Author: Ha (Millie) Le

Delightfully chaotic,
Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Such a ‘Bler: Rehearsal rehearsal (space)

Say hello to Mundelein 125.

For the past five weeks, I have spent at least two hours every Monday and Wednesday in this room. This is the classroom for my THTR 266: Acting Theories and Techniques I course. I am no actress, perhaps a performer but mainly a playwright. However, I feel comfortable in 125 and am learning more and more about space as well as my place and power within in.

I love the simplicity yet complicated possibilities of such a room. There are bits and bobs for us to play with to construct worlds needed for our different theatrical portals. It is realistic for practice but not intimidating of a stage for newbies like I. And I love that it is open for free rehearsal hours. How it is set up in the picture is how my scene partner and I have decided to stage the argument scene between Corie and Paul in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park for our first round of acting projects in the course. It’s supposed to be a living room, with a staircase leading to a bedroom, or a small apartment (did we do it justice?)

Mundelein 125 has also been a kitchen, a school yard and a foster home. And well, it is the playground of my acting career for now, and those of the many talents I am honored to learn from.

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

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Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

Such a ‘Bler: Feeling Anxious and the Wellness Center

In all honesty, I haven’t been feeling my best. There isn’t a particular reason or event that triggered this feeling, but sometimes that’s just how life is. I’m trying to do the best I can to not let it affect my academics and student organization activities too much.  

With that being said, I recognize the importance of discussing one’s mental health and self-care. In the fall of my freshman year, I attended the Loyola 360 retreat. As started on Loyola’s website, “it is a weekend opened to students in their first year at Loyola to gain a better understanding of the Jesuit mission and identity as well as a sense of community through the common 360 experience.” Though some parts of the retreat did not directly link to my identity as an Agnostic Atheist, it was an eye-opening experience not only about my identity but my mental health. This is because the questions asked during group activities and small discussion groups really focused on everyone’s individual identities regardless of their origin, belief or current place in life. And I really appreciated that. I received insight about the Jesuit values, but was also able to reflect and enhance my own. 

One of my biggest takeaways from this weekend was a moment of recognition. One of the discussion group leaders noticed that I was feeling anxious and asked if I was okay. This then became a deeper conversation between my discussion group leader and I, and for possibly the first time, I felt comfortable opening up about my mental health. It was then suggested that I made an appointment at the Wellness Center to see a psychiatrist.  

As of this Tuesday, I have been going for almost a semester and a half now. Being able to sit down and talk about how I’m feeling each week and actively work on strategies to counter my negative thoughts has helped me become less anxious and braver in my mental health journey. Most importantly, I do not feel alone. I appreciate that my psychiatrist asks the difficult questions but also allows me to do what is most comfortable for me. I cannot say that I am completely better, but I am far from where I was that night of the retreat.  

I know that I still have a long way to go, but it isn’t about fully getting rid of your demons but learning to face them when they do appear. I still have my days, but I now face them with a tougher and yet friendlier armor.  

 

Here are links to what has helped me, and I hope I was able to give you a hug too: 

Loyola Retreats: https://www.luc.edu/campusministry/retreats/retreatofferings/ 

Loyola University Chicago Wellness Center: https://www.luc.edu/wellness/ 

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

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Such a ‘Bler: LU Wolf’s Birthday!

Such a ‘Bler: LU Wolf’s Birthday!

This past weekend, we celebrated a very special Rambler’s birthday: Loyola University Chicago’s very own mascot, LU Wolf!

The campus buzzed with excitement. Not only was it game day in Gentile Arena, but of course a party thrown to celebrate LU. Gathering in the Den of the Damen Student Center were all his friends = from students, faculty to other mascots!! There were games, treats, singing and of course a birthday cake for wishes.

LU Wolf is a member of the Loyola Spirit Team. He is an essential part of the cheer during our athletic games and travels with the Loyola Cheer and Dance team to tournaments. I would say that being LU is honestly an significant honor as he represents the passion, integrity and enthusiasm of Loyola and Loyola Athletes. It’s also takes a lot of responsibility and skill, but if one embodies the spirit of the Loyola student promise, I’m sure the gloves fit 😉

Fun fact: one of the “LU”s actually lived on my freshman year dorm haha.

 

Read more about LU Wolf and the Spirit team here:

https://loyolaramblers.com/sports/2017/5/25/ot-loyc-spirit-html.aspx

https://www.luc.edu/nsp/aboutus/loyolatraditions/luwolf/?

 

Happy Birthday LU! I’m so glad to have you around and it is always so exciting to see you around campus. Here are some memorable shots of the day from the Ramblers Cheer Instagram story!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

 

 

Such a ‘Bler: I have a show on WLUW!

Such a ‘Bler: I have a show on WLUW!

And so another adventure begins.

During my college search, I came across a video tour of Loyola’s School of Communication’s Convergent Studio, and well I was hooked. I wanted to experiment, to create and to be immersed in a hands-on academic experience and there it was. I could see myself in this beautiful space and I could see myself at this beautiful university. One baby ‘Bler year later, I’m here. I have a new show on WLUW!

As stated on their official website, http://wluw.orgWLUW is the student-run radio station broadcasting from the School of Communication at Loyola University Chicago. WLUW is dedicated to broadcasting independent music and informative talk programming and is a source of learning and growth for Loyola students. WLUW broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is streaming worldwide.

My show is called “Hyperlinked” – in reference to my hyperlinked brain – and it’s going to address a myriad of topics surround human interaction and relationships. And no, I don’t just mean the romantic kind. One of the areas that I hope to explore with my Communication Studies major, and well my Theatre and Creative Writing minors as well, is how individuals communicate, depend and not depend on one another. How do we perceive someone else, how do they perceive us? And why is the way we are present or not present in someone’s life so powerful?

February 13th was the first training day for the ‘Second Wave’. We are the second wave because our shows will be broadcasted on WLUW’s website rather than the actual 88.7fm channel itself. That way we are able to have more flexibility with our playing of music and discussion topics. The Second Wave is also for the more talk based or podcast based of WLUW’s shows. There’s everything from the purpose of spotlights in the Film and giving spotlights to queer artists. And I’m ecstatic!!!!

Our shows don’t begin airing until after Spring Break but I will definitely keep you posted. Wish me luck!!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

 

 

Such a ‘Bler: Vday by the Lake

Such a ‘Bler: Vday by the Lake

Happy Hearts Day!

The celebration of love is all around and I’m feeling extra warm in this Chicago wind. I’m currently scribbling this on the Loyola intercampus shuttle, one of which the driver let all the girls on first today which I thought was quite sweet haha.

For most of today I’ve been in my room trying to finish an assignment but since I opened my eyes, my social media feed has been flooded with festivities. From Loyola Valentine memes to special treats in our dining halls. Even last night there was a huge PSA going around Instagram stories about the red velvet cupcakes and chocolate fountain on their way!!!

The LUC Commuter Student Life Organization also put on an entire munch spread!!! Now I’m getting even more excited to live off campus next year knowing that I’ll still be able to join the campus food parties. Because what else is Valentine’s Day about apart from discounted sweets and platter deals haha.

In all seriousness, I think this post I made for Diminuendo’s social media says it best: “Fall in love with yourself, your life and those in it – today and every day ahead.” Love is love, and love is for all and in all. Be sure to call home and tell someone you appreciate them today.

Stay Munde-fine!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST: 

Such a ‘Bler: I Am a Social Media Student Ambassador and This Is Why I Love My Job

Such a ‘Bler: I Am a Social Media Student Ambassador and This Is Why I Love My Job

After several weeks of battling new schedules and the polar vortex, the Social Media Student Ambassadors of Loyola University Chicago and their fearless leader, Adam, congregated in the Undergraduate Admissions Office to examine thblueprints of Spring 2019.

It was really nice to see everyone again although not all of us were able to be present. However, I was glad that at least one from each of our three focuses (comm flow, photography and bloggers) were able to make it. An agenda was pre-set by Adam and we began to review last semester’s work and future goals. Okay this all sounds super serious but honestly, every talk with this bunch is a good time.

We ran through everything from our photo quality to the potential introduction of Loyola memes (yes you heard that right, I’m screaming too.) Very positive, productive and overall passionate vibes floated around the room and well, I love my job. I love being in such a creative space. I love being around such a motivated and ambitious people. I love how we build from each review and suggestion and want to take our work to even greater heights. And gosh I’m just to excited for what’s to come.

Our blog space is being updated very soon and we’ll also possibly be given direct access to Loyola’s Instagram. The goal is to create a ‘a day in a life of’ themed Instagram stories series as well as give prospective and current Loyola students an even more up close insight of the lives of us Ramblers. Adam has also been enjoying my video work (ahhhh) and is planning to expand the project into an official Undergraduate Admissions YouTube channel with other Ambassadors also jumping on and creating their own videos.

I can’t wait to create more content and see where all these blueprints take us. STAY TUNED!!!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

Such a ‘Bler: The First Playwriting Workshop

Such a ‘Bler: The First Playwriting Workshop

I’m finally taking THTR 204 – Playwriting and wow has it been a treat! I have always been a writer at heart and though theatre is my minor and I’ve written a whole musical before, playwriting is still relatively new to me.

We have two workshops throughout this semester and the first of those was on Friday. Each playwright would submit their 5-7 page scene a week prior and then have them casted and read out in class during the workshop. And then, discussion would begin.

Each discussion is led by a student (who is not the playwright in presentation) who will ask the audience a short series of questions such as “what stood out about the scene/what was crucial to the scene?” and “what would you like to see more of?” After the group has exhausted the exploration, the spotlight would be turned over to the playwright who will ask and/or clarify anything they felt wasn’t cover or were still curious about.

It was nice to hear everyone’s voice, both through written words and through the readings. It occurred to me just how much a person’s voice can be found in the theatre/art they make, even if it’s just a short scene and even when they are not presenting it. The difference between each piece were so distinct and brought a refreshing start to the class each time we began a new read.

Our professor, Devon De Mayo stressed the importance of creating a safe space for our fellow writers. We even ran over ways to rephrase comments and suggestions such as saying “I crave…” instead of “I think you didn’t put enough emphasis on…” and I really appreciated that.

My turn is next Friday, and well I’m anxious and excited and everything all at once. But I know I’m in good hands.

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

 

Such a ‘Bler: Light Lab Life

Such a ‘Bler: Light Lab Life

Like what you see? (I do hope so, I’m being graded on this haha) Well let me introduce you to Fine Arts Annex. It looks a little different right now because it’s set up for our Lighting section of THTR 352 – Design II.

For this portion’s final, we had to create lighting designs for 7 scenes of ‘Aglaonike’s Tiger’ and capture them to discuss with our prior researched and created lighting storyboard of the play. Our instructor, Lee, brought the lightboard from Loyola’s underground theatre to the annex and we got a chance to play around with it before diving into the project, and let me tell you miniature lighting design isn’t as easy as you think.

We got 5 hours of lab time each and I used every minute of it. Lee taught us the important to modeling – using light to highlight the important parts of the cast and props so they don’t blend into the background or are not seen correctly. So I made sure to adjust each light for that main purpose. And well I also played around with colours to change up the mood.

My favourite part was using gobos – patterned pieces of circular metal that create different shadows when having light casted through the patterns. These are placed into the source of light. I manipulated a few to represent the presence of water and leaves on the stage floor and backdrop. The plot was a mixture between the themes Ancient Greek Traditions and Postmodern. I wanted to move away from realism with this plot and thought it was a good alternative for props and made the scenes more unique.

I’m very new to lighting design and well electrics in general, being mainly a playwright and dramaturg when it comes to theatre. I even had to call Lee in the middle of my session to ask for assistance…We were also required to provide two lighting sketches, which the techniques for were taught in Design I. I had to do some digging through my notes for a refresher but I’m glad they were good notes haha.

The project and section have been quite challenging, yet I feel so alive! It’s always good to step out of your comfort zone and see what your skills how do and how grow. Sound design is up next, stay tuned!

 

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS! 

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:  

Such a ‘Bler: My Second Lunar New Year in Chicago

Such a ‘Bler: My Second Lunar New Year in Chicago

It was a day in my Vietnamese áo dài (our traditional costume), Vietnamese food and non-Vietnamese friends!

I am an international student. I was born and raised in Vietnam and have been in Chicago for almost two years for university. In Vietnam, we celebrate Lunar New Year, which tends to come around early to mid-February – whenever the moon decides to finish its cycle haha. It’s a tradition in countries that celebrate Lunar New Year to gather with their family and friends for food and celebrations.

Noon on Monday, February 4th was when the clock hit midnight signifying the walk into the new Lunar New Year 2019 in Vietnam. I, as usual, was in class. Last year, I was able to wish my parents and brother on Facebook under the table (shhh) but this year, noon on a Monday meant THTR 266 – Acting I and so, my found sat on silent in my bag as the fireworks crackled back home.

Right after class ended at 12:10pm, I had a 25 minute break before my next class THTR 352 – Design II and so I quickly called my parents. I was running from Mundelein in my áo dài, wrapped in my winter coat and holding a Starbucks. I felt very cultured. It was nice to hear their stories about celebrations back home, though things were a little quieter with me being in Chicago, and with my dad being under the weather this year. Seeing them smile upon my call home from class in my traditional costume, made me even more homesick.

Later that day, my friends and I took the L to Argyle and had Vietnamese food at Nhà Hàng Việt Nam. I let them choose their order though they insisted on my recommendations. To my surprise they all chose VERY special and authentic dishes – it was a proud moment for me. They their first shared reactions to the food whilst I shared stories of traditions back home. Chicago was still chilly that day but my heart was warm. 

Here’s a throwback of my áo dài from last year on the beautiful steps of Mertz Hall: 

I made sure and will continue to wear my culture with pride each year. Don’t forget traditions even when you’re half way around the world from where you learnt them. Besides, it’s always fun to answer the questions that people ask when they pass by. Happy Lunar New Year everyone!

HEY, I ALSO MAKE VIDEOS!

HERE’S THE SUCH A ‘BLER PLAYLIST:

Such a ‘Bler: Yule Balling into Spring 2019

Such a ‘Bler: Yule Balling into Spring 2019

Every year, the Loyola Quidditch Team hosts a Yule Ball! It’s often late December right before Winter break (hence the “Yule” in Yule Ball) but the festivities occurred in January in this school year. Regardless it was a Potter wonderland!

There were Hogwarts houses themed snacks and decorations, wintery and wizard-like decorations and a colourful playlist. I saw a reflective tie, wands and so many golden snitches. The ball was opened to all students, but I went this year (and the last) because a lot of those in my friend group are on the Quidditch team!

From what I’ve heard, they are a lovable and passionate community. The Quidditch team practices weekly and participates in tournaments with other university teams. I’d totally recommend Potterheads and those interested in magic in general to join, not only because they have a fantastic Quids-giving each year.