by Maia Wheeler
Mary Oliver was a woman of many words. She was a woman of poetry, changing the way the mind looks at the beauties around us, specifically nature. Her works focused on the natural world and the details contained in nature. She was beloved by many and opened the eyes of many young writers aspiring to create diligent pieces connecting with nature and the beauty of life. She wrote from the heart, making artists able to connect and relate to her works. Though not an artist of paintings nor sculpture, she was an artist of words and creativity of the mind. Mary Jane Oliver holds a special place in many hearts as a woman of powerful words inspiring others to create their own stories.
Mary Oliver sadly passed away this past January from lymphoma. She is always in our hearts when writing and reading the poetic mind and she will always be recognized in history as one of the most inspiring poets. She will keep inspiring many writers for generations to come.
We encourage you to read her beautiful and heart-wrenching obituary from the New York Times, accessible here.
by Elliot Marks
Pitcher of the Sea
This is a photo focusing on surrealism. I added some boats and a person floating into the water. It is meant to represent the water in a pitcher being an ocean.
Street Light Painting
My project is focusing on Street Photography and Light Painting (long exposure photography). I went by a busy street at night to capture the red car lights, getting a streak effect from the moving cars.
by Izzy Cohn
My friends probably get very annoyed with me: I will ask them to go out at 11 pm to some run-down chairs off the side of Arapahoe. I will create a safe space for an 11-year-old to dance her heart out. I will get picked up at 11 to go to the Boulders Farmers Market, only then to get distracted and end up blinding beautiful eyes with the bright sun. I will drive to Denver with a friend for her surprise party at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, and drive back home at 11. I counted 11 chairs at The Cheese Importers. I asked her how many siblings she had, and she said she had 11. I took a hike with her and my new camera and got 11 cactus spikes in my legs. There is something special about the number 11, something that calls me. In this series, I chose to capture this number as I saw it manifest around me.
by Leo Sipowicz
142 songs, 9 hours and 6 minutes (not including Kon the Louis Vuitton Don and the Freshman Adjustment mixtapes). Kanye West’s discography is extensive but not massive considering the almost 15 years it spans. Every album is unique and holds a special spot in my heart, but the effect of listening to each album in its entirety—starting with College Dropout and ending with KIDS SEE GHOSTS—gave me a new perspective on Yeezus himself.
After a careful listen to each album, I think most listeners will see three pretty distinct ways to group the albums based on the content of each album. These are as follows:
“Hurt and Reflection Period” (808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and The Life Of Pablo)
I think these three albums are the weakest connection I've made, but I definitely think the connection is still strong. Each album in this group feels like a therapy session with Kanye: he is processing his pain, success, and family. Each album is more sonically creative than the last; these albums cross genres and were each incredibly influential to the music industry as a whole. These albums are all where Kanye has been the most creative with the production with a softer focus on lyricism.
“College Period” (The College Dropout, Late Registration, and Gradation)
The “College Period” is the most in-your-face connection between albums, as they were released in chronological order and share obviously connected titles. Each album is explicitly connected via Kanye’s reflections on college and his own experience. However, each album shares much more deep-seated connections as well. Many of the themes discussed in these albums are rooted in Kanye’s early belief that the world and the people around him want him to lose. As you move through each album Kanye is able to reconcile his decision to drop out even though it's not what his mother wanted and as each album made a bigger name for himself he ends graduation in a good place with his decision.
“Yeezy Period” (Yeezus, Ye, and Yahandi)
The “Yeezy Period” is easily my favorite storyline between multiple Kanye albums, and, even though Yahandi still hasn't been released, I think it has the most potential. Yeezus is as boastful as Kanye gets, and it places him in his own world where he has decided that he is a god. Everything about the album is over-the-top: he knows he is the best and feels godly. Five years later, Kanye releases Ye. Ye matches Yeezus step-for-step in self-reflection, but instead of being arrogant and self-absorbed, Ye is Kanye's admission to being only human. Kanye reflects on the unique failures and success of his life that make him human. I think it’s safe to guess that Yahandi will be similar to Ye and Yeezus with a more humble and caring perspective.
These descriptions are purposefully short and vague because I think everyone with a vague inclination to Kanye should listen to each album on their own and interpret his art in there own way. If I were you, I would listen in this order: The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation, 808s & Heartbreak, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, The Life Of Pablo, Yeezus, Ye, KIDS SEE GHOSTS, Yahandi, Watch The Throne, KIDS SEE GHOSTS. (Or in chronological order.) I also want to mention that KIDS SEE GHOSTS and Watch The Throne are not included in any of my groups because they are collaborations with Kid Cudi and Jay-Z, respectively, and, in my opinion, do not connect to any other albums.
Eminem's first two albums were released in 1999 and 2000. The Slim Shady LP and the Marshall Mathers LP were (and still are) some of the most influential and important rap albums of all time. They both remain widely viewed as classics. They are also extremely vulgar and violent, to say the least, with many songs painting Eminem as a deranged serial killer.
In 2013, 13 years after the release of the Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem released the Marshall Mathers LP 2, and the first song on this long-awaited sequel album is called “Bad Guy."
“Bad Guy” is 7 minutes and 14 seconds long and goes through several thematic and stylistic changes throughout its duration. It begins with a conversation between two people, one of whom is stalking the other with the intent to kill. Not personally my favorite subject matter, but also not surprising considering the subject matter of the first Marshall Mathers LP. As the song progresses, it is slowly revealed that Eminem's role in the story is as the victim, and the song is actually from the perspective of an anonymous fan who is mad at him for the provocative things he had said in his past. This twist recontextualizes the previous lines and adds meaning to lyrics which may have originally seemed like they were no more than shocking imagery.
“We’re in the car right now… here comes my favorite lyric: ‘I'm the bad guy why makes fun of people who die’.....”
I think that this choice was made as a way to reflect on and, possibly apologize for, his problematic past. Eminem has always seemed to be able to achieve a sore of catharsis through his violent songs, and I think that “Bad Guy” is Eminem allowing those who have been affected negatively by his music the same type of catharsis.
The story concludes after about 5 minutes and 12 seconds, with Eminem, indeed, dying, and the last 2 minutes and 2 seconds are a much more explicit self-critique and analysis, in which Eminem explicitly states that the killer in the story represents all of the people who have been negatively affected by his music.
I personally do not really love the subject matter of old Eminem, and I am not really all that interested in his more recent pop-leaning albums, but I think this song is kind of brilliant and more people should listen to it.
The art of styling small trees has been practiced since about 700 CE in China. For many years after it originated, this art form was reserved for only the elite of society and had a strong connection with religion. The practice was first inspired by strange and contorted trees that were found in the forest. It was thought that, because these trees clearly were not created for a normal purpose, such as making lumber, they must be sacred, so they were carefully repotted and nurtured. This repotting practice evolved into Bonsai styling, using bamboo frames, weights, and brass wires to transform normal trees into what we now call Bonsai. The word Bonsai comes from the Chinese word pun-sai, meaning “tray planting."
The practice was adopted in Japan shortly after. By 1200 CE, almost everyone in Japan had multiple Bonsai trees. During this time, most of the modern techniques still used today were developed and Bonsai became deeply ingrained into Japanese culture. By the early 1700s there was a Bonsai show every year in the capital city, Kyoto.
A Bonsai tree is an heirloom that can be passed down through generations. The oldest confirmed Bonsai is over 1000 years old.
This tree is on display in the Crespi Bonsai museum in Italy.
The process of Bonsai is complex, and cultivation occurs over the course of many years. If started from a seed, it can take up to three years before the tree is ready to be styled. Bonsai trees are just normal trees that are potted in a way that keeps them small and then styled by pruning and wiring. Pruning is done with scissors (most commonly butterfly shears) and by hand. A tree needs to be pruned because trees like to grow their larges branches at the top to capture the most sunlight, which makes a tree look disproportionate and topheavy. Most of pruning involves cutting the top branches to a smaller size so branches underneath can grow bigger creating a nicer shape. Wiring is a way to alter the shape of the trunk.
Wiring is done by wrapping a wire around the tree and slowly bending it during growing season to create cascade effects like this one--
—and very contorted trunks like this 800 year old tree.
by Maia Wheeler
6:46pm on the fourth Friday in November. Back stage in the dressing room chaos. The red lipstick staining my lips, the fake lashes poking my eye. My feet cramping as I warm up them up in my newly calamine pointe shoes. Heart pumping, adrenaline rushing. It has been since August when I auditioned for the Nutcracker. I have done this show every year since I was given the opportunity to pursue ballet.
“Places, everyone!” says the scruffy man on the dressing room’s coms.
It is time. Opening night. The lights turn off. The audience, silent. I can hear the music from the orchestra to my dressing room. It is not my turn yet, but soon will be.
I step into my romantic tutu, unable to button it up myself. Hands pressed on to my ribs as I push back the bodus of my tutu.
“Loose or tight hooks?” a student asks as she helps me put on my tutu.
“Tight,” I reply.
She buttons up the last hook. I breath in and out. It is hard to take deep breaths, but I am tightly secured for stage.
I put on my head piece. Tightly secured to my head, close to my bun.
I leave my dressing room, down the long hallway and up the tall narrow stairs I walk. I get up to the stage. Clara and the Prince have started the snow Pas De Deux. I watch closely for my entrance. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: on count nine, I leave the wing.
Stage lights harsh on my face as all things leave my body. All I can hear is my mind counting the uneven music. On stage, off stage, on again within seconds. We follow each other to make all the dancers as one because we are the corps de ballet. In a system of dance so competitive we all at once come together as one.
We hold our tiring pose as the curtain closes. My feet are cramping and I can feel the pressure on my toes. Act 1 is finished. The adrenaline rush is over. It didn’t hurt then, but now I can feel the swelling deepening in my feet and knees like heavy weights.
Back down the steep, narrow stairs and up the long hallway to my dressing room. Now, I await Act 2.
by Maia Wheeler
City Not Spoken
City of sorrow.
It is turned to dust. Never seen, taken away.
Once love, but never grown.
You feel it, but don’t see it.
Stomped to pieces by the above.
To be taken care of, but destroyed out of pity to make the better, better.
Maybe forgotten, but seen daily.
Taken to waste.
Living among the rest of its kind.
The harder it tries, the higher the better goes.
Higher and higher, more and more.
It will never be replaced in sorrow, but in captivity.
The sun shines over the blue sky creating the golden crisp color over the melted mountain tips.
Swallowing the golden rays of the slightly crispy golden turned over biscuit sun.
Chasing butterflies by children’s skin darkened in the sun by the rays of the harsh sunshine.
Flowers peeking through to welcome the sun from its night's long rest.
Basking In the sun watching the clouds wisp away like moments happening.
Yellowing sunflowers hold the seeds the birds eat as the sun watches over its land.
The sun sits over us making the animals able to be happy with overwhelming joy.
You live for moments, you die for moments. You create moments of your own. You watch yourself draw closer to who you are. You lose your thoughts and move on. You lose touch of yourself. Getting farther to what being yourself is. You never feel right in your own skin, but feel right being you. It makes the air thinner and easier to breathe. It slowly is taken away, but all you can say is, how. How did it come to this—how did I become this person?
You are finally the person you are. The person you created.
Finally finding yourself and where you fit in. Your weapon in the battle of life is your willingness to be yourself and never give up.
All I can say is I am me. I am the person that I always wished was someone else, but I am myself and who I am willing to be.
You are you. No one can take that simple phrase away. You are who you are because you are unique and are embracing yourself in this battleground of life.