My Pause in this Pandemic

By Queens College Library Ambassador 

Photo by fation hyso on Unsplash

As basic as it sounds, I believe it is important to stay positive. As the Spring semester of 2020 arrived, I decided to take a break from school because of family and health-related matters. Initially, I felt guilty and ashamed that I did not feel it was a priority to complete school at that moment. However, when the pandemic hit, I felt relieved that I did not have to adjust to such a drastic change in my learning environment. Instead, I felt that switching to remote learning so abruptly would have negatively affected my grades. I was thankful that I did not have to adjust to the class style change mid-semester. However, the pandemic, along with my semester-long break, allowed me to create drastic changes in myself.

I strived to reach the goal to be “put together” and “well-rounded.” I was always searching for the reason why I was never satisfied with myself. Was it because I did not follow the typical life plan that many parents expect out of their children? Was it the amount that I have and/or have not achieved? Was it more personal, such as my self-confidence? I strived to be someone I was proud of, yet I did not know how to go about it. Just like many other problems, I began problem-solving by identifying the issues that really held value for me. The time I had allowed during this pandemic gave me the opportunity to learn that such things as success and confidence cannot be quantified and should not define who I am. What is important is to be someone that you are proud of. To be “put together” and “well-rounded” means to prioritize your own morals and values and focus on what makes you happy and at peace.

My disappointment in myself and, surprisingly, the pandemic pushed me not only to strive to graduate but mature in the mind, body, and soul. During my break, I lost a significant amount of weight to tackle my journey to success in becoming physically healthy. Of course, my weight loss was an accomplishment, but there was much more than that. I developed the ability to be compassionate on a deeper level due to this pandemic. I find it an accomplishment that I value my self-worth by allowing myself to step back and think of my well-being rather than to graduate just to graduate. I understand that everything really has a deeper meaning. During this pandemic, I can see the world from a different perspective where, frankly, I believe I would have never had an opportunity to experience without the pandemic.

Although the pandemic has led to a significant number of deaths, I feel it is important to use the opportunity to turn it around and make the best of it, whether it is personal goals or fighting for what you believe in on a much larger scale. I strive to continue learning new ways to expect more out of myself and to one day contribute back to society. 

When the Summer of 2020 arrived, I was able to adjust to the new school style. I am sure the transition to online courses with just one class in the summer was smoother than it was for the students in the previous semester. For the coming semesters, I expect online learning to be a standard way of learning. I believe an in-person school setting is most ideal. However, I think it is just as important for the educational system to use this opportunity to find new ways to assist students in learning.

I feel CUNY is doing a great job providing students with the resources they need to succeed. However, improvements can always be made no matter how satisfied I am with CUNY’s response to the pandemic. One area of improvement can be finding an ideal platform for lectures. My classes have been very back and forth where some platforms are more ideal to me than others. 

My advice to everyone is to reevaluate your situation and find positivity out of it to grow as a person.

* Photo by fation hyso on Unsplash

Queens College Music Library has Launched Online Exhibits

By Michael Deering

The Queens College Music Library is excited to launch their new Online Exhibit, today, March 22, 2021! The exhibit is one part of the Music Library’s goal to broaden repertoire selections. To this end, the exhibit features the musical contributions of composers, performers, and researchers from underrepresented communities. It also features work and stories from the Aaron Copland School of Music community. 

This exhibit will be updated each month with a new focus. For March, we are focusing on a few amazing women in music, including Dr. Samantha Ege who will be livestreaming a lecture in partnership with ACSM on March 24th at 2 PM. It will be aired live and will remain available on Youtube.

To stay up to date with our new exhibits be sure to follow the Music Library’s social media page(s).

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Dec. 2020)

by Michael Deering

Although we are almost out of 2020, let’s not rush through this holiday season! Though it may be a bit quieter than usual, this season should be a time of good will towards all. Stay in touch with loved ones and if you need some entertainment for yourself, or to share with others, here are some excellent free events from Queens College and beyond to bring into your homes. Warmest wishes from myself and all of us at Benjamin Rosenthal Library!

Music

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 7:30PM: The Queens College New Music Group presents a concert of New Works for Mixed Ensembles. This group consists of Aaron Copland School of Music composers who are interested in the many directions music is going.
  • Wednesday, December 9 at 7:30PM: Join the Queens College Choral Society, Vocal Ensemble and Treble Choir for an Evening of Choral Music! One highlight will be the world premiere of Karen Siegel’s Meditation for live remote choir including a Q&A with the composer.
  • Thursday, December 10 and Thursday, December 17 at 7PM: The Louis Armstrong House presents short films featuring projects inspired by Louis Armstrong. Inside the Laughing Barrel will air on the 10th followed by Letters on the 17th. Register for the free live streams here.
  • Thursday, December 10 at 8PM:  Jazz Foundation of America Presents Bird Calls, a COVID-19 Musicians’ Emergency Fund Digital Concert featuring the music of, and the music inspired by, Charlie Parker. RSVP here.
  • Friday, December 11 through Friday, December 18: The US-China Music Institute presents the China and Beethoven Festival. The virtual festival will showcase how Beethoven’s legacy is more relevant than ever and also explore Beethoven’s legacy in China as a heroic figure during the changing politics of the 20th century and China’s oscillating affiliation with Western classical music. Register here!
  • Saturday, December 19 at 3PM: The Kupferberg Center for the Arts brings Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Elena Moon Park to your screens. Enjoy a set of reimagined folk and children’s songs from East Asia. Join her to sing and dance along to Taiwanese train songs, Korean and Chinese New Year’s songs. RSVP here!

Literature

  • Tuesday, December 8 at 7PM: Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents Off the Page: Cherríe Moraga and Vanessa Pérez-Rosario in Conversation. Cherríe Moraga is an internationally acclaimed poet and author who has been active since the 1980s. You can learn more about her and RSVP for the free event here.  
  • Wednesday, December 9 at 7PM: Catch the worldwide facebook premiere of The Library that Dolly Built. This documentary traces icon Dolly Parton’s history that led her to create the Imagination Library which provides free literature for young children. RSVP for this feel great premiere here!
  • Thursday, December 17 at 3PM: We think having free access to these cultural riches is something to celebrate! This event will bring together a diverse group of organizations, musicians, artists, activists, and thinkers to highlight the new works entering the public domain in 2021 and discuss those elements of knowledge and creativity that are too important to a healthy society to lock down with copyright law. Register for Public Domain Day here!

Theatre

  • Available December 10 through December 11: Christopher Plummer and Nikki M. James star in the Stratford Festival’s 2008 production of the George Bernard Shaw play, Caesar and Cleopatra. 
  • Friday, December 11 at 8PM through December 15: Lesli Margherita stars in Who’s Holiday? A solo play by Matthew Lombardo about middle-aged Cindy Lou Who, who recalls the night she first met the Grinch. Filmed Off-Broadway at the Westside Theatre in 2017. You can catch this play and a ton of other impressive and hysterical productions on Broadway Cares Youtube channel! 
  • Available through December 24: Milwaukee Rep is making their 2016 production of the classic, Mark Clement’s A Christmas Carol, available through Christmas Eve. Be sure to fill out this form to receive the link! 

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Nov. 2020)

by Michael Deering

Do you fight with family for the best parts of the turkey or is it all about the sides? Even if you cannot be with the whole family this year, we wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! If you’re anything like me, you run from holiday music that starts too early. So here are a bunch of events that you won’t avoid!

Theatre

  • Ongoing through December 4: William Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing recorded in 2019 at Shakespeare in the Park. Available as part of PBS Great Performances. 
  • Ongoing through December 4: Alfred Molina with Alfred Enoch star in Red, John Logan’s award winning play about painter Mark Rothko. Also from PBS, this was filmed in 2018 at the Wyndham’s Theatre in London. 

Music

  • Tuesday, November 17 at 4 PM: Alex Conde performs, as part of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts’ Music Makers series. Drawing on the rich traditions of jazz and flamenco, he creates a contemporary fusion of both genres. 
  • Saturday, November 21 at 3 PM: The Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents “The Jazz Queens of Queens,” a program for youth and families about female jazz legends who’ve called Queens home. Vocalist and curator Claudia Zanes explores the lives and music of Eva Taylor, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne.  
  • Ongoing: Fridays at 8:00PM through November: The Beacon Jams, streamed live from the historic NYC venue, features a variety of performances and audience interaction. Hosted by guitarist Trey Anastasio.

Art

Dance

  • Sunday, November 22 at 7:30PM: Lincoln Center presents New York is Burning performed by Les Ballet Afrik. This is an homage celebrating the 30th anniversary of the documentary Paris is Burning. It reflects the aspirations, desires and yearnings of a diverse group of dancers for which the dance company serves as a surrogate family during yet another period where health, race, and financial crises continue to brew.

Thanksgiving

  • Thursday, November 26 at 9 AM: The 93rd annual Macy’s Day Parade will be airing on TV and at NBC.com with a rebroadcast later at 2 PM. While it won’t follow it’s usual route through NYC, I will still be watching my favorite balloons, floats, and live performers in my pajamas.
  • Thursday, November 26 at 7 PM: Give thanks to nurses across the globe with Oprah Winfrey as she hosts Nurse Heroes Live! Performances from Black Eyed Peas, Andrea Bocelli, and Gloria Estefan just to name a few! 

Culture Watch: October Special Update

by Michael Deering

October is in its final third, bringing with it Halloween spirit and International Open Access Week! You can always check back to our original October Culture Watch post here, but below I detailed new events through the end of the month.

It is the 13th year of International Open Access Week! It celebrates free and accessible resources focusing on digital scholarly literature. You can read all about The Open Movement here. Hopefully you’ve caught some of the events so far, but OA Week continues through this weekend with events hosted by institutions all around the world.

Halloween and Dia de los Muertos events to check out:

Saturday, October 31 at 1PM: The Fest, a multi-day rock festival that was postponed to 2021, will be streaming on what would have been its final day via their facebook page. 

Saturday, October 31 at 4PM: Theater for the New City is holding their annual Village Halloween Costume Ball virtually for the first time in over 40 years. The first two hours of the event are geared towards younger audiences before things get a little spookier. The night includes fortune tellers and costume contests you can enter beforehand. All information and the stream can be found at their website: https://theaterforthenewcity.net/wp-tnc/

Sunday, November 1 at 3PM: California cemetery Forest Lawn continues its tradition of bringing authentic Dia de los Muertos celebrations to the community. The event can be viewed on Forest Lawn’s facebook page.

Sunday, November 1 at 3PM: Harvard’s Peabody Museum will be bringing their annual Dia de los Muertos party to Zoom this year. Featuring crafts and other downloadable hands on activities, this should be a great event for all ages and includes a candle lighting in honor of those we’ve lost. This event is free but registration is required! Event details can be found here.

Tuesday, November 3rd is Election Day. No matter what you are voting for or how you are voting, VOTE!

Arts Venues Adapt: A conversation with Kupferberg Center’s Julia del Palacio

by Michael Deering

Throughout the pandemic, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with individuals all around Queens College about their experiences working through the pandemic. I recently spoke with Julia del Palacio, of QC’s Kupferberg Center for the Arts. It was interesting to hear about the Center’s transition to virtual events, and to hear about Julia’s personal transition to remote work.

MD: Hi Julia, thank you for doing this! To start out, what is your title and how long have you worked at Kupferberg Center for the Arts?

JD: It’s my pleasure! My title is Director of Strategic Partnership and Development, and I’ve been at Kupferberg Center for six years.

MD: Before COVID, what was your average workday or workweek like?

JD: I would leave home at around 8:15 with coffee in hand, make it into the office at around 9, and check in with Kupferberg Center’s Executive Director and AVP of Governmental and External Affairs for the College, Jeff Rosenstock. We would chat about the day, approaching deadlines, the news, and anything else related to what we do. The morning would go quickly and then I’d have lunch with my colleagues Liza and Maria, or at my desk. I’d attend meetings in Colden Auditorium, the Student Union, Rosenthal Library, or the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. I would move around the campus quite a bit, actually. That went on until 5 and then I’d either stay for an on-campus event or go home. 

MD: How has this changed as a result of the pandemic? What does a typical remote work day look like for you?

JD: These days I check in with Jeff from my desk at home, drink my coffee there. I usually also have my lunch at the desk as well as all my meetings. I’m not moving around as much or seeing as many people. It’s a little sad, come to think of it.

MD: I’m glad you reached out about Kupferberg’s virtual programs as they are a perfect fit for our Culture Watch blog posts about virtual cultural events. Was Kupferberg streaming events before the pandemic? How did these programs come into being?

JD: Kupferberg Center was not streaming virtually before the pandemic. We present a large variety of events both on and off campus, so we never saw the need to stream, since we were already reaching a large and diverse audience, and let’s face it, people weren’t watching whole concerts online as much. Once it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to open our theaters for many months, we started putting our online programming together. It took a little while, but we are now very much up and running. We presented a widely successful summer concert series and are now excited for our fall season, which started with the kick-off concert for our Music Makers: An Alumni Concert Series, featuring graduates from the Aaron Copland School of Music. Going forward, we will have visual arts, literature, family programming, and theater events most weeks.

MD: It’s great that Kupferberg is using resources from Queens College for a lot of these programs. The Godwin-Ternbach Museum and alumni from the Aaron Copland School of Music for example. How do you go about selecting artists to present these programs?

JD: We have incredible talent and resources on our campus, for sure. The Godwin-Ternbach Museum is directed by Maria Pio and Louise Weinberg, who do all the curatorial and programming work. Since the Museum is part of the Kupferberg Center umbrella, we’re happy to be co-presenting their new exhibition, “Human Nature: Portraits from the Permanent Collection” and some of the programming that will accompany it. Maria, Louise, and President Wu will actually be chatting about the exhibition online via Kupferberg Center’s social media on September 29 at 7pm. In terms of the alumni series, a lot of the work was done via recommendations from other graduates and ACSM’s faculty. We’re excited to have chosen a diverse roster that features alums Sofia Tosello, Jan Kus, Alex Conde, and Alberto Jimenez with their respective ensembles. 

MD: Beyond entertainment, are there any messages or goals that the Kupferberg Center is hoping to share with its audiences through programming?

JD: We hope that the programming that we’re offering gives audiences a much-needed respite from the constant flow of (not-so-good) news and the daily grind of home offices and distant learning. Our message is one of collaboration, diversity, and celebration of our Queens community and the myriad cultures that come together in our borough and New York City.

MD: I want to thank you again for reaching out and for taking the time to speak with me! For my last question: Do you have any favorite virtual events that either already occurred or is upcoming?

JD: All of our events have been and will be fantastic! If you twist my arm, however, I’d highly recommend Nixtaband and Claudia Valentina from our summer concerts (which can be watched on our YouTube channel), and the Alex Conde flamenco piano concert of November 17. We will have programming pretty much every single week, so check out our calendar at www.kupferbergcenter.org and join us!

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Oct. 2020)

by Michael Deering

October is in swing! Autumn colors are starting to appear and Halloween is coming! This month, we tapped more of our own Queens College venues including the Kupferberg Center for the Arts and the Godwin-Ternbach Museum of Art.

Theatre

  • From Friday, October 9 through Thursday, October 15: Brooklyn venue St. Anne’s Warehouse will be streaming a trilogy of Shakespeare on film beginning with Julius Caesar. Entirely cast by women, the trilogy was filmed at Donmar Warehouse in London and is hailed as “one of the most important theatrical events of the last twenty years” by The Observer.
  • From Friday, October 16 through Thursday, October 22: St. Anne’s Warehouse brings Henry IV to your home this week. 
  • From Friday, October 23 through Thursday, October 29: The trilogy of Shakespeare on film presented by St. Anne’s Warehouse ends with a personal favorite of mine: The Tempest.
  • Friday, October 30 through Sunday November 1: In case you missed any, all three of the Shakespeare on Film will be available this weekend from St. Anne’s Warehouse!

Music

  • Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30PM: This month, The Met Opera will be featuring one composer each week in their Nightly Opera Streams – which makes an opera available for 23 hours beginning each night at 7:30PM. The first week in October is Wagner Week. Wednesday night they will show the first part of the infamous Ring Cycle: Das Rheingold. The other three will be featured the following nights.
  • Monday, October 12 at 7:30PM: The Met Opera begins Donizetti Week. My favorite L’Elisir d’Amore, will be airing on Wednesday evening.
  • Tuesday, October 20 at 7PM: The Kupferberg Center of the Arts presents the Slavo Rican Assembly. The SRA unites some of the most notable musicians from the Caribbean and the Slavic worlds today. I have had the pleasure of seeing Jan Kus perform before. As a saxophone player and bandleader, he blends rich musical traditions from around the world in immensely entertaining and engaging ways. Followed by a Q&A session.

Literature

Poetry

  • Friday, October 16 at 12PM: Poets House broadcasts Canadian poet, essayist and translator Lisa Robertson reads prose from The Baudelaire Fractal.
  • Friday, October 30 at 12PM: Poet and writer Yona Harvey reads from her forthcoming collection You Don’t Have To Go To Mars for Love. Presented by Poets House.

Art

  • Ongoing: Need some art? The Godwin-Ternbach Museum resides on Queens College Campus but has been delivering virtual exhibitions and gallery talks to our screens at home. HUMAN/Nature: Portraits From the Permanent Collection is available as a virtual exhibit with information to pair with the art!
  • Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00PM: Join artist Azikiwe Mohammed as he talks us through his gallery from the Godwin-Ternbach Museum. Azikiwe hopes to offer a look at what Black people look like as told by Black people, not to / at Black people, as is too often the case. Registration is free but required.
  • Wednesday, October 28 at 6:00PM: In this Artist Talk, Queens College alumna and artist Deja Patterson will address how the ideals of beauty have changed throughout the course of history. Presented by The Godwin-Ternbach Museum. Registration is free but required.

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Sept. 2020)

by Michael Deering

Culture Watch – Back to school edition! No matter what your September brings, Culture Watch is here to highlight free events to enjoy from the comfort of your home.

Lastly – and most importantly – we wish everyone a safe and happy start to the school year!

Music

  • Ongoing: Thursdays at 4PM: Norah Jones continues to perform short and charming sets live on facebook each week. 
  • Tuesday, 9/8 at 7:30PM: The Metropolitan Opera’s Nightly Streams continue with Gounod’s realization of Romeo and Juliet. Nightly Opera Streams remain available until 7PM the following day to make way for the next opera.
  • Tuesday, 9/22 at 7:00PM: Sofia Tosello’s Chuño Experimental – Latin American traditional music will be bringing their sounds to our homes thanks to Queens Colleges own Kupferberg Center for the Arts. This is Part of their Music Makers: An Alumni Concert Series, which features graduates from the Aaron Copland School of Music.
  • Wednesday, 9/23 at 10:30AM: National Radio Series is featuring the music of George Crumb for Program 52. Crumb’s music is wholly unique and magical. It will be permanently available once it is posted on The Chamber Music Society website
  • Friday through Sunday, 9/25 – 9/27 at 8PM: The Monterey Jazz Festival will be live on Youtube starting at 8PM each night. 

Art

  • Monday, September 14 at 6:30PM and Wednesday, September 16 at 2PM: The Guggenheim is taking a look at previous rotunda installations. These works make use of Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique architecture to create something powerful. Space is limited, RSVP here.
  • Tuesday, September 29 at 7:00: Housed at Queens College, The Godwin-Ternbach Museum will introduce everyone their newest exhibit: Human/Nature: Portraits from the Permanent Collection. This program is being presented by The Kupferberg Center for the Arts.

Comedy

Nature

Storytelling

  • Ongoing: The National Theatre has a unique new program for children. Madame Kalamazoo will send handcrafted tales starring your young one right to your inbox. It is free but will require signing up here.

Culture Watch: QC Library Recommends (Aug. 2020)

by Michael Deering

August Culture Watch coming through! Here is our latest roundup of free entertainment and events to enjoy from the comfort of your home. Enjoy!

Music

  • Ongoing: Lincoln Center has the 2013 production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Carousel, available through September 8.
  • Thursday, August 6 at 5PM: The QC Aaron Copland School of Music has started a new online lecture series called QClass. This week features renowned viola soloist Brett Deubner discussing self management and artistic leadership.
  • Thursday, August 6 at 7:30PM: The Metropolitan Opera’s nightly stream is Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. It will be available until the following evening.
  • Friday, August 7 at 2PM: Lincoln Center brings Ms. Yvonne to explore body percussion and dance in this week’s Pop-Up Classroom that will air on facebook.
  • Thursday, August 13 at 5PM: ACSM Orchestra Director Mark Powell addresses artist strategies to continue growing artistically and personally during pandemic time.
  • Sunday, August 9 at 7:30 PM: The Nightly Opera Stream from The Met Opera is Mozart’s opera buffa Don Giovanni.

Theatre

  • Ongoing: Noël Coward’s comedy Present Laughter is available until August 29th courtesy of PBS.
  • Ongoing: PBS makes Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing available through September 12.

Comedy

Nature

Storytelling

  • Ongoing: The National Theatre has a unique new program for children. Madame Kalamazoo will send handcrafted tales starring your young one right to your inbox. It is free but will require signing up here.

Art

  • Thursday, August 6 at 12PM: What Makes a Photograph? This is the question being explored during this episode of Art History from Home by The Whitney Museum of American Art. Discuss everyday cell phone shots alongside works from the museum’s collections. It is free but make sure you register!
  • Friday, August 14 at 2PM: Lincoln Center’s Pop-Up Classroom will be using recycled materials to create woven paper projects with Ms. Taryn.
  • Friday, August 21 at 10AM: The Whitney presents Verbal Description Online, a monthly class to allow the visually impaired to experience and appreciate art. This event is free but space is limited, so be sure to reach out to the contact on the event page.
  • Friday, August 21 at 1PM: Have extra wire hangers and milk cartons lying around? Try your hand making suspended sculptures with help from The Whitney during their program Artmaking From Home. Free with Registration.

Dance

  • Ongoing: Tuesdays at 3PM: The New York City Ballet is hosting Virtual Access. Free movement classes for individuals with disabilities. Tuesday classes are designed for teens and adults. These classes happen over Zoom. Register for the classes here.
  • Ongoing: Wednesdays at 12PM: The New York City Ballet’s program Virtual Access is for younger participants on Wednesdays. Register for the Zoom classes here.