Parsons Fashion: New Curriculum Causes Conflict

The School of Fashion at Parsons is known the world over as a prestigious institution — the former academic home of Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Alexander Wang and Tim Gunn. The jewel in the School of Fashion crown is the David M. Schwartz Fashion Education Center, designed by noted architect William Lescaze in 1963 and located at 560 Seventh Ave., in the heart of the Garment District.

A studio on its second floor may not be well-known to many New School students — let alone to fans of the mega-successful reality show “Project Runway” — but to Parsons fashion undergrads it carries a certain renown. They call it “the Dungeon.” The studio is dimly lit, poorly ventilated, and often crowded late into the evening. Over the past year, however, Parsons fashion students have had more to complain about than the Dungeon. Continue reading

The U.S. vs. Juggalos

In the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, released in October 2011, the FBI listed a group under the section “Non-Traditional Gangs” that caught the attention of both the media and music fans alike: juggalos.

Juggalos are members of a subculture that grew from an early 1990s devotion of the horrorcore hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse and their Psychopathic Records label mates, who are all known for wearing face paint to resemble sinister clowns, dousing audiences with the cheap Midwestern soda Faygo, and rapping about both the miracle of magnets and physically harming people who wronged them. For their devoted fans, it is more of a lifestyle than a musical predilection.

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Solo Recitals Stun at Mannes

On April 7, the audience in the Mannes Concert Hall at 150 W. 85th St. sat in a stunned silence. On the stage before them in a blue gown sat Mannes student Desiree Abbey with her cello. Eyes closed, body swaying to the music, her facial expression matching each song’s tone, she played a series of pieces that earned her a standing ovation. Abbey’s performance was just one of the many upcoming student recitals at Mannes.

Unlike other New School divisions, there is currently no assigned graduation project for the undergrad program at Mannes. Many, however, chose to have solo recitals this spring. Of the 33 seniors, about half are performing solo recitals says Erik Bestmann, director of concert operations at Mannes.

Starting this fall, solo recitals will be a graduation requirement for undergrads; they are already a requirement for all master’s students. Continue reading

Parsons Grad “Bimbo Slice” Makes Mayhem on Manhattan Roller Derby Team

Last May was a busy month for Kate Proulx. A communications design senior at Parsons, she finished her senior thesis, bimboslice
polished her portfolio, graduated from college, found a job, and competed in her first roller derby game under the name Bimbo Slice.

A year later, Proulx joined Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD), an NYC-based flat-track roller derby league that is currently ranked third in the nation. Since joining the team, Slice has balanced skating for both CT Rollergirls’ Yankee Brutals (CTRG) and GGRD’s Manhattan Mayhem team and being the youngest visual designer at the top digital media firm HUGE.

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Students Sell Friendship on Creepy Website

Last fall, in a University of Connecticut dorm room students Scott Rosenbaum and Jose Cabanero created what is becoming one of the fastest-growing and strangest social networking websites to date:

Rosenbaum came to Cabanero with the idea and asked for help building the website. Cabanero was skeptical, but agreed. “This might actually be worth something,” he said. Since its November 2009 debut, over 283,000 platonic “friends” and 2,500 renters joined the website. Continue reading

How Ugly Betty’s Justin Suarez Paved the Way for Glee’s Kurt Hummel

In Glee’s “Prom Queen” episode back at the end of season 2, an unlikely character won the title of prom queen: resident homosexual bullying victim Kurt Hummel. After Principal Figgins called his name, Kurt fled the gymnasium, crying, with boyfriend Blaine on his heels. “We thought that because no one was teasing us or beating us up [for being gay], no one cared,” Kurt said in the hallway, through tears. One drawn-out emotional scene later, Kurt finally got the resolve to enter the gymnasium and accept his crown and scepter, defiantly announcing: “Eat your heart out, Kate Middleton.”

Ugly Betty fans probably recognized the “Prom Queen” scene immediately. In season 4’s “Backseat Betty,” Justin, Betty’s gay nephew (who at the time of the episode was in the stages of questioning his sexuality), was mid-exiting his homecoming rally when a jock in a letter jacket announced Justin as the year’s “homecoming queen.” Justin turned around to face the stage, while scattered cheers and laughter were heard throughout the gym. Rather than flee crying like Kurt, Justin calmly accepted a tiara and flowers on the stage and took the mic. “Oh my god, thank you so much. I’m so honored,” he began, sounding like the typical bubbly homecoming queen. “Nothing can ruin this day, even this tacky baby’s breath, but, I mean, c’mon guys, I think you can do a little bit better for your queen.” Justin then gave the tiara to Hilda, who would have won homecoming queen back in her day had she not been pregnant with baby Justin.

Sure, Justin Suarez isn’t the first gay character ever on television. Recently on Glee, however, viewers saw Kurt lose his virginity to Blaine and his feelings leading up to the big event. I’d argue that we probably wouldn’t be seeing this New Directions couple get it on without the aid of Justin Suarez for a few reasons.

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Parsons Abruptly Halts Paris Program

Popular study abroad program Parsons Paris has abruptly ended due to a legal dispute, raising uncertainties at both Parsons and its former partner in Paris, the Association Franco-Américaine de Design, or AFAD.

Parsons and New School administrators are seeking to reassure students that there will be another Paris study abroad program for Parsons students, as soon as this fall.

The contract between Parsons and Parsons Paris expired in 2008 and Parsons has decided not to renew it. “It’s run its course,” said Pamela Klein, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Parsons, who oversees study abroad. “The length of time of the agreement is over.”

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