Art and the Academy Awards


While watching the Academy Awards it’s easy to get wrapped up solely in the entertainment of the night. Who is wearing what? Who is talking to whom? He’s looking old. Her dress is unflattering, so on and so forth. It’s not a bad thing to look at art as a means of entertainment. Art (in this case we are talking about art in the form of acting, directing, scoring, essentially the art of film) is without a doubt entertaining, but that just begins to explain what art truly is, and what art does for us.

In general we respect those with the talent to intrigue us, to make us feel something just by watching or listening. Art is expression. We have all heard that a thousand times before, but it’s the truth. Art provides a platform from which to express something, to say something that (we feel) needs to be said.

For most of us, the Oscars are a night of entertainment. Filled with winning, losing, and the typical hear-it-every-year acceptance speeches. However, many of this year’s speeches broke out of that routine. They used this platform as a means to express directly, to confront the problems we see around us everyday. With these speeches “art” took a leap forward. It crossed boundaries.

Whether you look at Patricia Arquette’s speech on wage equality for women, John Legend’s speech on the continued struggle for civil rights, Alexandro G. Iñárritu’s focus on immigration, and even J.K. Simmons’ talk about family and parents, you can see firsthand how art has stirred the emotions of not only the Dolby theater, but of millions of viewers worldwide.

Art is powerful. And it especially holds power in today’s society, where young adults follow news reports on entertainment to a larger extent than news on politics. So when those people, those entertainers, use their art to advocate for much-needed social change, then art is making a difference. It is doing what it is meant to do. I also don’t mean to limit art in this case; any art form can have an impact. Literary art, visual art, music, dance, film, it all matters.

Yes, art is expression. And that expression can lead to progress, but this is just my view. This is my more than entertainment insight on the Academy Awards. What matters though, is what that art means to you, how it strikes a chord in you, how it makes a difference.

-Matthew Young

Q&A with Sophie’s Books & Puzzles


I had the honor of stopping in Sophie’s Books & Puzzles and talking to owners Craig and Tina Rock. The newly opened store offers a wide range of books and toys that are all exclusively new. Sophie’s also does special ordering, so if you can’t find the book you are looking for, they can get anything you need.

Make sure to check them out at 345 Cornelia Street, Plattsburgh NY.

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Q: How long have you guys been open now?

Tina: Four weeks.

Q: When did you put your sign up?

T: We put the one by the road up about a week after we opened or so, but we just got these ones up (building sign), it was freezing!

Q: Speaking of freezing, what made you open a bookstore in Plattsburgh?

T: We needed one. All we have are the two used bookstores, and you’ve got Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart, but their sections just keep getting smaller and smaller. Everybody talked about when Borders closed that we needed books. Craig and I had the bookstore in Vermont, and it was doing great.

Craig: We had a lot of people from over here shopping in our bookstore in Vermont.

Q: Who is Sophie?

C: My grandmother.

Q: What inspired you to name a bookstore after her?

C: She meant the world to me.

T: She didn’t like to read though! When I tell people, they are like, ‘Really!’ It’s just a whole honor thing.

Q: Can you tell me about your ‘Daily Deal’?

C: Basically we walk around and pick a book. Sometimes the kids will be in here and I’ll say, all right, my daughter will pick tomorrow’s daily deal, and we go with it.

Q: What are some other special events that you guys do? I saw you have book readings on Saturdays?

T: Yeah, Saturdays at ten. This weekend, the 28th, we have an author coming in and he used to be a professor at the college.

Q: Who is it?

T: Robert Davis. We are trying to get more authors in, and we are trying to get local artists to come in and hang their paintings, but I don’t know anyone yet. We’ve passed the word around, but we haven’t had anyone come in yet. But it would be pretty cool to have local artwork.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about owning a bookstore?

T: The books.

C: The freedom of it. Our other bookstore was part of a franchise and we were in a mall, so there were a lot of different rules that we had to oblige, and here we don’t have that.

Q: If you can only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

T: Oh my goodness! That’s a tough one. There are so many I like, I have no idea. It would have to be a survival guide. If I can only read one book forever, it would have to be a survival guide.


-Annarose Colucci

New York State Summer Writers Institute


Want to get into writing over the summer?  SUNY Albany is holding its 29th annual summer writing program from June 29th to July 24th.  If you enjoy writing fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, this is a great opportunity for you!  The workshops will be held at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.  There is no deadline for non-scholarship applications; however, if you would like to apply for a scholarship, faculty nominations must be sent before February 25th and the applications must be submitted by March 16th.  If you are interested in learning more, check out the website:

Interview with Dr. Chatlos


I had the luxury of interviewing Dr. Jon Chatlos. Dr. Chatlos is often referred to as a shining star among the SUNY Plattsburgh campus faculty. My first question for Dr. Chatlos was, why read? “I read for enjoyment and for news,” he responded. I was curious about his favorite authors, and when I asked he told me, “I get to teach Flaubert this semester. Right now, he’s up there among my favorite writers, so are William Carlos Williams and Lorrie Moore.” When I asked him why he teaches and the importance of reading and writing to him, his response was straight to the chase: “Why teach? Why read and write? To change lives.” Then he added, “Neat lines from William Carlos Williams–

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.”

-Timothy Robare