Filed under: College, Music, New York, News, NYU, Photography, Writing | Tags: Dorm, Erik Michael, Guitar, Lafayette, Matt Golubjatnikov, Music, Musician, New York University, NYU, Recording
By Dean Stattmann
On a quiet Monday evening, a muffled cry emanates from the closed door of a New York University dorm room in downtown Manhattan. It’s the penthouse floor of Lafayette Street Residence Hall – one of the furthest from campus – where the university hides its Greek life. Echoes of grueling Guitar Hero solos and epic beer pong bouts bounce off these walls after hours. But amidst the Halo, hot wings and all the other accurate stereotypes, one student is ripping through the mold.
Matt Golubjatnikov, a politics major at NYU, has been playing guitar for seven years and is finally getting some attention. He spent his freshman year with NYU abroad in Florence, Italy, before finally moving into Palladium Hall on 14th Street. During his sophomore year, he pledged the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and kicked off his junior year with a spot in the frat’s spacious eight man duplex. But while most musicians with his talent move on to decked out studios with fountains in the lobby, a floundering economy has caused this junior to seek out alternative facilities, like his dorm room.
“Home recording has become incredibly accessible relative to past years,” he says. “If you have the patience and experimental interest to overcome the often steep learning curve that is inherent in today’s music software, then you can do basically anything.”
In 2008, Golubjatnikov, 21, got curious and decided to see where his music could take him. Working with a tight budget and a demanding schedule, he eventually opted for home recording equipment and slowly began to acquire the pieces of what would become an impressive home studio. One year, a semi-acoustic guitar, two effects pedals, professional recording software and a studio microphone later, he has filled his room with everything short of a waiting room, and he can still afford food. “It really surprises me what you can do with a thin wallet,” he says. “My whole recording rig from cables to software comes to a grand total of about 250$. I know more resourceful people that can even shave the amount to less than half of that.”
Starting out on Haight Street in San Francisco, C.A., with just his busted Crate amplifier and suave midnight wine Fender Stratocaster, Golubjatnikov found influences in early grunge bands and the better part of the 90s punk scene. He has since added to this list, finding a renewed appreciation for bands like Black Label Society, Incubus and Alice in Chains. He doesn’t know how to label his own music, but pegs it somewhere between hard and alternative rock. The stuff he finds himself playing traverses genres, he says.
But despite the unlikely evolution of Golubjatnikov’s dorm rock, he admits that recording in his makeshift studio – which he shares with a roommate – can sometimes present unusual problems. “You do come across unique obstacles when recording in a dorm versus a studio,” he says. “But all it takes is the creative mind that is a prerequisite anyway. When recording vocals, if I can’t get a good natural reverb or echo, I just record while standing in my shower. The ceramic walls provide a clean, non-manufactured effect. Problem solved.”
Golubjatnikov has released several tracks online under the name Spareluck, choosing social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook to bring his music to his friends and whoever else wants to listen. The reception has been outstanding, he says, and one of his tracks was recently featured in a beat by fellow New York-based producer Erik Michael.
Golubjatniokov may not have an album in the record store just yet, but he pays little mind to this. For him, the real pay-off is in the music. “I harbor no shame in saying that some days I will just put my own material on repeat on my iPod,” he says. “I mean, you make what you want to hear, so it’s natural to be your own biggest fan.”
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: Fashion, Lifestyle, New York, News, Photography, Special | Tags: Dean Stattmann, Fashion, Fashion Business Association, FBA, Kimmel Center, NYU, Spring
On April 4, New York University’s Fashion Business Association threw its first show of 2009 at the university’s Kimmel Center on Washington Square South. I wanted something a little more engaging than just photos this time so I hope this works…
Graphic by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: College, New York, NYU, Special, Writing | Tags: Career, Editor-In-Chief, Jerry Portwood, Jobs, Journalism, Media, Newspapers, NYU, Oglethorpe, Print, Students, Writers
By Dean Stattmann
On Thursday March 26, New York Press editor-in-chief Jerry Portwood stopped by Betty Ming Liu’s beat reporting class at New York University to discuss the state of print journalism, the future of the neighborhood weekly and most importantly, what today’s journalism students can do to grab a thread in this business.
Portwood, a graduate of Oglethorpe University, came to the New York Press in February 2006. He has since served as managing editor and arts and entertainment editor at the Manhattan Media publication, and in 2008 he took over as editor-in-chief.
But today, with print journalism in its current state, it’s becoming more and more of a challenge to put out the weekly paper with a minimal staff and freelancers whose voices often don’t match that of the publication. “It’s a difficult time in journalism,” he says.
Portwood, who admits to only taking one five day vacation in the last three years, is one of just two staffers on the paper’s masthead, and relies on freelancers for 90 percent of the paper’s content. But when asked about the future of the publication, he’s confident that we’ll be seeing a lot more of the New York Press.
And better yet, he’s confident that journalism students can hold off on changing their majors for a little longer. It’s a demoralizing time for seniors, with papers and magazines falling around them like graduation confetti, but Portwood believes that the freelance gigs are still out there. Here are Jerry’s tips for bagging a byline:
– Have realistic expectations
– Be passionate about your work
– Don’t feel entitled
– Pitch stories via email (wait a week to follow up)
– Include your nut graf in the email. Make them want it.
Filed under: College, New York, News, NYU, Writing | Tags: Austria, Coles, competition, NYU, paper, paper wings, plane, planes, Red Bull, Salzburg
By Dean Stattmann
So you think you can throw a good paper plane, huh? Ok. What about the best paper plane in the world?
Whether in class or just for fun, we’ve all folded a piece of paper and thrown it at some point in our lives. But this year, the good folks at Red Bull are taking the other national pastime all the way, and searching for the world’s best paper plane pilot.
As one of many qualiflyer rounds taking place around the world (yea, qualiflyer), Red Bull will be at Coles on Friday, April 3, seeking out NYU’s most talented pilots.
Registration starts at 6pm and the event will run until around 8pm with all materials supplied on site.
Judges will assess each throw with three criteria: Distance, hang-time and acrobatics. So even if you suck, a totally unintentional triple backflip barrel-roll mctwist could land you a spot in the finals. Just go with it.
And if you do happen to make it through, get ready because the competition doesn’t end in New York. Red Bull will fly the best US pilots, all expenses paid, to Salzburg, Austria, where they will compete with the cream of the paper-tossing crop for the number one spot.
So for now, your job is easy. Get to Coles by 6pm on Friday April, 3, throw a paper plane and await your destiny.
Filed under: New York, News, NYU, Writing | Tags: Campus Cash, City, Fair, Food, Free, Kimmel, NYU, Pavilion, Rosenthal, Services, Vendor, Vendors, Winter
By Dean Stattmann
New York is an expensive city. And that’s if you have a job. So for the hordes of unemployed college students that roam the streets of this metropolitan labyrinth each day, bargains of any shape and size rarely go unnoticed. And when New York University hosted its bi-annual Vendor Fair last Thursday, the masses were out, and they were hungry.
The fair, arranged by NYUCard Services Campus Cash and Ticket Central, invites vendors from all over the city to the lofty Rosenthal Pavilion on the 10th floor of NYU’s Kimmel Center to promote their businesses and encourage students to take part in the Campus Cash program. Campus Cash allows students to effectively turn their NYU ID cards into debit cards that can be used at participating vendors throughout the city. The vendors in turn pay NYU to be a part of the program.
This semester, students were presented with the full spectrum – from the Museum of Jewish Heritage to the Blue Man Group – but beyond the 30-second elevator pitches and foldable chairs lies the key to what has students lining up for this event time after time: The free food.
“It’s like a pillow of ice cream,” exclaims one man with a mouth full of Australian Homemade ice cream. He is Kyle Graham, an NYU Steinhardt graduate currently working in the CAS admissions office. He is at the front of a line that stretches halfway across the room’s width. Australian Homemade, sharing a table with Pizza Mercato, is handing out free ice cream. Pizza Mercato isn’t. No one even notices them.
“People never say no to free stuff,” says Australian’s manager, Jonathan, who declined to give his last name. “Especially when it’s good stuff.” Everything is a sales pitch here.
Along the south side of the room is where the real crowds are. Mao Noodles, owned by Chris Johnson and Chris Andrews, is giving away free shrimp and papaya salads, while Peanut Butter and Co. is doling out jars of peanut butter and pretzels by the double digits. “People are usually hungry around noon,” says Johnson with a subtle grin creeping across his face.
Less than an hour in, the room is booming. Students, hopping from vendor to vendor, fill up complimentary promotional bags from the various tables until the their knuckles are white and can tolerate no more weight. A man carrying seven pizzas enters the room and heads straight for the Pizza Mercato table. He goes unnoticed for about three seconds. Passing a heap of glistening red apples, piled up at a table whose name no one will ever remember, he sets the pizzas down on Mercato’s table. He turns around to a newly formed line of ruthless bargain hunters, this time extending beyond the room’s width, out the exit and into the foyer. The words “Pizza Mercato,” can be heard echoing down the line like a game of broken telephone.
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
Photo by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: College, New York, News, NYU, Photography, Sport | Tags: College of Arts and Science, Dean, Foosball, Gallatin, Games, Inter, Inter University Games, Law, New York University, NYU, Referee, Sports, Stattman, Stattmann, Steinhardt, Stern, Sumo, Table Tennis, Tisch, University, Volleyball
Photos by Dean Stattmann
Filed under: New York, Special, Writing | Tags: College, Crisis, Downturn, Economic, Intern, Internship, Lay-offs, Magazine, Men's Fitness, NYU, Student
By Dean Stattmann
Every internship, no matter the field, involves a certain degree of tedious labor. Making coffee, running deliveries across town, transcribing 20 minute interviews – these are not the things that convince hundreds of thousands of college students every semester to engage in a relationship of blissful deference and unpaid shenanigans. But following recent months of economic turmoil, complete with abused bailouts and fancy pyramid schemes, it’s easy to remember why we put ourselves through the grinder again and again, only to come back asking for more.
Over the Winter break I took a couple days off work to fly to Zurich for my 21st birthday. I had intended to stay in New York, but after a last minute decision from the home front, I was off to Switzerland to celebrate legal alcohol consumption with my parents.
I had interned at Men’s Fitness magazine the previous semester, and after making the decision to stay on with the publication for a full year, I went ahead and committed myself to working through the Winter break as well (I can literally hear the seconds ticking away on my student visa). Thanks to my intern status, taking off for a week at the last minute was no problem. After all, if someone wanted to cut my paycheck, they’d have to write it first.
When I got to Zurich, I unplugged myself from the frenetic demands of life and work in New York City and felt my heart rate slow down like the hands of an old clock reaching its final hour. It’s a strange thing, turning off your iPhone. You hit the sleep button every day. That’s not new. But to hold it down for that unnatural length of time, those quiet five seconds when you get the feeling something terrible is about to happen. It’s chilling.
For any college student, there’s nothing like returning to your old stomping grounds – the friends, the family, the fridge! It’s the universal comfort zone. A lot of memories here too; lazy summer days grilling lakeside with the guys, the excitement leading up to a house party, walking home from the club at 5am, eyes blurry, shirt un-tucked, birds chirping. As humans, we cozy up to our nostalgia and take comfort in the familiar, because we cherish these memories. Filed under miscellaneous, they define us.
A week later and I’m back in the city. I open my eyes to a strange sound coming from an unknown source and an icy Friday morning with the kind of haze that makes leaving the apartment an absolute last resort. Good thing I have work today. Thanks for reminding me, iPhone. Your gentle Marimba wake up call isn’t fooling anyone though. You’re enjoying this, aren’t you, you smug bastard.
I experienced something new that Friday. I had been following the economic crisis on the news and in the papers, but it had never affected me personally. As a South African resident of Switzerland on a student visa in the United States, I simply felt like it was somebody else’s problem.
I thought about the absurdity of my situation as I crossed 25th Street and walked up Park Avenue towards the Men’s Fitness offices. When I got to 26th street I had bigger problems. Would I part with three dollars for a bacon, egg and cheese from the deli, or could I get by on the sachets of Swiss Miss hot chocolate in the office. Marshmallows are food, right? I kept walking. Up the street, through the revolving door, in the elevator, past the receptionist, into the pit.
When I entered the office, the first thing I noticed was the empty desks. Usually when someone leaves their desk, they leave some sort of evidence that they were there – a book with a dog-eared page, a glass with lipstick on the brim, anything. These desks were empty. It had finally happened. The formerly abstract economic downturn had let its bristly reality loose in this office, and the beast’s muddy tracks were everywhere. The horror.
A colleague, seeing the confusion on my face, explained to me what had happened, using that “times are tough” tone that has become a little too familiar. I listened to his account of the situation, about the prior cuts in benefits, the increased workload, and finally, the lay-offs. And then it hit me. How the hell was I still here? Youngest, least experienced, asks the most questions, first to go, yes? No.
I took a couple minutes after that to sit at my desk and reflect on what had just happened. I thought about the editors I wouldn’t see again. I worked with these people, pitched ideas to them, discussed stories, made jokes, didn’t get to say good-bye… Their eulogy was cut short when an editor called me into his office. He had assignments for me. A lot of them. And just like that, I had forgotten about the lay-offs. At this point, I had contributed a decent amount of material to the magazine for publication, and seeing the first of these on glossy paper for the first time was an unreal experience. And now, right in front of me, lay a smorgasbord of potential bylines atop a silver platter with my name on it. In this twisted game of poker I had somehow emerged with the winning hand, while everyone else went all in. I hadn’t intended win. I didn’t even know I was playing. But I wasn’t about to return the chips.
Photo by Dean Stattmann