On the corner of Ascan Boulevard and Austin Street, sits Bonelle Pastry Shop, a staple of Forest Hills, Queens for the last 23 years. In between the bustling, four-way intersection of brisk-walking New Yorkers and car horns, the smell of fresh baked goods greets customers as they walk through the doorway, a comforting aroma in these cold winter months.
Ana Sanchez has been an instructor at Stony Brook University’s Craft Center for two years, teaching students and Long Island residents the skills to make pottery pieces. Sanchez was originally born in Brooklyn, but has traveled to many countries across Europe studying her craft, and now lives on Long Island.
I was put in touch with Ana by members of the Craft Center. I had to get approval from the Art department to shoot, and needed to find a teacher willing to let me photograph her class. Ana was a great subject, and lived a very interesting life fully dedicated to artistic endeavors. Her class also welcomed me with open arms.
I had difficulty adjusting to the light in the room for whatever reason. As a result, some of the photos had a lot of grain in them, which is difficult to remove, even in Photoshop. I enjoyed learning something I had never known about in the process of doing this piece, and I like Ana’s passion and dedication to teaching.
I rolled around on the dusty ground, and was definitely a little dirty after the shoot. My nose was a little stuffy too. Clay residue is not pleasant. But overall I enjoyed doing the piece. The only hangup was that there was not much usable natural sound, because the pottery wheel did not sound clear on the audio recorder, and there was not much else to use besides Ana’s voice.
Tara Conry, a journalist for Newsday, visited the class of JRN 320 at Stony Brook University bright and early Friday morning to give advice to budding journalists. Here are my top 3 takeaways:
1. Journalism from a phone is still journalism. Not only are photos, videos, and quick phone uploads acceptable in journalism… they are welcome additions. Because of the ease of access and the ability to instantly upload, taking photos and videos from your phone can give viewers up-to-date coverage faster than any other medium. A phone is also discreet and can go where larger cameras can’t, so you can infiltrate non-journalist-friendly areas.
2. Find an angle even in a simple story. Even as simple as a homecoming– stuff that happens frequently– you can find a more interesting approach to covering it. There is always an angle you can take with an interesting person that is a part of the story, and make the story go through that character.
3. Have your eyes and ears open. It’s important for a reporter to be a sponge, and always be on the lookout for the next story.More than that, hearing or seeing something can cue you into a story that no one else has any idea about. Maybe you are covering a crime, and you overhear cops talking to one another about sensitive information that the public is not privy too. You, as a reporter, now have a great clue to pursue, and are ahead of other reporters in the hunt for the scoop.
Overall, Conry had a lot of insights to offer. She was relatable to the class, both as a journalist and a recent graduate, since the economic landscape and social media sphere has changed dramatically the last few years, and as future journalists that’s what we will be dealing with moving forward.
The performance began at 8:20 A.M and ended promptly at 8:46 A.M, coinciding with the exact time the first plane struck the twin towers.
Despite the early start, hundreds gathered at the Josie Robertson Plaza in Lincoln Center to watch the performance.
“They have a beautiful way of moving,” said Marco Marabotto, a resident of Williamsburg who found out about the show online. “It was very peaceful, and for a short time everyone was just focused on one thing…peace.” For Marabotto, the performance brought him back to that day 13 years ago. His mother used to live on Fulton street, and he remembers crossing the bridge from Williamsburg to Manhattan as the towers started collapsing. He was unable to reach her and his sister for some time, and would later learn that his uncle had died in the attacks. “Imagine going to work and never coming back,” he said. “Watching the dancers now, I could literally see and feel their pain. It made me cry.”
Helping to lead the performance was bell-master Terese Capucilli. “The drum is the inner heartbeat of the work,” she said. “ My job is to keep the pace of the work. Be the thread woven into the work, because it needs peace to build up.”
She uses a tibetan meditation bell; two small circles drawn together with a thin leather strap. Despite its small size, you can make out its distinct “ping” in between the drum cadences. Since the dancers have no way to check the time, her cues help the dancers transition between routines, culminating in a minute of silence at 8:46. During the performance, Capucilli was moved to tears. “I got so emotional. I’ve never walked like that before,” she said.
Most of the performers are visibly emotional when the ceremony is over. After the show, many of them hug each other, as well as friends and relatives in the crowd. Capucilli stops to give a hug to one of the youngest dancers in the group, 15-year-old Sydney Pelletier-Martinelli. Sydney, who lost her dad in the attacks, has been dancing in this performance for the last two years. “When I’m dancing I feel at peace. It’s a way to connect,” she said. For Pelletier-Martinelli, 9/11 is almost surreal. She is too young to remember the events, and has learned most of what she knows through school and YouTube. “She’s a gem,” said Capucilli. “A lot of our performers were so young when it happened, but they are conscious of the world, and the state of the world around them.”
The performance reached out globally as well. According to video producer Nel Shelby, the live stream of the event was viewed in 46 countries, with as many as 600 people viewing it at any given moment. Shelby is in charge of the video feed, which comes on from three different cameras, as well as the sound, which comes from four separate mics; two on the drums, one in the crowd, and one by the flutes. “The biggest thing is making sure the internet works,” she joked. To date, the YouTube stream has been viewed over 11,000 times.
The Buglisi Theatre plans to be back next year to perform once again.
Though many years have passed since the tragic events of September 11th, Capucilli thinks that the Table of Silence project can help all people come together, regardless of circumstance. “It’s not all necessarily related to 9/11, bringing a sense of humanity together. What we do is bring in a small sense of hope to the world,” she said.