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A Chicago Showstopper

Boisterous. Showstopping. Chicago. A go-to musical if I ever saw one. Everything one could imagine in the 1920s– jazz, sex, drama, and homicide– incorporated into one phenomenal performance. The perfect blend of satire, music, crime, and gossip set in prohibition-era Chicago leaves audiences wanting more. No, needing more.
From the music and the dances, to the crime and the fame, Chicago presented a satirical view of the correctional system, lawyers, and media involved in trials during the 1920s– especially in cases involving women. Chicago shows a world where crooked lawyers and a public who craves violence is as frightening as criminals and their crimes. The main murderess featured in the musical, Roxie Hart, finds herself engaged in her image and becoming more obsessed with fame, and less concerned with being acquitted.
The director knew that a society where killers become stars was not far fetched. In fact, it can be found in contemporary society. People talk of criminals receiving their “five minutes of fame”, and that is what the director pulls from. In Act II, Roxie Hart’s lawyer, Billy Flynn, sings “Razzle Dazzle” which conveys this message of criminal celebrities. Its message is simple. If you want the press, or the jury, or society to believe you and rule for your innocence, you just have to “razzle dazzle” them like a high schooler’s elaborate proposal for prom.
As well as dramatizing our society’s habit to give attention to criminals, it also strays away from some of the gender stereotypes of that time. While there are features like “We Both Reached for the Gun”– a piece that shows Roxie and the press as marionette puppets being controlled by Billy Flynn, the male lead– which show us society’s view on the role of women, there are also pieces throughout the musical that contradicted the gender roles norm.
Cell Block Tango” is sung by the six merry murderesses of the Cook County Jail. The production depicts six women who have murdered men in their lives. It presents them as strong women who stood up for themselves– even if how they handled it was not ideal. They were fierce and sassy, which made it the perfect musical number to show that women in that era would not be pushed around.
On the other hand, Roxie Hart’s husband, Amus, is pushed around and deceived by Roxie. In his feature “Mr. Cellophane”, the mood completely changes. It is one of the only slow songs in the production, and shows the opposite of what men in that era were made out to be. Through lines such as “you can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I’m there”  he was described as shy, outspoken, and compassionate to a fault.
The director captured the perfect 1920s scene through society and gender standards. The perfect blend of strong, independent women; an outspoken, pushed aside husband; and a stubborn, fame-obsessed lawyer create a must see musical. After all, who can resist “All that Jazz”?

Humans of Denmark

What has been troubling me lately? I always worry for my sister. She is caught in a fairy tale, and I know there is no way it will end well for her. I feel terrible arguing with her time and time again. I just wish she would see that I only want to protect her; that I am not trying to be hypocritical in any way. Our soon-to-be king? What is she thinking? She cannot expect him to give her all his love. After all, his first priority is his land and it always will be. Even if his love is true, which I doubt it is, he will never be able to marry my sister. He must marry rich. And this fling with her could ruin her reputation for the rest of her life. She will be scorned. Inevitably heartbroken. I just want to protect her from this day of reckoning.

See Me

But you don’t care.

Do me a favor, okay?

You need to worry about yourself, not me.

Because that’s  what normal people do.

That’s the way society works.

It’s what I’ve learned works for me.

You don’t believe me?

You can. You choose not to.

Because you’d rather tell the truth.

So you say.

You know you don’t have to stay, right?

I’ll be okay.

Cupids, Cigarettes, and Dying Young

I can see red and white lace dresses peeking out under their coats, and one of them is wearing a tiara.

We all bust it out at the same time and then start giggling like maniacs.

The devil makes an impatient gesture with the roses she’s still carrying, and the angel—Marian, I guess—quickly rejoins the other Cupids.

It’s not that I’m not totally happy—I am—but it’s almost like sometimes I have to keep running over and over in my head.

We dump our yogurt cups right there, on top of the frozen black leaves and trampled cigarette packs.

When my grandmother was still alive we would visit her, and even though I was no more than six, I remember thinking: I hope I die young.

Book: Before I Fall 1/25/17

For my reading choice I chose Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I chose to read this book because both my cousin and friend had been encouraging me to read it for years. I am glad I decided to read this book because it is very intriguing and has many repayable, and just as many unrelatable, moments.

It starts out on Valentine’s Day, or as they call Cupid’s Day, and the main character, Sam, wakes up and puts on her outfit to leave for school. Her friend Lindsay picked her up for school and as they continued on their path for school picked up Elody and Ally. They all wore matching outfits for the special occasion, and eagerly wait in class for their roses–to show everyone in school who the most popular girls were.

Long story short, the friends all go to a party at Kent’s house, Sam’s old best friend who she believes is in love with her. At the end of the night they all want to go home, so Lindsay drives everyone out of the giant driveway and back through the woods. Driving crazy and smoking, Lindsay drops her cigarette, looks away to put it out, and crashes the car.

Next thing we know, Sam wakes up in her own bed to find that it is Valentine’s Day once again.

Update #2: Punny Plants

Our 20 time project is coming along great! Besides our succulents failing to grow, we have made significant progress on our “punny plants”. I personally have started pressing both flowers and leaves for our project. Kristie and I were debating on whether we should put the pressed flowers in tape, a kind of laminate paper, or if we should mount them on colored paper. We decided that we would make an assortment and if we ended up disliking the way one looked, we would stop making them and stick to the other designs. We also came up with some more puns:

PLANT your ROOTS and keep on GROWING

Be my FROND? PEAS?

You seem like a FUNGI

LEAF your life to the fullest

Give ’em PUMPKIN to talk about

Be PEASful

Where’s your excitMINT?

You can always turn over a new LEAF

I’ve BEAN thinking of you

LETTUCE TURNIP the BEET

UPDATE #1: Punny Plants

So far, Kristie and I have made good progress on our 20 Time: Feed-A-Need project. We have begun pressing some of the flowers we will be attaching to our puns. We will dry out these flowers in order to place them in tape or laminated paper to create bookmarks or cards and attach one of the many puns we have started brainstorming. Some of these puns include:

Find your inner PEAS.

I hope THISTLE cheer you up.

ROMAINE calm and just BEET it.

You’re my all THYME favorite.

I love you from my head TOMATOES.

I’m LAVEN-DER weather we are having today.

You’re PLANTastic.

These are only a few examples of the puns we have brainstormed that we will be passing out alongside the pressed flowers.

We were attempting to grow succulents to pass out later in the year with puns, but unfortunately they did not survive the cold weather we were experiencing.

Feed A Need

In this article on Brad Aronson’s blog, a story about a girl who passes out handmade teddy bears to sick and homeless children. Nicole Javorsky, a college student, spends her free time handcrafting teddy bears for children in NYC hospitals. For these children undergoing rigorous treatments, with little visitation time from even their parents, Nicole identified a need for comfort, hope, and love. Nicole was hospitalized for anorexia at the age of 14. She couldn’t see anyone other than her parents, but she felt the love from her friends and other family through stuffed animals they sent. She wanted other kids to feel this love and hope. Nicole has since made and given away around 500 teddy bears to kids in the hospital. The children have said that the stuffed animals not only show them that someone loves them, but also helps them sleep better at night. The comfort these kids get from this small act of kindness is how Nicole Javorsky fed a need in our society.

I am…

I am Paige Sakakida, daughter of Tiffany,
Who was recognized throughout the land
For her patience as a toddler-teacher and
A single matriarch of four.
She was intent to fashion a revision,
One of profession, convert to manager
Of an ink-master.
It was I who, in only grade three,
Was bumped up to the advanced faction
Of the dance with metal-bottom shoes.
It was I who toiled to ameliorate music playing,
And I who garnered
the “Most Improved” award.
The flag-twirling and sword-spinning sport,
Although new, proved to bestow confidence.
It was I who acquired a solo
In years one and three,
And I who will obtain my degree on the
Eighth day of the sixth month of the year
Two thousand and seventeen.

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