Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Creon and Antigone

Last weekend, I played Creon in a Different Directions production of Sophocles' Antigone. It was a lot fun to acting Creon because he goes through a tumult of emotion, from proud and jovial, to angry and stubborn, and then humble and broken. Scroll to the bottom to see the video of the whole productions.


Monday, December 15, 2014

The King Lear Project

Last weekend, I was in the final performance of my Shakespeare Master Class with New Genesis Productions. This fall's class was called "The King Lear Project"! For ten weeks, we worked on Shakespeare's King Lear, really getting to know the play and trying out different characters and monologues. In the final performance, I played Kent, Edgar, and I got to play King Lear in the famous "Blow winds..." scene. See the video below!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Drawing with the Masters

I just finished a really great Foundations of Drawing class (for homeschoolers) with a lovely teacher called Sarah Crumlich. These are some of examples of the copywork I did. We learned so much by copying the drawings of the great masters like Titian, Delacroix, and Raphael.

 And here is a still life I did with pastels.

Friday, October 24, 2014

History, Religion and Culture Studies (Part 10): Early Modern and Enlightenment Eras

In our most recent Homeschool History, Religion, and Culture studies, we have been studying the early modern and enlightenment eras in the West. Highlights have included reading John Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained and also learning a lot about the English Civil War, the French Revolution, and the great composers like Mozart and Beethoven.

As usual, we used Gloria Fiero's Humanistic Tradition to start us off with our studies, but here are the other books and resources we used:

Key texts:

Thomas Moore, Utopia
Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly*
John Milton, Paradise Lost*
John Milton, Paradise Regained*
John Milton, Samson Agonistes*
Voltaire, Candide*
Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method 

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan

*Read in full; others we read important selections

Documentaries and lectures:

Open Yale Course: Milton (lectures on Paradise Lost and Regained)
Open Yale Course: Listening to Music (lectures on Mozart and Beethoven) 

Heroes of the Enlightenment (BBC documentary about Newton, Diderot etc. - one episode)
Sea of Faith (documentary about Galileo and Descartes and Pascal - one episode)
The Genius of Mozart (BBC documentary - three episodes)
The Genius of Beethoven (BBC documentary - three episodes)

The Birth of British Music: Handel (BBC documentary- one episode)
The Birth of British Music: Hadyn (BBC documentary- one episode)
The Power of Art: Caravaggio (BBC documentary - one episode)
The Power of Art: Bernini (BBC documentary - one episode)
The Power of Art: Rembrandt (BBC documentary - one episode)

Private Life of a Masterpiece: Vermeer (BBC documentary - one episode)

Great Artists: El Greco (documentary - one episode
Blood on our Hands (Channel 4 documentary about English civil war - all episodes here)
The Rise and Fall of Versailles - 3 part documentary about the run up to French Revolution
The French Revolution - History Channel Documentary.
La Revolution Francaise - French 6 hour movie that dramatizes the French revolution (available in its entirety on You Tube). 



Amadeus (dir. Milos Forman, 1984 -- about Mozart)
Girl with a Pearl Earring (dir. Peter Webber, 2003 -- about Johannes Vermeer)
Amistad (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1997 -- about mutiny on a slave ship in the 19th century)
Candide: the Operetta (Leonard Bernstein, first written in 1956 - we watched this version)
Moliere (dir, Laurent Tirard, 2007)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Me and Marlon Brando

My mum and I have been listening to a Film Studies lecture series by Modern Scholar called "Understanding Movies: The Art and History of Film" (taught by Prof. Raphael Shargel). We have learned about early silent movies, the first soundies, and theories of montage (and Eisenstein's famous Odessa steps scene). We have watched and learned about early classics such as John Ford's Stagecoach and Orson Welles' Citizen Kane (for all the movies we have watched see the side column to this blog). We're now up to film noir and neo-realist movies and have watched movies like Double Indemnity, A Touch of Evil, The Stranger, and Bicycle Thieves. One of our favorites so far was On the Waterfront. We decided to remake the famous taxi cab scene, shot for shot!

Here is the original scene:


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ohoyaho Ohoo!

We have been reading some poems by Wallace Stevens. We liked this one called "Life is Motion"...although, "Ohoyaho..Ohoo" would be a better title!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Day of Mindfulness - Told in Lego

We often go to the Days of Mindfulness at Blue Cliff Buddhist Monastery (one of Thich Nhat Hanh's 3 monasteries in the US). Here is their Day of Mindfulness told in Lego! We sent the video link to the sisters and brothers for them to see and they really liked it!

 And here is me, in 2011, asking Thich Nhat Hanh (world famous Buddhist teacher) a question.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tom Sawyer

This is my latest movie: A Few Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We made it with my grandparents in Tennessee and our wonderful friends, who live on the beautiful farm you will see in the movie (they make an appearance too!). We listened to the audiobook of Tom Sawyer on the long trip from NY to TN and back again!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Dr Who: Zapped

When we were in London earlier this year with my Shakespeare director Lesley and her family, we went to see a ton of great plays: Hamlet, Three Sisters, Uncle Vanya, A View From the Bridge, Dorian Gray, and The Malcontent. In between, we also had time to make an episode of Dr Who! We will have to go back soon to see more plays and make the second installment of our episode.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Manga Time

I have been learning to draw in the Manga style using books and Mark Crilley's You Tube videos. Here are some of my drawings. I am working on a Manga book, which is my own spin off from Star Wars about an orphan called Alexander Starreacher and Andromeda Solo (the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia) who are both training to be Jedis.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Midsummer Revisited

Thanks to Ted Ojarovsky for this photo
Thanks to Ted Ojarovsky for this photo
I just performed in my 6th New Genesis Productions show! This summer we did A Midsummer Night's Dream and I played Oberon, King of the Fairies, and Theseus, Duke of Athens (I was Snug in the same play 3 years ago - see here!). It was super fun. See below for a video with clips of me playing my 2 characters.

Thanks to Ted Ojarovsky for this photo

And here's the video!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dogen Cures the Shogun

As part of our homeschool studies about Zen Buddhism, we made this movie about the 13th Century Zen monk, Eihei Dogen. The movie was filmed on location at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery in California and the Esalen Institute, also in California.

Thanks to the wonderful cast and crew that helped make this movie possible (and fun to make) - Vig, Ashley, Sascha, and Becca!

 Make sure to see the hilarious outtakes too:

And for the die hard fans, this is an uncut version of the Shogun chopping and then popping all those heads..

Homeschool History, Religion, and Culture Studies (Part 9): Zen Buddhism

As part of our Homeschool History, Religion, and Culture studies, we have just spent the last couple of months studying Zen Buddhism. We are already familiar with Buddhism and the story of the Buddha (see the three movies we made about Buddha's life) and a few years ago we went on a retreat with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, where I got to ask him a question! But this year we decided to do more study on Zen because we had a trip to the famous Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery planned.

You can see pictures from our trip to Tassajara below and also a movie we made of our very Zen ride on the infamous 14 mile dirt track to the monastery.

As usual, we used Gloria Fiero's Humanistic Tradition to start us off with our Zen studies, but here are some of the books and resources we used. 

Zen Master Eihei Dogen, Moon in a Dewdrop
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path, White Cloud, The Art of Mindful Living
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living
Thich Nhat Hanh's children’s books, A Pebble for Your Pocket, Is Nothing Something?, and Each Breath a Smile
John Muth's three books, Zen Shorts, Zen Ghosts, Zen Ties

Movies, Documentaries, and Dharma Talks:
Zen, 2009 movie about Zen Master Dogen
Thich Nhat Hanh’s 2013 Pine Bush “Art of Suffering” Retreat (5 dharma talks)
Suzuki Roshi, a documentary

Here's a movie and photos from our trip to Tassajara!


Friday, May 30, 2014


At my art class at NY's Children's Art Museum, they let us loose with fancy SLR cameras! Here are some of my shots. I really like the photography of William Eggleston - and I think these are quite Eggleston-ish!