Thursday, April 28, 2011

Angry Blog

Please keep in mind that I wrote the following to vent.

From the day I walked into school as a wide-eyed freshmen to the day I entered as a proud senior, there has been a lot I've looked forward to. Some of those things I've looked forward to so much went better than I expected or could have imagined. The spring musical of my senior year was a blast, I had one of its cast parties at my house, I enjoyed the S.L.U.G. when I first read it, I was hoping to be well liked in the band and ended up as a drum major, and I've been to two proms (one senior, one junior) already with a ton of really great friends. Last year, I watched people get up on stage to do speeches for the coming senior elections and was filled with hope that my senior year would be awesome. We were promised the spirit stick, better themes for dances, and most importantly, cheaper organized school events. I don't place blame on any of the students in office in Student Council. I have no clue what they talk about at their meetings and just how much control they really have over events and their costs. I'm getting very angry at the way things changed this year.

I've always defended the school, talking about how its image is important and I've always tried seeing it from their viewpoint when people I know talk badly about the school and how things are run. Just a few months ago, though, I began to get angry with what I was seeing. First, though, this next part has nothing to do with the administration. It discusses how something else cheapened my experience at this school and angered me. This year, when the S.L.U.G. was released, I was expecting what I had read before, which was always really funny satire and ridiculous stories. Instead, what I got when I opened the pages were stories rumored to be written by juniors and not seniors who just went ahead and decided they were writing the S.L.U.G., which angered a lot of seniors hoping to be in on it. What's worse is that one of the longest articles was just filled with personal attacks on good friends of mine because of the quality of the school newspaper, Ultramark. The problem is that the editing and approval process takes a long time and there's only so much the higher-ups a school newspaper has to be approved by will let you talk about. The writer of the article put all of the blame on the students and acted as if the juniors who wrote it assumed they knew all about the spicy chicken issue and wrote without talking to teachers and students who did. This is wrong. They did their research.

The S.L.U.G. isn't there to take unfair cheap shots at students with very poor quality satire behind it.
That misses the entire point.

Now we have this prom problem. Dresses have been bought, promises made, plans planned, tuxes ordered, and now it's hard to back out of paying the $100 starting price for tickets. It's a ridiculous price. We were told the school is losing money on every ticket at $100 each, but I'd like to know where all the money's going if we aren't breaking even on it. There are around over 300 seniors, right? Let's say only two thirds of the senior class even goes to prom. That's still $20,000. And that's just if we all buy on the first few days when tickets are cheap. I don't know personally how much everything costs, but I'd like to know how renting a convention center for four hours, hiring a DJ, hiring a photographer, and getting a catering service to do a roast beef buffet or whatever it is this year costs more than that. Especially without an afterprom, which is what really burns me up.

Senior Prom Ticket (Starting) Prices:
(Information was gathered from students who were SMH seniors in the year listed)

2008: around $85

2009: $85

2010:  $75 to $85 they're telling me

2011: $100

Afterprom was the entire point for myself and a lot of my friends. Otherwise it's just paying for something formal to wear to a big room in order to take a picture, eat an alright dinner, watch/participate in a two hour grindfest, and then get told to go home. Isn't the afterprom an important part of keeping people out of trouble? Out of the streets? Away from alchohol or the beach? Where and when are we dropping off our tuxes now that we won't be going back to school after the prom? I know that last year's seniors didn't have one, either, but wasn't there at least a reason given? From what I remember hearing, most didn't go to their junior afterprom and didn't express interest in a senior afterprom, so their own was cut. A good number from our class went to our junior afterprom, though, from what I remember. So what was the reason? Rumor says they already had a theme picked out and everything before deciding we shouldn't have one.

I'm not saying there's no legitimate reason for the prices or the lack of an afterprom, but there were no solid reasons given to us, in my opinion. I'd just like some answers.

If you can provide me with any extra information or point out errors in my list of ticket prices, please comment. Please keep in mind that this blog for the next month is still connected to a class, and thus, my grade, so please keep comments appropriate. I want to keep this clean. Don't insult people, especially members of the student body or the faculty.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"I Want You to Move Like a DiStefano"

Student Spotlight: Mark DiStefano

Mark as Marley in A Christmas Carol.

It's no secret that the DiStefanos have been big in St. Mark's Drama over the past several years. When I was a freshman, I still remember seeing Nick, the oldest brother, playing the villain in the comedy Fools, which premiered in the fall of 2007. I was in the audience, then. Nick had his own artfully sly brand of comedy, his words and movements smooth on the stage. That year, Andrew Muto and I were looked to by our friends to be the next big (male) names in the theater over the next four years, both of us landing leading roles in our first one-act plays. The spotlight was going to be ours.

Then came this guy displayed to the left here, who exploded onto the stage the very next year and screwed it all up. And, actually, we couldn't be happier about it. Mark DiStefano is dynamite from the moment he walks into those hot stage lights. I had never met a guy quite like Mark. A man of bottomless enthusiasm and optimism, Mark just wants to put on a good show, have a good time, and make sure everyone else is having a good time, too. He's never greedy for the spotlight and supports his fellow actors consistantly. His energy is through the roof, and you can see it in his expressive movements, his tone of voice, and his facial expressions that can make you feel with his character or laugh yourself out of your chair. Mark is a great guy to have with the Drama Department and fun to just hang around. He's the life of every cast party, and there's usually already plenty of life at them!

He's gone from playing a concerned suspect in a murder mystery to the goofball father of a college student to the disturbing and sometimes comical ghost of Jacob Marley to the best Reb Tevye I've ever seen in Fiddler on the Roof.

And now he's back again in Bye Bye Birdie on April 8th.

Some cast members from Once on This Island. You can spy Nick in the back to the left.

The quote "I want you to move like a DiStefano" comes from the director of Bye Bye Birdie, who knows what kind of energy and hilarity they all bring to the stage, when he wanted me to swing my hips in a more ridiculously funny and exaggerated fashion. Mark and his brothers John and Carl were kind enough to take time out of their busy schedules after a rehearsal to talk about the upcoming Bye Bye Birdie, which is playing Friday, April 8th, and Saturday, April 9th at 7:30 P.M. and Sunday the 10th at 2:15 P.M.

I was able to score an interview with three of the DiStefano brothers: John, Mark, and Carl, a new face on the St. Mark's stage. These three have their own unique style out in the spotlight. John is quiet, intense, and hilarious with how serious he seems while delivering jokes and how his actions can seem both completely out of character and completely in character for him. Mark is an explosion of energy who can be heard from across the school, and Carl is a large ham who, even when singing in the chorus, never upstages his fellow actors and he never fails to get a laugh from his audience anyway. Smooth and ready to go, Carl's arrival is a welcome surprise here. My first few questions were directed to Mark, and then the rest to all three brothers:

Mark as the hot tempered Juror #3 in 12 Angry Jurors

The Interview

YMW: What's Bye Bye Birdie about?

Mark: So a famous rockstar (J. Young) is drafted into the army, completely screwing over his loyal (and incredibly good looking!) manager Albert. With the help of his secretary (Kristina Cassidy,) Albert gets Conrad (the rockstar) to do one last gig to make Albert (me) enough money to go back to college. It's filled with drama, tension, alcohol, and innuendo. Definitely be here.

YMW: Are you excited to perform with a full orchestra?

Mark: I can't even describe it. They have a lot of talent. I love their sense of humor.

YMW: What's unique about St. Mark's High School's Bye Bye Birdie?

Mark: It's funny, we have a lot of personalities, lots of talent, but also a lot of fun.

Carl: I'll tell you what's not unique. Mark DiStefano kills it. But Bye Bye Birdie can relate to teens everywhere and its not just a show... it's a way of life.

John: Loose women. Everywhere.

YMW: How did you get into drama?

John: Mostly to meet biddys.

Carl: Girls, mainly. It's pretty chill to get up in front of everyone and make a fool of yourself without worrying about it. You can get some good bro time in there, too. But the chicks are nice.

Mark: My older brother was big in the theatre, and when I quit sports he got me into it too. I'm definitely better at acting than football. And then there's the women. Ayyyyyyy!

YMW: Any closing comments?

John: Biddys. Biddys. Bernie. Biddys.

Mark: Come, everyone. It will definitely be a good experience. If anything, come for Matthew Conrad. You probably won't even recognize him.

Carl: Johnny kills it.

These two play well off each other. In Arsenic and Old Lace, John played the evil brother of Mark.


TICKETS ARE $7.50 IN ADVANCE (at lunches)

Come and support your friends and fellow students! Check who's in it on one of the posters! I swing my hips! Someone gets punched in the face and hits the floor! Take your friends, your boyfriend, your girlfriend and have some fun for less than a movie ticket!