Fred Wilcox shares his activism stories.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Professors share narratives of lifelong activism

Documentary, Film & Video, Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Here at Ithaca College there is a large group of professors who stand by their beliefs and ideals. These professors are activists and constantly go out and protest and do work in order to make these ideas known and to fight injustice. As a part of a collegiate institution they share their beliefs with their students and try to be the inspiration for them to get out and fight for what they belief in.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.

Photojournalism: Election night in Ithaca, N.Y.

Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Election night is always emotional, no matter who you are backing. Here in Ithaca, NY people were able to celebrate President Barack Obama’s re-election. With triumphant and emotional cheers.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 — Olayinka Omotosho, a Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, celebrates in response to hearing CNN predict President Barack Obama’s re-election while at the Tompkins County Democratic Party headquarters at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca, N.Y.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan


Making room for others


Frankly, the original purpose of this posting was to show off a new photograph of myself. I rarely have nice photos for myself besides those random cell phone photos with my friends. So this is a very nice change of pace.

Here is the photo taken of me.

Shawn Steiner, Photo Editor
Emily Fuller/The Ithacan

That was taken by a one Emily Fuller, design editor of The Ithacan. This was simply after a short training session in the lighting studio. The date of this photo shoot and the nature of how the photos were not taken by me has led to a great change in my approach to the job. After a good bit of time I’ve done a lot that I have wanted to and I feel that for my own personal projects I need to take a step down and let others take over.

I am taking a step down at the end of this semester as Photo Editor of The Ithacan. It was a tough decision but a necessary one. I have made significant changes to the newspaper’s photo section that I am proud of and now I get a chance to relax… mostly.

This is actually resulting in more of a move to multimedia. I find it an area where I can make another huge impact and hopefully leave a large mark. It also allows me to stay a part of something that I love and be there for those who still like my presence. I will have an outlet for my ambition, but I will also hopefully be able to sleep.

Fire at The State Street Diner

Photojournalism: Fire at the State Street Diner

Journalism, Journalism, Photography, Photography

Selections of my photojournalism will also appear from time to time. This is how I am introducing this new section on this site. Hope you enjoy! Here is the first image, a personal favorite.

Fire at The State Street Diner

Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 — Stuart Prineas, an electrical contractor, examines the damage from a fire Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 at the State Street Diner. The diner caught fire at about 4:30 p.m. from what local authorities believe to have been faulty wiring, however the investigation is still ongoing.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Oscar eats some Sacoglottis fruit.

‘Chimpanzee’: Chimp exploited in Disney documentary

Journalism, Reviews

Oscar is a cute, orphaned chimpanzee, but the story of his life is overwhelmed by an unnecessary dichotomy manufactured by the filmmakers.

Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield successfully continued the theme of past Disneynature films with the recent “Chimpanzee.” The crew spent four years in Taï National Park in West Africa with troops of chimpanzees to capture the intimate footage viewers rarely see. However, the documentary is set up more like a Hollywood chimp action movie than a realistic, scientific look into the lives of animals.

The film’s main attraction is the storyline in which Freddy, the leader of a troop of chimpanzees, adopts Oscar. This is the first time that an act of altruism by chimpanzees had been captured on film. Unfortunately, the anthropomorphization of the chimpanzees is too extreme. The filmmakers even go so far as to name the leader of the rival chimp group Scar, an obvious reference to the classic “Lion King” villain of the same name.

The rivalry between the two clans of chimps revolves around their search for food, especially in the nut grove Freddy’s clan frequents. Freddy and his troop occasionally make their way to the border of the territories for berries and other food — the necessities for their survival. However, when Scar and his fellow chimps try to cross the line, the viewer will see it as a potential takeover and raid of Oscar’s lands.

While chimpanzees like Freddy show their own personalities, the filmmakers take it too far. Isha is set up as the sole caretaker for Oscar and thus her eventual death and Oscar’s loneliness are overdramatized.

Tim Allen’s narration helps explain the nature of chimpanzees and their familial system. When talking about tools, he makes a clear nod to his time on television. The film is designed for the younger audience, so the narration adds to the footage in a way that is entertaining to children and yet still has substance for those willing to look a little bit deeper into the astounding abilities of chimpanzees.

Oscar is an adorable young chimpanzee, and the clan is fun to watch, but if you aren’t a child, the blatant overstatement of characterization will not pass unnoticed, distracting you from the real beauty of the captured moments.

“Chimpanzee” was directed Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield.

From left, sophomore Gautam Singhani, an intern for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, stands with multimedia artist Art Jones in the Handwerker Gallery on Monday night.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

FLEFF celebrates 15 years

Features, Journalism

Organizers of the 2012 Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival are celebrating the event’s 15th year in Ithaca in a big way — with a focus on small utopias.

Each year FLEFF planners choose a new theme to unite all the films and incite discussion and discourse about a specific topic, which is one of the goals of the festival. This year an art installation made entirely of recyclable and sustainable materials that was created by interns represents the theme of the festival. This theme, microtopias — which means small utopias — is used to explore environmental issues without constraints or limitations.

From left, sophomore Gautam Singhani, an intern for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, stands with multimedia artist Art Jones in the Handwerker Gallery on Monday night.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Sophomore Gautam Singhani, an intern for FLEFF, likes the idea because he links the theme to the festival itself.

“FLEFF is like a microtopia within a microtopia,” he said. “Both the festival and the college are microtopias that I feel are a great example of our current theme.”
Singhani is one of about 30 students currently interning for the festival. This is one of the ways that FLEFF organizers try to garner student participation.

“I love meeting all the new media artists and other guests,” he said. Art Jones, a multimedia artist, spoke during a master class Monday afternoon in the Park Auditorium about the state of the media industry.

Jones also led a multimedia performance Tuesday night in Hockett Hall that involved putting together approximately 70 minutes of footage the night before.

Jones also attended the opening event of the installation art Monday in the Handwerker Gallery. He said he enjoyed talking to students and being able to open a discussion about the breaking down of barriers between high culture and low culture, along with sharing his experiences with students.

Ann Michel, the president of Insights International, a business research and analytics company, is one of the coordinators of the internship program. She said this has been a successful year because of the returning team leaders and the signature live music events.

“These events stand out because of the live performance,” she said. “It makes it more theatrical. It makes it more special.”

Tanya Saunders, an executive producer of FLEFF and assistant provost for international studies and special projects, said part of the festival’s continued success is that students, faculty members and staff can get involved easily.
The festival has consistently become larger every year, attracting more and more guests. This year, more than 50 artists and filmmakers are in attendance.

The festival features events including new media performances with singers, films and artists, and the classic theater film. But, Patricia Zimmermann, professor in the Department of Cinema, Photography and Media Arts and co-director of FLEFF, said people should explore their own interests.

“Everyone needs to find their own path,” she said. “FLEFF asks nothing of people, except to ask questions.”

Nate Marshall juggles firesticks during a performance outside Center Ithaca on the Commons.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Chili festival keeps it local

Features, Journalism

Amid a mild winter, thousands of locals and tourists flocked to The Commons on Saturday for the Great Chili Cook-off of 2012 to eat a seasonal favorite and support local businesses.

Attendees waited in long lines and participated in events such as the hot pepper-eating contest as part of the annual festival sponsored by the

Nate Marshall juggles firesticks during a performance outside Center Ithaca on the Commons.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Downtown Ithaca Alliance. Thirty-eight different vendors, ranging from Cayuga Medical Center to Moosewood, presented their own special recipes in an effort to uniquely advertise their offerings. In all, about one thousands gallons of chili were on display for consumption.

Patty Clark, events manager for the Downtown Ithaca Alliance, said the appeal of the event rests in its local connections.

“A lot of our vendors are local restaurants, and they have a very high concentration of using local products,” she said. “So we really enjoy supporting our local businesses.”

The Tompkins Trust Company held an inter-office competition earlier in the year to find the best chili within the company to present at the festival. Joe Cioachi, whose wife won that competition, said the warm weather helped draw the large crowds to the festival.

Sophomore Jeff Chilton said he found the weather to be one of the best parts of the festival.

“Chili-Fest this year is a lot stronger than Apple Fest was, but that is partly because of the weather,” he said. “It’s a different environment, and that’s because it’s the middle of the winter.”

As for the winners, Razorback BBQ won the “best meat chili” category with their smoked brisket chili. Collegetown Bagels won “best vegetarian chili” with their Roving Gypsy chili, and Life’s So Sweet Chocolate won “best other chili” with their chili chocolate. Mat’e Factor won “best presentation.”

City of Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick, one of about 5,000 attendees at the festival, said the festival is an excellent way to showcase local businesses.

“I think it’s great for the city because it brings thousands of people into the downtown area,” Myrick said. “It shows them not just what’s happening on days when festivals are here, but also what The Commons have to offer all year-round.”

As for why he came out to the festival, well, that was a simpler answer.

“I love Chili-Fest because I love chili,” he said.