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Photography students hold a photo shoot in the SSC for class project

The photography department held their “Paint It Black” workshop in the SSC. This included a black backdrop with models dressed in black posing for the cameras. This is an assignment the students in Photo 1101 do every semester.

Terry Vitacco, photography professor, said the assignment is about “wanting to get the most details out of highlights and shadows.” It is a challenge with the black background and subjects dressed in black. The name comes from the famous Rolling Stones’ song “Paint It Black.”

The class is an introductory course to digital photography. The prerequisite is Photo 1100, but if students took a photography class in high school, they may be able to place out.  In this project, Vitacco said, “Not only do they have to get the right tones, but they also have to convert to black and white, print, and submit the assignment. They learn to meter and bring out tones in the photographs.”

Students mostly asked their friends to model but “as people saw us working they wanted to be a part of it,” said Vitacco. About ten students volunteered to model. In years past, this event was held in the MAC lobby but because of the construction, it was held in the SSC.

Vitacco says that this kind of activity means, “They have to learn to work with a group and catch things spontaneously. It’s a fun way to learn a technical skill in photography.” Her rule for Photoshop, which is used in the class, is that the changes “should be better, but subtle.” Another thing they do in class is “look at what they shot and analyze the improvements,” said Vitacco.

Kelly Ellam, photography student, said “I liked that we did it where there was a lot of people, there aren’t that many people in the MAC due to construction.” Vitacco really enjoys this project and said its “interesting to see how everyone interprets the same situation [because] everyone in the group has the same problems and opportunities. Everyone has their own style.”

Soon the final print from the photo-shoot will be put up in the MAC hallways for students to view. Vitacco says she “encourages collaboration [and] it was fun to have others want to participate because a lot of the photographers don’t want to be in the photos, they want to take the photos.”

They are giving copies of all the pictures to each of the models as payment. Vitacco said she always tells students to put their names and rights in the corner so that even once pictures go on Facebook and other social networking sites, they can protect the copyright.

Vitacco encourages everyone to take photo classes and says “photo 1100 is a contemporary life skill class that can be used for general credit, it’s a great thing to learn because it’ll help you in your life, even if you’re not a photo major.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2013.

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Karen Reimer Visits College of DuPage

Karen Reimer visited College of DuPage on Sept. 12 to discuss her current work, entitled “Golden” as well as past projects.

This project includes forty 20 ft. long wood crossbars and yellow string to follow the golden mean, or golden ratio theory. According to Reimer, it represents the break down of ideals in the face of materiality.

In addition to her own meaning, the golden mean is based on an infinite mathematical equation that conveys the impossibility of reaching perfection. The first work she talked about was a romance novel that she put her own twist on.

“I took a novel we’re all familiar with and put it into a different form,” said Reimer as she alphabetized all the words in the novel to because “(I was) interested in how the phenomenon of love is represented culturally.”

The next collection she discussed was called “Contingent Solutions” which were a collection of odds and ends.

“Mended things, mostly dishes,” said Reimer describing the display with her working definition of contingent, which was to mean, fixed with whatever is around.

The exhibit is “It’s about making do,” she said. “(It’s) an early example of trying to do something impossible which shows up in my work a lot.”

The following collection contained book pages and other everyday objects that she embroidered to “add value to it to make it original.” She is fascinated with the idea of a copy and an original and said that by embroidering something, that object becomes an original. One of the pieces was an embroidered receipt because she likes to take something that’s trash, put a lot of work into it and it becomes valuable.

Her collection called “Boundary Troubles” includes multiple pieces of fabric sewn together and one of the patterns is partially embroidered onto the other. She said it’s a metaphor for any kind of difference being introduced.

Another work of hers includes a room which she covered walls and ceilings with while fabric like “giant canvases.” This is called “Conflict in Identity.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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New art in stairwells, BIC stairwell art is rotated out, plenty more artwork in permanent collection storage

Out of storage, artwork from the college’s permanent collection, featuring works by professional Chicago-based artists, now graces stairwells in the BIC.

Although most of these artworks appear to be new, many of them are almost 30 years old and have been in storage at the college. These works are all part of the college’s permanent collection.

Barbara Wiesen, art gallery curator at the college, said “Because of renovations we’ve had no choice. We’ve had to store a lot of artwork but we are now trying to find places to put them up.”

Some of the faculty may have even seen some of the works before. Some of them were previously hung in the McAninch Arts Center lobby, the library, and other places around campus.

The current pieces will remain in the BIC stairwells for quite awhile. Wiesen said, “Ideally, the goal is to rotate [the artwork] every 3-5 years.”

The art was created by professional Chicago-based artists. The artists featured are Craig Anderson, Fred Bruney, Matthew Girson, Steven Hayman, Stacie Johnson, Paul Madalinski, Jacqueline Moses, and Robbin Murphy.

Some of the works were donated to the collection. “Retaining Wall” by Stacie Johnson, which is now up in BIC stairwell 5, was donated by Johnson to the college for “educational, aesthetic purposes” when she moved to New York. “Untitled (Scotoma) #6” by Matthew Girson, displayed in stairwell 2, was also a gift of the artist.

Wiesen said she is “anticipating new works being donated down the road” and “excited to see the campus as kind of a public museum.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Alumnus with talent, former student Vincent Glielmi displays photography exhibit in Wings Gallery

The Wings Gallery is now featuring photography by Vincent Glielmi, an alumnus of the college.

Glielmi received his Associate of Fine Arts degree at the college before moving on to the University of Illinois-Chicago to get his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography.

He has been taking photos for 5 years and is inspired by “traveling and music.”

Gliemi took “intro to photography and travel photography, but mostly drawing and painting classes” during his time here.

He took the photos on display “mostly in the South, most in Texas, some out west in California and New Mexico, and a few from Chicago.”

He said most of them were “trip-based, I go on the road with an idea in my head and I seek that out, that’s mostly how it’s been for a couple years.”

There are two portraits being displayed that he took at conventions.

He said he plans to keep going to the conventions and taking similar portraits because he eventually hopes to make a book.

He currently does a lot of wedding photography but he says he really loves “the documentary, journalistic style” the most.

His advice to aspiring photographers is to “be really persistent and edit. Keep your best work in the public eye and just keep going.”

For more information, you can view his work in the Wings Gallery from now until November 8 in SSC 2210 or go online to

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Professor performs in multiple symphony orchestras, creates a children’s magic show

Mike Folker, a music professor at the college, is a very busy guy. He is balancing teaching at both COD and Wheaton College, performing as a percussionist in the Joffrey Ballet, and performing his “Magic of Music” show.

Folker started doing magic as a kid but “when I moved to Chicago, I studied with a well-known magician and that got me inspired.”

After this, he began performing magic for clubs, restaurants, and private parties. In 2000, he attended a large-scale magic show and thought he would like to do that one day. He began talking to the conductor of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, of which he is a member, and began to write his own show that integrated both of his passions: magic and music. He then spent a year writing and picking illusions.

In 2001, he did 8 performances of the show and it “went over really great, the audience loved it,” said Folker. He also said the show has been “something I really wanted to do and I’ve been able to do it.” Soon other orchestras began to hire him to do the show with them.

He also created another show called “Abra-ca-music” that was performed in the MAC a few times. The show also traveled to Michigan, Indiana, and was performed 3 times on New Year’s Eve one year. In this show, he performed with his wife, Daniela, who plays violin and also teaches at the college.

Another show he performed was called “Magic of Rhythm” which consisted of himself, his wife, and another percussionist. This show traveled around to different grade schools. Folker said for this show he had “changed some things, added new illusions.” He will be performing the “Magic of Rhythm” show until December. Folker said, “When I perform, that’s not work, it’s a lot of fun.”

“The Magic of Music” show just had two sold out performances at the Edman Chapel at Wheaton College last week. Folker “received wonderful comments, someone said it was the best children’s show Wheaton College Symphony has had.”

Folker has performed with the Chicago Opera Theater and the Milwaukee Symphony as well as some well-known performers. He has played with Celine Dion, Nick Carter, Josh Groban, Michael Buble, the Moody Blues, Kansas, Carrie Underwood, and Art Garfunkal. He said “the variety is a lot of fun” and that “building a reputation” in the industry is really important.

Folker says that he “encourages his students to dream high” because he says a lot of the time “students set the bar too low.” He said that he put in “a lot of time and dedication to do these things and it was a lot of work but the journey was well worth it.” He said, “if you believe in yourself and that you can do it, you can realize those dreams.”

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Students working hard to get ready for a week of performances of “The Nerd”

A new play is opening October 18  at the college in the K Building Theater. It is a farce called “The Nerd” which was written by playwright Larry Shue, from Glen Ellyn.            Connie Canaday Howard, the director, says the story is “basically about friendship” and the “lengths one will go to to help a friend.”

She also said, “An anonymous favor plays a big role in the show.” The story takes place in early November in Indiana, 1981. The main character, Willam, receives a call from a man named Rick and soon realizes it’s a man who saved his life in Vietnam and “the guy he always wanted to meet.”

Howard says Rick is “presumptuous and rude” with “silly, silly behavior.”

This play is categorized as a farce, which Howard says, means, “extreme comedy, it verges on slapstick.”

Chris Corrigan, a theater student, plays the character of Rick, whom he describes as “a simply awkward nerd, but he’s awesome.” He also said that “rehearsals are going really well and everyone is working really hard.”

Kara Barrios who plays the character of Tansy, said “Everyone should come see it because not only is it a great script, but it’s a whole bunch of fun, it’s awesome.”

The college performs a “wide range of shows” and has a group called the Theatre Seasons Committee that tries to pick shows from different genres. They do this so “actors have a variety of experiences throughout the year,” said Howard. The Nerd was chosen as the one farce to be performed this year and Howard said “Students on the committee were particularly excited for this one.”

The cast only began rehearsing on September 11, but they practice 20-25 hours a week. Howard says, “[It’s] hard work, but I think its very rewarding.”

The play will run from October 18 to October 28. For tickets, call the MAC Ticket office at (630) 942-4000, or purchase them online at the MAC website.

*Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Mara Baker balances teaching + creating art, has two projects featured in galleries

Mara Baker, an art professor at the college is showing off her own skills at two different art shows this fall.

The first show is called Two Histories of the World and it is a sight-specific exhibit. A few years ago, she took part in a project where she and a group of artists were invited to make works using only materials found at William H. Cooper, a rundown factory. Sculptures and installations were placed throughout the building, making the entire space part of the exhibition.

Baker said, “A lot of people came to see the show and had very moving experiences with it. It was a memorial to the past century.”

The Salvation Army purchased the building soon after and it was demolished.

Baker said, “Work is ephemeral, [it] doesn’t necessarily last.” Now Baker has worked to recreate new versions of her work for the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, for a new audience.

Baker said the group was “responding to works we made in the previous year” but that she “deconstructed the work and remade it in a different way.” She also said that it was very different this time around working in a “pristine,” white gallery rather than an old, abandoned warehouse.

There are not any pictures of the work online because Baker is interested in “what it means to truly have sight specific work that doesn’t show up all over the web.” She says the exhibit is “about memory, the memory of objects, the artistic process.”

Baker describes her art as belonging to the “in between, gray area between 2D and 3D” and that “blue tape, old packaging foam, and cardboard boxes are common material for me to use.” She used these kinds of materials to create her series of paintings in order to “use the same material language but within the form of painting.” She said, “On a deeper level, [the show is] our experience of living.”

This show is going to be open for 4 months from now until until January 6, 2013 at Hyde Park Art Center located at 5020 S. Cornell Avenue Chicago, IL 6061.

Her second show, called Rigoletto’s Curse, is also currently open. In this exhibition, Baker collaborated with a writer named Monica Westin with whom she exchanged sketchbooks.  Baker said, “Over the past summer we decided to really delve into how a writer and visual artist could collaborate in a process.”

She said the sketchbooks consisted of a “useful and productive dialogue using two different languages.” Baker created a body of small white panels and collages based off old record albums. “Her writing is directly about my work,” said Baker.

This show will only be open until November 1 at Trinity Christian College, Seerveld Gallery located at 6601 West College Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463.

**Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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More than 200 students performing in concert marks a start of season for music department

Don’t miss the Student Music Concert on Thursday, October 18 at 7:30pm in the Turner Conference Center in the SRC building. This show marks the start of the season of performances for the music department and also displays some of the college’s talented musicians.

Music Professor Lee Kesselman said, “Mid-semester is a great time to hear 5 of our terrific student music ensembles!  Over 200 student performers will participate on one stage in music ranging from percussion to jazz, from choral to orchestral. Many different musical styles will be represented.”

The concert will include the Percussion Ensemble, Small Group Jazz, Concert Choir, Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Singers. The chamber orchestra is “a traditional classical orchestra consisting of groups of violins, violas, cellos, basses, and mostly pairs of woodwinds and brass and timpani,” said Kesselman. The percussion ensemble features many types of percussion such as “marimbas, gongs, drum set, bells, plastic buckets, whistles, African drums, thunder sheets, etc.,” Kesselman added.

Each group will perform 2 or 3 selections to give the audience members an idea of the variety of music studied in the college’s music program.

All of these groups practice as classes and “all of the music ensembles are curricular with registration, credit, and grades,” said Kesselman. He says that since the music is the curriculum for the class, “we take into account the needs and abilities of students. Of course, we always hope that students will like the music and they seem to.”

Tickets are available at the Arts Center Ticket Office at 942-4000 or at the door. These student music concerts are held near mid-semester every fall and spring semester and each group performs near the end of the semesters as well. See under student music for additional information.

*Published in the College of Dupage Courier, 2013.

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Leigh Stein visits campus

This event is part of the College’s “Writers Read” series, which brings authors to COD’s campus for readings and discussions.

Stein has been writing poems since she was 13 and she says “Eventually the poems I wrote when I was about 20 to 25 naturally found themselves in larger collection that I tried to get published as a book.”  Her poetry collection is called Dispatch from the Future.

In her novel, The Fallback Plan, the main character is a babysitter who lives at home with her parents.

“One of the characters attends community college, and though I don’t name it, it’s obviously COD,” said Stein.

Although she did have to do some research on SIDS, the psychological ramifications of losing a child, she said, most of the novel just emerged from her imagination.

Stein doesn’t write full time but on a typical writing day, she will start in the morning, and stop once she’s reached about 1,000 words.

“On a bad day, ill only get about 500. I write in my apartment, unless my cat is jealous, and then ill go to a coffee shop,” said Stein.

“[The hardest part of writing is that] the editor in my head can be rally mean and judgmental. I vacillate between thinking I’m a total genius and a total failure, but hearing from people who really connect with my work makes it all worth it.”

Her next endeavor includes a non-fiction project about death and the internet. She wants to explore how growing up online “affects how we socialize and handle every part of life and death, even coming together on Facebook to mourn the loss of someone we love.”

Stein took writing classes at the college and attributed success towards the programs.

“The poetry classes I took at COD with Freyda Libman definitely improved my work as a poet,” said Stein.

Some of her favorite poets include Bob Hicok,  Dorothea Lasky, Vera Pavlova, and Jennifer Denrow while some of her favorite books include Anagrams by Lorrie Moore, Little Children by Tom Perrotta, Chilly Scenes of Winter by Ann Beattie, Jonathan Franzen’s novels, and anything by Elizabeth Crane.

“Find your true love reader, by which I mean find someone you can share your work with who will give you honest, loving, constructive feedback. You don’t have to be enrolled in a writing program to find this person; you just have to be creative,” said Stein. “Practice reading your work aloud so you can develop an ear. If you want to get published, read literary magazines (there are free ones online) and see what’s out there before you start submitting.”

**Published in the College of DuPage Courier, 2012.

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Spotlight Interview: Black Burn Soul

Name: Jake Kramer

Age: 20

School: (interested in becoming sound technician)

Instrument: guitar &singing

Name: David Lawrence

Age: 20

School: COD (music)

Instrument: drums

Name: Mike Bettcher

Age: 20

School: COD (firefighting classes)

Instrument: bass

Genre: hard rock

Major influences?

Jake: Stevie Ray Vaughn, a lot of blues, Guns’N’Roses

David: Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Lynard Skynard , Foo Fighters. Blues and jazz are a big influence.

Mike: Killswitch Engage, Victor Whooten, Foo Fighters.Everything from blues to funk to jazz to rock. We like bands that are real and talented.

Jake: Also, Blackstone Cherry. We strive to be very real as far as our sound goes.

How did the band form/how did you guys meet?

David: Me and Jake met in first grade.

Jake: We’ve been playing music since sixth grade and playing in bands for eight years.

Mike: I met them freshman year through Chet, their old bass player. We automatically became really good friends.

David: Mike was in a metal band at Wheaton South and we were in a rock band at Wheaton North so we ended up playing  lot of shows together.

Where have you performed?

Jake: We play a lot at River Rock House in St. Charles and basically all over Wheaton. The band I was previously in played at the Metro in Chicago.

Upcoming show?

Jake: We’re playing at JB Mugs in Addison on October 28. On Nov. 11, we’re playing at River Rock House in Chicago as part of a battle of the bands event. People interested should check our Facebook page to find out show times and additional ticket information.

Who writes your songs?

Jake: I make the general structure for the song or thegeneral foundation and then we all add onto it.

David: We make suggestions to each other.

Mike: Usually Jake brings something to practice and says, “Hey, I’ve been working on this for awhile” and then we all work on it together.

Is there a theme to the lyrics?

Jake: Our lyrics talk about the world and things I think are a big issue.

David: Real things, real problems.

Jake: Yeah, we talk about real things that happen.

Mike: You gotta be able to be true to yourself and everyone around you. It comes out of issues we have seen in our real lives.

David: It’s really relatable for everybody.

Jake: It’s good to have people identify with it.

How has your music evolved over time?

Jake: Well we’re a new band. We only formed last December so we’re almost at a year but I came back from Columbia last year with a vision to start a band. I had an idea for a progressive band but the bass player wasn’t working out. Then we jammed with Mike…

David: And we gradually started taking out the synth. Before that, it was going to be like Pink Floyd with distortion.

Jake: We threw out the electronic and started the rock.

Mike: We take pride in what we do when we play.

David: We strive to be the best at our instruments. We have fun but we also take it really seriously.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Mike: Scheduling

Jake: It’s hard because we all love it so much but we all have other commitments. We practice three times a week.

David: Practices usually last two hours.

Mike: We all have jobs too.

David: But we still manage to get that practice in because we’re all serious about it.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

David: Take it seriously.

Jake: Decide if you want it to be a career or just for fun.

David: If you want to be in a band, you need to know your instrument and you need to know rhythm. You need to learn to play with others because if you always play alone you won’t have rhythm.

Mike: Play music that suits you best. You have to play music that is you, not just what is popular.

Jake: You don’t have to be good as long as you are good together. Rock is still around.

Facebook page?

Jake: Click on our profile, check out the music. We’re constantly recording, there’s new music up all the time. There’s shows, funny videos, music videos, etc…

David: Come to a show

Mike: Come hang out with us after the show.

Jake: I want to know everyone at our shows.

Additional comments:

Jake: If you take the time to listen to it, I think people will like it more than they think they will. We’re keeping rock alive. Anyone who loves rock, message us, come see us.