All posts filed under: Featured

Calling All Vegans!

If you’re vegan and use YouTube as a resource for recipes and information, please reach out to me! I’m preparing to present on Veganism & YouTube at the Pop Culture Association and American Culture Association national conference in San Diego this April, and am looking for insight from vegans who include YouTube as part of their online community. If that’s you, please respond to the following questions using the contact form below. Be sure to include your name, age, gender (man, woman, or gender non-conforming), location, and how long you have been vegan. If you were vegetarian before becoming vegan, be sure to include the number of years you were vegetarian before transitioning. Did watching a YouTuber or specific YouTube video influence your decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle? If so, what YouTube channels in particular? How often do you consume vegan material on YouTube? What channels do you watch and why? What sort of content are these YouTubers providing for you (i.e. recipes, lifestyle tips, animal cruelty information)? What other materials do you credit to influencing and …

Watch Abha Dawesar’s TED Talk: “Life in the ‘Digital Now'”

I don’t often watch or listen to TED Talks, but when I happen across one while endlessly scrolling online or listening to NPR – like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” – they always seem to emerge at the perfect time in my life. And I love novelist Abha Dawesar’s “Life in the ‘Digital Now,’” not only because she’s brilliant and speaks to so much about our digital lives that I’ve been trying to grasp, but her talk came into my life at the exact moment I needed it. I’m currently taking an entertainment business class at USC about digital technology and the entertainment industry. For the most part I thoroughly enjoy the course, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the focus on futurism and our likely destinies as tech-obsessed individuals and societies. Taking this class has made me realize that talk of a hyper-technological reality is personally anxiety inducing. And visions of a world filled with AR, VR, and AI are absolutely terrifying. I may be typing this blog post using WordPress on my laptop, and I …

Fun with Vinyl

My boyfriend and I, after years of wanting one, finally invested in a record player. Though I’m guilty of romanticizing records, I can’t help but adore them. Albums are fun and beautiful. Rummaging is an adventure. Listening is an experience. Not only do vinyl records produce a spectacular sound, but they require an active listener. The Spotify experience, for example, is wildly different. I can just put on an artist, algorithmically driven radio station, or expertly curated playlist and listen passively for hours. But with records you’re constantly flipping sides, changing speeds, and pulling the disks out of their sleeves and slipping them back in again. You’re picking dust off the stylus, or wiping smudges from the vinyl grooves. This interaction with the physicality of the record itself is also something I appreciate about vinyl: that it’s tangible. I can hold an album in my hands and examine its cover or the dips that circle its surface. I have to move each record from one spot to another with delicate precision. I clean them often. To actually hold onto the medium from which my music comes …

Positive Change as an Individual

In these socially and politically tumultuous times, I think it’s important to reflect on what we can do as individuals to contribute to the greater good. While significant change is enacted by policy-making, progress within one’s lifestyle and personal relationship to society as a whole is also essential in creating change. Below is a work-in-progress list of ways I think an individual can create positive change. While I’m sharing this on Catch-all, it’s also a personal reminder of the many ways I can use my individual power for good. This list will always be evolving, so please comment below with any suggestions you may have. Ask more questions! Think critically, engage with new ideas, listen to your peers, confront your own problematic assumptions, and always look beyond the surface level Cultivate a community of friends and family who hold you accountable for your actions and words Support businesses owned by immigrants, women, people of color, members of the LGBT community, etc. Support the work of diverse journalists, artists, authors, and filmmakers, etc. Question the status-quo Avoid fast fashion and …

Riding the Pacific Surfliner

This past weekend I rode Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego & back. Here’s a diary entry-style post about my experience: From industrial neighborhoods to the ocean, journeying on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego takes you through some of California’s distinct landscapes. Leaving from Union Station in downtown LA, the first views from the train are what I’d describe as hyper-industrial: cement trucks, train cars, wires, fences, and giant warehouses that are either overwhelmingly grey, or dotted with colorful graffiti. It’s dirt, metal, and cement for miles. The illicit art on buildings and walls – ranging from indecipherable messages to exceptional works of art – interrupt the monochromatic dominance of the landscape. Oddly enough, I think there’s something particularly beautiful about Los Angeles’ industrial and warehouse districts. The area isn’t at all glamorous, but the beauty is in its history and scope. Downtown LA is home to global industries and distribution centers. It’s where clothes are made and shipped internationally, and produce is organized and distributed across North America. Downtown is a hub …

On Nostalgia & the Home in “Fuller House”

Nostalgia-TV has had a recognizable presence in the American televisual landscape for the last decade – from Hawaii Five-O (1968 – 1980, 2010 – present) to Dallas (1978- 1991, 2012 – 2014), and beyond – but in recent years, producers and networks have turned to reboots and revivals more than ever before, as the film industry follows suit. This trend towards remakes and spin-offs seems to reflect an economic model – one that depends on a preexisting audience as an example of profit potential – but nostalgia’s marketability extends beyond those parameters. As a result of revisiting an idealized past, nostalgia-TV relies on capturing the attention of viewers for whom the past is romanticized and may represent a more stable time. In particular, the recent rebooting of popular family and child-oriented 90’s series seems to tap into a specific audience with newfound political and economic power. Netflix’s Fuller House (2016 – present), a reboot of Full House (ABC, 1987 – 1995), offers an example of a series intended to rely on a passive and non-critical …

Watch “Hate Rising” With Jorge Ramos

I first heard about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ documentary, Hate Rising, from an interview on NPR that aired in the fall (listen to Jorge Ramos in Hate, Politics, and the Trump Effect, and To Make ‘Hate Rising,’ Jorge Ramos Spent Time with Hate Groups), but didn’t watch the film until after the election. Surely, seeing this documentary following November 8th had a different impact than it would have had if I had watched it earlier, and post-inauguration viewing will again produce a new meaning. In the film, Ramos explores the concerning rise in hate in the U.S., speaking with members of the KKK and the “Alt-Right” (a young, tech savvy version of the KKK), as well as those effected by their deplorable ideologies and actions. While Hate Rising is a particularly difficult documentary to watch, I believe it’s necessary in this current political climate to know exactly what we’re up against. And due to the administration’s recent executive orders on the border wall and immigration ban targeting Muslims, this film is more relevant now than ever. Please watch Hate Rising and share it …

Freedom & Indulgence on the Vegas Strip

Ah, the Las Vegas Strip. You’d think I hate Las Vegas based on my aversion to greed, mass consumption, and gaudiness – but on the contrary, I sort of love it. While the Strip is built on gambling addictions, cheesy simulacrum, and mass amounts of waste (from water fountains to water bottles), there’s a freeness in the four mile stretch of indulgence and exhibitionism that I appreciate and almost relish in. American culture is so go-go-go, earn-earn-earn, that sometimes we collectively lose sight of ourselves. What I believe to be inherently American is this guilt I feel whenever I have the chance to relax. I may have been over worked and exhausted for weeks, but the moment I get to take a break I think of my desire for rest or fun as a flaw. But everyone else is constantly working hard, so why am I tired? Why do I deserve to go do this cool thing? What’s my issue?  Two weeks ago (just one week before the inauguration) I spent two nights in Las Vegas with my boyfriend, celebrating …

Resistance Reading List

Ready to resist the new administration and the damage and cultural effects this campaign and election have had, and will continue to have, on the U.S. and our world? Here are a few books I’m planning on reading or re-reading in order to become the most prepared and well educated resistor I can be. Please be sure to share any additional recommendations in the comment section below. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley 1984 by George Orwell A Convenient Hatred: The History of Antisemitism by Phyllis Goldstein We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie No One Is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S. – Mexico Border by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis The United States of Fear by Tom Engelhardt One World Now: The Ethics of Globalization by Peter Singer The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead Subterranean Fire: A History of Working Class Radicalism in the United States by Sharon Smith Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian …

Exploring “Twin Peaks”

In honor of Twin Peaks Day, I’m reposting this video essay I made on the series last spring. Enjoy, and please feel free to share any feedback! For my final project for CTCS 587: Television Theory, a graduate Cinema & Media Studies course at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, I elected to do a video essay on Twin Peaks. In “Exploring ‘Twin Peaks’” I take a brief look at the production history of the series, as well as the show’s hybridization of genres. Because this was my first attempt at creating a video essay it certainly has its issues – but despite some technical and conceptual roadblocks, I truly enjoyed working on this project. In retrospect, I realize that I underestimated the amount of effort video essays require. From conducting research, to writing a script, recording voiceover, gathering clips, and assembling them into a cohesive format – it’s quite a time-consuming undertaking! All in all, I’d describe making a video essay as a labor-intensive, but immensely fun endeavor. I’m interested in exploring the video essay genre further, so any constructive criticism or feedback is welcomed. Incase you’re interested, here …