Gamers View Journalists as Endangered Species

Popularity Pointing to Players

Reddit, a News Site That Has Content Generated by Fans and Players Alike. Photo : Samuel Chu

The increasing popularity of eSports coincides with the rise of social media. Similar to how pop culture consumers seek out tabloids for personal information on their favorite celebrities, gamers are also looking to become more personally connected with their favorite players. Community centric websites such as and have content by these favored players. Fans can find podcasts, videos, blogs and articles with the click a mouse. Similar websites provide user generated content by famous video game players.

This grassroots style of eSports coverage is very popular with fans of the industry. Opinions from their favorite player are much more coveted than opinions from a reporter. In this field, a fan may seek journalistic coverage of an event to find out what happened, but if that same fan wanted an opinion of what occurred that person would look to their favorite player., a Site by a Professional Team That Allows Them to Interact with their Fan Base. Photo : Samuel Chu

Reporters must now struggle with what they want to accomplish while covering an eSports event. Should they provide a broad plot summary of what transpired or should they offer their insight, but if their opinion is not valued should they give it? If fans prefer coverage from their favorite players is there any hope for more professional, legitimate reporting?

It’s a Two Way Street

EG. Idra, a Professional Starcraft 2 Player being Interviewed by Rachel, a Reporter for Cyber Sports Network. Photo : Cyber Sports Network

For there to be better eSports journalism, two things need to happen. Players are going to continue to provide content and it would be unreasonable for them to stop. Instead, more adequate reporters need to provide more adequate reporting. And consequently, fans of the eSports scene need to actually read such coverage. Social media as a whole seems to be increasing the popularity of informal media outlets, such as blogs, but in a scene where largely all the press coverage belongs to this informal style of reporting, there should be room for professional coverage.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Gamers View Journalists as Endangered Species

Ever Heard of eSports?


Team Counter Logic Gaming Getting Ready To Play Photo : Samuel Chu

East Coast All Star Introductions Photo : NBA

Lebron James and Eli Manning are common names thrown around a dining table. But how often does your brother bring up professional video game players Justin Wong or Dan Dinh? Most college students are aware of their school’s basketball or football team, but how about their school’s League of Legends team?   For some people, competition and video games do not go hand in hand. A video game is played for fun. You might be by yourself or with some friends, but a video game can be a source of hours of entertainment for relatively little cost. For some people, a video game that anyone can play can mean a lot more than just a hobby. For some people, a video game is worth practicing for, worth dropping out of school and worth pursuing a career in.

Similar to how anyone can play a pick up game of basketball, anyone can play a game of Street Fighter. However, after a while, some people start to get really, really good. They start to get so good that their gameplay can in fact be quite a spectacle.  Good enough that they can have enough people watching so that they can attract advertisement agencies. So why aren’t more people watching? Why don’t these gamers have the same level of popularity and financial success as a star athlete?

Professional Gamers?

Team Solo Mid Holding MLG Providence Tournament Winnings. Photo by : Major League Gaming

Counter-Logic Gaming and Team Solo Mid are just two of the many upstart teams attempting to make League of Legends, a video game, more spectator friendly. They have started up websites where anyone can watch them play. Whether it’s a casual match or a tournament match, these gamers are trying to dispel many of the misconceptions that go along with being a gamer.

Part of the reason why the gaming culture has yet to fully reach out to the mainstream audience in America (in Korea, competitive gaming is already a large part of their culture) is the unfortunate stigma that gamers are “nerds,” that gamers are socially awkward, degenerate, and embarrassing individuals. While this may be the case for some gamers, it is not true for every gamer out there. In fact, many gaming teams (especially in Korea) have specialized training facilities and require their players to utilize these facilities to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many of the players from Team Solo Mid and other established gaming teams are very approachable. Their chat rooms that go along with their streams are part of the reason why many fans feel such a connection with these players. And while I would take my bets on the basketball player being in better shape than the video game player, that does not necessarily mean that mister six foot tall could hold up a dinner conversation better than your competitive video game player.

So next time you feel like kicking back with a beer and catching the Knick game, flip the Team Solo Mid game on instead.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ever Heard of eSports?

Young Artist Paints Dreams of Hindu Deities

Youwatie Kalicharan was once a 10 year old girl who didn’t want to go to her local Hindu temple in Richmond Hill, Queens. Now she is a 20 year old artist for “Creations by Wattie.” Youwatie has overcome strict immigrant parents and the confusion of being in a temple filled with images of deities she did not understand. Now she creates religious paintings inspired by her dreams and is an artist for Hindus in her community.

Youwatie R. Kalicharan beside a collection of "Creations By Wattie" in her home studio in Jamaica, Queens.

The Art of Beginning

Youwatie explained to me that she first became interested in art through school. She stated, “In school, being in art class was where I felt comfortable. And then when my parents had to force me to go to mandir [temple], I didn’t want to be there. Having no connection to the religion was really weird for me. As soon as I hit sixteen I started dreaming about all of these different gods. And not knowing who they were. Art was the only way I knew how to express myself.”

A painting done by Youwatie for her brother's Hindu wedding.

According to Youwatie, being a child with strict parents has worked as a major advantage for her as an artist. As I interviewed the intriguing community artist she said as a first-generation girl born of immigrant parents, “You are always wondering what decision you should make. Having strict parents and not being able to do what you want actually brought me closer to who I am now. When I meet kids who are inspired by what I do and ask how did you start, I tell them the fact that my parents did force me to go to temple and if they are in mandir [Hindu temple] they should find where their heart is at.”

Translating from Vision to Painting

Youwatie explained to me the process of translating visions in her dreams to artwork. Her first dream was of Mother Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. She said, ” I woke up wondering, Who was that?” After she had done the research she found a deep connection with the Hindu goddess as a fierce form. For a week, she dreamt one god after another: Lord Shiva, Ganesh, Mother Durga and then she created a journal with all of her drawings. It was interesting to hear the story of a teenager who did not understand images of her religion’s gods and her magical process of translating visions of those gods into artwork.

A collage of "Creations By Wattie" depicting Hindu gods and goddesses. Youwatie's vision of Hindu deity Kali is depicted on the upper right hand corner.

Now Youwatie is a young artist and entrepreneur for her business, “Creations by Wattie” which provides religious paintings to Hindu temples and Indo-Caribbean Queens residents. After asking for her future goal Youwatie said, “I really do want to have a small painting boutique somewhere in the Richmond Hill, Queens area. To have a workshop would be great. So now I’m saving up money to find a small shop. That is my main goal.”

Photos and Text By: Kamelia Kilawan

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Young Artist Paints Dreams of Hindu Deities

Vatisha Smith

 Rich No More

The Great Debate

If someone makes at least $300,000 a year, are they rich? What exactly does it mean to be rich? With the recent emergence of the economic crisis, this question is becoming a heavily debated issue. If you ask a so-called member of the 99%,

A lone occupier holding down the fort. Photo by V. Smith

you will certainly get a different answer than from someone who may be considered a member of the 1%.

Who and How Much?

The New York Times recently published an article on income in America. For some, it was an eye opener about who makes the most money. For others, it only created more questions about wealth in this country. The article found that most individuals deemed the top earners in the US, have an income of at least $300,000. Encompassed in that group were physicians, attorneys, financial managers, and the self-employed. The article received huge responses because many people including myself, see the RICH as professional athletes, CEOs of corporations, and entertainers. We do NOT look at our primary care physician as rich. Even television personalities, e.g., reality TV stars are considered rich.

He say, She say.

Why have many of the top 1% earners in this country, vehemently denied they are rich? In the past it was considered rude and low class to discuss money. How much you had, how much you were able to accumulate, and especially how much you spent. Now it’s become a different story.  The well to do are everywhere we look. Television, Magazines, the Internet. Rich is shoved under our noses at every turn.

Village rental for over $18,000 a month. Photo by V. Smith

If you own more than one home are you rich? If you own more than one luxury vehicle are you rich? If you are able to go on exotic vacations, and buy designer clothes on a regular basis are you rich?

What if you live modestly but have a large investment portfolio? Many would agree that earning $300,000 certainly makes you better off than someone making $30,000 a year. However, what if you make $300,000, but are heavily in debt?

View from terrace at this duplex penthouse. Photo by V. Smith

The debate can go on and on, not to mention the discussion of who is rich versus who is wealthy. That is a different discussion altogether.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

Ronson’s Big Night

A perfect mix between being a socialite event and a debut of her beautiful new Fall/Winter 2012 line, Charlotte Ronson’s show at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week was nothing short of an elaborate spectacle. From The star-studded front row that included hip hop mogul Russell Simmons, his daughter Angela Simmons, Nicki Hilton, DJ’s Chelsea Layland, Becka Diamond and Johnathan Chaeban, to the collection itself that spoke volumes, it was easy to admire and swoon over every aspect of the entire show.

Front Row Photo by Laura Rossi

Music to set the Mood

The designer’s twin sister and DJ for the show Samantha Ronson provided awesome tunes for the runway. She reverently mixed quite the variety, ranging from “Sleigh Bells” to “M83”, to “the Kills”, to “M.I.A” in a seemingly effortless and entertaining fashion. Speaking of fashion, which is after all, the underlying theme of the event, the collection did not fall short to please.

Patterns Run Rampant

The Show Begins! Photo by Laura Rossi

The show boldly opened with a sleek camel and leather-blocked bomber jacket matched with a form fitting leather pencil skirt, which then transitioned into sheer blousy tribal prints, leather-striped tapered trousers, chiffon paneled skirts, thick knitted sweaters and tweedy separates.

Model Walking the Runway Photo By Laura Rossi

Leather and chiffon were major aspects throughout the collection. The colors stayed true to the typical fall-palate of beiges, dark greens, plums, and black. An interesting aspect to the collection would have to be the tight fitting hooded sweaters in two-toned cable knit patterns, which channeled a very ski-trip-in-Sweden vibe that worked well for the collection.

The Designer Herself! Photo by Jane Doe

Ronsons move toward a wholesome, more refined aesthetic worked very well in her favor. Ronson made pieces more form fitted while sharpening her silhouettes to accentuate the female body. The modern and versatile collection provides a great variety and is filled with cute staple pieces that every woman needs in her closet.


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Ronson’s Big Night


My Mom Did Not Want Me To Have A Pet

Whenever I asked my mom for a dog, I wasn’t at all surprised when she replied with a resounding, “NO!” We played that game for three years until I finally stopped asking. Her mind was made up and there was nothing I could do about it. Then, two years ago in October, there was a knock on my bedroom door before my brother poked his head in and asked me to follow him into the living room. Next to the sofa, shaking with fright, was the tiniest silkie I had ever seen. I dropped to my knees and gently picked him up before my brother told me that “Johnny Boy” didn’t belong to me. He’d bought it for his girlfriend.


Johnny Boy Lounging In His Bed. Photo: Candia Vieira.

Luckily for me, his girlfriend’s parents were against having a pet in their home and didn’t even budge an inch when they saw Johnny’s cute little face and tail wagging back and forth. They just wouldn’t give the little silkie a chance. Thanks to her parents, Johnny Boy finally found a home. With me! I guess I sound a tad bit mean, but I was the best thing that ever happened to that dog. The vet reminds me of that every year, when he marvels at Johnny’s strong legs and muscles.

Until She Met Johnny Boy And Fell In Love

I’m rushing ahead of myself here. Let’s rewind to my mom’s first meeting with Johnny. And oh what a first meeting it was! I’d assumed that she would allow me to keep him because he was just too cute to resist. However, I was wrong. When she saw him, her cheeks turned a dangerous shade of red and she promptly told me I had to get rid of him. I cried and begged her to let me keep him at least for a few weeks until I could find him a home. She agreed, but only on one condition. He was to stay in my room and out of sight.


The Author's Mother And Johnny Playing Around. Photo: Candia Vieira.

Surprisingly, she grew fond of Johnny rather quickly. I forgot to mention that she has a soft heart for someone who kept denying me a pet for three years. By the end of the first week, she was allowing Johnny to leave my room and roam around the house and when the “few weeks” were up, she was reluctant to let me find him that home I had promised her. The inevitable had finally happened. She’d fallen in love with a dog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on JOHNNY BOY

What’s a Florida girl to do?

Fashion for Fun (Photo by: Jakob Layman)

Fitting In

Two years ago, I sold everything I owned except for two small suitcases, bought a one-way plane ticket, and came to New York City. After spending the first 22 years of my life as a tan, blonde beach resident in sunny Jacksonville Beach, Florida, I was ready for the exciting pace of big city life.

I swore to all my friends I was going to land in the city, dye my hair black and immediately start smoking cigarettes. I wanted to “fit-in” and look the part of a New Yorker. Well, two years later, my hair’s still blonde and cigarettes are $12 a pack. Needless to say, neither “blending” method ever happened.

What I’ve learned in the time I’ve spent in this obnoxious place that 8.4 million people call home, is that every stereotype the rest of the world casts on New Yorkers (let’s face it, the island of Manhattan is not part of planet Earth), is just a misunderstanding of what it means to live here.

Just New Yorkers being New Yorkers. Photo by: Danielle Mulder

Standing Out

There’s no need to fit-in to a city where individuality is what makes each of us a New Yorker. And the collective of crazy characters who fill our streets that aren’t afraid to stand out, is what makes this place so special. So for now, I’ll hold on to my blonde roots (no pun intended), and semi-clean lungs.

New Yorkers aren't better than everyone else, we just dress like it. (Photo by: Jakob Layman)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s a Florida girl to do?

Maine Caucus Controversy

By: Shane L. Sullivan

The official results

Mitt Romney, Photo: Darren McCollester

On February 11, 2012, Charlie Webster, head of the Maine Republican party, announced that Mitt Romney won the Maine GOP caucus. Official results read: Romney, 2190 votes; Ron Paul, 1996; Rick Santorum, 989; and New Gingrich, 349. Many people across the country, particularly Ron Paul supporters, are claiming that the caucus was rigged and that a clear winner cannot yet be determined.

The problem 

Speculation of the results’ authenticity stem mostly from the fact that only eighty-four percent of precincts’ votes were tallied. In the official results, many towns in Maine are listed as having zero votes collected including all of the towns in Aroostook County and most of the towns in Waldo County. The Washington County caucus was cancelled and postponed until Saturday, February 18 due to predictions of a snowstorm. A storm did not come.

Why this is unfair

Ron Paul addressing a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Photo: Chip Somodevilla

Though the votes may be recounted in the future and Washington county voting has been rescheduled for Saturday, Webster says that even if the new results put Ron Paul in first place and Romney in second, Romney will still be considered the official winner. Clearly, the official winner should be based on all of the counties’ votes and not just the ones said to have been correctly collected before the official deadline.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Maine Caucus Controversy

The Growing Popularity of Independent Music

By: Shane L. Sullivan

The Internet’s effect on U.S. music sales

The popularity of Internet users in the United States more than doubled from 1999 to 2009. Evidently, the amount of revenue generated by music sales in the country has decreased by roughly the same amount.

How has this affected the public?

“The New York Violinist” performs and sells her music at the Union Square subway station and online at Photo: Jeff Gaydos

With this great boom in Internet popularity, more people have resorted to downloading music free of charge from various music-pirating websites instead of purchasing music at record stores. This drastic decrease in revenue may be lowering the amount of money made by major record companies and popular artists, but at the same time it is greatly increasing the popularity of artists contracted by independent record labels. The Internet is becoming a much more popular medium for lesser-known artists to promote themselves and gain a wider audience.

The statistics

In 1999, there were an estimated 100,125,500 Internet users in the United States and the country’s total music sales revenue was roughly 14.6 billion dollars. By 2009, the number of users had risen to roughly 239,995,600 and music revenue had decreased to only 6.3 billion dollars.

Why is this happening?

Bill O’Sullivan, singer of the heavy metal band “EGGNOGG” says, “Without Internet exposure, I would have no fan base at all and probably wouldn’t be making music.” Photo: Shane L. Sullivan

I cannot speak for the general public, but the reason I choose to pirate music is I cannot seem to find any new music I like on television or the radio. I don’t find any of today’s popular music appealing. It seems like the majority of people making popular music today are making it primarily for profit and not for self-expression–much to the delight of their record company employers. People like me are turning to the Internet to find new music because radio has failed us. Independent artists are offering their music cheaper online and in many cases for free.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Growing Popularity of Independent Music

Underground Art, MTA Style


The New York City transit system exposes its riders to an array of sensory experiences: crying children, unpleasant smells, and blaring mariachi bands. What the cynical New Yorker may not always notice is the vast display of art that lies underground in many of the city’s subway stations.

According to MTA’s website, one percent of the budget for “eligible” city-funded construction is spent on art projects to improve the aesthetic of public spaces and incorporate details of the above ground communities.

The Art

"Vasi" 2011 Faceted Glass by: Callie Hirsch. Photo By: MTA

Beneath Central Park at the Fifth Avenue/ 59th Street station on the N/Q/R line, is a menagerie of glass mosaic animals that can be found at the Central Park Zoo. The artist, Ann Schaumburger, completed the project in 1997.

Fifth Avenue/59th Street. Art by: Ann Schaumburger. "Urban Oasis." 1997. Photo by MTA

In addition to murals, paintings, and bronze sculptures, artistic architectural elements are incorporated in some of the city’s stations to enhance the visual appeal. At 14th Street/Union Square artist Mary Miss uses the color red to highlight original beams, structures and glass encased art that dates back to 1904 when the station was originally built.

Grand Central 42nd Street. Art by: Daniel Sinclair. "Fast Track." 1991. Photo by: Danielle Mulder

New Yorkers can expect even more visual stimulation in the future as more stations are renovated. So for the cost of a “card swipe,” commuters can enjoy a unique selection of art and history, as well as get to their destination (and without delays . . . hopefully).

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Underground Art, MTA Style