Author Archives: alexandra.torres

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DJ SANiTY bringing crazy beats to Baruch

This past school year at Baruch College, one student’s musical presence was felt throughout the vertical campus, one club event and dirty dutch mix at a time.

Demitri Anastasios Kesoglides, better known as DJ SANiTY, has managed to become the preferred DJ at college parties and fashion shows.

Wearing an eyebrow ring and his typical DJ getup — a button up-shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a bright vest with a matching bow tie and Yankees hat —SANiTY attentively hovers over his booth as his mixes resonate in the air.

Although he’s paid for these gigs, SANiTY’s main compensation is seeing partygoers get caught up in the music like he does.

“Music has that power to affect emotions, to move bodies in unison, to possess no boundaries in terms of race gender [or] anything else,” he said. “Music is a universal language. That’s what I love about it.”

To think it was only a year and a half ago when he met his first Baruch gig, the Purple Hearts Party, with success and since then, went on to DJ roughly 30 parties on campus.

He has DJ-ed at off-campus venues including Club Remix, Sultanas, Studio 34, Sapphire, Public House, Webster Hall and others.

You’ll never catch him interrupting songs to give shout outs, excessively scratching or switching songs too quickly, because he indulges in the sound of the pure mix.

SANiTY is an ‘open format DJ’, usually playing popular songs in the genres of reggae, hip hop and R&B, several types of Latin music, pop, house, top 40 and more.

Dirty dutch house, also known as electro house or bleep house, is his favorite music to mix and he hopes to be the next Afrojack, who is considered one of the best electro house DJs.

If you’ve attended any of Baruch’s biggest parties this year, whether it was the Freak Fest, the Masquerade Ball, or the Cinco de Mayo fiesta, you probably witnessed SANiTY’s uncanny ability to make the multi-purpose room feel like a club at full-throttle.

Courtesy of DJ SANiTY.

You might assume his skills have something to do with his stage name, but that’s not the case, he explains.

The meaning behind ‘SANiTY’, which is tattooed on his upper back as an ambigram, combines music’s impact on his life and his admiration for his favorite basketball player Vince Carter, whose nickname is “Vince Sanity – half man, half amazing.”

“No matter what was happening in my life, music always kept me sane. Like I said, its the soundtrack to my life […] music is my sanity,” he said.

He believes he has something to prove like Carter, who became an underdog after not meeting expectations of becoming the next Michael Jordan.

With dreams of working his way to the top as an A&R executive (talent scout) at a top record label, SANiTY has kept his plate full preparing for that endeavor making music a part of his academic and business affairs.

He has interned at Atlantic Records doing digital media and marketing for the likes of Jay Z, T.I., Metallica, Trey Songz, Kid Rock and others.

This past semester he served as the president of the New York Music Industry Association, a Baruch club whose purpose is to help students find their niche within the music industry.

Currently interning at EMI Music Publishing, he’s gained knowledge pertaining to copy right law, intellectual property, and exporting music onto TV, film and commercials.

Despite his hectic schedule, he maintains “DJ SANiTY’s Top Five Tracks of the Week”, his weekly prediction of the next music hits.

Photo by Carl Curwen of Party With Baruch. From left to right: SANiTY and his best friends John Hardy and Matthew Commodore, who are also aspiring artists.

Graduating in June with a bachelor’s in Management of Musical Enterprises, he has a busy summer ahead of him before he starts NYU’s graduate program for Music Business.

This summer he will drop his first mixtape S.O.S — Summer of SANiTY, which will feature his first house production called “Don’t Break,” which features fellow Baruchian, Ariana Solis, on the vocal.

The song is an effectively electrifying medley of techno bases, sounding like a heart beating simultaneously with clapping. It makes several transitions into snare drums, sounding like metal trash cans being pounded on, light and whimsical dream-state trance beats and early ’90s freestyle rhythms.

He’s as excited about its release as he is for the upcoming Baruch Bash, his last gig as a Baruch student. On May 27, seniors will be having an epic night, but for SANiTY it will be bittersweet, considering his soon-to-be departure from where it all began.

“This is how DJ SANiTY became DJ SANiTY. It’s all because of the Baruch students,” he said. “If it weren’t for the Baruch Community, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Posted in Music | 11 Comments

Campbell’s music is icing on the cake for the happy-go-lucky

If listening to soulful music is like treating yourself to a scrumptious piece of red velvet cake on the cheat day of your diet, than Brooke Campbell’s CD Sugar Spoon is the icing on top of it. 01 Sugar Spoon

Campbell is a singer-songwriter virtuoso of folk, pop and bluegrass music. She constructs music that will cause one to long for a simpler country life, reminisce about old loves and new, and think about life’s labors. Singing it all with a country-ish twang and being a mellower version of the Dixie Chicks, Campbell’s music easily matches her upbringing in Whiteville, North Carolina.

According to her website, she loves to “write music and sing it for folks.” This is the case despite the size of the crowd, which was clearly evident considering the small crowd of listeners she serenaded in the 92Y Tribeca. According to their website, 92YTribeca Nightlife […] offers outstanding live experiences for audiences, performers and participants alike.”

At 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, my classmates Jerrica, Sabrina, Ashley, Gladys consisted of about half the audience until there was an uptick of attendance as curious onlookers trickled in.

Enjoying the dim atmosphere of a rather boring venue, I let the extremely sad songs, most of which were about Campbell’s life, sink in. It was enough to bring any love sick fool, like myself, to tears. The glass of red wine did not help much either, especially as the music to one of her songs truly sounded like rain drops landing on a lake.

Still, a fan of guitar and folk music myself, much of Cambell’s music lacked the emotion I expected from this genre. Singing almost at a whisper, her vocals didn’t have the excitement I desired and expected when I walked in to find a woman with a guitar.

Occasional faster strums occasionally did break the monotony of the relatively slow strums that would put anyone to sleep with its soothing rhythms that came from Campbell’s red wood acoustic guitar.

Cambell’s breathless voice then added to it lightly. Her voice was as subtle as her body movements; she tapped her foot slightly and moved from side to side, bopped slightly to her beat, and appeared like the picturesque starving artist playing the blues.

Track after track was played from her latest album Sugar Spoon, which came out in 2009. According to her website, the album was produced by William Berlind in Manhattan and a church in Nantucket.

Good music nonetheless, I left the venue with a relatively melancholy mood to start off my spring break. However if your life is virtually void of hardships, listening to her songs is sure to be an effective remedy to decompress after a stressful day.

Posted in music reviews | 6 Comments

Petite Abeille is worth another date

I was fully prepared to stuff my face that late Sunday morning, and as I headed to the Belgium restaurant Petite Abeille, the anticipation mixed with hunger pains made me wish for the conductor of the Brooklyn-bound L train to go express.“This place better be good,” I thought to myself. After getting off the train and walking a few too many blocks because I got lost, I was there before I knew it.

“Yeah, its the place with the blue awning; next to the Mexican place,” said my classmate Jerrica over the phone. There, on 401, East 20th Street, plainly stood Petite Abeille, an establishment much like the seemingly perfect guy, who is handsome with a great personality and a good job. You’re almost certain he is the one until you discover “the flaw”, whether it be that he’s too much of a momma’s boy or has bad credit.

The restaurant’s name translates into “Little Bee” and is also the name of a Belgium children’s book that was popular in the 1970s.

The chalk boards and the shelf of children books toward the back suddenly made sense upon finding out this information. Clearly a family place, the atmosphere created a warm feeling like cherry pie, which I couldn’t help but think about considering the picnic-like blue and while plastic table cloths that invoke images of the fourth of July and all things American.

Red was subtlety consistent throughout from the painting of a red dragon that greets customers, to the candle holders, to the red wood chairs at each table and by the bar, to the Bloody Mary’s I coveted as they were sipped by a group of friends.

The serene yellow walls with white trim conjured up a mental portrait of a field of daisies on lightly windy spring day. The color scheme, along with the round modern light fixtures hanging from the ceiling, got lost in busy chatter during brunch

The atmosphere was as mildly exotic as the fusion of flavors of the Crocottte ($13), found in the breakfast, brunch and lunch menus in the eggs category. It is sure to break the monotony of the typical breakfast that consists of fried eggs, toast and bacon.

A delightful layered combination of eggs, tomato, pork bacon, and salty yet bitter goat cheese, it was concealed beneath pungent Gruyere cheese, in the same manner it would overlay a French onion soup. The crisp edges rendered a delightful treat circling the center’s chewy consistency.

Compared to the milky-tasting mashed potatoes, which resembled a round scoop of icecream and had an occasional lump that added character, it was a guilty pleasure, however, the spinach leaves, lightly covered in oil and vinegar, fooled me into thinking I was being nutritious.

I let it ease my conscious as I washed it all down with a Mimosa ($7), which was on the strong side. Considering the delightfully bitter taste, it was certainly not your Tropicana or Nature’s Best orange juice.

On the other spectrum of great food was the Vol au Vent ($17), the chicken stew with bacon and mushroom, which could be found on the brunch, lunch and dinner menus. Covered in an off-white gravy, mushrooms and pearl onions, and missing the bacon that it advertised, the only thing this bland chicken had to offer was tenderness. The two burnt croissant-like breads underneath it all just added to the frustration.

At least I had my side order of Belgium fries to drown in ketchup and enjoy. Not! The fries lacked the anticipated crisp exterior and soft steamy interior that would have easily been achieved by most fast food restaurants.

But just like the low credit score-having momma’s boy, sometimes the redeeming qualities can stand on their own if they’re just that good. Only by being open-minded and going on another date can you learn more about what Petite Abeille has to offer.

Posted in restaurant reviews | 3 Comments

LeBlanc imparts literary and journalistic knowlegde

Yesterday Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, this semester’s Harman writer-in-residence, imparted her literary knowledge as well as the    techniques she utilized while writing her novel Random Family.

She spoke how she followed the book’s main characters, Coco and Jessica, for ten years while chronicling their struggles in a less than stellar drug-infested Bronx neighborhood. The audience, consisting of Weissman students, listened to passages that visually painted a picture of the character’s appearance and life struggles. “I felt like knew Coco,” said David Ospino concerning her mastery of words as they relate to character descriptions.

A seasoned journalist who has also worked for Seventeen Magazine, LeBlanc explained how the novel stemmed for assignments she had for the magazine.  The event ended with LeBlanc taking questions from the crowd, a time when students got a better understanding of her personality.

Posted in LeBlanc Talk | 3 Comments

Bubble tea

As a high school student in Flushing Queens, a primarily Chinese neighborhood, I would occasionally indulge in Chinese delights such red bean-filled pastries and noodles for a $1 but above all was bubble tea, a cold and tasty beverage.

Bubble teas are milky beverages that have a tea base and have tapioca peals at the bottom, hence the thick straws.

Four years had passed and I faintly remember the establishments I frequented to get my occasional fix but I surely remember how refreshing the bubble tea was on those summer days when I was waiting for the bus to head home.

Bubble tea and I had sadly become distant strangers and fell out of love for some time since I graduated in 2007.

However, we were reacquainted again a few months ago and our love affair has since then been rekindled.

At Esparks coffee in Glendale, Queens is where I satiate my strawberry and honey dew bubble tea urges. Usually chatting with a friend, I always enjoy a large dose that I drink slowly – never wanting it to run out – and am always tempted to buy another one.
Posted in Independent Film | 4 Comments

Student film makers find silver lining in contest loss

Both the experienced and neophyte film maker know that producing a film is no simple task, especially when having only two days to write a script, act, shoot, produce, edit and submit it online. Journalism majors David Ospino and Kacey Herlihy are now aware of this, after having completed their first film Paper Birds for the contest The 48 Hour Film Project.

In 2 minutes and 27 seconds, Paper Birds, produced by Fuad Chowdhury,  tells the story of a nameless girl (Herlihy) and a man named Charlie (Arthur Dudlin) who cross paths. The girl goes to the beach and later in the day meets Charlie, a volunteer who wants to save the planet and aims to persuade her to do the same.

Charlie preaches through a short and impactful song, produced by Ospino’s friend Jessica Rozario. “This is yours to keep. This is yours to hold. The gravel under your feet. Child, it is all your own.” The end-rhymed lyrics embodied the “Save the Next Generation” sub-theme, which Ospino selected from a hat during a gathering at Murphy and Gonzalez bar.

All films had to revolve around the “Go Green” motif.

“We think that 48HFP filmmakers, the boldest and most creative in the world, are the best people to draw attention to the environmental challenges the world faces,” the 48HFP’s website states of the first ever international 48 hour Go Green.

Student film maker David Ospino

After receiving the instructions to incorporate a pen as a prop and the line “That’s not how I remember it,” Ospino was clearly stumped and knew he would have a sleepless weekend like the other over 5,000 participating film makers throughout the United States.

There was no time to dily-daly; they had to hit the ground running and have their final project submitted by 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20.

“The tight deadline of 48 hours puts the focus squarely on the filmmakers—emphasizing creativity and teamwork skills,” the 48HRP  website states. “While the time limit places an unusual restriction on the filmmakers, it is also liberating by putting an emphasis on ‘doing’ ‘instead of ‘talking.'”

Student film maker Kacey Herlihy

Under a ton of  “creative pressure” and with 40 hours left, Ospino gave his friend Herlihy a call. She was now on board.

They secured two willing friends — Dudlin and Ian O’Leary — to be actors. Using their Canon HG 21 and  Sony Cybershot handheld, they shot scenes at Lincoln Center, Madison Square Park, and Rockaway Beach during the ‘magic hour.’

The ‘magic hour’ is the the first hour of sunrise and the last hour before sunset, in which natural light lends itself to beautiful photography and cinematography.

“Everything had this golden hue around it,” said Ospino.  “It [was] gorgeous.”

When it came down to production, technical difficulties became time consuming, and with three hours, Ospino felt hopeless. “I already felt defeated,” Ospino said. But Herlihy encouraged him to make due with what they had.

“David really deserves the credit,” she said. “He sculpted what we had into a beautiful, thoughtful short film.”

Unfortunately, they did not submit the film on time, and although this ruined their chances of being eligible to win, their film was still screened.

The screening took place on Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Iris and B Gerald Cantor Film Center at the Tisch School of the Arts in NYU.

Family and friends watched Paper Birds end with the image of empty swings and the sun illuminating in the background. “We don’t know that the world is going to be here for the next generation if we keep destroying the earth,” Ospino said of the symbolism of the empty and bare image.

Ending on an unexpected somber note, unlike the comical films before theirs, left the audience bewildered and no one clapped. “Our film is really visual, and I think the ending gave people a moment to absorb what they had seen, something that wouldn’t [have] happened if [the] credits rolled,” Herlihy said.

“Although we missed the deadline, it still felt great to submit a finished short film,” said Herlihy. Ospino shared the same sentiments. “Just because of the amount of obstacles we faced […] just to hand something in was a feeling of elation,” he said.

Both have been inspired by the experience and are interested in participating in the next contest in June. Herlihy eventually wants to develop this hobby into a passion and Ospino is considering graduate film studies.

Posted in Independent Film | 2 Comments

Consequences of actions not always felt

In the beginning of the film Wasp, the mother exhibits irresponsibility, a theme consistent throughout. She is not a bad person and loves her kids, which she demonstrates through her wanting to fight another mother she believed to hit one of them.

After the fight, her children all ‘flipped’ the other mother ‘the bird.’ Clearly her vulgar ways and profanity was rubbing off on them.

After being asked out on a date by a date by a pass fling, she is speaking to someone over the phone about it.  Then she sees a wasp in her kitchen, which is appropriate considering the film’s title.

But the fact that the wasp did not do any harm and was let out the house was symbolic of a potentially bad situation to come that turned out for the better.

When she and her children were walking to the bar for her date, the loud traffic juxtaposed with the children walking quietly is symbolic of the possible danger ahead, or at least the danger she put her children in.

She went so far as to keep her children outside alone in the night as she drank with the guy and was going to have sex with him in his car after. That was interrupted with her baby’s cry after a wasp went in his mouth. At the end everything is fine but the viewer can see the potential consequences that came with her bad actions.

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The Crush aims to lighten the mood

The Oscar-nominated live action short film The Crush takes the universal theme of the childhood first crush, gives it a grave and solemn twist then progresses, to the audience’s surprise, to an unexpected humorous turn of events.

My classmate Ashley Rudder shares the same thoughts. “The Crush successfully took the relatable emotion of liking someone and created a story of a schoolboy chivalry that was comical!” Rudder said.

Considering that the film was only 15 minutes long, writer and producer Michael Creagh was able set up an effective progression of crucial events: from Ardle Travis (played by Creagh’s son Oran Creagh) declaring his love for his elementary school teacher Ms. Purdy (played by Olga Wehrly), to his challenging Ms. Purdy’s fiance to a dual with guns, to what the audience initially thought would be a tragic ending.

It was uncertain whether Ardle, in his jealousy and anger, would show him mercy, which made Ms. Purdy’s fiance’s  death seem almost imminent. However, Creagh did not have intentions of allowing the audience to mistakenly think they knew what was next.

Death was a theme, however, as it was with all the other live action short films, whether serious, humorous, or both glum and comical like The Crush.

This was the case with Wish 143, about a terminally ill 15-year-old who’s wish is to lose his virginity before he dies. Although it is heart breaking to see David deal with such adverse health issues, comedy is incorporated throughout especially when he turns down an older woman that wants to make his wish come true.

“I’ve already done it […] Ive done it now […] I don’t think I’m gunna wanna do it again for ahhh, for a bit,” David tells her.

Although both shorts are amusing none the least, the characters gracefully accept and embrace the fact that their initial life plans were not brought into fruition, but they did have a good laugh about it.

Posted in Independent Film | 1 Comment

Indie/short films not on the cheap

After a relatively short train ride from Baruch College, (6 train to the L train to the F train) my classmate Ashley Rudder and I arrived at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village.

It was 1:30 p.m. and we were a whole hour early! Although I had purchased the tickets online, they are given on a first-come, first-served basis, and I was worried there would be none left.

What made me think that! Honestly, a 2:30 p.m. showing of Oscar nominated live action short films on a Tuesday afternoon is not likely to have a full house.

Off to kill some time…We parlayed about the steep ticket prices while indulging in some yummy foot-long sandwiches from the Subway restaurant a few storefronts down.

Considering that the tickets cost close to the price of a ticket for a regular two-hour movie, we wondered why that was the case. “I really enjoyed watching the short film screening,” Ashley said, “but I would have liked to pay a little less for the tickets […] I normally pay 8 dollars for a new released movie at my neighborhood movie theatre and it would have been great for these tickets to be inexpensive as well.”

Then again, we reasoned, these films are popular among the Indie/short film enthusiasts or junkies. Plus, the theatre needs to make their money.

2:25 p.m. came and it was time to head a few feet down to the theatre. My predictions of the underwhelming number of patrons were correct; my classmates and I were the majority of the viewers there.

We sat in our seats, which are way more comfy than the seats in regular movie theaters, and watched the films with analytical eyes.

It was the first time I had watched indie/short films other than the few I had watched on Saturday on Reel 13, on PBS, in which they play, “A classic, an Indie, and a Short Picked by You!”

I look forward to viewing more Indie/short films and perhaps gain an appreciation and interest for them.

Posted in Independent Film | 3 Comments

Artistic ambition outweighs the polish

I enjoyed the ambiance created by the black and white film and the background music that enhanced each moment in “Oh, Inverted World, an indie webisode on a group of young adults chosen to stop the moon from falling into the earth.

Considering it was a low budget film, the actors seemed very natural, hence convincing . The actors in the My Lifetime webisode  “Good in Bed” were better actors. In their facial expressions you can feel the pain of the couple who can not see eye to eye and who are on the brink of a divorce. At the end, they seem truly happy when they took a nap together. However, considering the budget of the webisode, you would expect it to have better actors.

While watching it, one might almost feel they’re viewing a Hollywood film as opposed to a short webisode. I preferred the plot and even the acting, whereas the plot of “Oh Inverted World” was too weird and confusing to draw me in. My classmate Sabrina Khan agreed. “The independently made webisode seemed to ambitious. It tried too hard to be interesting but failed to keep me interested,” she said.

Putting the plot aside, however, I had a deep appreciation for the ambition she seems to condemn. Large budget films, whether short or long, have their place in the industry but the ability of a few young striving actors to put on a production minus the polish, limited monetary resources and extra man power is impressive and I admire that artistic creativity of indie films.

Posted in Independent Film | 1 Comment