A stormy winter night proved to be the perfect opener for the intimate concert audience gathering at the Octopus Bar on College Hill. About 50 fans and general local music show-goers came out to see Iowa native Elizabeth Moen perform on Sunday, Feb. 17.
Katie Sin opened up for Moen with a solo set. Similar to Moen, Sin is a folk artist with rumble rock-n-roll influences. The second scheduled opener, Elle Hofmaier, was unable to make it due to the weather.
“Shows are just whatever songs make the most sense to play,” Moen said. “We can be a little rowdy.”
Moen performed with bandmates David Hurlin on drums, Erich Martin on bass and Dan Padley on lead guitar. She said the four of them have been working together for a while now and know the songs by heart.
“We’re very comfortable,” Moen said. “I really like performing.”
Moen said that one of the goals she has with songwriting is to only write music that sounds better live than recorded.
“When I hear songs recorded and I see it live, it loses its excitement,” Moen said.
Moen is from Vinton, Iowa, and graduated from the University of Iowa. She started songwriting three and a half years ago and has played guitar since middle school. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter didn’t expect to get into music after college, but now her second album has been successful both in the United States and Ireland, where she toured last year.
Some musicians that have influenced her work include Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Olsen, Courtney Barnett and Jimmy Hendrix. Moen said she loves “that 60’s rock-n-roll mixed with soul vibe.”
Megan Gregorsok, a UNI alum in the Cedar Falls area, watched Sin perform her opening set.
“She’s amazing,” Gregorsok wrote. “And I like the fact that she wasn’t afraid to go political.”
During Sin’s set, she performed a song discussing politics and how difficult it is to be a woman in American society. Moen shared a similar sentiment during her set, commenting on how she always feels safe and comfortable performing at the Octopus.
Sarah Welter, a Cedar Falls community member, saw Moen for the first time that night.
“It was really good,” Welter said. “She has a cool stage presence.”
Welter said she liked hearing Sin address politics, how she did whatever she wanted and how Moen discussed feeling safe at the bar.
She frequents local music shows in the Cedar Falls area, often attending house shows. She notes that there is usually a difference with live performances compared to recordings.
“There’s a lot more emotion seeing [Moen] live and how much she’s into it,” Welter said.
Welter also said the benefits of frequenting the local music scene is seeing a wide variety of people perform.
Gregorsok said she wished she could attend shows at the Octopus more often.
For class, I had to conduct two livestreams. It was definitely an assignment that I wouldn’t have willingly taken on by myself.
It was easier to set up a livestream at an event than to figure out who to have on as a live guest. The two assignments that came out of that were both very interesting.
In my live event, it was a challenge to figure out who to talk to and how to navigate interviews in group settings. I think what I ultimately did finding time to talk to people individually worked out a lot better than bigger groups.
I also later on noticed in my livestream that I had forgotten to ask people for their names. When I was on live, I asked questions differently than I would have if I were just recording the interviews for audio.
For my sit down livestream, I got a very cool guest. It worked out that this doctor who specializes in topics that I was interested in came to town and was willing to chat with me. Through borrowing some of my professor’s equipment, I was able to a really great job with that. I think it turned out very well, and I’m glad I was able to write about an interesting topic that I could enjoy. I ended up writing over 1600 words in three days because there was so much great content.
This assignment was a good challenge, and I learned a lot about live reporting through it.
Students, UNI faculty and Cedar Falls community members all gathered at the top level of Maucker Union for a special event. The Center for Multicultural Education (CME) was decorated to celebrate the opening of a new office on campus. DIS, the new office of Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. There were receptions was held on Jan. 24 at 9 a.m, 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
“Today was the open house which was really a collaborative effort highlighting all three of our centers: the Center for Multicultural Education, Military and Veteran student services, as well as Gender and Sexuality Services as well as our merger under DIS,” said Keyah Levy, the CME assistant director.
The opening remarks and ribbon cutting were done by CME Director Jamie Butler Chidozie. She introduced people to the new office name and invited people to stay for a presentation from the various people involved in the process. There were food and drinks provided by UNI catering for people to enjoy. Chidozie led off the presentation in a side room of the CME.
First Chidozie introduced her colleagues and went over how they came up with their mission statement. The three departments met together and tried to see what collaborating would look like.
“The… thing that we found as we were getting together is that each of our offices really have similar values,” Chidozie said. “And that mission is two pronged, to serve in an advocacy role and a support role. So that’s really the mission of our three offices.”
This lead to their final mission statement for their new combined office which reads as follows: “Diversity, inclusion and social justice at UNI will promote equity and inclusion for all members of the university by leading efforts in diversity education, advocacy and support of underrepresented and minoritized individuals and implementing best practices to foster a sense of belonging.”
Chidozie summed it up as, “Our overall arching mission of creating a sense of belonging for all of our community.”
Chidozie and Levy represented the CME, while the UNI Military and Veteran Services was represented by Coordinator Chiquita Loveless, and the newly named Gender and Sexuality Services office was represented by Coordinator Emily Harsch. Loveless herself is a U.S. military veteran with high honors, and presented some information on the collaboration done during the sessions she was able to attend. Harsch also presented during the longer session and discussed how their offices plan to collaborate. One of the collaborations discussed was how the UNI Veteran Association (UNIVA) collaborated with LGBT* students in the Gender and Sexuality Services office which led to thunderous applause from attendees, such as Celeste Bembry, the student recruitment and retention coordinator.
Bembry later said in an interview that it was great to hear that LGBT* students and military veteran students were working together.
“I think this is just the beginning of a more inclusive and collaborative effort around diversity, inclusion and social justice on a campus-wide scale,” Levy said. “And this really gave us some visibility on campus.”
Leadership at UNI attended some of the reception sessions, including President Mark Nook and Provost and Executive Vice President Jim Wohlpart. Nook had kind remarks to make prior to the ribbon cutting. University Relations was also present at the 12 p.m. occasion to capture photos of the event.
Around the CME there were placards highlighting the people involved in the diversity efforts on campus and some of the past events that have been held. There were pictures of the different events held to promote diversity on campus.
One placard featured an event that DIS held this past fall 2018 called the White Privilege Symposium. It was held at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, but DIS allowed UNI students the opportunity to attend. The symposium focused on learning about race, privilege, identity and intersectionality with various keynote speakers and breakout sessions for students to attend. There are also other projects still in progress that DIS is focusing on this year.
“One thing that I’m really working towards is called the ‘Humanize My Hoodie’ project,” Levy said. “That campaign is really to de-stigmatize labels. Specifically, we’re talking about threat perceptions.”
The exhibit is going to be held to educate people on the topic and spread a movement of more social awareness. It started Feb. 7 to 22.
Along with community members and faculty, there were students in attendance of the open house event. They socialized at tables with the food and drinks provided by UNI Catering. There were soups, sandwiches, water and Panther Punch. Some people sat at long tables, and other lounged on the couches in the CME.
“I think it is extremely important for every student to stop by the plaza level of Maucker Union and really just experience our space. We have things here for students across campus,” Levy said. “Whether it’s Heritage Month Celebrations, whether it’s ‘Hot Wings Hot Topics,’ or just fun game nights and things like that. I encourage them all to stop by and visit some of the programming we have here.”
One of the placards at the event highlighted the events that Levy mentioned. The Student Programming Coordinators (SPCS) are the ones who plan the diversity related programs on UNI campus for students to engage in throughout the school year. There were pictures of students and SPCS at the various events. One of the photo looked forward, advertising their upcoming Hot Wings Hot Topics event over Black History Month which featured both wings and door prizes. Another photo featured a Silent Protest event previously held.
This Silent Protest photo showed students holding up hand made signs advocating for various social justice issues ranging from immigration to the justice system. Some quotes from the poster include: “Alone we can do so little, together we can change the world,” “Accomplishments have NO color,” “’It always seems impossible until it’s done’ -Nelson Mandela,” “No humanbeing [sic] is illegal,” “Build bridges not walls,” “The opposite of poverty is not wealth, but justice,” “Civil rights are human rights!” “More black men are in prison today than were enslaved in 1850,” “Education is the key to unlock the gold door of freedom,” “Environmental Racism: A letter from Mexico to Flint” and “Spread love not hate.”
The other events in the photo featured many diverse students meeting together in the CME either for games, educational opportunities or enjoying food from UNI Catering. Some of the event planners for this year are Adalberto Castrejon (Beto), Kyla Ford, Zainab Illo, Jason Huang, Cierra Robinson and Ami Traore.
I had to arrive to the assignment location late because of the time I had between classes was limited, and I opted to check out a higher quality camera. I was able to get pictures and some video of the presentations occurring. I also got a minute long interview with one of the key presenters. Overall, I think the amount of footage I was able to capture was good for a shorter piece because this was a brief event. Had this event been any longer, there would be more opportunities to get pictures to extend the story.
Arriving at the event, it was already well in progress. It was a little difficult to get my bearings and decide what was happening. Jumping right in, I saw that students, staff and community members were in attendance.
Interviews with the main subjects went well, and covered the basic groundwork for the event. I only conducted one interview myself, and then Tay conducted his own interview which I helped film. I recall my interview the best, and I asked what the impact of this event was going to be on campus which I think was important for connecting this story to my target audience.
It felt complicated to try and get the different angled shots because I worried about the other reports be captured on film. I tried to get good angles of the subjects without capturing other people’s cameras. I tried to frame everyone within the rule of thirds convention. The focus as well as the framing turned out well for most of the images I saved. I think I should’ve just taken a moment or two to interrupt what other people were filming to get my own shots. I definitely needed to get closer and worry about everyone else a little less.
The main purpose of our slideshow was to capture still images, but I did capture some video. Reviewing the footage, there is some background hum from the room, but the speakers can be heard clearly. The background hum is far more pronounced in my interview with Keyah Levy, but there are good quotes in it. I liked the framing of the interview, but the audio would be much clearer from a different location.