Thursday, August 27, 2015

Meghan Parman Shares the Excitement of Her Semester in Denver

Growing up I lived in a small town outside of Des Moines, Iowa. I lived on a quiet street and had a big yard. I can remember waking up every morning ready for a day of adventure. From climbing trees to biking as fast as I could down a hill near my house, I was always exploring. When I was a senior in high school, I remember my excitement for college. It was the same feeling I had when I was about to go play outside as a child. It was the feeling of opportunity and exploration. Coming to Wartburg has definitely been a huge adventure within itself. Finding my way to class freshman year to deciding what major I would end up declaring, I have had that same excitement and spirit I have felt so many times before. But, last fall when I applied to spend the first semester of my last year at Wartburg in Denver, I knew it was time for a new adventure.

I have visited Denver many times before but a short visit is no comparison to actually living in this bustling city.  From having to navigate through the streets to a grocery story, riding my bike to City Park to spend the afternoon, to figuring out which bus I can take to get me to the nearest shopping mall; Denver is an endless adventure. There are so many opportunities to get out an explore the city, the surrounding suburbs, and, of course, the beautiful mountains. With all these opportunities for exploration, I have been finding myself constantly excited for the semester to unfold. There are so many places on my list of things to do and I can’t’ wait to cross each one off.

I have officially been in Denver for little over a week and I can say that in my first weekend in Colorado, I climbed my first ever 14’er, Mt. Bierstadt, which stands at 14,065 feet, I read for hours in City Park, and went to dinner at yet another delicious pizza restaurant. As you can see, there is new opportunity around every corner in this city and I am so happy to be able to dive right into it.  Although I was a little nervous moving a big city, I have come to realize that big cities mean bigger things to see and greater places to go! I am so happy I get to call Denver my home and next big adventure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Read About Andrew Tubbs' Experience with Phamaly Theatre

Greetings, my name is Andrew Tubbs, and I’m a 4th year Music major with minors in German and Business. Over the past 10 weeks I have had the privilege to intern at Phamaly Theatre Company. Phamaly Theatre Company is the only company in America which casts all of its shows solely with individuals with physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities. I first learned about this company while I was in Alaska for a May Term class; a fellow classmate, who had just completed Wartburg West, told me about Phamaly. I huddled into the only corner of the house which had wifi, looked up Phamaly, and applied for an internship that day.
Throughout my time in Denver I didn’t do many of the “touristy” things that my colleagues enjoyed, mainly because of my online classes, studying for the GRE and working 259 hours for Phamaly between working in their office as well as the production. I viewed myself as a resident of Denver; I had my favorite coffee shop, my favorite bad restaurant, and my favorite bar to grab a beer after a long rehearsal. I may not have gone to the zoo, all of the museums, or hiking every weekend, but I feel as if I have truly integrated into this city.
Do I wish that I had the time to experience all these amazing parts of Denver and the surrounding area? Yes, however I cannot express how transformative my time was at Phamaly. My two passions in life are advocacy and art, and Phamaly allowed me to experience both. This summer Phamaly produced the show Cabaret, a production that many commented rivaled the Broadway revival. Cabaret is set in 1929 Berlin, four years before Hitler would rise to power. Despite an economic depression during the Weimar era, Berlin was at the height of a cultural and sexual revolution. This society nurtured the rising genre of the Cabaret, a genre which was centered on critiquing society through a bawdy variety show. With many soldiers returning from WWI with disabilities, Cabarets of disabled performers became popular. Once the National Socialist Party came to power, these clubs were the first to be shut down after being deemed as decedent. This history is what Phamaly tried to depict within our version of Cabaret.
The show Cabaret also depicts Kristallnacht as well as the beginnings of the Final Solution. The history of the disabled community has been conveniently been swept under the rug during this time period. The disabled community would be the first community taken by the Nazis through the T-4 Program. Through this program institutionalized mentally disabled children would either be starved to death or injected with lethal amounts of medication. It is estimated that 200,000 children were murdered through this program alone. In addition, the gas chambers and other methods used during the Holocaust would be tested on the disabled community. By producing the show Cabaret with people with disabilities, one inherently brings these issues to the forefront, forcing audiences to deal with images of this inconvenient history.
This summer I produced art that rivaled that found on Broadway at the same time I advocated for disability rights. My two passions combined into one. I met people at the company who will become lifelong friends and have influenced my own perception of disability. My entire life I have been searching for a company that understands disability, and I finally found that in Phamaly. This wasn’t a summer vacation; I dedicated everything I had to Phamaly and became a part of a community and company that I will continue to work with for years to come.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Alyssa Kozak Shares Her Denver Experience

Hello from Wartburg West! My name is Alyssa Kozak and I will be a 3rd year majoring in journalism and multimedia. This is the start of the 9th week here in Denver and man has the summer flown by! Most all of the other Wartburg West people left over the weekend so there is about 10 of us left. It is pretty quiet in the halls! So I bet you are wondering where I am interning? Well, I have two internships that I am working at and they are now partners in work.

For the first four weeks, I was strictly at Colorado Public Television Station or CPT12 everyday except for Tuesdays. It was hard to find things to keep me busy and I was missing out on a lot of practice with my video work so I talked to all my supervisors (Bonita, Dominic at CPT12 and Travis Bockenstedt at Wartburg) to see what else I could do. Luckily, there is a Wartburg production company called FourthWall Productions that was started by Travis and some alumni. I took the opportunity to join this team and help with a documentary on a local band here in Denver. I also get to help with their clients and making different videos. For the last three weeks and two weeks to come, I split my time between both places, three days at FourthWall and two days at CPT12. I even am creating a promo video for a podcast for CPT12 to hopefully broadcast! And as for the partnership between the two places of work, hopefully FourthWall will create some content that CPT12 will be able to broadcast. Maybe even the documentary that I am working on! Great things have happened this summer through my internship and I am glad I reached out to FourthWall Productions to help them get their foot in the door at CPT12. And I almost forgot to tell you that at CPT12 I get to help produce the show and get to help with graphics or a camera every Friday. It has been a great learning experience at both places. 

As you can see, I have been pretty busy with all of my work at my internship sites, but I have also had time to enjoy the great city of Denver and all of Colorado. Since I have a car here, a group of us went out and hiked at different places around Colorado. We went to the most beautiful lake I have ever seen called "Hanging Lake" and it is wonderful. (Pictures below) We went to different attractions and famous hikes and what a view. When they say "the view is breath-taking!" they really mean "by the time you get to the top you will be so out of breath from the journey but look at that view!" trust me, I know this feeling. Another girl and I were the caboose each time of our hiking trip, like I mean we were a good hour behind the rest of the group each time because we walk slow and take in everything, but we didn't care because it was worth it. We also got to meet people from all over the world like South Africa who was hiking barefoot!

Not only have we hiked a lot, we also went to some great concerts like Ed Sheeran, Meghan Trainor and Lady A. Those concerts were awesome and we met a lot of cool people each time! This week, I am attending the Kelly Clarkson concert and I am pumped! It will be awesome because who doesn't love Kelly? I also attending the Move Live tour with Derek and Julianne Hough from Dancing With The Stars. I loved it so much because I was in dance for 13 years and love to watch it!

To end my post, I just wanted to thank everyone who made this trip amazing! Thank you to Wartburg for giving us small town college kids the experience of a lifetime living in Denver! Thank you to Bonita and Nelson for being in charge of finding the internships because I know it is not easy as I am now looking for another internship. Thank you to Jack and Marietta Schemmel for all that you do and getting to know us students. Also, they gave us Rockie Tickets with a great view! This summer was one of the best that I have ever had and I am glad that I took the opportunity to come out here for this adventure. Luckily, my brother Alex gets to come out for the last week I am here and experience some white water rafting with me. :)

That's all from me! Please stay tuned to KnightVision to catch me and my fellow friends giving you the news and sports from the Cedar Valley!