This is the first time ever in all the years since the opening of the Theater department at Chabot College there’ll be no main stage play because of budget cuts.
The college is working to reduce the deficit. According to Dean of Arts, Media and Communication, Deonne Kunkel “I’m working with Vice President of Business Services, Ron Gerhard, also Vice President, Stacy Thompson. The program reviews were just completed. All the different areas put in their request and we are now in the process of compiling all them. We hope that the request for the main stage support will be prioritized high enough.”
Theater Arts Instructor Dov Hassan explained that the main reason we will go without any main stage plays this semester boils down to a lack of funds for technical staff. Technical staff are all those who work behind the scenes. The people who make the costumes and stage sets, who do the lighting, run the box office, publicity, marketing, and who handle and produce the shows.
“There is so much work to be done that we can’t just do this with students alone. We have a class for technical theater, but it’s so intense to build a set for a show that that’s about all they can get done. It’s such a mad dash to get it all done in time, that there’s not much time left for really teaching the subject matter in depth. And there needs to be staff support to direct things. Theater offers all kind of training for other jobs. It helps students learn to work on complicated tasks.” said Theater Arts instructor Dov Hassan
Instructor Hassan explained that a lot of people get the Performing Arts Center (PAC) staff confused with the theater arts program. According to him, the PAC staff is solely dedicated to running the theater for rental use. “They have staff, but we get zero support from them. We are not related to them. It’s a totally separate program.”
The funding has been decreasing slowly and steadily. The theater never had to rely on outside funding like grants. The funding has always been inside the college district budget. The theater program sells a lot of tickets for their shows.
“If we don’t get a certain amount of funding from the district, in addition to not putting on a main stage play we will no longer be able to attend The American College Theater Festival, that we have attended every year. nonetheless, theater arts continues to thrive with tremendous student energy and commitment to new original plays. We need to hire professional people for the whole year, and we don’t have the money for that” says professor Rachel Lepell.
The Deficit is not only affecting the Theater Arts but the whole campus. It’s affecting the theater, music, science, digital media, math, and English department. Every department doesn’t have as much funding for supplies as they did before. The new plan under our new Vice President of Business Services, Ron Gerhard is that the Theater Arts has to rent out Chabot College facilities. Renting out the Facilities also means that the Television station Mass Communications class might have to pay for each student to use Chabot College facilities. When asked about the Theater arts and MCOM classes renting out the facilities Dr. Stacy Thompson was uncertain about it.
The instructors who direct the main stage plays are Joel Mullennix, Margo Hall, and Dov Hassan. Every semester they rotate who’s directing the class and the play. Next semester there’s going to be the main stage play “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare and Professor Mullennix is going to direct it.
Since there’s not going to be a main stage play this semester, emerging works is going to be more ambitious. With six plays, there’s going to be more students in the class that are going to be performing. Emerging works are student’s plays that ran earlier in December.
Vice President of Academic Services Dr. Stacy Thompson added “We had a deficit we’re trying to work out so now the hope is we will be able to fund the performances, and the supplies you need for performances. A proposal was submitted through the program review process we’re hopeful that we are going to have a main stage play next year, and by the end of this fiscal year things would’ve settled down and be put into place. The program will survive, and it will flourish.”
For the past ten years Chabot College Nurse Practitioner Tricia Gonsman MSN, FNP has hosted “Trash the Ash.” This event brings awareness to students here on Chabot campus about the effects that tobacco products can have on someone’s body, like cancer. Yes, Tobacco is addictive, but she helps and encourages students to stop using Tobacco.
“What we are trying to get across is that we know that it’s difficult for people to quit, but the goal is we want to be there to support people and our students, yet, try to encourage them to quit smoking and stop using tobacco products. The hazardous effect of smoking is heart repertory C.O.P.D., and breathing problems. They can cause cancers (Lungs, kidney oral and bladder). The fact that it’s expensive and it smells, your fingers can turn yellow also.” Says Nurse Tricia Gonsman.
At the “Trash the Ash” event there were two students from Foothill College on a repository program volunteering. The repository program is an organization which raises awareness for lung disease. Their names are Eliza Tram and Pree Thirao.
“Smoking is a big issue. With the money you’re using on tobacco, you can use it on a vacation or something. With everything going on with the natural disasters and air quality, it isn’t good. Think about all the newborn and children breathing in all that smoke in the air” says Eliza Tram.
With states like, California, Arizona, Colorado, New York and another 25 states that have a statewide smoking ban, there are states that don’t. In states like Texas and Wyoming, there are no statewide smoking and no indoor smoking bans.
According to an article in the CBS NEWS called “Smoking Bans Spreading Butts Some States Still Love Smokers” it had stated that “Some other states have less restrictive laws, like requiring smoking areas with separate ventilation. Only seven states have no indoor smoking restrictions, although some of their cities do: Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”
Student Ta’mari Vandross says, “I don’t smoke. I don’t like the smell of it. I do think it’s good that you can’t smoke on campus because smoking affects people’s health and that’s not good for us, not only us but our environment.”
Another student Sallison McCullough added. “I’m a Mother, and I don’t smoke. The smell is nasty, and the stuff that they put into the cigarettes isn’t meant for humans at all. It’s very disgusting. I know someone who smokes, and it’s very addictive.”
The things that are put into cigarettes are harmful and nasty. Formaldehyde (a chemical that is used to preserve the dead), Vinyl Chloride (used to make plastics), Arsenic (used for rat poison), Cadmium (used in batteries), Hydrogen Cyanide (was used to kill people in the gas chamber during World War II in Nazi Germany. There are other harmful products in cigarettes.
For those who smoke know that it’s addictive and it’s very hard to quit. The California Smokers’ Helpline is a program that can help smokers quit. They were founded in 1992. The number is 1-800-NO-BUTTS.
For the past five years, librarian and Chabot Instructor Kim Morrison has taught a course about the late, famous rapper and actor Tupac Amaru Shakur. This themed course on Tupac is intended to build student’s research skills. The course isn’t about just listening to Tupac’s music, watching his movies, documentaries and learning his life it’s more than that. It’s about students choosing a topic that he raps about or is associated with him.
Kim Morrison says “Students in this course will choose a topic that relates to Tupac or around him. This semester someone is doing their research on his mother (Afeni Shakur) in prison and how she defends herself. Someone is doing a research project on homelessness. Someone is doing one on Ida B. Wells and how she brought attention to the black men that were being lynched in the south. She was a reporter, and the student is writing about how she brought attention to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, then comparing it” to what Ida B. Wells reported on”
In his songs Tupac covers all kinds of subjects, like teen pregnancy in “Brenda Got a Baby”, social justice and police brutality issues in “Trapped”, being raised and loved by a single mother “Dear Mama”, a person being judged by their race in “Only God Can Judge Me”, a young man joining a gang and peer pressure in “Shorty Wanna Be a Thug” and more topics.
Sean Kain, a Chabot College student, says “It’s good that Chabot has this class on and about Pac because he is one of my favorite artists. I was only two-year-old when he was killed, but I was raised on his music, and it had such an impact on my life. His music was about being black and having black pride, not only black pride but pride in ourselves and in every culture.”
Chabot student Damon Laresca added “I’ve never taken the class, but I’m interested in learning about him and what made him as famous as he was before he died. I like his songs it’s like he can do one song about going to the club partying and having fun like “California Love” Then he can also have songs that make you think like “So Many Tears,” and besides Kendrick Lamar we don’t have that type of artist no more for this generation and I think that’s sad.”
Salimah “Mrs. Makaveli” Shabazz says, “It’s awesome taking the Tupac class. I almost know everything there is to know about Pac already, but my career goal is to teach a class like Ms. Kim. I want to bring awareness to social justice issues through Tupac’s music and videos. Tupac had a tremendous impact on me. Everyone calls me Mrs. Makaveli. I have a Tupac tattoo and a 21-year-old son name Shakur. How much more aspiring can he be to me to name my son after him? If you haven’t seen a movie with Tupac in it, I would suggest “Poetic Justice” because that’s one of the most positive black movies that he was in.”
The Chabot review is an annual, free publication put together by students showcasing the work of the artistic community. This print-on-demand book is a great way to get yourself out there and network but what happens when you are not credited for your work? Chabot student and filmmaker Dave O’Shea had to tackle this dilemma when his artwork, on the cover of the book, was credited to someone else.
“There’s a fact-checking issue if nothing else, probably an honest mistake but still frustrating to see someone else’s name credited for my work,” declared Dave. He also stated, “I do stand by the product, I do believe in it, it’s a cool thing to give exposure to the Chabot community, but it would be better with the right credits.”
Stephen Woodhams is the faculty adviser for the students who put together the Chabot Review. Woodhams made a brief statement on the issue, “It is not uncommon for mistakes and omissions to be made during the publication process of any publication from a college journal to a national newspaper, which can be corrected in updated versions. The official version of the 2017 Chabot Review lists Dave O’Shea as the cover artist.”
In the midst of the situation, Dave made sure to remain positive and hopeful. “I hold absolutely no grudge with Stephen Woodhams or with the Chabot Review itself. He took full responsibility immediately and was very understanding of where I was coming from. He promised to revise future printings of the book, and said he’d send me a revised copy in a couple of weeks,” replied Dave. “As an artist,” Dave added, “There’s literally nothing more infuriating than someone else taking credit for your work.”
His passionate artwork on the cover was given credit to another individual, whose name is also recognized as head-editor. “The fact that the editor on the very top of the credits page took credit, this is a major concern, and as the head-editor, I would assume this James Carroll guy saw it and did nothing about it before going to print.” The new and updated version will feature Dave O’Shea as the cover artist. The Chabot Review is a print-on-demand publication that features the artwork of Chabot College’s students. Be sure to check one out.
Part-time ceramics instructor Skip Esquierdo started the ceramics sale 40 years ago. Initially, it was started to subsidize the ceramics department but has grown to help out the whole art department. “We raise money for student shows, and I spread it around where funds are needed,” he said.
He went on to say that they sell “donated or recycled pottery that’s left over. That’s why we can sell it so cheaply.” He said it also helps to clear out the ceramics lab.
When asked how much the sale takes in all Skip would say was, “Enough to make it worthwhile doing.”
Teri Lee, a facility assistant for the ceramics lab who was helping out at the sale said, “We’re really gratified by the support shown by the college community. Many faculty, staff, and students have come to do their holiday shopping here. It’s a win-win for them and Chabot.”
Eddie Cruz, another ceramics facility assistant, helping at the sale told everyone who stopped by for the sale, “Thank you for supporting the arts.”
The legitimate press plays a vital role in our democratic republic. By routing out corruption and letting people know what’s going on so they can have a voice in things, a responsible press tries to keep government and local agencies on a straight path to guard the public interest. The news media can also provide an outlet to various voices to spread understanding of different points of view and thereby promote tolerance.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states “… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The idea that people can derive the truth by hearing from competing views and drawing their own conclusions, while noble, only works if people really do this and the reporters are truthful. The 2016 Elections was the first time that fake online sources figured into an election in a big way. We are still learning our way when it comes to who we can trust and who we can’t. Unfortunately, this will take some time to sort out. Hopefully, by the next Presidential election, the legitimate press will have worked out a better way to get the true information to the public on social media.
Drawing from a November 4, 2017 KPCC broadcast on fake news and the First Amendment comes the voices of Eugene Volokh, David Snyder, and Mark Marino.
Eugene Volokh, a constitutional law professor at UCLA’s school of law said, “Fake news is also constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. The only types of speech that are constitutionally unprotected are libel and perjury.” He goes on to say that “We are wired to be easily duped. They figure out what we want to hear and they give it to us.” Which is why fake news is so effective.
It doesn’t help when the viewing public craves sleazy, sensationalistic, superficial stories. If that is what they are drawn to, then that is what the money-driven media will give them. We have to demand that our news coverage addresses the facts not the bedroom habits or outrageous comments of political officials.
The executive director of the First Amendment Coalition David Snyder said, “The solution to speech that you disagree with is not to make the person shut up,” but to “speak again.” In other words, challenge what they say and route out the truth from the lies. He feels that people will eventually rely on the news outlets that work hard to tell the truth.
The upside of this is that people learn not to take the news media at face value. Reporters are people after all, with their own set of biases and agendas. But the downside is when we doubt everything and don’t know where to turn for the truth. Snyder said, “That’s one of the potential objectives of those who throw around the name fake news, to muddy the waters sufficiently that people don’t think anyone can tell them what really happened.” He says this moves us closer to a dictatorship.
Meanwhile, programmers are trying to come up with apps that can distinguish between fake news (or misinformation) and credible news. They hope to block bot sites, trolls and other spreaders of fake news. A bot is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the internet, akin to a robocall. Twitter recently came out with a bot blocker called Block Bot which sweeps Twitter for nasty Twitter users, and botcheckme claims to use advanced machine learning techniques to detect propaganda bots on Twitter.
But obviously, the ultimate fake news controller is the reading public itself, who must check things out for themselves. USC associate professor of writing Mark Marino says “news consumers should look at a story’s URL and think about the quality of the news outlet, look at additional sources to ensure there is support for the story, listen to others, and check their own biases and privileges.”
The holiday season is here, and everyone is getting in on the holiday spirit. You’ll notice every department store putting up decorations as well as multiple neighbors. Planning the ever important Thanksgiving and Christmas gathering gives way to good times and bad times, but the time we spend with family and friends are memories to cherish forever.
Things can get crazy during the holiday season, especially in food stores around Thanksgiving. Turkeys are the main food item to have when preparing for these dinners.
Hayward resident and FoodMaxx employee Walter Carrasco recalled a rather odd situation involving turkeys. “Two years ago during the week of Thanksgiving, a man was trying to sneak two big turkeys in his pants. It was so obvious that my boss was just standing there in front of him probably thinking ‘Are you kidding me?’ It was hilarious when he tried to run out the door. He didn’t get the turkeys. They fell out of his pants the second he moved.”
Mark Conover, a self-employed locksmith, remembers what he considers to be a “time-honored tradition” from his childhood. “We would have Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s house in San Francisco. I would sneak out of the house with the other kids and go over to the shopping district to dumpster dive behind department stores like Sears and JCPenny to find toys that were thrown away.”
The holidays can be busy for schoolteachers as well. Ginger Clark, a teacher at California High School in San Ramon, recalled her tradition as a child of transforming coins on New Year’s Eve. “An unusual family celebration tradition was when I was about 10, my grandfather and grandmother believed if we put out pennies on New Year’s Eve, they would all be turned into nickels and quarters.
This time of year other big events are celebrated, such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Sometimes, the results can be pretty silly. Hayward resident Helene Adams remembers celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas, as well as teaching her son the Hava Nagila, a Jewish song to be sung on Hanukkah nights. “When I was a little girl, between 5 and 8, I lived in a very conservative Jewish household. Christmas used to fall in the middle of Hanukkah. We celebrated Christmas with presents and Hanukkah with money. Jewish kids in the neighborhood also got presents twice, which was very nice.”
“When I got married and had two children, the youngest stayed with us. We taught him as much as we could about the Jewish religion. While trying to teach him the Hava Nagila in Yiddish, he finally learned to sing it, but the only way he could sing it was by standing on the edge of the couch and holding on to the front door knob. It was very funny, and we took lots of pictures.”
While reading about these memories of holidays past, it is important to remember to make memories of your own. The holidays are meant to be spent with family, to have conversations, bond with relatives and have amazing food. Make sure to think of the family this holiday season and the good times you’ll spend with them.