therapy three times a week for her spinal cord, and she does yoga for her other injuries. She’s found that with a lot of rest, and as little stress as possible, her dancing career is expanding, and when you hear about her life, you can tell it’s about to explode.

“I just finished dancing in a movie a weeks ago, then a week before that another movie,” she says. “Besides that, I’m in my theatre company, Rhapsody the Company. And besides that I’m a backup dancer for Eve.”

Eve is a huge star in the hip-hop industry, a sure sign that Lafarga’s talent matches her loving personality. So, while Lafarga is realistic in her future, she still marches on towards bigger things, and right into the spotlight.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Slammin’ Poems, Naturally
By Therese M. Whelan

They told me it doesn't take much to let yourself be free
They can hold you down and chain you in but can't stop what you see
They can enter the den of the youthful sinners in the dark, damp alley
But they cannot stop your mind from the creation of destiny

For Priya Joshi, the author of the stanza above, freedom comes in the form of poetry. Joshi, 19, a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College, grew up in the small town of Chester, New Jersey. As a child she spent 10 years practicing gymnastics and advancing as far as state competitions before stopping at age 15 because she felt she wasn’t going anywhere with it.

Like any interesting person, Joshi says she hated high school. But if she could go back and give advice to a younger version of her self she would tell 13 year-old Priya not to “worry so much about school.” In her junior year of high school, Joshi found something she could focus her energy and creativity on.

Though she had always liked to write, Joshi became inspired to write slam poetry after seeing the HBO show Def Poetry. After that she says she began to write poetry in that style. Slam poetry is “poetry with rhythm.” In poetry slams, poets compete in front of an audience and read their poems in a manner similar to rapping.

Priya Joshi

When describing her writing style Joshi says, “ I write as much as I can... I don’t ever just sit down and say ‘ok, now I’m going to write.’ It really just sort of happens, but I’d say it usually happens twice a month. If I ever have to force a poem out of me, then I stop writing until it just comes naturally.”

Joshi first tried her hand at performing while still living in New Jersey. Now, she lives in Astoria, Queens which she loves because of the residential feel and the fact that her brother, who she calls ‘her best friend,” lives within walking distance. In Manhattan, the poetry scene is mostly downtown, in the West Village. Joshi has who enjoys the excitement of performing, has competed in a few places, and hopes to continue.

Priya, whose name means “love,” enjoys being around her friends and her 17year-old cat Frisky. Her favorite television shows are The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Other favorites include the band Bright Eyes, Red Wine and Lamb Saag. Most of the time Joshi can be found wearing jeans, a t-shirt and boots. She has already traveled to some far off places such as Malaysia and hopes to visit Spain, France and Mississippi. When asked what she would do with a million dollars a year, Joshi says she would “Pay back my parents for everything,” donate some and keep just enough to live on.

“I change my mind like my underwear,” says Joshi jokingly when asked where she would like to be 10 years from now. She does know that she would like to still be writing. As an English major with an emphasis on creative writing, Joshi is well on her way to achieving that goal. She already posts some of her poems on MySpace for her friends to read. The poems are honest and raw and surpass most college student’s poems by miles. Joshi is confident that her generation is unique and fated to, “do something awesome.” It seems that Priya Joshi is destined to be one of them.


Dismissing The ‘Gay Male’ Stereotype
By Gina Mobilio

As he sits down to begin his interview, Jamie Cohen, a 20 year-old Marymount Manhattan College student appears quite nervous. When asked about it, he replies with a smile and surprisingly, a calm tone escapes his mouth. “I am not really nervous, more, excited I guess that someone is willing to let me express how I feel about this issue.”

Cohen is one of the many young men at Marymount and in New York City who are publicly open about being gay and proud of it. “It’s something that I always knew. Even when I didn’t know it,” Cohen says laughing. “Trying to convince myself of being straight would be like a man trying to convince himself he was a dog or something.”

Jamie Cohen at play

Cohen speaks about coming out to his friends and family as if he was announcing the weather. “It was extremely easy for me; coming out, that is. I announced it when I was around 16 years-old, just when I was facing the sexual pressures that come along with being a teenager.” Cohen grew up in Queens; a place that he said was a very ‘safe’ place for him to come out in.

“Living in New York must have made it easier for me. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me if I had chosen to come out in the south. Could you imagine? Four years ago, especially in the south, coming out would not have been acceptable, I feel if I hadn’t lived in such am accepting city. My parents are from New York too. They’ve [heard and seen] it all.”

Cohen admits, however, that coming out has had its downfalls. “Everyone has been accepting give or take a few ignorant people. It’s always the ignorant people who cause the problems,” he giggles, “But I just smile at them and am always willing to answer any questions that anyone might have for me. I understand that my lifestyle may be interesting for people to grasp. One thing I can’t tolerate, however, is those damn stereotypes.”

Cohen struggles with being categorized with the gay men who are referred to as feminine, and says he finds it to be insulting when someone thinks of himself that way. “I won’t stand for it. I don’t listen to Madonna, do Crystal Meth, and I definitely am not into fashion. That’s something my girl friends and female family members are into, not me. I think my dad might even know more designer names than I do!”

The bubbly college student continued, “It’s probably my biggest pet peeve in the world. It gives me a reason to actually understand why some people have a problem with gay men. I mean, to me, being gay is strictly based on my sexual orientation. I don’t understand where the whole ‘gay men like Barbara Streisand’ stereotype came into play. I must be missing that gay gene!”

Cohen laughs but then becomes serious. “I feel like when gay men contribute to any part of that stereotype, they turn our culture into something it’s not. We are simply men who want to have relationships with other men. That’s all. Why does all of that other stuff have to come along with it? For me, its humiliating.”

When asked if there is a possibility of the stereotype diminishing, he was less than positive. “There are always going to people of a certain culture who keep any stereotype alive. It’s not something that I feel will ever go away. Stereotypes are what make cultures recognizable. I’m not saying that it’s bad to play a part in a stereotype if that’s how you want to be. I’m just saying don’t include me in it!”


She’s Now Getting An Adrenaline Rush From Immigration Issues
By Gunes Atalay

When we talked, it was 10:30 pm and she was just getting home. Janette Lynott, a very pretty Communications Art major at Marymount Manhattan College living in New York City with her four best friends is very busy. She mostly takes night classes because she works fulltime in a law firm, which she loves and finds very exciting.

Janette Lynott

Adrenaline seems like one of her passions. As she talks about adrenaline in her life before her current job, we start laughing. Before moving to New York from Philadelphia, Lynott was acting in independent films. When she was 17 she met a very cute guy, Jon, who was in one of the independent films where she worked, and later they became involved. He was 21 and into street racing.

“One day he picked me up with some of his friends and I saw a pick-up truck and a street bike. I said ‘I wanna ride that,’” Lynott said. And she did, without a helmet. That was her first time and she was very excited. They were going 70 miles an hour and it was “scary as hell.” She loved it. She was wearing flip flops and a skirt and her flip flops melted because of the engine heat.

After that, Lynott began attending street races with her boyfriend. She said the most fun and exciting part was running from cops. Since street racing was illegal and very dangerous, police would constantly raid the street races and everyone would jump into their cars with their friends and drive away as fast as they could. Lynott said she knew it was very dangerous, but that was why it was thrilling. Her boyfriend Jon was seriously injured in an accident when he was 23, burning 40% of his skin, breaking his shoulders and two disks in his back. After the accident, he stopped racing, but that didn't stop him from attending these races. Lynott said another friend was paralyzed from the waist down in an accident. After seeing and hearing about these horrible accidents, she was afraid.

Lynott keeps saying now how “stupid” she was at that age and how “stupid” it was to do this, but she also admits that she would still love to do it if she could. Living in New York and not knowing exactly where to go, Lynott said she has slowed down a bit. When she met some racers in the city for one of her journalism class assignments, she wanted to find out where to go to get back into racing, but she couldn't find anyone to go with her and she didn't want to go alone.

Lynott says nowadays she is satisfying her adrenaline need with her job. “Law is a new kind of energy for me. It is exciting. And immigration law is so big now thanks to our immigration issues,” she says. “I analyze very important issues for the first time in my life, and it keeps me very busy. I also love the people I work with.”


Finding A Place For Her Creativity To Flourish
By Priya Joshi

Actress, writer, photographer, traveler, dreamer. Any of these words can be used to describe 19 year-old Therese Whelan.Growing up in Springs, NY, Whelan always dreamed of moving out of her hometown and moving on. New York City was her destination and now she couldn’t be happier.

Little Therese thinks it over

“I have my dream apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan,” says Whelan. “ It’s a great little studio and I have a balcony. When I step outside it looks like Europe!”

Currently majoring in communications at Marymount Manhattan College, Whelan says her true love will always be the stage. “I could never stop acting,” she says with a smile. “I believe that I am the happiest right before a show begins and the cast is waiting for the curtain to open. The anticipation is amazing.” When asked why she chose not to pursue acting as a college major, Whelan said it just wasn’t practical. She doesn’t want to risk being broke and out of work once college is over.

As we talked in the quiet corner of the school library, Whelan and I took on more of a conversational tone and the nervousness of the interview soon faded. Her easygoing personality immediately put me at ease. I learned that her favorite music artist is Regina Spektor (she even got to meet her!), and her favorite television show is The Office (the American version, of course). Whelan grew up the oldest of three sisters and says that her large and interesting family has greatly shaped the person she is today.

“My father is one of 12 siblings!” says Whelan with a laugh. “I have 43 cousins on my father’s side of the family. Sometimes I can hardly remember their names but we always have so much fun at family gatherings. I have a family member in every state of the U.S. If I ever need anything anywhere, I know I have someone I can call.”

Aside from her passion for acting, Whelan is also an accomplished photographer. Using digital cameras, Whelan says she loves taking street photography, especially around her apartment building. “I would have majored in photography, but Marymount doesn’t really offer the kind of photography that I enjoy doing,” says Whelan regretfully. “I am just sort of waiting to graduate and then go off and do my own thing.”

Taking photographs from all angles, and many from her balcony, Whelan captures the unique beauty of New York City in what she calls “my piece of the city.” Her photos and more can be found on her FaceBook page.

Photo by Therese Whelan

When asked where she saw herself in 10 years, Whelan paused for a few moments and said, “I love New York City and I know I’ll stay here for at least a few more years, but after that it’s anyone’s guess,” says Whelan. “I really like France and England. I might want to eventually end up back here. All I really know is that I don’t want to be working a 9-5 job that doesn’t interest me at all. I know I don’t want to be another number on the payroll. In 10 years, I just want to be in a place where my creativity can flourish.”

Wherever Therese Whelan ends up, letting her creativity flourish won’t be a problem. And if she gets stuck, she’s probably got a family member somewhere close by.


Real Life Battle With ADHD
By Kelly Lafarga

He is often known as the life of the party. His quick wit and sarcastic humor is what makes him magnetic and is what he’s best known for. He’s charming, loving, and always in a good mood. Jamie Cohen is all of these things and more. What people tend to not know about Jamie is his battle with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).

Cohen, a 20 year-old student at Marymount Manhattan College, was diagnosed with ADHD only two years ago. This disorder is believed to be an imbalance or impairment of neurotransmitters, which sends messages to and from brain cells. It indicates that he has a lot of trouble focusing on things and also has hyperactive tendencies. It is a very serious disorder and not many people understand the weight of it. Cohen has trouble in school when it comes to completing work due to his inability to focus on one thing for too long.

“Sometimes I just feel like giving up,” Cohen says. “My problem could be solved if I took medication, but I don’t. There are way too many risky side effects that I’m not willing to deal with.” Because he chooses not to take the medication, he struggles constantly with trying to keep up in school. “I don’t go around telling everyone my disorder so they don’t understand. Even when I do tell them they sometimes think I’m just making excuses,” Cohen says.

There is a solution for students with ADHD and other disorders and that is to enroll as a special needs student, which requires a test. The problem is Cohen was diagnosed long after he began studying at Marymount. He figured he would just continue with the way things were going. He is treated the same as any other student and expected to do the same amount of work in the same amount of time. This could seem awfully unfair due to his condition.

Other than these obvious work-related issues, there are many other insecurities that Cohen deals with daily. “Having ADHD makes me think almost obsessively of what I’m going to say, especially in a classroom. Sometimes I stutter because of it,” he says. This is just one more challenge that Cohen has to handle.

There are ways other than medication that can help this disorder. “Right now I’m in cognitive therapy to change my behavior and study patterns,” Cohen says. This can help him learn to get over the obstacles that come along with having ADHD. It’s not something that cures it, but it helps. “I’m concentrated on a direct path to changing these patterns so that one day I can live normally just like everyone else,” he says.

There is so much more to Cohen than meets the eye. Always a smile on his face, one would never presume that he battles with such a serious disorder.


The Girl Who ‘Can Do And Be’
By Janette Lynott

Christine Levitin-Breyette, who never wanted to come to New York City, has adjusted quite well. She originally intended to go to Cornell University and become a veterinarian. However, she had changed her mind and was geared toward entertainment and that is when she decided to to go to New York.

Levitin-Breyette had read that an actress from The Guiding Light, a popular TV soap opera, was speaking at Marymount Manhattan College. When she attended this event she realized that there is where she wanted to go to school. This is one of the events that lead her to believe that everything happens for a reason and that when something happens and you’re attracted to a certain direction, you should keep following it. When asked if she believes in fate, she said, "not so much fate, but maybe destiny."

As a child, Levitin-Breyette had some medical issues that limited he ability to participate in some activities that other children could. She stated that she felt she, "could not do or be." Due to this, she participated in activities that her health allowed her to. This was theater, and she was very active in her high school plays. If she wasn't on the stage then she was helping back stage.

Levitin-Breyette says her favorite actress is Meryl Streep who she once had a chance encounter with. While walking the streets of New York City, Levitin-Breyette noticed the film, The Devil Wears Prada was being shot in midtown. The curiosity got to her and she approached one of the workers on set and had asked if Ms. Streep was around. Of course, they said no. But when Levitin-Breyette bent down to tie her shoe she heard a familiar voice and looked up and saw none other than her idol, Meryl Streep herself. She acted as anyone would when star struck. She stood there blankly relishing the moment

Levitin-Breyette believes she is destined for great things. She is currently an intern for the casting agency Lynn Kressel, which handles casting for Law and Order, and she also participates in fundraisers for The Guiding Light. Levitin-Breyette said it was not easy getting the internship with NBC. Yet she was persistent, and through word of mouth, her resume was picked up by the people at Law and Order-Criminal Intent. She now does office work and sits in on auditions for potential actors on the show. Levitin-Breyette is now a Communication Arts major, and after overcoming childhood medical issues, she is full throttle towards a career in the entertainment industry. Unlike what she thought as a child, she really can do and be.


Surviving Early Adversity And Aiming High
By Janette Lynott

Christopher Evans, a student at Marymount Manhattan College, is more than just a communications major and your average student. He is a survivor. Born in Lusby, Maryland, Evans admits that being a small town boy has its perks. He says he enjoys the more simpler things and that one of his happiest moments was spending a night at a friend's house while staying up all night laughing and playing video games. However, this small town boy found passion in not only the city, but also the media.

Evans was originally a theater arts major but realized that it wasn't where his heart was. "After taking theater history I was like no, it was so bleak and boring and I realized I didn't have as much passion for theater as I thought I did. I realized I was much more interested in television and film then theater," Evans said in a recent interview.

Some interesting things you can take away from Evans will include the fact that pirates are in fact cooler than Ninjas and he is a big fan of Christina Aguilera. Evans enjoys contributing to an online community blog on www.ohnotheydidn', a web site dedicated to the entertainment industry. He explains that it does not focus solely on celebrity gossip but on what is happening in the film and music industry. When asked how he felt about these entertainment-geared websites, he explained, "I think a lot of people are addicted to these sights and tabloids. When the press puts that stuff out there, people are lured and can’t pull themselves away. I think this stuff is addicting.”

Not only does Evans have a passion for the world he lives in, and the world he will soon enter after college, but he is also open about how he became the person that he is. He admits that at one time all he wore were baggy clothes and outfits that were unflattering. "I despise baggy clothes in any capacity and think they should all be banned," he says. Currently, Evans sports a very casual yet sophisticated look that usually contains neutral colors. His clothes always flatter not only his complexion, but also his build. He can be described as a sharp dresser.

Evans is open about the difficult times in his life. When he was a child he suffered, what was at the time, the mysterious loss of not only his stepmother but also his half-brother. He described them as, "two of the purest souls he ever came in contact with and were taken before they should have." Once he became older, the words of others reached him, and although it is still not confirmed, he believes that it was a freak chance that their deaths could have been AIDS.

Chris Evans, a passionate young man who has overcome so much in his life is currently completing his bachelor’s degree and has his aim high for the world. His goal in life is "ideally to be a creator, executive producer and a show runner of my own television program." After all of the life experience Evans has endured, there is no doubt he is capable of handling what life can bring.


Finding An Identity After A Tragedy
By Chris Evans

Talking with Janette Lynott felt like talking to an old friend. Though I’d had limited interactions with her prior to our interview, I felt completely comfortable asking her the questions I’d prepared for her, and even continuing with follow-up questions—as personal as some of them might have been.

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania—only an hour or two outside the city, Lynott lived there until she was about 13, at which point she started moving around a bit. “I’ve gone to five different schools. It’s hard but it gets easier after doing it two or three times. It makes it easy to adapt,” Lynott said.

When asked about when she decided she wanted to come to New York City and why, she said she always knew she wanted to come to the city. “I knew I wanted to come to New York my entire life. Hut going to NYU was too expensive.” She said she thought about going to Pace University, but by chance ended up taking a look at Marymount. “I came out to the city to look at Pace, missed the first orientation and had time to kill until the next one. While I was waiting I checked out Marymount.”

And it seems she’s happy with her choice. “I love the teachers and the close environment. If you were the type of person to act pompous and stick your nose up in the air here then you alienate yourself. I went to a high school that was very isolated but I liked it anyway,” Lynott said.

When asked about a particular course she enjoyed she said, “I would have to say it would be this writing class I took with a brilliant woman named Esther Weiner. It was called the Popular Outsider. I liked it because I think I was the only one in class who really understood her and we related on a good student-teacher level. She was really underappreciated in that class.” When it came to deciding on a major, Lynott decided to go with Communications because it covered a lot of ground. “It was the most broad,” she said.

Lynott has big dreams for herself when she graduates—she says she wants to attend law school—though she doesn’t know where yet. Right now she works at an immigration law firm while attending school, and hopes to be a practicing lawyer later on. “I’d like to maybe get into communication law,” she said.

In spite of all the moving around she’s done, Lynott has managed to remain quite close with her brothers and sisters. She has a twin brother, a stepbrother who’s six months older, and two younger sisters. Even when they weren’t all living together, at some point they still went to the same school.

But it hasn’t been all smiles for Lynott. Right before she moved to New York, one of her best friends drove drunk and killed a person. It was a low point in her life but she said it ultimately lead to personal growth. “I had to figure out who I wanted to be.”

Being a career woman in training, Lynott says she’d love to see a female president. “I think it’s a great idea. I was a huge Bill Clinton supporter and I think he’d be [Hillary’s] right hand man. The economy was great. He kept shit on lockdown,” she said laughing.

Years later, Lynott still remembers one of her most embarrassing moments. When she was nine or ten years old and excited about getting into a swimming pool, she ripped off all her clothes and ran out to the pool naked—with her bathing suit in her hand. Despite demands from school and a full time job, Lynott still has time for the movies. She loves the cult classic Boondock Saints, and the recent Samuel L. Jackson flick Black Snake Moan. Lynott says her favorite actor is Ray Liotta.

“For some reason when I see him on screen I can’t take my eyes off him.” Her favorite Liotta film? Good Fellas. "I love that movie.” When asked who would play her in a biopic about her life, she apprehensively replied “Angelina Jolie. Who she used to be—prior to Brad Pitt. Really crazy, spastic, free-spirit.” I told her she has the lips for it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Theatre Review

Antigone At Epidaurus
By Jamie Cohen

Antigone is a story familiar to nearly everyone. It is infamous in its telling of fate that leads to a premature death. The original author of the play, Sophocles, is famous for plays that reflect on society and the way they form, creating scenes in which we learn human emotion, and the thought processes that we go through as freethinking people. It is with Lefteris Vogiatzis’ direction alongside the lines of Sophocles that new imagery is created in this historic piece of literature.

As a whole, the cast works unevenly with the poetry of the play, which was performed this summer in Athens, Greece at the Athens Epidaurus festival. The language of Antigone is one to be delivered with constant compassion and sincerity. And while the poetry of the words flow from the tongues of some, in a few of the actors the words tend to be more bitten then flown. While many can agree that Sophocles’ use of language can be quite difficult at times, Chloe Obolensky (the set designer) used all of her power to create matching imagery to the spellbinding words of Antigone.

The most powerful element to the set was the lighting, which shadowed the emotion of the actors and highlighted emotional high points. It was a beautiful way to keep the audience’s mind focused on the intensity of the play. Since the play was performed the way it was written, in Greek, the dramatic lighting and changes kept those who didn’t speak Greek tied in and interested in the performance. The Greek setting was a wonderful way to tie in a modern perspective to a historically important play.

While I am unsure if this was Vogiatzis and Obolensky’s intent, but the set separated the players on stage keeping your concentration where it was necessary. Ogiatzis truly found the important moments of Sophocles’ play and spotlighted them so specifically that the play could have been something fresh from a new interpretive theatre in the theatre industry. If the modern type setting doesn’t keep you interested, the actors who have portrayed the legendary roles will.

Actress Amalia Moutousi clearly captured the definition of Antigone. While eyes are the window to one’s soul, the soul of Antigone was captured in her style and grace, she so perfectly captured the sullen, withdrawn yet rough personality of Antigone. The intensity that she brings forth in the scene of fighting between Antigone and Creon shows us how tragic her character’s fate is. While directors can offer motivation, it is truly a talented actor that brings insight to a character’s flaws, and it is Moutousi that forces us to ask the important questions, and wonder the truth of this girl.

While Antigone seemed true to form, it is Creon that left me curious. Actor Lefteris Vogiatzis who stars as Creon, and the director understand the power and fury that rages behind Creon. We hear that in his powerful voice and body movement. In this aspect, Vogiatzis exceeded the role of Creon. Whether it was his choice as an actor I am still unsure, but it is Creon’s naiveté that I have always believed fueled the fire in him. The way that Vogiatzis interprets him, is to be hot headed, which is an understandable point of view, but I appreciate the sadness to naiveté in a character, then the quick to the fight with no back story approach that Vogiatzis took.

Overall when analyzed, the play had its high and low moments. There is no denying the powerful message that has been told for centuries, the way that fate can and will play a large part in life. It is the setting presented at Epidaurus that creates the imagery that is spun for us that we can see the ironic mockery of fate, and how when mixed with the boundaries that society sets for us that our emotions are no challenge for either of them.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Millennials In The New Millennium

Shop-Talk With The Echo Boomers
By Christine Levitin-Breyette

According to a CBS news report on 60 Minutes titled, “The Echo Boomers,” my generation is, “the most watched-over generation in history” and we are “multi-taskers with cell phones, music downloads, and Instant Messaging on the Internet.”

As I sit here, doing my homework assignment, while at the same time watching my muted television, listening to Christmas music online, instant messaging my roommate who is right next door, and having just hung up the phone from talking to my mother for the fifth time today, I sadly must admit, we are guilty as charged.

As indicated in an article online titled. Generation Y: Our Next Sports Market (, “Younger kids look up to teens to…adopt the latest fashion, and adults often observe teens to determine what is "in.” We can prove this just observing today’s echo boomers in action. My young cousin dresses, talks, and acts identical to her 22 year-old sister and could not understand why she wasn’t allowed to go to a bar with her on St. Patrick’s Day. At the other end of the spectrum are some middle-aged women with iPods, borrowing their teenage daughter’s trendy clothes and shoes.

When asked how many cell phones she owns, Jessica Bernard, 22, explained, “I've had 8. I had to get new phones when renewing contracts with Unicel… (and I) got sick of the same phone after a while so I'd buy another one.” The Generation Y article also stated that, “One in nine high school students has a credit card co-signed by a parent, and…In a few years, today’s teens will be…spending for their first cars, their first homes, and their first mutual funds.”

Bernard further proves this point by sharing that she has, “two actual credit cards. The rest are store cards…I spend a lot of money…every day…I just have them to build credit.” Bernard also received a new car for her birthday and this summer will have to take over the payments from her mother.

Kimberly Cosetta, 23, has a different philosophy about credit cards, however her shopping habits are quite similar to Bernard’s. “I spend too much money, but I never spend money I don’t actually have. I prefer using my debit card or cash instead of my credit card because I am too much of an impulse buyer.” Many echo boomers may be similar in their actions but very different in the way they execute those actions.

In regards to echo boomers and typical TV commercials the 60 Minutes report explains, "They're out and about, shopping a lot. So, the traditional 30-second commercial isn't always working the way it was." Well, advertisers have found a way to make us pay attention by mimicking our real lives. Take, for example, the AT&T commercial of a mother discussing her cell phone bill with her daughter. The conversation goes something like this:

Mom: BethAnn?
BethAnn: WU? (What’s Up?)
Mom: Your cell phone bill is what’s up, all this texting?
BethAnn: OMG INBD (Oh my god, it’s no big deal)
MOM: It is a big deal, who are you texting 50 times a day?
BethAnn: IDK my BFF Jill? (I don’t know, my best friend forever Jill?)
MOM: Tell your BFF Jill…that I’m taking away your phone
BethAnn: TISNF (That is so not fair)
MOM: Me paying this bill that’s what’s SNF (So not fair)

In this simple and fun commercial, the advertisers are able to appeal to our lingo by using abbreviations we have created through instant messaging, and recreating a discussion that I’m sure most of us have had with our parents at some point. Also, they are able to add humor to the commercial by letting the mom understand and speak the new lingo, as well, which goes back to the statement made in the Generation Y: Our Next Sports Market article about parents looking to teens to see what’s “in.” This particular commercial was uploaded to and a total of 1.13 million people have viewed it so far.

I’m certainly not saying that echo boomers are the perfect generation and, yes, we do spend way too much and are way too emotionally invested in electronics, but we are the creatures the previous generation created. We have become an integral part of the economy, we are the echo boomers.

City Life

Piercings And Tattoos Are Cool, But Are They Healthy?
By Gunes Atalay

Do You Tatoo?

Piercings and tattoos have become a youthful fashion statement and a way to rebel. But are they just another way of obeying the rules of being “cool.”

More than 40 million Americans have tattoos according to and many people have piercings.

Piercings sometimes take up to a year to heal, and some never do. While nipple piercings may heal in eight months, “hand web” piercings never actually heal. Some become badly infected and cause a lot of pain, while others are just painful.

Many people suffer from the toxic metal elements in tattoo ink without even knowing it. Getting tattoos in an unclean place may also may cause bacterial infections, or spread a disease. It is the same with piercings. The HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report says never get piercing with guns, which is a big no-no in the industry because they can never be sterilized and you can even get HIV from them.

The list of potential ailments from piercings include, excessive bleeding, allergic reactions, nerve damage, thick scarring at the pierced area, dental damage, bacterial infection, Hepatitis B, HIV transmission, tetanus, blood poisoning, paralysis, and toxic shock, according to

Then why do we do it? Why do we torture ourselves? Is it because it proves that we are tough? Or is it because it proves we are rebellious?

Say Ahhh....

I am guilty of this kind of body torture – I have two tongue piercings. Even though I got them more than seven years ago, they still hurt from time to time. I now believe that tattoo ink and piercings do not belong on our bodies and I think we should stop forcing these unnatural into our skin. We have to be nice to our bodies, because it’s the only one we’re ever going to have.

Millennials In The New Millennium

Millennials: Right On The Money
By Glenn Burwell

Back in the fall of 2005 CBS aired a controversial episode of their news magazine television show 60 Minutes. The topic of conversation: the echo boomers, Generation Y, the millennials, three very different names for the exact same group of people; Americans born between 1982 and 1995.

Over achieving, over managed, technology dependent, team playing, consuming ($170 billion a year), traditionalists, best describes the way the generation was portrayed in the 60 Minutes report. CBS’s portrayal of the millennial generation, my generation, I might add, was right on the money - the pun much intended.

As much as I would love to jump on the peer bandwagon and denounce the episode as repugnant, and spit in the eyes of those who put the segment together, I can’t. Based on the research, and a critical look at my own generation, it’s hard to disagree with the report.

As Nick Summers of Columbia University, featured in the story said, millennials are “very pressured.” You can ask almost any echo boomer today if going to college is important, they would most likely respond, “Yeah, is it even an option?” like Jasmine Harris, 14, a sophomore at Franklin High School in Somerset, N.J. said recently. Maybe they would say, “How else could you get a good job?” like Paris Alston another sophomore at Franklin High said. The message has been ingrained in the generation, go to school and work hard, get into a decent college, get a high paying job.

Millenials born unto baby boomers, a generation whose namesake clearly explains their parents’ negative attitude toward children, have lived an incredibly organized, privileged, and sheltered existence. According to the 60 Minutes report “in the 60’s and 70’s the frontier of reproductive medicine was contraception… Now it [the culture] wants kids; it celebrates them.”

“Whether it was soccer, baseball, swimming, cheerleading, or music, almost all of my peers were involved in some type of activity, orchestrated and arranged by their parents,” says Mariana Freidhold, 19, a student at Hunter College. The baby boomers trying to compensate for the lack of “good parenting” paired with the exorbitant amount of child safety research of the 80s and 90s accounts for the much coddled millennials.

As far as consumerism, my generation personifies the word. You have to have what the media and the majority says is “cool” or “in.” Most millenials who are in denial, (another characteristic of the millennials), refute this argument by saying they wear what they like and they aren’t influenced by mass media. Right. To that I would say, consumerism goes far beyond what you wear. Included is your music, the most popular YouTube videos, political beliefs, which are all, spoon-fed to us through the media and we are happy to take a bite.

The fact is, the report was undeniably correct about the generation’s serious obsession and dependence on technology. I’ll be the first to admit I am a technology whore, I like it, love it, and would gladly have more of it. Millennials can’t live without their technology, and if they can the feat is quite difficult.

Marymount Manhattan student Gina Mobilio compared a millennial’s lack of technology to going through withdrawal from heroin. It may seem funny, but for Louis Padilla, 22, the joke is a reality. “I remember when I lost my Blackberry on vacation and I couldn’t check my email or make phone calls as soon as I wanted for a week. I can honestly say that was one of the worst times in my entire life. I was seriously sick!”

In watching the 60 Minutes report I didn’t find it to be particularly negative or accusatory of my generation. I saw it as a rather informative observation based on years of research. To my peers, a generations of winners, who disagree with the report, you lose. The score is 1-0, CBS in the lead.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Millennials In The New Millennium

Do You Hear An Echo?
The younger millennials are also being targeted by advertising
By Janette Lynott

Our access to information is unlimited today. Everything is quicker, faster and up to speed. This situation was given to us by the generation we know as the “Baby Boomers.” This great access to information and the constant growth of technology is mostly targeted to Generation Y, a.k.a Generation next, a.k.a Echo Boomers.

Because of this, Generation Y has become slightly if not completely self-centered. This brings up the very well known debate we refer to as nature vs. nurture. However, there is not much of an argument there. We grew up with video games and cell phones and the younger part of our generation are now growing up with computers, educational games and are suffering through TV parenting. The younger Generation Y is barely out of grade school but can already recognize the huge part that they play in the market. From personal experience, I can truly state that I see a change.

In a 60 Minutes report titled Echo Boomers, Dr. Mel Levine, a professor at the University of North Carolina stated that these young people have as busy schedules as their parents. They are constantly enrolled in different classes and lessons that strengthen their intellect and social skills. The report appears to state this is in fact about people in our generation.

As a child, I did not experience this type of structure. Mine was more loosely constructed. Also, growing up in a lower-middle class city, material goods were not appealing until high school. In contrast, however, I witness my 11 year-old sister, Kaelin, growing up in a much different suburban life style. The children her age are much more focused on these material things then they should. To be honest it is quite sickening.

One day, her mother went shopping and bought her an Abercrombie headband. Kaelin did not have this headband in her hair for more than a half-hour because one of the neighborhood girls got jealous and threw it in a tree. Not only this, but she has had her bike stolen and was scrutinized for not having a designer backpack. Unfortunately, she is not the only child that is bullied in the neighborhood and will not be the last. But it is the reason for the bullying that is sickening. The obsession with material possessions has left high school and moved downward.

After seeing the 60 Minutes report, I immediately went on the defensive. It was not only insulting but also completely circumstantial and focused primarily on suburbia. Unfortunately it was not completely inaccurate. This is where I will re-instate the pathetic application of the argument of nature vs. nurture. When children grow up with advertisements and other media-related displays directed solely at them, it is understandable that some egos become inflated. For instance, Sketchers has been promoting new sports gear and sneakers by hiring Ashlee Simpson, a popular entertainer, as their spokesperson. In one advertisement, she is photographed from her stomach up and shoes surround her head. Due to lack of adult content, the ad is obviously targeting the younger generation.

As understanding as I am of the perspective of those who force-feed these advertisements down the throat of young America, I am still critical. To do this and then turn around and point fingers at the self-obsessed is hypocritical to say the least.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Millenials In The New Millenium

Echo Boomers Refuse To Be Stereotyped
By Therese Whelan

What group spends $170 million a year and makes up a third of the U.S. population? Echo boomers, that’s who. There are many names for the generation born between the years 1982 and 1995: “echo boomers,” “Generation Y” or “millennials,” and there are about 80 million of us.

Echo boomers are the most studied generation ever. We grew up in a world filled with computers and the Internet. Echo boomers affect movies, fashion, television, magazines, school systems and so much more. We are unpredictable and refuse to accept generalizations.

The CBS 60 Minutes report on echo boomers described our generation as “overachieving, over-managed,” and “very pressured.” Most of this pressure seems to come from the parents of echo bombers, known as baby boomers. “My parents expect me to go college and at least graduate school, because they did,” says Greg Selmi, 19. He describes his parents, who between them have law degrees, doctorates and masters, as “educationaholics.”

Even for the youngest echo boomers, expectations are high. Amelia Whelan, 13, feels that parents and teachers put pressure on students not only to get good grades but to be involved in after school activities as well. She plays four sports and is involved in students clubs. Add that to homework and, “Things get pretty crowded,” says Whelan.

According to 60 Minutes, we are a generation concerned less about individualism, and more about fitting in with a crowd. However, this generation is the most diverse generation ever: 35 percent who are non-white. Yes, we think everyone should “be part of the community” but that does not mean we lack individualism. It means we’re revolutionary. We do not practice “follower-ship” as historian Neil Howe suggests in the segment.

The trends most people recognize in echo boomers are their buying habits. Almost everyone wants a cell phone and iPod, and when something’s in fashion, echo boomers know first. “We’ve grown up with the media trying to sell us things,” says Selmi.

Advertisers target echo boomers more than any other demographic. Whelan too can recognize how the advertising industry targets her. She thinks by seeing multiple ads for cell phones and other technology gadgets, the desire to buy gets “engrained in her brain.”

And, for echo boomers is money important in today’s society?

“Hell yeah,” says Selmi.

More and more, students are taking the advice they learned in economics class instead of their parent’s money. Selmi described two friends age 19 and 20 who made over a million dollars in three years by investing in Google. How did the teens learn about finances? According to Selmi, “They read up on it online and did it themselves on E-Trade.”

However, one of the greatest factors in the life of an echo boomer is technology. Whelan has never known a world where cell phones and the Internet did not exist. She prefers her computer to television and instant messaging instead of phone conversation.

“When you talk to someone in person they’re can be awkward pauses. Online it’s easy to communicate and make new friends,” Says Whelan. She thinks her generation is unique because they are more connected than any previous one. Selmi too would rather be on his computer than watch television. But he doesn’t think it will be obsolete in the future. What’s next? “3-D TV” he predicts. Chances are an echo boomer will perfect it.

Dr. Mel Levine, a professor at the University of North Carolina said in the 60 Minutes report that parents of echo boomers have shaped them more than technology. “This is a generation that has long aimed to please. They’ve wanted to please their parents, their friends, their teachers, their college admissions officers.”

But the real people this generation wants to please are themselves. Levine believes echo boomers “can’t think long-range. Everything has to be immediate.” He believes this generation is naïve and will change as they grow. Naïve, no. But we definitely will change as we grow.

Selmi thinks his generation is unique because of the changes that are going on in the world right now. “We’ve experienced a lot of world changing events, from multiple wars, terrorism attacks, global warming.” And the responsibility to change and maintain the world will fall on the echo boomers whether they want it or not. “Sometimes I just think, shit what are we supposed to do with this?”

And, what most people who study echo boomers forget to mention are the changes we’ve already made for the better. Violent crime among teenagers is down 70 percent. So are the rate of teen pregnancy and the use of tobacco and alcohol. Echo boomers know they are being studied, but refuse to play into the stereotypes. They’re smart, technologically and financially savvy, ambitious and are the future leaders of the world.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Stop Picking On Us You Big Bully
By Kelly Lafarga

There has been a lot of recent buzz about the generation of the millennium, otherwise known as the echo boomers. Many articles, interviews, and just general studies have been completed on these youngsters. The general consensus is that they are heavily programmed, materialistic people who are driven by technology and yet don’t want to stand out on their own.

In a CBS 60 Minutes segment titled, “Echo Boomers” these “millenials” were heavily examined. "They have been heavily programmed. The kids who have had soccer Monday, Kung Fu Tuesday, religious classes Wednesday, clarinet lessons Thursday. Whose whole lives have really been based on what some adult tells them to do,” pediatrician Dr. Mel Levine says in the segment. "This is a generation that has long aimed to please. They've wanted to please their parents, their friends, their teachers, their college admissions officers."

This is true. The parents of these children were taught to put their children into after school activities. They were also told to put them in a variety of things so they can find what they like, their true calling. I was taken to dance lessons at three years old. Then piano and singing lessons were added to that. I ended up sticking with dancing and now I can say that I’m a professional and making money from it. I don’t know if I would be able to say the same thing if my mother never threw me into a bunch of activities when I was younger.

A lot of things parents did for their children was in response to how they grew up as baby boomers. Children inevitably aimed to please their parents because so much was expected of them. I wanted to make my mother proud and I think that’s what pushed me to improve in the beginning.

The people of this generation are also influenced heavily by technology. Instead of always watching television they occupy their time with dozens of other technological activities. Jane Buckingham is part of an intelligence group who studies people like this particular generation. "They're not watching the traditional networks as much because they have so many choices. They're playing on the Internet. They're playing video games," says Buckingham in the 60 Minutes segment.

Yes, it is true that the people of this generation are very dependent on technology. This doesn’t just mean the Internet and video games, but also cell phones, iPods and other gadgets that have been developed in recent years.

When people talk about how dependent we are on these things they have a kind of negative tone. It’s like they look down upon us for being materialistic. The truth is if it wasn’t for most of the people in the generations ahead of us we might not be so reliant on these things. The older generations are never satisfied with technology and are always trying to come up with a newer and better gadget. They push it onto our younger generations because they know we’ll probably buy into it. Then they advertise it until we’re almost sick of the things.

Sometimes we have to move forward and buy the newer products almost against our own will because the older ones aren’t even available anymore. Does anyone remember the VCR that played VHS tapes? I still own one, but if I want to rent a movie, only DVDs are available. My family held off buying a DVD player when I was younger for the longest time. We eventually had to buy one because VHS tapes were becoming obsolete.

“People can’t blame us for buying and becoming dependent on these new devices,” 23 year-old Carlos Gonzalez says. “Advertising is everywhere and there’s no way to avoid it.”

It’s ironic that the same people who are pushing all these new technologies on us are criticizing us for being dependent on them. Much of what this segment of 60 Minutes reported holds some truth. What bothers me and others in my generation the most is the way older generations almost look down on us for how we are and what we do. They are the ones who made us this way, whether it was our parents or the people selling us things.

Enough already with dissecting us and trying to figure us out. Just leave us alone. Remember, we’re the ones who will one day be deciding your health and retirement plans.

Millenials In The New Millenium

Generation Why?
By Priya Joshi

The days of hippies, free love and anti-consumerism that our parents grew up in have ended. The generational gap has never been wider, but who’s to blame? As I sit here in my college library typing this article, I am listening to my iPod. The three other students around me are as well. I rode the subway to school surrounded by kids in my generation, each one of them with some electronic device in hand. Most of the kids I know keep their bank account full with some of their money, but mostly mom and dad’s.

This new wave of money-spending, parent-dependent young adults have been dubbed “Echo-Boomers” by previous generations and the feelings on the title are mixed. The 60 Minutes report, “The Echo-Boomers” called us the “demographic echo” of our parents, but is this true? Times have changed so drastically, not just in terms of our booming economy, but also in the media and socially. My generation is bombarded with advertisements on the television screen, billboards and the Internet that are all aimed directly at us. Caitlin Morgan, a sophomore at Manhattan College in Bronx, NY understands why her generation has become the biggest spenders.

“I go to school in the city. Am I expected to not be affected by all of the advertisements and new technology that I see everyday?” says Morgan. “Why is this such a shock to everyone? If these things had been available while my parents were growing up, they would have done the same thing that my generation does.”

The 60 Minutes report also made the point that kids these days are somewhat “celebrated” by society. We are seen as a new opportunity, a doorway into selling mass amounts of new products, and therefore we must be highly protected. Our parents have kept us under a close watch since the second we were born and the protective blanket has never been lifted. Kevin Welles, a junior at Manhattan College disagrees.

“I was always allowed to go outside and play with my friends. I rolled in mud and got the chicken pox and came home late for dinner. What previous generations don’t understand is that there is even a generational gap within our own generation!” says Welles with a laugh. “Kids who are 20 grew up far differently than the 10 year-olds now. My little cousin is getting a vaccine for the chicken pox and I’m like “What is that?””

This is an interesting point that the 60 Minutes article failed to address. I strongly agree with Welles. It is completely unfair to lump our entire generation into one product-hungry, over-protected category. Also, if we are simply “echoes” of our parents, then why are we drastically different?

Dr. Mel Levine, one of the best pediatricians in the country, stated in the 60 Minutes report that my generation is also naïve in terms of success, quoting that we “expect to rise to the top quickly.” Well, what’s the problem with that?

“If we are supposedly so valuable to society, then why wouldn’t we expect to be successful?” says Morgan. “There’s nothing wrong with believing in yourself and if he is calling our generation over-confident then I take it as a compliment.”

This defensive attitude seems to be shared by kids in my generation. We are the most studied, most sought after group of people yet and the microscope lens hanging over our heads doesn’t seem to be getting any smaller.

“I think maybe researchers and news reporters should start preparing their studies for the NEXT generation,” says Welles, again laughing. “If they think we’re bad, they have no idea what’s coming in 10 years.”

Millenials In The New Millenium

Echo Boomer: Out And Proud
By Gunes Atalay

We are the “Echo Boomer”generation. We were born between 1982 and 1995. I am sure this name was not chosen by anyone that was born between those years. I had no idea what I was called by “big people” until I saw CBS's 60 Minutes. I also did not know there were 80 million of us.

The news report mentions our love of brands and shopping. It also mentioned that we are the first generation that grew up with a computer in the home so we are multitaskers when it comes to technology, and we are more wired to world than any generation before us. We are spoiled by our parents and we are the most studied generation in the history.

Most people in my class were very bothered after showing of this news report. The report seemed bothersome, yes, but does that mean it is not true?

Was it being searched like bunch of animals that bothered us, or was it the truth? Nobody would like to be accused of being technology and brand-loving spoiled kids who think they are the best. However, CBS did not make these things up because they hate “Echo Boomers.” This was a report based on many facts.

We can claim that we are not spoiled but will that change the fact that we “spend $170 billion a year” as 60 Minutes reported. And that money is not even ours a lot of times. The legal working age in the U.S. is 14, and 13 in some situations. The youngest echo boomers are 12, and they are still out there spending. Is the rest of our generation spending all this money from their own earnings?

We can claim that we are not obsessed with brands, but will that change the fact that Apple sold 22.5 million iPods only in 2005? Even though iPods are great, there are many other Mp3 players out there that work better and are cheaper. Then why are we obsessed with iPod's? Is it so hard to admit that we “maybe” chose iPods because they are “cool”?

And technology. The 60 Minutes report mentioned how we are into technology more than any other generation. I have yet to meet someone without a cell phone and a computer. Why does it offend us to know we are obsessed with technology? Technology was in our lives more than any other generation, we grew up with computers, we found speed, and we asked for more. We want everything as fast as possible. We talk to our friends online, we do our homework online.

However why is that a bad thing? We had fewer playgrounds, especially those of us living in big cities, and we had a bigger vision. We should proudly admit it. We were not stuck in the city we lived in, we could get friends from everywhere around the world. We could get things and we could get them fast. We can receive a homework assignment in our home, and do them in pajamas, on our bed, without needing expensive encyclopedias.

And why were we offended when we watched the 60 Minutes report? Every generation had their good points and bad points. Maybe this computer speed spoiled us, or maybe it was the big opportunities we did not want to miss. We should accept ourselves with our pluses and minuses and appreciate what we have. No generation was perfect, but at least we have more opportunities.

College Life

Time To Go Home, The Student Way
By Gunes Atalay

We are in college and we in New York, the 10th most expensive city in the world. Most of us work, but we are still broke. Our parents miss us and we miss being home. However, how will we buy a plane ticket to go home, when we are so broke?

I did some research and found the best websites for a student to buy her plane ticket. So, if you are looking to go home, or on vacation during Thanksgiving, or for the January break, you don't have to spend all of your money on tickets. You can check these websites out and find the best prices.

The first idea I found to save money is, a website created for students. It requires a school E-mail account to join and a student ID card while flying. It has big discount specials for students, not only for flying, but also for rail way, hostels, and car rentals.

Another website that is very useful is Out of all discount websites, Orbitz usually gave me the cheapest price possible. It sometimes has specials for students, and it doesn't require you to apply with a student E-mail. It has flights, railway, car rentals, hotel packages and cruises. So, if you are looking to have some fun on your break, you should check it out!

A third website is, and even though Orbitz owns it, Hotwire is usually more expensive than Orbitz. However, Hotwire is perfect for last minute trips, because they have a different system. When you search for a last minute trip, it gives you one result that is a lot cheaper than the rest, but it doesn't give you the flight time or the airline. It guarantees that the flight will be between 6 am and 12 am. It also guarantees that it will be either non-stop or one stop. It might seem a little scary, but it definitely works. I used it one Friday when I needed to go to Kansas for an emergency and I got a 9 am, non-stop, roundtrip flight for $180, while all other results showed prices between $500-$700.

The fourth website is, which also gives good results, sometimes. It lets you mix and match flights, which makes it cheaper, and it has package deals with hotels, cruises and cars.

As someone who travels constantly, using these websites has saved me lot of my money. Here are a few more tricks for those who want to travel. Try buying your tickets on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, because you will find it is a lot cheaper on those days, and try to stay at least one weekend day. That will get you a lot cheaper price because airlines know that someone who leaves on a Monday and wants to come back on a Friday is on a business trip. Those people usually pay no matter what. It is the same policy for people who leave on Friday and want to return on Sunday to get back to work on Monday, and are willing to pay more. Since we are not business people, and we are not willing to pay the highest price, we need to put in more time searching for the best deal possible.

I hope you get a great deal.

Have a nice trip!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Exhibits And Events

Fans And Celebrities Bowling For Charity
By Christine Levitin-Breyette

The doors of the Chelsea Piers Lanes opened to a sea of exuberant soap opera fans that flooded the entrance on a recent Sunday ready to make their guilty pleasures a reality at the annual Daytime Stars and Strikes bowling event.

The event on Sunday, October 7, 2007, the grand finale to the annual Guiding Light fan weekend, brought together soap opera fans and soap opera actors for an afternoon of bowling, photographs, autographs, raffles, auctions, and of course lots and lots of fun. It’s not as self indulgent as it may sound, however, all of the funds raised during the event go to The American Cancer Society’s research and development fund.

Once all the fans were signed in and all the actors had been called down to the lanes the host and hostess, Jerry verDorn, who plays Clint on One Life To Live, and Elizabeth Keifer, who plays Blake on Guiding Light, emerged from the elevated lounge and descended the staircase to their adoring fans.

Liz Keifer, Wendy Madore and Jerry verDorn

“I love attending the Daytime Stars & Strikes bowling event because it's fun interacting with the actors and actresses on a personal level and…because all of the proceeds go to such a worthy cause,” said Lori Rubenacker, a dedicated soap opera fan. “Cancer affects everyone, whether directly or indirectly, so I can't think of a better charity to support.”

The idea for the bowling event came from Liz and Jerry’s fan club president, Wendy Madore. “It was at his (Jerry verDorn) 25th anniversary party and I asked her, (verDorn’s wife, Beth) “don’t you think Jerry and Liz need an event?” explained Madore regarding the conception of the event. “And she said absolutely” and I said, “Jerry don’t you think you need an event?” and you said, “ask these actors if they’d come” and we asked all the actors and then I wrote you and said, “was I dreaming or did you say yes?” and you said, yes, lets do it.“

Nicole Forester, Marcy Rylan, David Andrew MacDonald, Liz Keifer,
and Kurt McKinny

The event has evolved over the years, from the “The Bloss Bowling” event, which was a combination of the characters’ names Blake and Ross (played by verDorn when he was acting on Guiding Light), to being exclusively for Guiding Light fans and actors, to what it is now in it‘s fourth year, “The Daytime Stars And Strikes” bowling event that includes not only The Guiding Light, but All My Children, As The World Turns, and One Life to Live where verDorn is currently portraying Clint.

Although the event has changed over the years, the charity they donate to has remained the same. “I’m a 14 year survivor of cancer” verDorn disclosed, “so I decided, the research and development they have at the American Cancer Society is for the whole nation and it’s a general fund that you can contribute to so, everybody throughout the country can benefit from doing this event and having an auction, spending their money, and having it all go to the society.”

Each year the money raised has increased, from more than $5,000 the first year to more than $11,000 this year, through a combination of raffles for tote bags, coffee mugs, magazine, posters, buttons and T-shirts; and auctions for studio tours, and pictures in Soap Opera Weekly and Soap Opera Digest with several actors.

Soap fan, Lynn Rupley said, “I would spend hundreds of dollars on auctions, etc, because it goes for cancer…I clip coupons all year to save money for this trip.”

Kiefer and verDorn host the event each year, but they are supported by a lot of very loyal costars and friends. “For the Guiding Light actors this is the end of an extremely long weekend so these are really faithful ones that show up to this. Most of them blow it off saying, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve done three days already I’m not doing a fourth,’” said Kiefer. “And they are all at the cruise in the morning and then they come here.”

Kiefer, verDorn, and Madore are all supported by a volunteer team of about 20, known as “Jerry’s Elves.” “I couldn’t do this by myself. If they (the volunteers) weren’t here, there’s no way I could do this. They take care of me, and they are the nicest people and that makes me want to come back and do a better job next year,” Madore said.

Bowling volunteers with Madore and verDorn

Julie VanSteenburg, a committed soap opera fan, and first time volunteer said she comes to the event for the camaraderie of good friends, committed to a good cause. “I'm impressed not only with my friends level of commitment but the obvious care and concern that the cast members display by giving up their free time to give back to the fans and help out the ACS at the same time."

City Life

The Fast And The Furious: The Real Story
By Janette Lynott

Since the 1950s, drag racing has been a way for rebellious and rambunctious adolescents to act out their aggression, and a series of drag racing movies fed this youthful exuberance. Drag racing movie produced slowed down until the early 1990s when they resurfaced as underground films. The movies are now evolving and different forms of racing are emerging among auto obsessors.

In Philadelphia, three main areas outside of the inner city highlight the fastest, flashiest, and most illegal drag races in the city. Due to fear of arrests, meeting locations are spread by word-of-mouth and kept at a subtle whisper. At the race however, it is nothing but noise. Jon Hartley, 22, a former street bike racer was a regular at these races until losing one-third of his skin in a non-race related accident. He describes these races as "all bout the thrill."

Not only are they thrilling but incredibly dangerous. Police raids result in reckless driving that lead to accidents. However, this is not the only danger. If a driver decides to indulge in such races, one must have a hard head, quick tongue and in case something goes wrong; a hard fist to go with it. A recent incident occurred when a man entered a race, lost and refused to pay the winner. This resulted in a 20 to 30-person riot. The losing car was smashed with baseball bats and the man was dragged from it and beaten unconscious. Minutes later his car was flipped.

Not all races are quite like this one, and not all are totally illegal. In Elizabethtown, NJ, another former dragster Frank Hayden, 51, enjoys bringing his hand-built cars to the races. His current project is a 1969 Camaro. Hayden says he chooses these races and these types of cars because "new cars are not as unique as the old ones." When asked if he used a Nitris tank commonly used for illegal street races as an extra boost in third or fourth gear, he replied with great confidence, "No, mine don't need it." The races that Hayden attends usually bring in the "muscle car crowds" and are all NHA (National Hot Rod Association) regulated.

Another form of drag racing, which has evolved a bit of a new twist, is "drifting." Drifting as opposed to drag involves twists and turns and is a more abrupt style. Around every turn, it is unwritten law that there must be a cloud of smoke coming from your tires. This form of racing originally started in Tokyo and made its way to California where it was popularized in the Vin Diesel film, "The Fast And The Furious."

Jamal Gilbert, 19, who has been attending and driving in drift races since age 14 insists that the film is nothing like the actual thing. "Drifting has become its own subculture. It is a life style. Anyone can learn drag racing in a day but it takes very long to master drifting," he said. Whether it is legal or not, the main crowd drawn to the drift are, "computer nerds and auto freaks" said Gilbert.

When asked to compare the crowd, Gilbert says, "all different people go to drag racing, you can bring your mother to a drag race. Drifting involves ‘the beautiful people.’ Your typical 9-5ers and of course the nerds.” Gilbert has quite a bit of racing experience considering his age. He confesses that he has crashed quite a few times. But when you choose such a challenging form of racing and try it out at 14, that doesn't come as much of a surprise.

At any given time, more than 300 drag racing strips are operating worldwide, according to Wikipedia. Both dragging and drifting has created and maintained an audience that doesn’t look like it is going away any time soon. These races continue to show up in film and video as well as other forms of media. Then there is NASCAR, which is a popular sporting event surviving almost purely on advertising. This also has its’ own unique culture. NASCAR usually brings in a more middle class audience. There are many other areas of racing, but these are some of the major ones. The main difference between is how the cars are built, NHA regulated or street regulated, and of course the racing legality.

College Life

College Students Aren’t Vain, They’re Just Looking For A Niche
By Sarah Campbell

Vanity is on the rise among college students, according to a study conducted by five psychologists. The findings are the result of a nationwide evaluation called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).

The NPI, which solicited responses from 16,475 college students who were evaluated between 1982 and 2006, asks students to comment on statements such as, “If I ruled the world, it would be a better place” and “I can live my life any way I want to.” By 2006, the research showed a 30% increase in the NPI scores since the test was introduced in 1982. The psychologists say this increase is worrisome, and is likely to negatively affect personal relationships and American society.

The report says that students, “while acknowledging some legitimacy to such findings, don’t necessarily accept generalizations about their generation.”

Sophie Freeman, a sophomore at North Carolina School of the Arts, finds it believable that the NPI has increased, though she says, “I find it interesting that the study is done on college students. I mean isn’t this the time for personal exploration? To focus on yourself and create yourself?”

Freeman feels she tries to do her part in the community and seeks experiences to broaden her outlook. “I personally find a way to incorporate what I love to do in something that’s beneficial for others.” Majoring in modern dance, she explains, “I know I want to dance and it’s not the kind of thing you can do a couple days a week to give more attention to others. In fact I guess dance itself is pretty self-involved (she laughs) the time you give to it alone could probably label you as self-centered.”

Freeman continues: “I know I’m not going to be a full-time volunteer but I do what I can. I’ll perform for a cause. I’ve performed in children’s hospitals, nursing homes, in a Fundraising fair in New Orleans. And these are non-paying optional gigs but I think that it makes sense.”

The researchers believe that the 1980s “self-esteem movement” may have triggered this vanity trend, which they say has now gone too far. W. Keith Campbell, a researcher from the University of Georgia says narcissism can have benefits, but “unfortunately, narcissism can also have negative consequences for society..” The study explains that narcissists “are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack of emotional warmth, and to exhibit game playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behavior.”

Professor Jean Twenge of San Diego University, and the study’s lead author, explains narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism, and prefer self-promotion in favor of helping others, all aspects she attributes to why young Americans are more miserable today than before. Twenge says schooling, technology and the way we speak to our children are all contributing factors to this rise in NPI. She says: “Current technology fuels the increase in narcissism,” sighting YouTube and MySpace as attention-seeking sites that provoke the problem.

Twenge also says: “We need to stop endlessly repeating ‘You’re special’ and having children repeat this back…” Campbell on the other hand seems less sure of how to remedy the problem, noting: “permissiveness seems to be a component… A potential antidote would be more authoritative parenting. Less indulgence might be called for.”

Cynthia Dragoni, who recently attended the University of Pennsylvania, finds the NPI results an accurate reflection of society, though she too expresses concern over the focus on those of college age. She says: “Well of course college students are self-centered, but show me someone, at any age, who’s really not. I mean the life we live is all about the individual.”

Dragoni who has lived in both Russia and the Ukraine, but was raised in the U.S. says, “it’s the American way… everything we do tends to get more focused on ‘me, me, me’… look at the types of things people consider news, or entertainment. Everything seems to be glorifying the way of life that is centered on a life focused around oneself and that self seems to focus on things that probably shouldn’t be deemed as relevant as they are.”

Massimo Lavelle, a student at Penn State says, “College kids may seem to be more self-involved, though I’d argue that they are no more so than older generations, they just haven’t found their niche yet. You see, if you see someone in their late 30s with kids, a golf membership and a summer house they aren’t considered to be self-involved, they are just living their life.

Lavelle thinks that college students have different priorities, which leads them to be “…seen as focusing on the more trivial and are thus perceived as self-centered.”

Lavelle describes selfishness as human nature and adds, “I think that selfishness is most apparent in a diverse environment. Like in college everyone’s selfishness is highlighted because there are so many people with so many different desires without a common-ground for topic and understanding.”

Lavelle explains that by the time you’re out of college and have “laid a foundation for yourself,” you then build a life that is catered to your desires. “You jump in a box that you fit into comfortably, so no one thinks of your doings as anything other than normal.”

Movie Reviews

A Beatles Inspired Universe Speaks To Us Today
By Sarah Campbell

The film, “Across The Universe” is truly invigorating and provides a feel of the 1960s. Advanced visual techniques, accompanied by heartwarming performances translate the 60s era into our heads, while the Beatles soundtrack explodes in our ears.

The plot involves a young crowd main in New York City: Jude (Jim Sturgess), a poor British ship welder, Max (Joe Anderson) a well-off college drop-out, and Lucy (Rachel Evan Wood) Max’s little sister who ends up following her brother’s footsteps and soon falls in love with Jude, her brother’s best friend.

The bohemian crowd lives together in a Greenwich Village crash pad with several other musicians. Most of the characters are named for Beatles songs or resemble other famous singers of the time, such as the character’s Sadie (Dana Fuchs) and Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy)who easily resemble Janice Joplin and Jimmy Hendrix.

The plot is deep and broad touching on Vietnam (Max is shipped to war) and revolution, in addition to a love between Jude and Lucy, though there is very little dialogue. Almost everything is conveyed through images set to an almost continuous Beatles soundtrack.

One scene in particular, in which the Hendrix type, Jo-Jo walks the streets is marvelous. Jo-Jo passes a group of businessmen performing a rigid combination of movements, in a box-like formation. The men move in unison and look like carbon copies of one another. They’re carrying square briefcases and wearing plain suits. They stomp side to side while moving up and down in a zombie like trance, which translates a feel of confinement.

Jo-Jo on the other hand passes by in his colorful bohemian clothing, guitar strapped to his shoulder, looking relaxed, worn, but happy. Its morning and all of the businessmen are off to work and running through their routine. Jo-Jo’s just heading home. It’s a terrific reflection of the contrast within society. The use of color helps illustrate the mood throughout the film, as it’s more neutral in Middle America and the U.K. and gains brightness and versatility when the setting becomes New York City.

The inevitable fear that strikes us upon imagining new artists singing Beatles songs is immediately crushed, as is the anticipated unease of envisioning a new story to accompany their music. Many of the songs have a different take completely. For instance, Prudence sings, “I want to hold your hand” from a sad place. She expresses wanting to hold a woman’s hand whom she lusts after, but doesn’t feel comfortable admitting this truth about her sexuality. Her suppression and upset come through in her “I want to hold your hand.”

Bleeding strawberries, rooftop concerts and magical tour buses add to the films 60s feel. But this is not why the film stays with you. It strikes a cord of similarity; generates a sense of sameness between the world now and then. By the movies end there isn’t an emotion that hasn’t been stirred. It’s invigorating, inspirational, beautiful, creative, evoking. It serves as a reminder of the past and provides a new lens for the present.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Music & Musicians

Mercury Rising
By Glenn Burwell

Marymount Manhattan College’s very own Amanda Lavin is one of New York’s up and coming starlets. In a candid interview Lavin proves nice girls don’t always finish last: Gloria Estefan, Japanese piano instructors, and her love of Chopin are some of the topics petite bombshell opened up about.

Not many people know much about 19 year-old singer-song writer Amanda Lavin. Even in a school with a student body as small as Marymount Manhattan College’s where it seems that everyone knows everyone. This isn’t to say that Lavin doesn’t stand out, because she does, but you probably wouldn’t know her unless you were lucky enough to be called her friend. That is, unless you were sent a link to her MySpace music page, ( and listened to what she had to offer, and immediately realized, when she hits that last note, you want more.

“I’m not about actively drawing attention to myself,” Lavin coyly says sipping a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, at one of her favorite restaurants Per Lei, where the staff seems to know her well. “I talk to people from my high school and they say they never knew that I would move to The City to become a recording artist.”

Amanda Lavin

Lavin, a blonde-haired blue-eyed beauty, stands about five-feet five- inches tall, with hands, strong and slender, that were clearly made to play the piano. Lavin credits her piano lessons to her unique sound and style of the music she writes. “Classical music feels intrinsic; it has been instilled in me. I love any of Chopin’s waltzes.” Her classical training is much like that of her musical inspiration, the late Freddy Mercury of Queen.

“Freddy Mercury is my biggest inspiration hands down, I feel like we are similar in that we both began with the classical piano training,” Lavin said. “His metaphoric lyrics and hypnotic melodies were always complex and interesting. He had a basic understanding of how people felt,” she says.

One might think it ostentatious of her to compare herself to a legend like Mercury, but Lavin makes it clear that Mercury’s style is his very own and she aspires to find her niche in the industry like her idol.

“What I aim for in creating music is to create something that is universally appreciated.” Lavin doesn’t mean this in terms of “selling out,” a saying she despises, in order to sell more records, but so more people can be exposed to her music and her message.

Lavin’s classmates probably didn’t know she would make the move and follow her dreams, because, for a while, neither did she. “I only really absolutely knew that I wanted to be a singer when I was in my senior year [of high school]. I actually thought I would be a journalist,” Lavin admits. When she was a child she would dance to her mother’s cassette tape of Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around. Other early childhood favorites included “anything Whitney [Houston]”, Alanis Morissette which her mother banned because of the mature lyrics, Lea Salonga (the voice of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s Aladdin).

“In the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to be a singer. When I was a kid people would tell me I should,” Lavin said, when discussing childhood memories. Despite the fact she didn’t always know she would want to sing professionally music was always a part of her life.

The first child of her parents, Lavin, remembers moving from her Bronx apartment to a house in Yonkers, NY where her love of music began. “For some reason there was a piano in the house when we moved there. Anytime I could I would beat on the piano.” Lavin’s parents, who she says are incredibly proud of her music, didn’t dismiss her curious plunking as noise. Instead they enrolled her in a “daddy and me” piano class. “That’s when I technically started playing piano, if you can call it that. It wasn’t until I was five that I actually began taking lessons,” she said.

Lavin in the city

Now on her second glass of wine, Lavin sits back and becomes even more down to earth- if that is humanly possible. “I’ll never forget her, she was a very small Japanese woman, Miss Nakamishi,” she chuckles and her eyes brighten as she speaks about her first piano teacher, from the days of “daddy and me.” Her attitude changes as she explains her second teacher whom she studies under to this day, “I started taking lessons with Irene when I five, she is very…she’s a great woman,” she hesitantly says this. “No I actually do love her she’s practically family I’ve known her so long,” she quickly follows.

Lavin recalls her Swedish instructor suggesting she lose a couple of pounds, “I was in the seventh grade, but that’s why I love her she just tells it like it is.” Miss Nakamishi made her smile, but Irene made her work, and always held her to the highest standards, which has subsequently worked in her advantage. Evidence of years of hard work is apparent in her music and her hands.

Like most artists she breaks her music into two parts -- her music and her lyrics. She explains her process, “The creative process, I just love it, for me that is when everything makes sense in my mind. When I can’t find what feel out there, I write it. My hope is that someone else could use it. At the end of the day I want my music to be honest, universal, and evoking- that’s it. ” In the word of Freddy Mercury, “I always knew I was a star and now, the rest of the world seems to agree with me.” All in favor of Amanda Lavin, say, “Aye”. Aye.