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Posts tagged ‘Chicago’

First attempt at fan fiction

Hunger Games – Divergent Crossover Part 1

After the Quarter Quell, Katniss had no choice but to go into hiding. The Capitol was sure to punish her severely for destroying the dome that encased the battlefield. She had to help Peeta, if in fact he was still alive. But not without a strategy, which would take time.

Having remembered the words Mags had told her, she pressed on to what may be her only hope. Before she died in the games, Mags had seen something in Katniss. And when she did, she felt compelled to share a story few knew and even fewer ever dared to speak. Those who knew where among the oldest in Panem and had only heard the stories from relatives long since gone.

She told her that somewhere out in the remote areas of District 8, stands a region onto itself, separated from the rest of Panem in its isolation and the existence of which few knew about. This region was said to be called Chicago.

It was told that this Chicago was once part of Panem but the citizens began a civil war, battling among themselves. It became so much of a problem for the Capitol that they eventually decided to wash their hands of having any dealings with the area. They were left alone, to either govern, or more likely destroy, themselves and their land.

Could it be that this unknown land, if it even existed, was Katniss’ only refuge? She had to find out for sure.

So after a long journey Katniss found herself standing in a barren wasteland, nothing but tree stumps and dusty earth before her. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, she felt in her heart that she must be getting close.

Once she was discovered to be a Divergent, Tris became a refugee, running from the very people she once joined as a member of Dauntless as well as all of the other factions including the one of her birth.

At least once each day, even despite the warnings of her lone companion Four, Tris would make her way to the massive fences that surrounded the city. She’d wonder if she might rather face the unknown outside rather than continue to hide among the citizen of her city.

She kept in contact with Christina and a few Dauntless but was careful never to approach anyone she didn’t trust implicitly.

But it was today that all that would change.

Tris stood along the path of the rusted fence and peered out into the distance like she had done so many times before. But this time, something was different. For the first time, she thought she saw something no someone, in the distance. It was a small figure walking upright – human? Perhaps a young woman? Little did she know that in just hours, she would meet the only person she had ever seen beyond the fence, a girl named Katniss.

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Beautiful architecture built around the national pastime

It’s the heart of summer

at least in the United States. And in the good old USA, while it may no longer be the top spectator sport, baseball still holds the nickname of the “national pastime.” And if you stop to think about it, why wouldn’t it be? Sunny playing fields, hot dogs, the crack of the bat hitting a ball, ballpark souvenirs…the list goes on.

One of the most artistic elements of the game is actually not something you might see on the field but rather the field (or more accurately the structure that holds it) in an of itself. Over the course of the more than 100 years the games has been played on a professional level, cities across the country have seen the rise and fall of numerous ballparks and many of them have been true gems of the craft of architecture.

In the early years of professional baseball, the venues often features open and simple steel structures. The next generation of ballparks included the often “multi-purpose” site which tended to be much bigger but less conducive to baseball than some other sports. Around the same time, enclosed domes with little character began to pop up in cities with notoriously bad weather. In the last two decades or so, the trend has seemed to come full circle going back to the smaller, open structures of old.

Here are a few of my favorites that are currently in use today:

As a Pittsburgh artist, and a life-long Pirate fan, my bias has to lead me to love the beautiful PNC Park.

PNC Park

Progressive Field in Cleveland was one of the first to revive the traditional ball field look.

Progressive Field

Camden Yards in Baltimore is not new by any means but a stunning site to see.

Camden Yards

The sheer history of Fenway Park makes it another wonder on the baseball universe.

Fenway Park

One more oldie but goodie, Wrigley Field in Chicago, has a very specific feel and charm.

Wrigley Field

American Idol auditions recap – New York and Chicago

I’m still not sure what to make of this 13th season of American Idol. The constant switching of judges over the past few years has been unnerving at best. And with this year’s crew, the only addition that seems like a good option is Keith Urban. In my opinion, at the risk of sounding nasty, Mariah used to be a good singer until she became more of a screecher/screamer and Nicki  can’t sing, she raps.

That being what it is, I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of talent the group would let through to the Hollywood. And here’s how I see it.

Christina

From the New York auditions:

New York was a bit surprising in that it seemed as though the city didn’t have that many real standouts. The only two that are likely to be potential contenders in the end where the outstanding Christina “Isabelle” and the skillful Frankie Ford. Others that showed potential to blossom into players that may make a run include the following (in this order):

Angela Miller

Ashlee Feliciano

Sarah Restuccio

Shira Gavrielov

Gupreet Singh Sarin

Mackenzie Wasner American Idol

From the Chicago auditions:

Conversely to the NY outcome, I’d say that the number of highly talented performers in Chicago was quite astounding. I’d even venture to guess that the number singers who might have a chance to really beak out may even reach the double digits, which seems pretty rare for Idol auditions. The best where probably MacKenzie Wasner, Lazaro Arbos and Brandy Neelly with Isabelle Parell close behind. Others that could end up making a run include (in the following order):

Stephanie Schimel

Mariah Pulice

Clifton Duffin

Josh Holiday

Kez Ban

Johnny Keyser

Griffin Peterson

Here’s looking forward to the next set of auditions this season.

The real essence of electronic dance music

Guest Post By Courtney Cummings

Trade you glow sticks for some actual knowledge, candy kids. – Courtney Cummings

Though there are candy kids everywhere claiming to be devoted lovers of drum and bass, few know what they are actually talking about. Electronic Dance Music has just become a phenomenon to the mainstream music loves throughout the United States.  To them a rave entails buying a ticket online, putting on neon and yelling PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) for the entire world to hear.  This is not the true essence of a musical form that took decades to create.  For the true lovers of electro, the overly sampled mainstream radio hits are truly a disgrace.

When speaking of the evolution of this musical trend, four major locations come to mind:  Jamaica, Detroit, Chicago, and the UK of course.  Spanning all the way back to the peace-loving counterculture of the 1960’s the electronic era made its first major appearance in Jamaica.  Dub music was created from a simple combination of reel-to-reel tape players that were overlapped and used to form this new, well known deep and hypnotic rhythm.

dance music mix board

Throughout the 1970’s, the next phase of electronic music came in the not so glamorous 313. As most people imagine house music being blasted by fist pumping macho men, think less Jersey Shore and more Eminem in eight mile.  The Detroit native, Godfather of House, music developed this genre with two turn tables and a mixer.  Instead of tapping a beat machine and sampling other artists, house music came to be as R&B records were sped up and layered to construct sounds of a completely different sort.  Traveling south to the port city of Chicago, house music took off.  The windy city nearly tore the house down.

After taking a break from the US for a while, EDM only became popular due to the role of the international buddies from across the pond.  Taking the fundamentals developed through dub and house music sped up tracks and poppy samples were introduced to music lovers throughout the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.  An international dance culture popularized the genre and created this culture of drum and bass.

Everyone believing that Deadmau5 and Skrillex created what is now known as electronic dance music is beyond comprehension.  Only being popularized in the 90s, the United States falls behind Europeans on their love for lights, music and this explosion of youth.  Get your facts straight!

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