Adventure: Beauty in Faith

Last week I went on a mini adventure to the to visit my aunt at work at none other than the Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles. Personally, I am not a religious person as many people, but I do have faith in something out there.  I don’t feel real attached to one particular faith because I feel that all of them are quite beautiful in their own way. 

 I am proud to say that my father had a hand at building this gorgeous place; (he was working with the construction company that built it, go dad!!) now understand why he was so happy working at this particular site. 

This of course was my first time visiting (and maybe not my last) and was just in awe with all the amazing art and little exhibits in the corridors surrounding the main worship area.

What I thought was great about this place is that I didn’t feel the feeling that I needed to act a certain way because its church.  It was quite odd because growing up Catholic I knew that there was just certain things are expected, however not here.  I felt that everyone was welcomed, no matter what faith to take a look and appreciate it not just as a place of worship, but also a place to be.

I did enjoy the fact that they honored those resting in the Mausoleum by weaving the holiday of “Dias de Los Muertos” in an alter.  It really did capture the essence of a city that has a huge faith among the Latinos that reside in it.  Another interesting feature was that there where no statues of saints anywhere within the main worship area, which is pretty odd since there is always a huge presence in many catholic churches.  Instead they had tapestries with all the saints along the walls, which helped make the room feel modern, open, and inviting.  Plus, they had many artifacts from the Pope’s visit in the 80s which was cool to check out.

I guess the big thing that I got out of not only the beauty of this place, but a chance to sit and reflex about everything that I have done since I first began. I have come so far, yet I feel like I haven’t accomplished much.  But I will keep trying and keeping my head up and moving forward.

Hooray for Hollywood!

I have always been a sucker for Hollywood’s Golden age, I guess it has to do with the mystery, glitz, and glamour around the stars of yesteryear.  So, its no surprise that there are a few things i’ve been meaning to do as lover of old Hollywood and right of passage as an Angelino.  So what better place to go but none other than the Hollywood Forever Cemetery to pay an homage to those pioneers of filmmaking and of course some notable rockstars!

I’m not going to lie, but I geeked out when I saw Johnny  & Dee Dee Ramone’s final resting place! For myself being exposed to music at an early age shaped much of my life.  Their lyrics where no more than a few sentences repeated under a thrashing guitar, drums, and bass, but it spoke to a generation that ached to rebel.  I just had to go and pay my respects these guys who really knew how to rock!

After visiting these guys Matt and I walked around and ran into some other notable celebs such as Alan Crosland who was the director of The Jazz Singer, which was the first “talking film”.  Then there was Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, better known as Alfalfa from “Our Gang” comedies (or for you youngings “The Little Rascals”).  There was also Hattie McDaniel who played the maid in Gone With The Wind was the first African American Actress to win for Best Supporting Role.  These are only a few notable celebrities who call the cemetery home.  Because they where setting up for “DIa de Los Muertos” we where not able to get into the mausoleum where Rudolf Valentino lies, but that’s for another day.  Maybe more people will be interested in joining me in this adventure.

Now away from the cemetery and up above lives the oldest star in Hollywood, none other than the Hollywood Sign.  Many people do not know that the reason why its up there was to draw people to buy real estate there.  Originally the sign said “Hollywood Land”, however after years of disrepair it was fixed and dropped “Land” and a new icon was born.  Funny thing about the sign is that the HUGE small fact about the sign is that Hugh Hefner was twice a key player in saving the sign, first in the 1970s and most recently in 2010.  Thanks to him, Hollywood junkies like me can admire this true icon that inspires us all.

After the sign we did a small walk down Hollywood Blvd. better known as The Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Seriously, I can spend hours on end walking up and down the street reading the names on each star.  Fun fact about the WOF, pretty much anyone can petition for their favorite celebrity to get a star as long as they fit a category and meet the criteria listed on the official Hollywood Walk of Fame website.  Yes, there are many amazing celebs with stars out there, but I gotta say Vince Scully’s was one that I really wanted to find, and yes I geeked out again!

Now, I couldn’t just walk up and down the Boulevard without stopping at Grauman’s Chinese Theater and checking out a few hand prints.  This place still is the site of many premieres and first run films.  I love that place!  By the way check out Frank Sinatra, Natalie Wood’s and Betty Grable (she imprinted her leg, lol!), among the many celebrities immortalized in front of the theater.

Last stop, like a true CM, had to get ice cream at the Soda Shop next to El Capitan, why? Because I needed a sugar jolt to make the drive back to the I.E. seriously I had a ton of fun and can’t wait for my next impromptu adventure!

 

 

New Orleans: You sure know how to make a girl feel welcomed!

I did promise that I would recap my spontaneous adventure into the REAL New Orleans, that began as a trip to get away from the heartache and sorrow I was living into an awakening into a new outlook into a brighter future.  Honestly, before this trip I was stuck in  limbo where I was not to sure who I was and what I wanted to be.  I was in a relationship that was poisoning my future and feeling that I had to settle for less because that person did.  So, after saving for two months, encouragement from friends and family and guts I packed up for a trip into the big easy!

I couldn’t explain how nervous I was getting on a plane for the first time by myself and going somewhere I had never in my wildest dreams travel to.  I mean seriously, who does that?!  I honestly didn’t know what to expect, it was also of course my first time to a journalism convention. First day I made my way down Ducater up to canal to the sheraton where the convention was being held. I had already done my homework into the sessions that I thought would be the most beneficial to me, but was really was open to anything.

My first session was with the AMAZING Victoria Lim, a Multiplatform Journalist better known as the “Queen of Coverage”.  Lim is by far an amazing type of journalist essentially because she is a jack of all trades when it comes to reporting.  She does TV, web, and print reporting in which she can take a story and deliver it in many different mediums.  Honestly, before I met Victoria I had no idea this even existed.  I always thought you had to be one or the other, but after hearing about her career it made me hands down decide this IS the type of journo I want to be.

After my first day at convention I joined my fellow Journos in a street up which was in place to meet, network, and explore Burbon Street.  It was fun, I enjoyed being able to sit in to listen to the joys of jazz that New Orleans has to offer.

In the days that followed I did get an opportunity to learn about how to manage my finances as a freelancer, how to build page views and other tools to gain an audience.  However, by far the best the session I thought was going to cover how to cover immigration lead me front row and center in front of Jose Antonio Vargas ! Now for those of you that have no idea who he is, well he is an amazing journalist whom spent his time covering campaign trails, Facebook founder Mark Zucherberg, HIV/AIDS in DC and so forth while living a secret life as an undocumented individual in this country.  Sitting in that room listening to his struggles before and after the truth came out, made me fight to hold the tears back.  I know of so many people out there that are in the same position that are striving for the American dream, and those who have turned their back to it.  It was such a powerful session that it has made me think about what type of beat I would like to specialize in.  So far it looks like immigration can be it, and I have Mr. Vargas to thank for helping me realize that.

That night I had an opportunity to take a fairly inexpensive ride around the French Quarter in a carriage!!  Yes! A carriage, it was so fun to see the city in a different light. My carriage driver was a bonafide local that beamed with pride about his fair city.  Plus, he was so gracious that he took me back to my hotel!!

Lastly on my last day, I spent some time touring the streets of the New Orleans by stopping by at Cafe du Monde for some Beignets (yes, I just HAVE to!). I moved on to taking some pictures of the city during the day and did some shopping.  However, the highlight of the day had to be the New Orleans Cemetery tour by Haunted History where I toured St. Louis #1 the eternal resting place of the Voodoo Queen.  Honestly, this was the most interesting, informative, and fun tour I have ever been on.  Our tour guide Ernest was the best guide ever!! He just made the history come a live and also added some personal touches.  Loved it!!  Next time your in New Orleans, seriously request him!

Now as I ended my day and got my luggage together to fly back to reality there are a few things that I did take away with me.  New Orleans taught me not to stress on the little things, live life, push forward and above all be strong.  These are the lessons that are keeping me afloat while I face another challenge in my path, the overall separation from that person I was to the person I want to be.

 

 

 

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Exit this way…

As a native Angelino, I have been accustom to seeing the graffiti that ruins our fair city each day.  On the side of buildings, rail yards, etc. nothing is relatively new.  However, like any uneducated citizen I though this was all gang related, until I of course received a rude awakening.  I guess you can start with the Academy Award Nominee “Exit through the Gift Shop” that challenged my previous misconceptions. As a curious creature that I am I decided to research what it is and what does it mean when you see certain pieces out there.  I also began a small scavenger hunt to find certain works of art notably those by “Banksy,” a street artist featured in the documentary.  So, first of all, what is graffiti?  Well Wikipedia says:

Graffiti (singular: graffito; the plural is used as a mass noun) is the name for images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted or marked in any manner on property. Graffiti is any type of public markings that may appear in the forms of simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Graffiti has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.

-Wikipedia


Because the concept has been around for many, many years, nothing new. As I made my way around various places where graffiti is normally found, it was interesting to find out that the different styles actually have certain names.  For instance a “tag” is basically the artist’s name and the most commonly seen around the streets.  Each artist has a particular style in which they use when they go “tagging“.  Then there are “throw-ups” or “bombing” that are drawn quickly usually consists of about three colors  or less that consist mainly on speed rather than quality.  A “piece” are much more time consuming and usually incorporate various colors and are centered around the artist’s name. A “blockbuster” or “roller” is a piece that takes up a whole wall in hopes to blocking other artists use of the same wall.  This is usually done with big block letters and involve contrasting colors. Now “wild style” are those where a person outside of the graffiti culture will not understand due to the interlocking letters and connecting points.  Here are some example of street art that I have found in and around the area in which I reside.

They are amazing pieces. Personally, I enjoy the stencils by the street artist Banksy such as the “Crayola Shooter” that resides in Westwood near UCLA.  Its just nicely done.  My boyfriend and I have racked our brains trying to figure out how he decides which to stencil goes first.  Then again there are there are other pieces such as the “Park” piece found in L.A. fashion district were he took a “Parking” sign and made it into something truly unique.  Thanks again for the awaking.

And the Winner is…(drum roll)

I am extremely excited that I am finally able to share the following news that my feature titled “Renaissance Fair Open” has won 3 Radio Television News Association Golden Mikes. I feel extremely honored and privileged that I was able to win such a prestigious award with the help of the amazing KSAK Coordinator Cason Smith. It was a true shock when I first read that we had won in three different categories that are as follows:

Best Radio Use of Sound in Division B, Best Radio Entertainment Reporting in Division B, and lastly Best Radio Individual Writing in Division B.

I have to admit, I am proud of this small accomplishment that I set out to attain last year.  It was trilling to discover on the RTNA website in January that my piece had won along with the second consecutive year that our 2 p.m. newscast was nominated in the “Under 15 minutes” in Division B alongside KVTA and KABC.  Although, we did not win this year, it was a pleasure to be nominated.   I am trying to convince our station manager to let us begin to compete in the over 15 min. division next year.  I truly believe we can take it all if we work a bit harder.  But, then again that is left to be decided for next year.  Now as far as the awards dinner, this was actually the second one in which I had an opportunity to attend.  Last year I was invited to attend to see how the ceremony works and so forth.  It was such a magical

experience for me to be able to put the face to the voice I am accustomed to hear over the air waves and of course to see those reporters I had admired on local television over the years.  Some of these particular reporters where Frank Mottek and Bob McCormick simply because they have such distinguish voices in LA radio, I am just drawn to them.  Also, it was great to see Regis Philbin receive the RTNA first ever Broadcasting Legend Award.  I wonder how long it will take Larry King to get one as well? Okay, so that’s besides the point.  On the flip side it was great to meet the news director for KFI, I alongside to our 2 p.m. anchor Chris Jones which was a great connection to meet.  Now on to some more pictures!!!

<—(From Left to right) Karlo Sy Su, Chris Jones, Me, Casen Smith, Nelson Aguilar, Lailani Mabri, Laura Ramos, Janelle Vasquez, and Devon.

On your right—–>

just me holding one of the programs from the night.  Can you see that I look a bit nervous? No? Well photo shop does do wonders! (ha ha).

Cason and I holding our Golden Mikes for our piece titled “Renaissance Fair Open.” On your right is our official nomination for the under 15 minute newscast in Division B.

 

 

 

Here’s Chris Walker, Cason Smith, Me and Chris Jones during the cocktail

and silent auction hour. I look a bit nervous.  Three Golden Mikes and I can finally say I am an award winning journalist. Thank you again to the Radio and Television News Association for the opportunity to showcase my work.  I can’t wait for next year!

 

First Video Blog

ksak1

I decided to try my hand at video blogging since most of my background is in video production, then why not?  I choose to record my official 1st video blog from KSAK, since many people have no actual idea what a college radio station might look like. Of course it isn’t your KROQ or POWER 106, however it will do for the learning experience.  I hope you enjoy my first attempt to a video blog.  Please excuse the bad filming, I was using the video camera feature on my Blackberry Storm 2, which I might add is pretty amazing.  In time it will become better but, until then, I hope you enjoy!!:)

 

 

My On Air Life…

About a year ago, I was sitting at home and wondering what next in my journey to becoming a professional journalist.  I had just about finished all my requirements at California State University in the Broadcasting Journalism field and had finished two internships which essentially means that I was ready to step into the real world, however deep inside I didn’t feel quite ready.  I was terribly insecure with my voice and my overall appearance on  camera, had spent the majority of my time in production and overall SCARED!! So, I looked around the local junior colleges to see thought, maybe if I could just find somewhere that would allow me to get hands on experience to work on my self-image, maybe I can overcome this obstacle before me.  This is where I discovered that Mt. San Antonio College offered a Broadcasting Certificate in Radio. Radio? Well I had never actually considered it since through my years at CSUF, it seemed that it was going out the window due to the new advances in technology and the accessibility of internet radio/podcasting.  It was an opportunity to enter another field of broadcasting were I could acquire a new skill, making myself more valuable.  So, in the Fall 2009, I began my journey to becoming a certified On Air talent for Radio Broadcasting. It has not been as easy as it had been at CSUF.  For the most part, I was coming back as an older student alongside well students that had just started their careers and did not quite take school as seriously as I did. It was a hard adjustment, considering the differences between radio/television production terminology. For example:

 

In television television:

A news story a”package” consists of the following:

VO’s :Voice Over, usually heard as a narration in the story when you see a picture

Sound Bites: Pieces from the interview only in audio)

B-ROLL: images

Stand Ups: The closing of the interview” (“In Los Angeles this is Claudia Amezcua for O.C. News”)

 

While in Radio News:

A story is a story unless you’re doing a “feature”.

VOs:Voice overs are the same

Wrap around: An interview or audio from interview

L/O: “Lock Out” (ex. Claudia Amezcua, KSAK News)

 

Prior to going “On Air” in Radio I had to learn how to record, edit, work the board, and how to keep logs and to hit “hot clock” (or the times as deemed by the FCC, when a station is scheduled for a break usually the 20,30,50).  Then there is the issue of developing my voice for the radio.  I quickly discovered that I have a slight accent when it comes to enunciate certain words. You can only imagine how annoying and time consuming this is.

 

By the end, I had an opportunity to cover my very first feature story last semester called “Ren Fair” (this has recently won a Davey Award) were I had the pleasure to do a story on the “Original Renaissance Pleasure Fair” that takes place each year in Irwindale, Ca.  A truly amazing place where the motto goes “Were Fantasy rules.” This is also the time when I acquired my first “official press pass.” I was pretty excited since I felt for the first time as a professional broadcaster.  I know its only a junior college, but its much more than the university ever offered  (which means, no official press pass).  Overall I am enjoying my time time with KSAK, hopefully in the coming months I will develop my craft further.