With over 1.3 million views and counting PSY’s Gangnam Style doesn’t seem to be going out of style, yet if asked, many American’s would probably tell you that they’ve heard enough – especially after that disastrous Pistachio commercial. The last thing I want is for Psy to overstay his U.S. welcome just as he has gotten his foot in the door. Psy’s charm and ability to cross the cultural divide through catchy hooks and sweet dance moves is just what is needed to bring more KPOP to mainstream America.
Just as Psy is planning on making his next move with his new manager, Scooter Braun, another KPOP group has been making waves on the American front: Girls Generation (aka: SNSD) with their hit song, I Got a Boy.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this song is going to be a crossover hit like Gangnam Style. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, the video is eye catching. Yes, the vocals are fierce and the girls give you everything from pop to rap to R&B. But, it’s a little too slick, it’s a little too polished, it’s a little too manufactured. America is taking baby steps here and there isn’t anything for the average American to latch on to. I mean, you have to keep in mind that most people initially fell in love with Gangnam Style for the horse dance. The choreography in I Got a Boy is extremely difficult and intricate. Not something that most people watching the video can catch on to.
However, there are a plethora of tasty fashions going on in that video. It is a veritable feast of KPOP styling and I personally love every second of it. My favorite new trend in KPOP fashion is the “swear hat”. I find it hysterical. Maybe because it is written in English and is so offensive here in America? I’m not really sure. Maybe they’re getting back at us for all the poorly done Asian inspired tattoos? Either way – hysterical.
Girls Generation, Sunny
A group that I think has excellent potential of actually making a break into the American mainstream is MFBTY (My Fans Better Than Yours). Silly name, but don’t question their music. The project group, made up of husband and wife duo Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae and Korean rapper, Bizzy haven’t been together long, but what they have produced has been solid and ready rock the charts. Although all three artists have solo projects on the horizon one can hope that there is a long future for MFBTY and many more hits out there. MFBTY has a unique and fun style that is catchy with just the right mix of English and Korean to cross that great cultural divide without needing a kitschy dance to entertain the masses.
Now, for your viewing pleasure, I give you Sweet Dreams. You’re Welcome.
For many Kansans the past eighteen months have been wrought with disappointment and fear for the arts, but now there is a new hope on the horizon: the Creative Arts Commission. As discussed in The Future of the Arts in Kansas, debate over funding of the arts has been a hot topic ever since Governor Brownback cut all funding for the Kansas Arts Commission in 2011. In April 2012 the Kansas State Senate voted in the new Creative Arts Commission and under pressure from the people of Kansas, the Governor approved $700,000 needed in funding for the commission.
Kansas Art Industry Infographic by Beth Cook
The Creative Industries Commission will house the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission. Its role as the Kansas Arts Commission will be to support non-profit arts organizations through grants, professional development, and other programs. It will support individual artists as well as communities. Also, in its new capacity, the commission will work within the arts, education, and business communities to foster an atmosphere of learning and creativity in education as well as develop and retain businesses that prosper in creative populations. The commission also intends to promote Kansas as the creative hub of the United States.
The arts are an important part of the Kansas economy, bringing $153.5 million dollars annually into the state and providing over 4,000 full-time jobs.
Few can say they’ve had the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Fernando de Noronha. Located just off the coast of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean, Fernando de Noronha consists of 21 islands protected by the Brazilian government. The island was named a marine national park in 1988 and only 420 tourists are allowed on the island at a time.
If you are one of the fortunate few to visit this treasure trove of natural beauty, you will be treated to a marvel of scenic vistas and bountiful aquatic life. The islands rugged landscape includes towering rock formations, rushing waterfalls and natural swimming pools. Tucked beneath jagged cliffs and caves lurk exquisite white sand beaches. The waters off Fernando de Noronha are filled with colorful fish, spinning dolphins, lobsters, turtles, sponges and corals, making it a favorite diving and snorkeling location.
One of the main reasons why this group of islands is so important to our ecosystem is that it is where the spinning dolphins come to mate, at the Baia dos Golfinhos. These gentle creatures are known to leap spinning into the air, and Fernando de Noronha is one of the few places in the world where there are actual dolphin-breeding colonies.
Fernando de Noronha is also the nesting grounds for the aruanã sea turtles. In November the turtles can be observed in groups on the water surface, when the adult males fight over the females, which marks the beginning of the reproduction period for this species. From December through May the females come to these beaches during the night to lay the eggs, which incubate for fifty days. Fernando de Noronha is one of the few places on earth that this ancient cycle of marine life can be observed.
For more information about the enchanting island of Fernando de Noronha you can visit their official website.
Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwest Colorado, is a World Heritage Site home to over 5,000 archeological sites, including over 600 cliff dwellings built by Ancestral Pueblo People. The Puebloan people inhabited Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, for 700 years, between the years AD 600 to 1300.
I recently visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri where they have lager than life shuttlecocks on their front lawn. As I roamed the finely manicured lawns I witnessed several people taking photographs of the shuttlecocks. Seeing this got me thinking. When you photograph someone else’s artwork, do you own that photograph?
For the most part in these situations, people are just capturing memories and aren’t using the photographs for capital, social, or political gain and most artists don’t mind having their art photographed in this way. However, if a photographer is shooting the photo for professional photo shoot, having another person’s artwork anywhere in the photograph without having obtained permission first could create a major problem.
In a recent phone interview, Graphic Designer Linh Trieu shared her thoughts, “I’ve found my photographs and artwork on other websites before promoting events that I had no idea about and it’s very frustrating. I put a lot of hard work into that and they think they’re going to get it for free? Yeah, right.”
Artwork itself can be a wide variety of things ranging from paintings or sculptures and craft items, to architectural works, jewelry, clothing, toys or other artistic works.
Copyright and intellectual property laws are very tricky issues and ones that many people tend to ignore when it comes to photography. Only the artist/owner of a copyright is legally allowed to reproduce the copyrighted work. Taking a photograph of a copyrighted work amounts to reproducing that work. Legally, before you take a photograph of any work of art you need written permission from the artist or copyright owner. Photographers charged with copyright infringement may have to pay damages or legal costs to the artist or copyright owner.
In this new digital age do we still have freedoms of speech that we used to? You hear stories all the time of people getting fired or kicked out school for what they say or post on sites such as Facebook or Twitter and now we’ve had our first official mobile Internet shut down to control the populous. Even if we don’t own the internet should we still have the right to say whatever we want on it?
For the past several years, arts advocates have been making their case for the benefits of arts in the education system at a time when many American’s are consumed with a market-driven culture and schools are focused on meeting federal standards. Art brings joy and evokes our humanity, these advocates claim.
Although joy and humanity are valuable on any level, there’s more to it than that. Strengthening the case for the arts has become increasingly essential. School budget cuts and the move toward standardized testing have profoundly threatened the role of the arts in schools. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, passed in 2002, the federal government started assessing school districts by their students’ scores on reading and mathematics tests.
As a result, according to a study by the Center on Education Policy, school districts across the United States increased the time they devoted to tested subjects—reading/language arts and math—while cutting spending on non-tested subjects such as the visual arts and music. The more a school fell behind, by NCLB standards, the more time and money was devoted to those tested subjects, with less going to the arts.
The core value and purpose of the educational system is to build a healthy and equitable society. An education in the arts endeavors to do this by creating and providing equitable opportunities for students to become healthy, knowledgeable citizens – conscious, informed, respectful and engaged – prepared to deal with and influence change, and to contribute to a diverse, interdependent community. Schools provide learning environments for students to develop tools and life skills to dispel ignorance, to see what is, and to imagine what is possible. These tools and skills will allow them to realize their potential and that of the community and society.
President Obama once said, “The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.” Without arts as a staple of education teaching young people how to use their imagination where does that leave the future? Hundreds of art programs across the country are being cut due to lack of funding in our education systems.
In today’s world of high stakes testing, art is in danger of being pushed aside as a non-essential subject. School administrators are faced with tough decisions when it comes to making budget cuts. They need to put financial backing into subjects that are tested in nation-wide assessments in order to get more federal funding or even just to stay open.
A 2005 report by the Rand Corporation about the visual arts argues that the intrinsic pleasures and stimulation of the art experience do more than sweeten an individual’s life. According to the report, they “can connect people more deeply to the world and open them to new ways of seeing,” creating the foundation to forge social bonds and community cohesion. And strong arts programming in schools helps close a gap that has left many a child behind: From Mozart for babies to tutus for toddlers to family trips to the museum, the children of affluent, aspiring parents generally get exposed to the arts whether or not public schools provide them. Low-income children, often, do not. “Arts education enables those children from a financially challenged background to have a more level playing field with children who have had those enrichment experiences,” says Eric Cooper, president and founder of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education.
Budget shortcomings are costing American children their arts education. At the expense of this loss are the creative outlets for millions of children, and the overworking of art teachers. Budget makers and politicians see math and reading as the gold standard of education, but fail to see the enormous benefits of art education.