Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Delayed and Flayed

By: Regina Spurlock

Frustrated and upset, students demand a refund after waiting for over two hours in CCNY’s Aronow Theatre for WCCR’s DJ/ B-boy battle to start.

“I am so disappointed,” Niesha, a paying patron, said after waiting in vain for the event to start.

After an hour, the show still hadn’t started and very few tickets had been sold. Around 9:00, the show still hadn’t begun and the ticket master stated disgustedly, “The number of free admissions outnumbers the number of paying guests!”

The DJ/B-boy battle was supposed pay homage to old-school Hip-Hop but instead, it quickly became much more of a disgrace than a tribute. WCCR’s staff of students’ lack of professionalism and promotion led to an insignificant amount of tickets being sold. And consequently, the event, which was supposed to be a competition commencing at 7:00 PM, turned into a showcase of performances that started well after 9:00 PM.

At approximately 8:00, I counted seven people waiting in the seats of Aronow Theater. These seven had the pleasure of listening to the obnoxiously loud music being spun by the four or five DJ’s who had been on stage since 7:00 PM. Even though the audience was extremely small, it was quite diverse. The paying audience consisted of Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and Whites. However, the performers and the crowd of WCCR personnel were black, with the exception of a few Latinos.

Most of those who were present at the event were students, interested in Hip-Hop, and had learned of the DJ/ B-boy Battle via their friends who are members of the WCCR student radio station at CCNY. And although the even started and ended late, many students indicated that they would come to this event again. As for the two students who asked for a refund, I doubt that their enthusiasm would be as high. Both of students were reporting for CCNY campus papers.

By 8:30, some of the audience opted to sit on the floor outside of the theatre; and at 8:45, most of the performers were just arriving. And these performers were not DJs or B-boys, which the event specified, but rappers – tons of rappers. According to WCCR’s Mikhael, the group of B-boys who actually arrived on time was having some internal conflicts typical of boy bands. And another group of B-boys refused to show after learning that the event would be a showcase rather than an actual competition with a prize.

The rappers seemed to be more in sync than the dancers. One of the rappers, Your Highness from Jamaica, Queens, was cool, calm and looking forward to a good show and a solid performance. To the delight of the audience waiting in the hallway, he even gave a preview of his lyrical prowess. On the other hand, another rapper shared that he was not excited and feared that he would screw up. In fact, he bought a ticket after deciding not to perform.

It is evident that this event failed in many aspects. But in determining whether effort should be exerted toward hosting another DJ/ B-boy battle next year, more factors should be examined.

Iolani, president of WCCR, hoped that 500 people would attend the event. “To be real with you, I don’t know how many people are going to show up [since] no tickets have been sold yet. Things are feeling a little shaky...but we're hoping that things turn around for the better by [the Monday before the event],” Iolani stated. No, the DJ/ B-boy Battle did not draw a substantial crowd. This was due in part to the other events competing for student support on the same day and time; potential customers were attending the play at Aaron Davis Hall and Africa Live. Also, the event was scheduled for a Thursday at 7:00 PM, which is not the most convenient or attractive time for students.

But the biggest failure and the most detrimental setback was the promotion of the event. WCCR advertised by posting flyers throughout the campus’s buildings, sending messages and comments on facebook and myspace which were sent late, and via word of mouth, which seemed to be the most effective method. The event was also advertised through announcements at other student events as well as on WCCR’s AM radio waves. But since the radio station is only broadcasted on the AM radio in Harlem and in the lobby of the North Academic Center at CCNY, the announcements probably did not reach many listeners.

Tear Drop, a DJ at WCCR who is also the in house DJ at club La Pregunta, admitted that he did not promote to his full potential. “I know for a lot of people, outside of school, WCCR is not the top priority. We are busy doing other stuff. So I know that I didn’t promote as much as I could have.” When asked if he thought this event would happen again next year, he responded, “Maybe – if promotion was better. But really, once students have spent all day at school, are they going to want to stay at school for an event?” Tear Drop affirmed his love and support for CCNY and CCNY student events, not only through words, but also by his actions; Almost every Thursday, he plays reggae, hip-hop, merengue and bachata music and encourages students to dance and have a fun time in the NAC Rotunda or on the NAC patio. But he was still not sure how to draw a crowd to the DJ/ B-boy Battle.

WCCR’s failed promotion of the show was not entirely to blame. For one, this was the first DJ/ B-boy battle, meaning that this event was sort of a “trial and error” or “learn from your mistakes” situation.

Also, the Finley Student Center contributed much of the confusion. The event was to originally take place on December 7, 2008. But Finley mandated that the event be rescheduled, resulting in the loss of a performance by hip-hop legend, Mos Def. The DJ/ B-boy battle was rescheduled for April 24, 2009. But again, Finley required that the event be rescheduled, resulting in the loss of a performance by Status Quo, B-boys who became famous after being finalists on America’s Next Best Dance Crew.

Since WCCR lost performers that would have drawn in a huge crowd, the DJ/ B-boy battle experienced minimal success. But this event has the potential to be drastically better and largely successful if WCCR learns from its mistakes and solves the problems in the areas of promotion, event scheduling, and event planning.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Drill 9: Apr. 28

This twitter assignment was a very interesting one indeed. When Professor Anderson first mentioned Twitter in class on Thursday, I thought back to the first time I heard about it (only a month or so before). I remember thinking, "What nonsense. Such a waste of time. Who is so self absorbed or desperate for attention that they need to constantly broadcast their status?!" I did not intend to get involved in the Twitter craze. So when I was required to create an account and follow people on the website, I was not the least bit excited. However, I was a little curious to see how Twitter works and how it is different from similar status related websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and AOL Instant Messenger.
I found that this application is different in that it has the sole purpose of sending and receiving status updates. Whereas these other websites include user profiles, instant messenging, emailing, and built in applications, such as games and music. When I added the journalism professors and other people that I was assigned to follow, I was immediately intimidated. For one, these people are professional. And primarily, I would not interact with these people (within the world wide web community) of my own desire.
I created the account on Thursday. Initially, I did not read any posts that sparked my interest. Upon my return to Twitter the following day, I was still unable to connect with the posters. I just could not figure out what to comment about. And I was nervous (as I always am) about addressing someone who knows nothing of me. After visiting Twitter on Friday, I totally forgot about it until early Tuesday morning.I was asleep and having my daily early morning subconscious thoughts. And all of a sudden it occured to me that I had been assigned a blog post about my experience with Twitter.
Sadly, I went to class before posting this blog. But in class, I gained some helpful insight from one of my classmates. He found this assignment to be interesting, even enjoyable. He was really interested in what the people he was following had to say. So I figured, maybe if I was following people who talked about things that I am deeply interested in or curious about, I would have a better experience with Twitter. But for this particular assignment, I felt a little lost, confused, and disinterested.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Related Links-Final Project

These are NOT blogs. I could not find blogs relating to this topic.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Drill 8: Apr. 7

All alone in Shepard Hall's Lincoln Corridor, a young male with sharp object in hand kneeled over as he stared intently into the distance.
Presumably an architecture student, Tom used a ruler to draw straight lines on a large sheet of white paper with his sharpened pencil. He seemed to be doing a linear perspective drawing for an architecture class. Perhaps this student did not get much sleep the night before; Tom murmured a few words to himself and even started to hum. Trying to keep himself awake and focused, Tom actually started to sing - badly. Maybe he didn't notice the people walking past, because he did not lower his voice or cease to sing. However, he did continue to adjust his ruler, draw long, straight lines, erase, and repeat. To be the only architecture student present in the corridor at 8:45 a.m., Tom appeared to be especially enthusiastic and animated. Abruptly, Tom tossed his utensils into a box, placed his drawing into a portfolio, hastily but carefully packed his items into a backpack, and coolly walked toward the nearest exit of Shepard Hall.
As Tom left, two female students, Julia and Maria, walked over to a vacant bench. With crossed legs, the two ladies face each other and lean toward the center of the bench. The long dark brown hair and light skin isn't all the two share in common; both girls had a newspaper in front of them. While Julia tried to read her paper, Maria fished her cell phone out of her purse, drank some coffee and encouraged Julia to converse. Finally, after taking a another sip of coffee, Maria joined Julia in reading the paper. Both ladies read articles, circle, highlight and take notes on the newspaper while continuing to engage in chatter. However, Maria quickly lost focus and handed her phone to Julia. Maria posed for the camera and smiled sweetly as Julia snapped the pictures. Julia resumed her work and Maria did so after playing with her phone and meddling in her hair.
Soon, other student started to occupy the corridors dark wooden benches. A guy tapped his thumb and feet to a song playing in his head. A girl read a book while sniffling occasionally. Each student in the Lincoln Corridor was in his or her own little world.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Drill 7: Mar. 26

People to Interview:
- b-boys
- dj's
Event Planners
-WCCR staff members
Actual Audience
-people who are attending the event
Potential Audience

Things I Want to Observe:
-Quality of sound and lighting
-Is there a considerable crowd?
-What ethnicities/age groups/genders are represented?
-How excited is the audience?
-Is the audience paying attention to the performances?
-Are the performers good?
-Do the performers seem to be enjoying themselves?
-How many performers are present?
-Does the event seem to be well organized?
-Does the event start on time?
-What is the general mood of the WCCR staff?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


In Harlem on 8th Avenue and 155th Street, Sabrina finds her residence to be quite convenient.  "I'm close to everything," she says smiling, including CCNY where she studies, subway stations, and the rest of Manhattan.  Even though Sabrina loves the proximity of her block to the rest of New York City, she does not always feel safe.  Even though on her block she is a Bangladeshi among a majority of Blacks and Latinos, she doesn't really feel uncomfortable because of the difference in race.  The guns, violence, and perverts, along with the dirty sidewalks and building are what really irk Sabrina about living in this area.  Even though Sabrina has gone to many parties around her block, she mostly hangs out with friends in Queens and Midtown.  Before living in Harlem, Sabrina, her mom, and her little brother lived on Manhattan's Lower East Side.  And now, her mom is looking for another apartment, in either Queens or the Bronx, to move her two children into.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Drill 6: March 24

On April 30, 2009, CCNY's student radio station is hosting its first DJ/B-Boy Battle. Some of the station's DJs as well as b-boys and dance crews with ties to CCNY will be featured in the event.

This story has a great amount of impact on the student community at CCNY. Most students enjoy dance and music. On any given day, one can walk around the campus of the City College of New York and find that a large number of students have iPods and mp3 players plugged into their ears. And there are a number of student dance clubs at CCNY as well - salsa and mambo, belly dancing, hip-hop, and breakdancing are some.

Also, this story is current; dance competitions are in vogue. A number of television shows, including "So You Think You Can Dance," "Randy Jackson Presents: America's Next Dance Crew," and "Dancing With the Stars," testify to the currency of dance competitions.

This particular story also has potential conflicts. The most obvious is the conflict between the B-Boys and DJs that will battling. Also, there could be conflict in questioning the sustainability of this event. Will enough people come to support the DJ/B-boy battle? Will the student radio station raise enough money to cover the expenses of this event? Will the people who come to this event actually want to attend another event like this next year?

It is quite obvious that I could write commentary on this event. However, I am also capable of critical analysis and interviewing performers, hosts, and the crowd in order to write an objective report of the DJ/B-Boy Battle. Coverage of this event is vital both in measuring its success and in determing whether the battle should become an annual event. Also, dance and music resonate well with a considerable portion of the student population at CCNY; and popular interests deserve to be reported on.