In the following pieces, I worked in teams to create stories with multimedia elements. After each title, I explain what I was responsible for creating.
Laura Branca and Lisa Wichman Celebrate 40 Years of Moosewood
Here, I did the interview, took the photos, and edited the audio using Avid Pro Tools. My partner wrote the accompanying story.
Before moving to Ithaca, Lisa Wichman lived on a farm in the countryside. She grew her own food and made her own bread, but never imagined she would end up cooking in a restaurant.
On the other hand, Laura Branca had been cooking for people for a long time. Branca ran an illegal restaurant out of her farm house in Pennsylvania, where they only served homemade foods and food harvested from her garden.
At around the same time, a separate group of seven friends were starting an all-natural restaurant in Ithaca, New York. In 1973, Moosewood was officially established. Wichman and Branca, who had become friends after moving to Ithaca and discovering their shared interest in cooking and natural foods, came to work at the restaurant in 1978 and ’79, respectively.
Now, Moosewood is owned by a collective of 19 owners, all of whom share responsibilities of running the restaurant and producing the cookbooks. Branca and Wichman are two of these co-owners, and have contributed to the restaurant’s newest cookbook. This book, which was released in March of this year to coincide with the restaurant’s 40th anniversary, includes some of the most popular recipes of Moosewood’s vast, changing menu.
While Moosewood is a staple of the Ithaca community, the reach of their natural food recipes extends internationally — something, the women said, they hope lasts until long after they’re gone from the company.
“Our food is made and eaten all over the world,” Branca said. “And we’re seeing now at least two generations of people since we began writing who are eating this way. So I hope that continues for a really long time.”
Sam Sprague – Artist, Restaurant Manager, Person.
In this piece, my partner recorded the interview and took photos (with no variety, I apologize), and I edited the audio and video together using Avid Pro Tools and Soundslides. I also produced the written portion.
In a small restaurant in Lansing, New York, Sam Sprague is rolling out the dough for a pepperoni pizza. He spreads the sauce, evenly, making sure to leave space for the crust. Next, the cheese is methodically sprinkled to make the next layer of what will be someone’s dinner tonight. Finally, the pepperoni is placed, with the spacing reminiscent of an abstract drawing.
This masterpiece, a pizza, is what Sprague usually makes at his job as a manager at Scalehouse Brewpub. But what Sprague is really passionate about creating is another, more traditional form of art: painting.
Since he was little, Sprague says he’s been an avid drawer. He would draw whenever he could and wherever he was, which a lot of the time would be his grandmother’s house. He said that people would call his drawings “messed up,” but to him, they were a form of therapy and self-exploration that would last throughout his teenage years.
To further develop his passion as an adult, Sprague enrolled in the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, where he studied visual communications. When he wanted to continue his artistic training, he took art classes at Cornell University. Now, Sprague splits his time between working at Scalehouse and working in his studio, located on the Commons in Ithaca, New York.
“I always have something in the works, everyday,” Sprague said. “And that’s the point that I’m getting to career-wise. I don’t generally plan masterpieces or anything like that. I just do.”
He displays his art at local eateries, including his own place of work, and has sold a few of his pieces to buyers in the area. He says that it’s hard for him to balance his time between doing what he loves, which is being an artist, and making a living at the restaurant.
For now, though, creating pizzas will have to do.
Yoga – Lifestyle or Religion?
Here, my partner took the video and did the interview and I was again responsible for writing the article and editing the video down to 1:30.
Her bare feet barely make a sound as she walks around, lighting candles and preparing for her students. The smell of incense fills the room. Soft, soothing Indian music plays as she unrolls her rubber mat. Two floors above a local cafe, photographs and prints are lit up by the serene morning sunlight coming in through the windows.
Lennessa Shantaya is a yoga instructor at The Yoga School in Ithaca. Yoga became a part of her life in college, and has since led to lifestyle changes that affect how she lives every day. While yoga is both a physical and spiritual experience for Shantaya, she says it’s not the same as a religion.
“To me, yoga is not a religion, but maybe the basis for what all religion could have grown from,” Shantaya said. “It’s very old, and it holds precepts and tenets that you see across the board in all faiths. So I see it as a kind of root structure.”
But not everyone sees yoga as strictly non-secular. Some public schools, mainly on the West coast, have been receiving complaints from concerned parents about the instruction of yoga in gym class. According to the Los Angeles Times, a group of parents last week from outside of San Diego claimed that “giving kids a little bit of yoga twice a week amounts to an unlawful embrace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism or Western metaphysics.”
There have been court cases. Hearings. Formal complaints. But the verdict, in this case handed down from a San Diego County Superior Court Judge, has so far been the same: teaching yoga is allowed in schools.
“Yoga is so complex that even yoga teachers don’t know enough,” Shantaya said. “You have be educated to understand a subject that is so vast. I don’t think you want to ask parents who aren’t practicing yoga as a lifestyle what yoga is. Otherwise it’s just a little fun body movement.”
As of right now, the complaints from parents are localized on the West coast. But yoga is taught in a few of the schools in the Ithaca City School District, including in teach Sam Trechter’s Boynton Middle School physical education class.
“Religion contains mystery. People aren’t comfortable with what they can’t define. Yoga has a lot of discipline and structure, which is probably actually good for the kids.”