Vagrant Journalism

Published pieces from the past, the present and of the potential future.

Archive for the ‘New University’ Category

1 December 2008: Faculty Master Class with Jerzy Kozmala

Posted by Christina on March 24, 2009

jerzy-kosmalaAs my officially last piece for the New University Newspaper, it was with bittersweet feelings I wrote this last piece. I had never reported on a master class before and it was an amazing experience. It was wonderful that the paper chose to cover the event because it really was such a sight to see and such a concert in itself, really.

New University Newspaper: Faculty Master Class with Jerzy Kozmala

Faculty Master Class with Jerzy Kozmala
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 11 | Dec 01 2008

Internationally renowned violist Jerzy Kosmala participated in the second Faculty Master Class last Monday as part of an inaugural series of events organized by the UC Irvine Music Department. Students performed pieces from some of classical music’s greatest composers to a diverse audience of professors, students and community members.

Students who participate in the Master Class form groups at the beginning of each quarter. On Monday, they performed various movements of ensemble pieces by historically celebrated composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn, Antonín Dvořák and Béla Bartók, whose works span from the Classic to Romantic periods and on to the 20th century of musical artistry. Performing and receiving critiques from their peers and the professor of the class, Dr. Margaret Parkins, the students were polite and receptive to Kosmala’s added words of wisdom.

Kosmala thoughtfully followed along with his own copy of the first piece by Mozart. Listening to a trio of clarinet, piano and viola, Kosmala sat in the front row swaying to the allegro phrases, nodding to every forte and punctuating trills. His own viola and bow rested against him as he sat, aware of every glossed-over rest and every dotted note unnoticed.

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24 November 2008: ‘Freudemocracy’ Gets Political

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

freudemocracyThis was a really interesting art exhibit at UCI. It took me a few visits to really wrap my head around the whole concept and be able to confidently deliver a review. Regardless, it was an excellent thing to be a part of and amazing to experience artforms like this right under my nose.

New University Newspaper: ‘Freudemocracy’ Gets Political

‘Freudemocracy’ Gets Political
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 10 | Nov 24 2008

Nestled near Cyber-A Café in the revamped corners of the UC Irvine Art Department, the University Art Gallery has been the venue for some of the most intriguing art exhibits. From studio art seniors exhibiting their collegiate work to guest artists utilizing a multitude of media platforms, the installations have always been insightful and thought-provoking.

“Freudemocracy: 2008-1968” is no exception; it reaches a vast arena of existence, spanning time and space alike. Its content renders ideas not only important to the curators of the exhibit, but also to the current social and political state.

Focusing largely on the student-led and later national rebellion throughout France in 1968, “Freudemocracy: 2008-1968” looks at the effect these events had on one of the period’s most potent minds.

Through films made by French new wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard, the exhibit showcases a selection of films as a themed montage. Beginning with the years right before the very crux of the movement in 1966, the exhibit then goes through films commentating on the moment of uninhibited rebellion and finally deals with the movement’s aftermath in 1972.

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27 October 2008: Kaufman Goes Mental in ‘Synecdoche’

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

synecdoche-new-yorkThis really and truly was a rather bizarre movie. If you got it then you were among the elite who understand filmmaking of this caliber and if you didn’t get it, then it might have provided for water cooler conversation fodder for the following Monday. I enjoyed it but did have my moments of unabashed confusion and bewilderment. Also, only someone like Philip Seymour Hoffman could pull off something like this (see ‘Love Liza).

New University Newspaper: Kaufman Goes Mental in ‘Synecdoche’

Kaufman Goes Mental in ‘Synecdoche’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 6 | Oct 27 2008

It seems as though with the release of “Synecdoche, New York,” the inevitable and long-awaited directorial debut from one of cinema’s most prominent writers has finally come to pass. Charlie Kaufman creates a world where he plays puppet master for not only the verbal level of character interaction, but for the film’s overall display as well. Kaufman’s work is enhanced by the truly all-star cast, which runs the gamut of Oscar worthies to independent film starlets. While the audience experiences the stellar script materializing before its eyes, the content does, however, veer off course as things wind down into overly symbolic and somewhat impractical referential gestures.

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Caden Cotard, a small-time theater director whose life we enter as he fittingly premieres Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” at the neighborhood playhouse. His wife, Adele, played by Catherine Keener, is a painter of miniscule art and, like any Generation X suburban couple, husband and wife prescribe to marriage counseling. However, things run amuck in Caden’s life when Adele takes their 4-year-old daughter and her paintings to Berlin, pursuing her career and an alternative lifestyle.

In a series of encounters, Caden strikes out with buxom box-office babe Hazel (Samantha Morton) and is followed by a lanky and balding guy. Later, Sammy (Tom Noonan), creates a surrogate wife and daughter with his plays’ perpetual female lead, Claire (Michelle Williams), and takes part in a liaison with Tammy (Emily Watson) among other things. After a whirlwind of experiences, Caden realizes his mortality once his body’s automatic functions start shutting down, and he embarks on a life-long theater project funded by a MacArthur Fellowship.

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20 October 2008: An Impressive Debut for Claudel in ‘Long’

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

120x160 I've loved you so longFor this film, I had the chance to sit in a round table interview format with the film’s director, Philippe Claudel, and lead actress, Kristen Scott Thomas. They were both a total joy to be around and made me love the film even more than I already did right after the screening.

New University Newspaper: An Impressive Debut for Claudel in ‘Long’

An Impressive Debut for Claudel in ‘Long’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 5 | Oct 20 2008

There’s an unspoken desire in most of mankind to live a life of unconditional love and perpetual care. Parallel to that lies the fear of being utterly forgotten and ultimately ignored without reason. First-time film director Philippe Claudel delves into these underlying themes with “I’ve Loved You So Long.”

In a beautiful film about the unfaltering love between sisters and a family unit comprised of blood relatives, adopted children and colleagues-turned-stalwart friends, Claudel’s freshman effort is a true work of expressive art.

The film opens with Juliette, a woman teetering towards the start of middle age. In a desolate train station, the camera has no choice but to focus heavily and entirely on her, an empty shell of a human being. She mindlessly takes a cigarette to and from her face, the Pall Mall soft pack at her side, already a character staple. She looks dead in the eyes and entirely void of emotion. Her overall gait looks as though she has lost hope and has maintained existence through some sort of catatonic state for a long time. Not to mention she has just finished a 15-year stint in prison, and is now re-emerging into a society that had once judged and shunned her into oblivion.

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6 October 2008: Music Exhales Love in ‘Playlist’

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

nick-and-norahThis was a really fun film. Doing research I wondered why all my generation of pre-pubescent to young adults had Judy Blume and ‘Are You There God, It’s My Margaret?’ to quell our insatiable thirst for the knowledge of that uncharted plain called adulthood.

New University Newspaper: Music Exhales Love in ‘Playlist’

Music Exhales Love in ‘Playlist’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 3 | Oct 06 2008

Love stories have narrative arcs that no doubt withstand the test of time. It’s for this reason, however, most feel that when they’ve heard one, they’ve heard them all. It’s rare that in this day and age, artistic media produces a love story with any inkling of originality. It’s probably what makes director Peter Sollett’s latest, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” such a breath of fresh air.

Nick is lovelorn and tormented by his ex-girlfriend, taking mental health days off from school and from his band mates. It’s finally a search for an elusive favorite band that takes him out of his house and onto the streets of New York with his friends.

It’s the sleepless journey of one night that packs in growing up, experiencing the importance of friendship and self discovery bringing Norah to Nick, and finally, Nick to Norah.

Michael Cera truly is the emerging generation’s prince charming. In “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist,” he plays Nick, the bass-playing, quintessential teenager lost in emotional woes of love gone awry. Audiences across the board have grown to love his demeanor with his characterization in Sollett’s film being no exception.

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29 September 2008: TV on the Radio Progresses on ‘Science’

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

tv-on-the-radioMan this is such a great album. Honestly, though, not as good as some of their previous releases, but comparatively to what was coming out around the same time, this was really great sounding. It also helped that I had heard some of these songs live at Street Scene in San Diego the week before, which was right before I heard the album for the very first time in its entirety.

New University Newspaper: TV on the Radio Progresses on ‘Science’

TV on the Radio Progresses on ‘Science’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 2 | Sep 29 2008

TV on the Radio is the kind of band that continually embraces a very experimental nature. Each track is a cohesive exploration of sound and harmony, a sign that the band continues to seamlessly transcend genres and styles.

Its new album, “Dear Science,” is no exception to this already established impression, showcasing this collection of bandmates at their most creative to date.

The band has come a long way since frontman Tunde Adebimpe and guitarist David Andrew Sitek’s self-released demo, “OK Calculator,” an obvious pun on a Radiohead favorite “OK Computer.” “Dear Science,” is the follow-up release to its 2006 celebrated epic, “Return to Cookie Mountain.” With the likes of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist, Nick Zinner and the omniscient David Bowie adorning the band’s various projects, much was expected from the new album.

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29 September 2008: Peter Through the Ages

Posted by Christina on March 23, 2009

peter-the-anteaterFeatures pieces are always fun to write because they’re less strictly newsy and allow more leeway on artistic writing. It was fun delving into the history of our school’s very notorious mascot, especially the nervous page flipping on New U archives from the late 1960s. Each of those nearly Bible paper-thin pages had coverage on the mascot elections and everything. It was all very fascinating.

New University Newspaper: Peter Through the Ages

Peter Through the Ages
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 42, Issue 2 | Sep 29 2008

So you found out you’re an Anteater. You probably haven’t started practicing chants of “Rip ‘Em ’Eaters” for sideline cheers just yet, and you may have to ignore the snickers for a while when you tell your friends back home your sporting event war cry is a ferocious, “Zot!”

And how about explaining to them that accompanying hand gesture? Haven’t heard of it yet? Try bringing together your thumb, middle and ring fingers to make hind legs and a tail. Have your index and pinky fingers stand tall to make arms ready for a bear hug defense. Your hand may cramp now, but it’ll become second nature by Winter Quarter. It’s your Anteater, and it’s reared and ready to attack.

Prompted to cheer by an enthusiastic and enlarged plush anteater, it’s what UCI fans in the stands motion and call out at games. With this symbol at the helm, being an ’Eater is a source of pride.

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2 September 2008: A Bit of Spanish Flair in ‘Barcelona’

Posted by Christina on March 20, 2009

vicky_cristina_barcelonaThis was a rather welcome little surprise from what I thought I would expect. The story was intriguing, the filmmaking was great and well, I couldn’t get the theme out of my head for weeks. Regardless, it was an excellent film and doubtless proof of what Woody Allen can do to and for his supporting actresses.

New University Newspaper: A Bit of Spanish Flair in ‘Barcelona’

A Bit of Spanish Flair in ‘Barcelona’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 35 | Sep 02 2008

There’s a reason why Woody Allen’s latest film’s title is a sole statement of the film’s lead characters and location. For a director who has made his life’s work an explicit form of storytelling, we should expect nothing less. “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” is no exception to this established mode of filmmaking.

The complexities of each character’s storyline cross paths by means of some philosophical rant about the meaning of this or that. All the while, the story arc remains intact, divergent through no tangent. Still, new elements are introduced, making things increasingly interesting as the story of two best friends spending their summer in Spain plays out.

The characters in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” struggle with problems and philosophical life-altering issues on their own separate planes of existence. The character of Vicky, played by UK-native Rebecca Hall, is the neurotic New Yorker and every bit as one-track minded and talkative as our lead male in “Annie Hall,” except that Hall executes the part extraordinarily well.

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2 June 2008: Crossed Paths Thrill in ‘Roman’

Posted by Christina on March 20, 2009

roman_de_gareThis really was a very excellent film. For me, it was fun because it was in French but other than that, it was a thrilling, suspenseful and mysterious film that kept me guessing until the very end.

New University Newspaper: Crossed Paths Thrill in ‘Roman’

Crossed Paths Thrill in ‘Roman’
by Christina Nersesian
Volume 41, Issue 31 | Jun 02 2008

With immense talent to share with a world of film patrons across the globe, French film director, writer, cinematographer and producer Claude Lelouch has been steadily creating masterful works since the early 1960s. Spearheading the success of his future projects was the extremely well-received “Un Homme Et Une Femme” for which Lelouch took home several major awards, including the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and Original Screenplay.

Lelouch remains relentless and returns with another originally- crafted work with “Roman de Gare.” From beginning to end, the audience is left guessing as the turbulent life of each character unfolds throughout the expository demeanor of the film. Lelouch makes the film an amalgam of varying forms of art and places them together seamlessly.

“Roman de Gare” explores layers of reflexivity as stories and scenarios surrounding the main protagonist, Pierre Laclos (Dominique Pinon) turn out to be the subject of an explosive novel by a revered author. Whether he is a ghostwriter, a pedophilic murderer or a husband abandoning a stabilized life of security, Laclos is obviously the key that ties everyone together. Just how and by what means is uncertain and having that question answered is what leaves the audience gaping in suspense until the very end.

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26 May 2008: ‘Badlands’

Posted by Christina on March 20, 2009

badlandsThe review for this film, ‘Badlands,’ never came out on the day it was supposed to. It actually never came out at all. I didn’t find it in the paper come Monday morning and when I asked, apparently there was breaking news they had to cover and cut the least important piece. ‘Badlands’ was an old film – one of the films in the American Cinema series for the FVC – and the editor said he wasn’t there Sunday when they were putting it all together so it was out of his hands. Convenient. Regardless, here it is, all unedited and without a headline. It really was such a great film.


The Film and Video Center at UCI kicked off their last film series for the school year, New Hollywood Cinema, with Terrence Malick’s directorial debut of a feature film, “Badlands.” This 1973 film, starring the budding star, Charlie Sheen as Kit Carruthers and a daisy-fresh Sissy Spacek as Holly Sargis, broke genre boundaries in the already established and highly-revered Hollywood cinema scheme.

Thanks to a rise in young and independently thinking filmmakers fresh out of film school and highly influenced by French New Wave, films like “Badlands” brought new modes of cinematography, character development and narrative traditions like nothing the industry had seen before. Also referred to as the American New Wave, studios were releasing films the likes of “Easy Rider,” “The Graduate” and “Bonnie and Clyde” that spoke to the irreverent, counterculture youth of the 1960s.

Addressing a young audience in a film about young people, Malick’s premiere opus to the filmmaking world established his signature marks of naturalistic cinematography and the psyche of youth as prominent themes. Within New Hollywood Cinema, “Badlands” shined as critics marveled at Malick’s successful directorial and script writing accomplishment.

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