Culture Shock 2k17

Everyone who’s anyone ( who goes to SUNY Purchase ) knows what Culture Shock is…

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Hey guys,

It’s that time of year again. Where everyone is drowning in finals, the weather has no idea what to do, and Culture Shock weekend is upon us! If you do not go to SUNY Purchase, culture shock is a two day music festival held on our campus. There’s live music almost all day, carnival rides, food trucks, tons of activities, and free shit (my fav).

Along with the main stage acts, which are posted above, Culture Shock also has a side stage!

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Located at Whitson’s in The Stood (student center) on campus, many of Purchase’s finest will be taking the stage to share their music with their peers! Among the line up posted above, is the amazing band Cherry. As a member of Purchase’s Arts Management Club, we are planning to start a blog series focused on artists on Purchase’s campus for the following academic year! To start things off with a teaser of what the blog is going to look like, I had the awesome opportunity of sitting down and talking with Marina Espinet who is the lead singer and creator of the band Cherry, who will be playing tonight!

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Born and raised in Brooklyn, NYC based singer-songwriter Espinet attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts. In high school, Espinet wasn’t sure how to put her band together especially with the idea of having a full band to play her music. An old friend gave her the push to find the players that would then make up her band Cherry.

The name of the band was inspired by a few very important things to Espinet. Pin-up fashion played a large role in Espinet’s fashion and lifestyle when she discovered it at the age of 15. One symbol of pin-up fashion is a cherry, so it only seemed fit to include that in her band. Another inspiration was Amy Whinehouse’s song Cherry, about her acoustic guitar.  Hesitant with the name at first, she finally decided to stick with it when she realized the success of other one word named bands/artists. “If an artist like Future can be come successful, then Cherry can to.” claimed Espinet in my interview with her.

Pulling music and vocal inspiration from artists such an Amy Whinehouse, David Bowie, and Lou Reed & The Velvet Underground, she enjoys portraying her self unapologetically whether it’s being a badass or showing her more vulnerable side. Though she doesn’t put her music into one genre, Espinet believes Cherry falls under the Rock genre with sub genres like funk rock and blues rock. With jazz and pop influences as well, she enjoys the sound of todays mainstream radio with artists like Hiatus Kaiyote and she feels her music is able to spread a wide field of genres.

 

Through her music, Espinet looks to tell an “untold story of a woman” and always uses honesty in her lyrics. She looks to connect with those who identify with femininity and celebrate who she is as a woman. Main singer and leader of the band, Espinet enjoys the company of her talented musicians and loves to receive help of her band. Current members include Marco Gill on drums, Carey Ozmun on trumpet, Eial Kestelman on trombone, David Millen on jazz guitar, and has worked with bassists such as Sean Power, Evan Lawrence, and Colin Dooman. Though currently a studio composition major, Espinet is grateful for the time she spent as a jazz student as well. Along with the theory she learned, the number of connections she made through the conservatory and through other schools was unparalleled and something she will always be thankful for.

Along with her supportive friends, Espinet is grateful for all the support given to her by teachers such as Beatriz Martiz-Ruiz, Peter Malinverni, Charles Blenzig and Rebecca Haviland through her time in the Music Conservatory.

Her latest project Like a Lady dropped in August of 2016 and is available on sound cloud currently and will be available on all streaming services soon. But in the mean time, check them out live at a couple of their upcoming shows!

May 4th – Acoustic Set at the Planned Parenthood benefit at SUNY Purchase 

May 4th – Taco’s Shack in New Paltz, NY

May 5th – Steer Roast at MIT in Boston, MA

May 12th – Temple Fest @ SUNY Purchase (check Facebook for upcoming details)

May 19th – The Bitter End @ 11:30 in New York, NY

To here more of Cherry, check out their website at cherrymusicnyc.com or through lacherrycita on instagram!

Catch Marina and her band Cherry tonight on side stage in The Stood at 8pm!

I’ll be there, will you?

See ya soon,

Dev

Steppin’ outside my comfort zone

Everyone needs a little push outside of their comfort zone right?

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Hello friends,

So for those of you who know me, I’m a pretty vibrant, extroverted performer who is rather comfortable on stage or behind a camera. This past weekend I took part in S.O.C.A’s 14th annual fashion show All Around The World! and let me tell you, it was exciting.

My friend Caiti was the one who got me to audition for it with her. Though reluctant at first, I thoroughly enjoyed my time and can’t thank her enough for making me do it. She is a badass on stage and it was so fun to cheer her on. What’s really nice is that we became so much closer through this experience and she is someone I’ll always have around in my life. We are the kind of friends who listen to stories till 2 in the morning, push each other to try new things, and embrace change. Who doesn’t love that?

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When I told people I had rehearsal and what not, a lot of them would say “rehearsal to do what? Walk?” and though it sounds funny, yeah we had to learn how to walk. There was so much that went into the show and the amount of time we spent learning formations was crazy. You gotta learn how to strike a damn fine pose, how to walk and turn, how to use your entire body, pose for pics, all while remembering the formation. Though it may sound super simple, it takes a minute to get it right.

The day of the show came and I’m not going to lie, I was super nervous to get up on stage.  Frankly, a fashion show can do a couple things. It can either make you feel like a Queen slaying the stage, can make you feel self conscious about the fact that people are going to be judging your every move, or it can be a combination of both. For me, it was a combo.

I was completely feeling my self up there…

*Photos by Tevin Tinto*

But at the same time, it is really hard not to pick at all my flaws at the same time. You’re standing in a dressing room trying on clothes that either fit or they don’t and staring in mirrors noticing everything that you may want to tweak and change about yourself. You compare yourself to others and maybe wish you looked a little different.

It was a tough place to be in but coming out of it, it forced me to recognize that, I really enjoy who I am. There are always things to work on but I’m grateful for the fact that I was surrounded by such a body positive group of people. Every one of those models and students I walked with were such supportive people, and would always cheer you on no matter what.

So I walked with pride and did my thing and people cheered my name. I just felt good ya know? It was a scary, powerful, and thrilling experience… but I hope to do it again soon.

Let’s all jump out of our comfort zones, shall we?

See ya soon,

Dev

Lookin’ towards the Summer Sun

Who knew Junior year could fly by so fast…

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As the summer is now fast approaching and I have about 3 weeks left of school, I am looking forward to my favorite season, Summer. Not only is my birthday in July, the Summer is my time to shine. I absolutely love adventuring outside in the warm air, watching the sun set until 9pm, driving around with my family, and going on vacation. I figured for this short post, I would reminisce about some of my favorite things to do in the Summer!

A pastime is taking pictures of the sky:

Going on adventures:

Buying flowers and going to concerts:

And of course, vacation:

Hope you all had a lovely break and are looking forward to Summer too!

See ya soon,

Dev

Green and Beautiful

Have you every been to the Massachusetts?

Hello everyone,

So this week is spring break and I am super happy to be home. Originally my family and I were going to go on a little road trip to Cape Cod Mass. A beautiful summer spot that we travel to every August on our family vacation! This past summer we visited a spot called the Heritage Museums and Gardens which is an organization that preserves american culture, art, and history through beautiful sculptures and exhibits mainly located outside. My parents wanted to take a trip in april to visit a flower exhibit that only comes out in spring. Unfortunately however our plans have changed because of the current weather in the upper east, which has prevented the exhibit to bloom!

But it got me reminiscing and I wanted to share some photos from that day.

Enjoy and see ya soon,

Dev

The year of closure, and a new beginning

We all need it sometimes, don’t we?

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Hi Friends,

This is a thank you to all of those who have been with me through everything. And a goodbye to the insecurities I’ve had for a long time.

Let me set the scene for you. I’m sitting in an academic building on campus, feet up with my computer in my lap. Chance the Rapper’s song Blessings is playing through my headphones while I drink a far too sugary Starbucks latte and I am flooded with a sense of peace.

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This year has been a roller coaster of events and emotions. I’ve made new friends and have lost some old ones, have nursed a heartbreak, have questioned my major 10 times over, and have felt rather lost in life. These are things we all go through. Things we all have heard of and maybe have dealt with already. People like to say that College is easy and for some it is! But for most in my experience, it is a closed bubble of stress filled with impending deadlines. However there are plenty of amazing moments, I won’t deny that.

I have spent a long time taking my self down a few notches I suppose. I took myself out of competitive scenarios and majors, I spent more time supporting others in their art forms, rather than myself, I became known as the “mom” of my friend groups (because I look out for everyone) and I lost the value I held for myself. I was scared of being judged by others, and feared the unknown.

And though those things are still present, I am becoming stronger. I am becoming my self, in every way. Unapologetically. And whats better than that? It’s all a work in progress but there had to be a moment of acceptance where I took in the fact that, I’m changing and it is for myself and no one else. It took me a second to realize that if we as humans can’t be ourselves, body, heart, and soul… then something needs to change. Whether that is removing yourself from the people who make you feel less or stepping away from the situations that make you question your sense of self.

We are all fine works of art. Worth high praise. We are forests, that will always grow back no matter the destruction. We are the uniqueness of the world, and no one can tell us otherwise. I know its lame to say, but time really does heal. Heal in the sense that other things begin to fill you up and make you move on from the shit that held you down. Things come in that give you a feeling you never knew existed. I didn’t realize how much healing had happened until I was able to think in a different way. To have had conversations that pushed me forward and solidified the fact that I had changed.

I think we deserve the chance to be proud of ourselves for the accomplishments we make that are just for us. To be more understanding of our emotions and thoughts. To celebrate the tiny moments that make us who we are.

So this is a thank you to all of those who have been there for me. Who have taught me the beauty of change. Who have hugged me when I needed it most. Who have made me laugh, cry, smile, and cheer. Thank you for helping create the person I am. I’m truly lucky to have you all in my life.

Change is so good ya know?

See ya soon,

Dev

Music Makes Me Feel

We all have a favorite song right?

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Hello everyone,

This week, I want to talk about certain songs/albums that really make me feel something. I’m talking songs that make you feel like they’re connected to your soul. We all have a few that just seem to get us. The ones we play on repeat for hours because how could any other song compare in that moment. Frankly I don’t have favorite songs, I have ones that fit what I need to hear at certain times.

First of all, I never move without music. Whether it is in the car, on a bus for hours, walking to class, ordering food, taking a shower, I’m always listening to something because it drives my day. I honestly think it’s one of the best things too. As if my life had its own sound track. It’s not just me though! My family are avid music appreciators and listeners. One of my favorite things  about going home, and something I have always loved growing up, is having my bedroom above the kitchen. Every weekend morning, and most mornings in the Summer, I wake up to the sound of music (usually Bruce Springsteen) being played from my kitchen as my parents prepare breakfast. Can you imagine how awesome that is? I’d walk downstairs as the music grows louder and I’d dance with my mom as pancakes are being served and coffee is being brewed. It set the standard that my life always needed to have music.

So here are a few recent songs/albums that really just fill me with something too beautiful to explain.

First is the entire album Red Earth & Pouring Rain by British folk rock band Bear’s Den.

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This album is ridiculously lovely. Just rich, colorful, takes you to another world kind of lovely. It has been my road trip partner for months now because it is something that completely immerses you in music. I put on this album and nothing else matters. Specifically the songs, Dew on the Vine, Love Can’t Stand Alone, Fortress, and Gabriel. These are songs that pull and tug on heart strings, that make you gaze out windows and wonder what happened to the man who wrote these songs, that make you envision an entire memory that you’re not even sure truly exists.

Next are two songs from the Broadway Musical, Hamilton. 

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Honestly, you should just listen to the entire album because it is a work of pure genius, but these two songs are the ones that made me fall in love with the show entirely. They are Satisfied and Wait For It. These songs are Broadway belters that make you jam out in your car like no one if watching… I should know, I do it all the time. If you happen to be pretty good at harmony, they’re also great songs to harmonize to!

Lastly, British singer Ben Howard’s album Every Kingdom.

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This is Summer in one album to me. It’s a favorite between my sister and I and it is the sound track of my life from the ages of 15-20. When I listen back to it now, I’m taken back to the bus rides home from school, the summers on the Cape when I’d listen on the beach, and the drives through the country with my sister. It’s funny how music can do that. Imprint on memories we have and at the time, we don’t even realize it’ll stick with us for forever. It’s been nearly 7 years since I first listened to this album, and it still makes my heart swell.

The song, Keep Your Head Up is my motto now. “Keep your head up, keep your head strong” is a line I’ve used in countless ways to numerous people. It’s a line that everyone needs to hear from time to time and to me, it is another way to say, ” I love you “.

Below is the music video for Keep Your Head Up. It fills me with a sense of childlike wonder and if you give it a watch, I hope it does the same for you.

See ya soon,

Dev

Arts Advocacy Day

March 20-21, 2017

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Hello everyone!

Over this past weekend I had the honor of attending the Americans for the Arts, Arts Advocacy Day conference down in Washington D.C. with a few of my lovely classmates. Originally this trip was for a class called Making a Case for the Arts, one that I’m not in, but luckily there was an empty slot that I was happy to fill. Though a short trip, it was truly inspiring and has pushed me to keep fighting for my passion like it is my job (which hopefully, it will be).

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Sitting it a conference room, with 700 of my closest friends, noshing on croissants and muffins, we eagerly sat down to start our day. The main topic was the future of the NEA and NEH, a topic I’ve discussed here before. My class mates and I already had a handle on a lot of the policies, facts, statistics, and laws that were being discussed throughout the morning but it was good to know that so many of us felt so passionate about supporting the arts. Along with that, we discussed arts education which has always been a favorite topic of mine.

My arts education in elementary-highschool was slim to none. We had few music courses and even fewer arts classes as the years went on. Schedules were tight so not everyone was able to explore certain areas of the arts like photography of videography. Having an arts education is crucial and is valuable in a multitude of ways. Creativity is now one of the top skills looked for in jobs today and the arts are a perfect gateway for that. It was comforting to know that everyone at this conference agreed with that. But my biggest issue was, okay so they know that we need more classes devoted to the arts, and more accessible programs offered to a range of students everywhere, but what about who is teaching those programs? Often times, the teachers of the arts may be experienced artists but can’t teach what they know. Or you can get the flip side of that, which is a teacher who preaches what they can’t practice. My biggest hope is that we can focus on having an equal balance of tacking and artistic experience which will allow for a better connection between student and teacher.

After the conference, we broke off for free time and of course, I went with some friends to see the glorious monuments. Now I had already seen these back when I was a senior in high school but my one friend had not and honestly I was thrilled to be going back. We walked along the river side until we go to the Lincoln Memorial which also faces the Washington Monument. We all were just stunned at how beautiful everything was. As my friend Abby said, “You can feel the history, you guys.” and for a moment, it just felt surreal. Here we were in Washington D.C. advocating for the arts as the only undergraduate students in the conference, surrounded by history. I felt like I was really a part of something, like I was home.

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Lincoln Memorial

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Washington Monument

We ended our evening with the Nancy Hanks lecture featuring special guest, Darren Walker in the Kennedy Center. His speech was breath taking and filled my heart with hope for a better future of the arts and the world. He was honest, articulate, and filled with a passion that touched us all. It was beautiful, and exactly what I needed. It made me proud to be an artist, arts advocate, undergrad, arts manager, and millennial. I just know there is so much I can do for my self and for the arts, and I can’t wait to go forth and do it.

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See ya soon,

Dev