Stage Sets

The Hudson School in Hoboken, where I attended much of middle and high school had an active student theater scene. For various productions, classmates and staff asked me to design, execute, and paint the stage set to reflect different themes and environments. Each set is divided into two, 8 by 16 foot plywood panels. I begun by creating scaled drawings shown below. I then translated these drawings onto the full stage set wall, first with a chalk underdrawing and then above with acrylic paint. Sometimes, for lower budget or time-sensitive productions, the mere chalk sketch was sufficient.

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Wizard of Oz (2013)

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Death Sketch (2012)

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.Pirates of PenzancePirates of Penzance (2015)

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Uncle Philips Coat

Uncle Phillips Coat (2014)

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stage set finalParadise (2014)

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Wizard of Oz Set

Wizard of Oz (2013)

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Death Set Final

Death (2012)

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The Nightmare Before ChistmasNightmare Before Christmas (2011)

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The Nightmare before ChristmasNightmare Before Christmas (2011)

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Crazy for You SetCrazy for You (2010)

Panoramic New York

When I gaze across the Hudson from New Jersey, the soaring towers, glassy behemoths, and dark canyons of New York City instill deep awe in me. The broad expanse of the city juts out of the water with crenelated and jagged skyscrapers as if proclaiming: “I am here to stay. Come sun, wind, or water, I will remain. I will grow.”

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Madison Square

Madison Square Park

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George Washington BridgeGeorge Washington Bridge from Riverside State Park

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George Washington Bridge PanoramicGeorge Washington Bridge from Riverside State Park

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 New York CityManhattan from Hoboken, NJ

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IMG_6256Misty Manhattan Morning

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New York HarborManhattan from Brooklyn Heights

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End the Privatization Scheme

Waterworks.

When Mayor Cory Booker tried to privatize Newark’s water system, thousands of citizens protested by signing an initiative called the Save Our Water Ordinance. Privatization would inevitably jeopardize the city’s 35,000 acre watershed, permitting its forests to be developed by private companies. After much public outcry, the city was forced to reconsider privatization.

But it still remained to close the corrupt, semi-private agency managing the watershed, the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corporation (NWCDC). The presiding judge formed a committee to manage the closure. Yet, many months later, the procrastinating committee was still not finished and was even trying to sue the impoverished city for over a million dollars. Even worse, the same law firm that started the privatization hassle was managing the closure, a clear conflict of interest. At a recent NWCDC board meeting in Newark, I read the following statement:

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My name is Myles Zhang. I am a seventeen-year-old resident of Newark.

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I do not have the speaking capabilities of high-priced lawyers. I am unable to twist and mutilate reason and logic, making a mockery of our nation’s justice system. I am unable to magically conjure obscure legal justifications. But, I see needy Newark every day.

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On the way to school every day, I pass by the veritable old institution of the Newark Public Library. Its doors are shuttered too often to the public. Its budget is too slim to serve Newark’s needy citizens. On the way to school every day, I pass the empty lots of this needy city. They are overgrown and waiting for development. On the way to school every day, I see a city that is in dire need of help.

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Today, I ask you the question: How are Newark’s limited resources to be spent? Are they to be spent paying a corrupt and greedy law firm millions of dollars? NO! Are they to be spent on spoon-feeding lawyers and former employees of the NWCDC? NO! Are Newark’s limited resources to be spent fighting for the people? YES!

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The corrupt farce of the NWCDC has dragged on far too long. Needy Newark has been deprived of a clean water department for years. You were appointed, with the full faith and credit of Newark’s people, to kill this monster once and for all. More than six months later, I see mountainous legal bills, a court case, and little discernible progress. Nobody should drag Newark’s already tarnished name through the mud again.

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The next time I walk by the Newark Library, I would like to see it open to all people at all hours. The next time I walk by City Hall, I would like to be rest assured that this city has a clean water department delivering clean water to a clean city. You have a responsibility, no a duty, to help this city. Act now.

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For a 2014 New York Times exposé about water privatization, click here.

 

Saint John the Divine

St. John the Divine 12

 

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine soars above the low-slung tenements and boxy towers that edge up against it on all sides.

Unfinished it survives; funds have long since dried up in our era of secularism and consumerism. Yet powerful it stands; solid stone will outlive concrete and glass any day.

Five hundred years from now, the urban environment may change. Glass behemoths may rise and fall and condo homes may come and go, but this monument to past ages will stand, solid as ever.

Its soaring jagged silhouette seems to proclaim against the soot that darkens its façade and the urban din that drowns out the sanctity of silence: Come weather, wind, or rain, I will remain.

saint-john-the-divine

 

 

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