How Deep Does the Red Square Go?


I went to the Crocker Art Gallery, and saw a piece titled “Deep Red Square (Homage to Josef Albers).” It is a large square, that looks to be about 4 feet by 4 feet. The piece was made in 1980. Richard Anuszkiewicz is the artist that created this painting. It is made with acrylic on canvas. The piece consists of a red square in the middle of a blue background, utilizing complemetary colors. Red lines radiate outward from the square, to the edge of the painting. They are straight, usually diagonal lines. It reminds me of a starburst. At the corners, on the outer edges of the red square, the red lines get closer together. The lines start to bleed together, and shine a red color from the outer corners of the red square to the inner corners of the painting.

The lines feel like an optical illusion, they made my eyes feel a little strained. But, it was very beautiful. I took pictures, but it doesn’t turn out the same as looking at the piece in person. You can really see the line work in person. As you move around the painting, the lines look like they are moving. You really need to zoom into the picture to see all the lines in it. Just looking at at the full photograph pushes the fine lines so close together, that it’s hard to really see them. The large size of the piece, in person, is a vastly different experience.

I liked this piece, it really alive as you walk around it. It is placed in the middle of an otherwise blank wall, in the museum. It is bright, and vibrant. I liked it, but I don’t think I’d like to own it. Looking at it for too long strains my eyes. It is an illusion, without the elements of a traditional illusion. It is supposed to just be about the act of seeing.

Anuszkiewicz became an important figure in this art movement, called Op Art (or, Optical Art). Op Art gives the illusion of motion. It was partially a reaction to Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism.

Like what you’re reading? Listen to me, DJ Tray Squat laugh my way through our political system, on PoliPsycho. Every Wed. at 4-5pm on KSSU.COM

Changing your major isn’t SO MAJOR


I’ve changed my major more times than I would like to admit. Jumping from biochemistry to communication studies to political science to finally settling on government-journalism was a headache. My family has a running joke where every time I visit them back in Southern California. They ask me, “So what are you majoring in now?”

But I don’t regret any of it. Sure I spent more than a year taking classes for degrees I wouldn’t end up pursuing, but I don’t consider it to have been a waste of time.

Writing this blog is giving me flashbacks of the biology labs I had to take, dissecting a number of  animals alongside 30 other wide eyed freshmen. I was a vegetarian (and still am) so you could say it was a dark time in my life.

To get back to the point of this blog, it’s not the end of the world to realize you’re in the wrong major. It may feel like you’re world is turning upside down, but the crushing pain will pass. Take it from someone who crumpled into a fetal position in the hallway of the freshmen residence hall, crying on the phone to my best friend back home when I realized my aspirations had changed.

To remind myself why it was ok to change majors and hopefully help others realize it’s ok to dip your toe in the pool of possibility, I’ve formed a list of five reasons to just do it:

1- College isn’t a race to this finish line. The National Student Clearinghouse reported that only about 56% of students will earn a degree within six years. So why is it that people are so adamant about finishing in four?

2- You’re not alone! About 80% of college students in the U.S. change their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

3- It’s an expensive piece of paper! Don’t throw money and time into degree you really don’t want. I have a friend who graduated with a history degree and now works as a sous chef. She doesn’t regret studying a subject irrelevant to her career, but if you realize early on in college that you want to change your major— go for it. It’s ok to start over.

4- Internships, internships, internships. Take your time. This falls in line with #1. Along with completing those degree requirements, use the extra semester(s) in college to intern. There are a lot of opportunities for students to intern…mostly because we’re so young, so full of life and so willing to work for free.

5- The things you learn while in one major can be useful in another. When I was a communications major, I took a philosophy class on how to argue effectively. That class became irrelevant when I became a political science major. But now as a journalist, I can easily spot fallacious arguments in articles.

Four majors later and I finally found my purpose. Now what’s yours? If you find yourself questioning your major, don’t be afraid to consider other options. You will never know unless you take a chance.

 

BLACK HISTORY MONTH


What does Black History Month mean to a half Mexican half Japanese 24 year old? Well, I will tell you this even if you are not black you should be able to pull some empathy for the journey Black Americans had to endure to be apart of society and be treated “somewhat” equally. I am a huge proprietor for making your own way and taking account for ones actions, but I will not deny the unbalanced scale in America when it comes to race. Just yesterday Black Americans were slaves, and a huge civil war had to happen to abolish it. People ignore how recent that was. And yes I know we must move forward, but in the timeline of the existence of this world the point that represents slavery and the point that represents now is of no space at all. We are living in a pivotal time that is transcending the unity of races in America. Black Americans get it the worst, they came here in chains and were freed only to be set with more unfair obstacles. This is what black history is, it is a story of the fight it took to become liberated and treated fairly. How do you establish a successful community in a country where no one will help you and supremacist will do their best to keep you down? What happen then lingers into today, and those who can’t see the lingering dust of the racist past are not aware or don’t care. Black Americans in my opinion did not get a fair shot and to me are they are the underdogs of this country. Black Americans have moved their way up the ladder and are continuing to reach new heights, the highest power position in America(the President) was a Black man and what a monumental staple for the community that follows. I speak openly, but not aggressively I have a lot of compassion for everyone. The fact is, the first settlers came to America and established themselves early, and during that time Black Americans were their slaves. Ironic that the move to America was to liberate religious freedom and separation from England, but all the while a contradiction was nesting. Liberty and Justice for all was not a true and accurate statement back then and it may not be now. My advice to everyone is to look in the mirror embrace what you see and strive to maintain a positive path. Do not give people a reason to discredit you. Life is as simple as you make it, obtaining a peaceful easy life is attainable if you minimize the possibility of negative occurrences. Life will always seep its way to get you down, but you must take those times as a test. Your positive reaction and overcoming will result in you passing that test. After a while you will realize that the color of your skin does not define the happiness you bestowed for yourself.

Best and Much Love to All,

Michael Nishimura

A Close-up of “The Sickness”


Palette.“The Sickness,” by Rich Beckermeyer is in the Sac State Library’s Gallery right now. Beckermeyer is a photographer, filmmaker, and writer.

His work in this exhibition consists of very large photos, in the form of Dibold Metal Prints. This is where the ink is infused into the metal, aluminized metal. This makes the prints durable, water-proof, and shiny. Beckermeyer used his grandfather, and his failing health, as his subject. His goal was to engage with the overall conversation of aging, care, and end of life.

Many of his photographs are very close up, and all of them are very large. This gives such an intimacy to the viewer. It’s done in grayscale. The achromatic nature of the work gives it a little bit of emotional distance, and sets a tone of the past and memories, to the work. And, the shine to these types of metal prints always strike me as really springing them to life. It adds dimension to it, which highlights different aspects of the picture, as you move around.

We can see the small flakes of skin, coming off of the grandfather’s back. The oxygen tubing is blown up so large, and still is not contained inside the frame. The blow-up of a page of the bible is mostly blurry, because the grandfather was losing his sight, but it was still a huge part of his life. Making these items, these moments so large gives them such an emotional weight. You can feel how much these items meant to the artist, and/or his grandfather.

I personally really liked the print titled, “His Caregiver Walking Away From Her Childhood Home.” Nothing seems cleaned up for the shot. The tree branches he included in the shot add to the feeling of age to this home, further highlighted by the grayscale of the photo. The caregiver looks contemplative, with a touch of sadness. It was one that I kept going back to. I tried imagining what was going through her head. And, it could be a myriad of things, even when only put into the context of the rest of the show.

 

“The Sickness,” will be at Sacramento State’s Library Gallery until March 18th, 2017

Like what you’re reading? Listen to me, DJ Tray Squat laugh my way through our political system, on PoliPsycho. Every Wed. at 4-5pm on KSSU.COM

Losing my mind, and possibly my government…


imagesOne of the things I’ve been comforted by, since Trump’s election, is the amount of political participation. People are protesting, going to town halls, etc. It has made me think that, if we can sustain it, we may have a chance at stopping (at least) the worst of what’s happening in D.C. now. Because it is the only way we have of stopping it. It’s only been a month of Trump’s presidency, and already you can feel the fatigue. We can’t let the fatigue get to us. What is happening is seriously terrifying. It is threatening to slowly erode our democracy. I don’t think that Trump is Hitler, the comparison is insulting. And, I don’t think Trump is the only person threatening our free system in this country. I think there are a lot of congress people that are doing whatever they feel like doing, instead of representing the American people. But, if we can keep up the level of political awareness, and outrage, we can really shake up Congress in 2 years. I’m really hoping that we can vote out enough Republicans in Congress to get a majority. Then, at least, we can make it much more difficult for Trump in the last 2 years of his presidential term. And, even more hopefully, we can then vote Trump out. Amazingly, I feel like members of Congress are actually incentivizing people to vote them out of office. Since Trump has taken office, and done many things that scare people, or anger them, or both; people have begun to engage with their respective member of Congress. They’re going to town hall meetings, calling their representative’s offices, or e-mailing their Congress person. And, incredibly, Congress’ response has been to shove their fingers in their ears and shout “LALALALALALALAAAA, CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!” This makes me rage as much as Trump being president. Congress is supposed to represent the will of the people. They are supposed to be beholden to their constituents. But, now, they are shutting down lines of communication between them and the people they are supposed to be working for. Kellyanne Conway is telling them to ignore their constituents, that the only thing that matters is (what she calls) the “Real Person Impact” (R.P.I). She says that it only matters what “real” people think. Which I find directly insulting, apparently I’m not a real person. But, how does she determine what “real” people think anyway? She’s telling representatives to actively ignore constituents trying to make their voices heard. And, we know the Trump administration denounces polling data. So, how are they getting the information on what “real” people think, anyway? Over the weekend, our representatives went home to their districts. Of the 292 members of Congress, there were only 88 in-person town halls scheduled, and 35 of those were for ONE Congress person. Our members of Congress are instead opting for live-streaming town hall events online, where they can pre-screen any questions they decide to answer. But, that’s not all. Many Representatives are not answering their phones, or e-mails. We have people faxing their representatives, because it’s the only way they can get their voices heard by the people that are supposed to be representing their voices. I hope all these people hold on to their outrage over this, and actually vote these people out in 2 years. Because this is not how democracy is supposed to work.

The Oscar for Best Picture Goes to…


indexThe Oscar’s have nominated the movie Hidden Figures for Best Picture this year and a lot of people are ecstatic. The 2017 Annual Academy Awards will hit our televisions on February 26th at 5:30pm in Hollywood at the Dolby Theatre. Hidden Figures is based on a true story that reveals the history behind America’s first successful entry into outer space and shows how three African American women were erased from our textbooks. The film is monumental and inspirational due to its thought provoking story and an extraordinary cast who will awaken your deepest emotions.

Tahari P. Henson plays Katherine Johnson, a mathematical genius who developed the calculations to launch NASA in space, Octavia Spencer plays Dorothy Vaughn the “human” computer” of NASA, and finally singer and now renowned actress Janelle Monáe who became the first African American aerospace engineer after challenging the courts for her entry into a segregated school for training.

The film was set in the 1960s in a racially divided environment filled with tension and hostility. Ironically 57 years later when the film released, it seems America is still in a similar scenario. Antagonistic power dynamics showed the racist attitudes of this time; the hilarious and talented Jim Parsons stepped outside of his realm to play the rigid character of Paul Stafford, one of NASA’s engineers who had racial bias and a grudge against Katherine Johnson for having extraordinary mathematical talents. The gifted Henson will bring tears to your eyes as she struggles daily to use the restroom because the “colored” bathroom was placed several blocks away. The actor’s performances will have you speechless and sobbing into your popcorn.

Although there is no debate on the film’s deservingness for its nomination, there is some friendly competition among the other nominees for Best Picture that include “Fences,” “Lions,” and “Moonlight,” all of which are phenomenal films.

Director Theodore Melfi and producer Pharrell Williams also deserve some praise for helping retell such an incredible story that brings people together, but also for its huge success. Hidden Figures brought in more than $200 million domestically, more than tripling the cost of its production. The movie received an overall rating of A+ and has remained relevant in daily conversation.

Due to the current state of American society and politics, this film reminds us how far we have come in achieving equality. With the power of love, gratitude, and acceptance, we can transcend the impossible to create a world filled with peace, love, and understanding.

Art Street Fun


Palette.As an artist, I tend to flinch when someone goes up and touches another person’s art. Much of the time, art is made to just be observed. But, going to Art Street, and seeing different pieces that were designed to be interacted with, was a change that quite interesting. I had to get over the knee-jerk reaction of “why are you touching things?” That was a difficult feeling to get over. I’ve taken art history classes, where you learn of all the art damaged or lost forever. In the early 19th century, some frescoes from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece were stripped of their original color for aesthetic purposes, aesthetics of that time period. Art being handled, or exposed to camera flashes, etc. can slowly damage art over time. And, the art is someone else’s creation. I would usually feel strange, seeing people touching my work. But, art isn’t only one thing. Art is everywhere. Art is an experience. Art can be anything. DuChamp famously took a pre-made urinal, and signed his name to it. A joke, yes. But, also a statement, anything can be art. And, having art that engages more than one of the senses makes for some pretty interesting experiences. There’s a room with nooks cut out of the walls, lined with pillows to sit on. The nooks have headphones, with meditation style music playing through them. The room has a giant zen garden in the middle, lit up by green and yellow lights softly shimmering across the room. Another piece was made of moss, in a picture frame mounted on the wall, with a sign that says “Please touch me.” One piece, that was particularly popular with children in attendance, was a collage (in pieces) on several turnstiles. Depending on which way each of the turnstile collages were faced, and where you were standing, determined what type of collage you will see. Kids ran through these giant turnstiles, pushing them around and around, like they were playing in rotating doors. Having art that not only engaged your senses, but could be fun, is extremely smart. Kids are having a good time, and being exposed to art. I wasn’t just standing around, talking about the pieces, wondering if I could take a picture. I was standing inside the art, playing with it, feeling it. Everyone was having a good time, kids were going up to the open mic. Adults were closing their eyes, and really listening to the experience. We weren’t just staring, we were climbing inside, and living the experience. I think this kind of art needs to be around us much more than it is. Going to an art gallery, or museum, feels like a chore sometimes. Something to educate us, or our children. But, once you are there, you go out of your way to keep quiet. You’re afraid to take photos of the work. Adults with children are always on alert, making sure the kids aren’t wandering off breaking things. This isn’t a conducive environment to enjoy the art you came to see. And, it’s mostly boring for the children. I remember being dragged to museums. I didn’t want to be there. But, experiences like this make people interested in it, engaged with it more fully. It was a lot of fun.

Art Street by M5Arts is in Sacramento until Feb. 25th

 

If you are an artist at Sac State, and would like some of your art reviewed, contact me: DJTraySquat on facebook. And, listen to Poli-Psycho on KSSU.com every Wednesday at 6-7pm

Happy Trails to ‘Night Train’~~Javier Lopez


javier-lopez_jayne-kamin-onceaThe Giants are saying goodbye to another member from the championship runs in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Javier Lopez recently announced that he is retiring from baseball after 14 seasons in Major League Baseball. Lopez finished his career with an ERA of 3.48 and accumulated 30 wins to go along with 17 losses. He pitched in 839 games which translates into 533 innings pitched (he became a lefty specialist with the Giants, and so did not always pitch a full inning). Javy also recorded 358 strikeouts. All in all, Javier Lopez had a very solid career.

Lopez broke into the big leagues on April 1, 2003 with the Colorado Rockies. He spent another 2 seasons with Colorado before going to Arizona where he finished the 2005 season. In 2006, he went to the Boston Red Sox and won his first of 4 championships there. He was there until 2009. In 2010, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates and then was subsequently traded to the San Francisco Giants mid season. This is where Javier Lopez finally really made a home for himself.

Once he landed with the Giants, Javy’s career took off. He consistently posted very low ERA numbers and became the Giants secret weapon against tough left handed batters like Ryan Howard, Jay Bruce, and Adam LaRoche just to name a few. Lopez became an essential assent to the Giants during their playoff runs in all 3 World Series wins. It is my honest opinion that without ‘Night Train’, the Giants probably don’t win a few of those titles.

Giants fans soon came to love watching Lopez because of his fun and outgoing personality. When Jeremy Affeldt was with the Giants, (he retired at the end of the 2015 season) both Lopez and Affeldt seem to have a friendly competition to see who Bruce Bochy’s favorite left handed reliever was. It became YouTube material for fans to enjoy and appreciate. Lopez was instrumental in helping to maintain a clubhouse that had good chemistry. Every player got along with each other and having guys like Lopez, and Affeldt only helped to strengthen the relationship that the Giants players had then and still have today as we dawn upon the 2017 season.

There is some good news though for Giants fans. I recently heard that both Affeldt and Javier Lopez will be working in the Giants broadcast booth this season due to the health issues that Giants color commentator Mike Krukow is suffering from. Krukow said he is going to downgrade his workload to about 120 games this season, which will allow us fans to enjoy the vocal sounds of Mr. Lopez and Mr. Affeldt. It is sad that Mike Krukow has to work less because I have learned a lot about the game of baseball simply by listening to his commentary, and I still enjoy listening to him and Duane Kuiper, but at least we will be in good hands with the characters of these two former Giants.

So happy trails Javier Lopez! I hope that you enjoy life in retirement, I know your family will love having you around on a more permanent basis. I look forward to hearing you on the Giants broadcasts this season. Be well!

*insert Roy Rogers and Dale Evans singing “Happy Trails to You” with a sunset image*

Valentine’s Day Plans


imagesValentine’s Day is one of those days that people either look forward to or not. Depending on if you have a date or not is what will get you in a good mood. I personally never have a Valentine or try to have a Valentine that day. Its not because I’m a grouch towards the lovey dovey thing. I usually look at others and laugh at how silly they could get about the person they love by doing romantic things. Also, how sad and lonely people are because they don’t have a relationship, or are too afraid to ask their crush to be their Valentine. So what am I looking forward to on Valentine’s Day? Being my own date and treating myself to anything I want to do. Taking myself out to eat or calling some of my single friends to have a single night out is usually a good choice. It’s too much to make plans and believe they are gonna go as planned. It’s best to wake up and see what you prefer to do that day. If you all have someone special in your life go ahead and share the love. If you have a crush go ahead and ask them to be your Valentine. If you have plans enjoy them. If you don’t have plans treat yourself or ask some friends to celebrate with you. It’s a day to share love to others and yourself. It shouldn’t be a day full of expectations but surprises. For all of you who have class on Tuesday it’s okay. I am kind of upset because it’s on a Tuesday and not on the weekend for everyone to enjoy their entire day.

If you all are curious about how Valentine’s Day came about I think it would be a great idea to look up the story. It’s a beautiful story about a man falling in love with a woman. The way they met was interesting and the way it ended makes a lot of sense of the day celebrated. After learning about the story I have a better understanding about Valentine’s Day. It helped me realize that Valentine’s Day isn’t about dates or presents. It’s about sharing love to others and yourself. So to the readers, go out and share your love others or even yourself. I hope everyone enjoy their Valentine’s Day. Hopefully there is enough information provided here for someone to get an idea of something to do for that day. Enjoy yourselves and share your love. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

 

 

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Angela Davis: Revolutionary


indexBlack history month is a beautiful time dedicated to celebrating the triumphs, struggles, and successes of our African American ancestors who paved the way for a world we can all live amongst each other and celebrate diversity and equality through compassion. Mainstream activists who deservingly receive much appreciation include Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and the “controversial” Malcolm X. However, there is one extraordinary individual who also shook up America and changed history for us all.
Angela Davis, born in Birmingham AL on January 26th, 1944 is one of the greatest minds of the Civil Rights movement who often gets left out of the conversation during Black History Month. Angela Davis became involved in politics and activism at an early age when she attended Parker High school. In her junior year of high school, she was accepted into the Friends Service Committee, which helped move African American Children into integrated schools in the North.

 

However, Ms. Davis did not stop there! She was awarded a scholarship to Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts and continued her work with politics and activism. After finding her place in college, she became a student of a well respected philosopher named Herbert Marcuse, who gave her inspiration for achieving her dreams and career. In a 2007 interview, Davis stated:

 

“Herbert Marcuse taught me that it was possible to be an academic, an activist, a scholar, and a revolutionary.”

 

Davis lived up to those words through her involvement in the civil rights movement and the various books she has published. Not to mention being successfully released from jail in 1972 when she was charged with kidnapping and murder, but was found not guilty while simultaneously being the reason behind over 200 protests calling for her release. Angela’s struggle for equal rights makes her a controversial figure.

 

Angela Davis’s trial in 1972 and her involvement with the Black Panther’s Party brings along some debate about whether she is an appropriate civil rights activist to mention when discussing African American leaders. However, Ms. Davis still continues excellent work with politics, activism, and academics through her literature and involvement. Some of her most popular books include Women, Race, and Class, Women, Culture, and Politics, and Are Prisons Obsolete?

Many of Angela’s scholarly journals and articles can be found in the CSU library, which are great sources for research.

 

Davis is still heavily involved with politics and has recently appeared in a new Documentary called “13th“ where she provides her intellect and knowledge about the prison system in American society.

 

Many of the legendary civil rights activists are no longer with us, such as Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Malcolm X. It is both a gift and an honor to still have such an iconic figure with us still today. Black History Month celebrates the lives, the stories, and the experiences of African American people and dives into the creation of Black culture.

 

This blog is dedicated to the life of Angela Davis and her continuous work for women, people of color, and social justice.