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Longhorn Confidential

Graduate Lesson #2: Taught by Robert Duke

2 AM Drawing

2 AM Drawing

A friend and I were at Taza Fresca having a study-buddy session when she showed me a link to Robert Duke — a UT music professor speaking at Cornell.

OK, geek moment… yes I watch speeches for fun, don’t judge.

She and I agreed if it weren’t for graduating this spring we would have been all over a course by this guy next Fall. He’s a great speaker. Here you go Duke, this is your plug from me- a complete stranger.

One of his points has haunted me since:

“What do you value most about your discipline?”

Read: What do I value most about art and education?


Talk to this Art Education Grad student/ Blanton Gallery Teacher/ former Elementary Art Instructor who hasn’t made art for nearly four years. Isn’t that illegal or something? To this I say:

“Evaluation takes precedence ya know?”

I’m measured at school… projects, papers, deadlines.

I’m measured at the museum… programming, tours, lessons.

I’m measured at a serving job… wine/ food knowledge, and lovability by strangers.

I’m measured at home… Dust, vacuum, Swiffer wet-jet the kitchen.

Author Seth Godin says in his book “The Big Moo:”

“Just because it’s easy to measure, doesn’t mean it’s important.”

In theory this makes sense, Godin. In practice, I’m unsure if this would fly with professors, bosses, or my roommate.

“Sorry I left food in the sink for a week, roomie. I was thinking the enrichment of my creative soul was more important.”

So yeah, it’s problematic. What I value most, and what others value most collide in this space.


The other night as I lay in bed doing my nightly (and wholly unhealthy) ritual of checking email once more before sleep– I felt the urge to draw.

It caught me off guard. It felt familiar and foreign.

“Well hello, I remember you. Nice to see you again.”

R. Duke’s question reverberated:

What do you value the most?”

Well I don’t value checking email before bed. I picked up a pad of Bristol and began doodling. I was rusty- but never mind, I stayed up until 2 in the morning- just me, pandora, and Prismacolor markers. What do I value most Robert Duke?! I’ll tell you what I value most. Power over my time!

That night I shot down the “Man” and did three hours of work involving no discernible reward save my own peace of mind. I woke up after only five hours of sleep… refreshed. I worked out, I sang in the shower, I exuded a dewy glow from my skin. Who needs you Estee Lauder, I have art powers to combat under eye circles!

Then it was off to a meeting. Which I was five minutes late for.

Ah well. Baby steps.

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November 14, 2011 | | By Rebecca | 3 Comments

Auditions, Awards, Akwardness

“Last Friday night” by Katy Perry is a song that talks about the crazy antics she and her friends did on Friday.  Last Friday night was no where close to the craziness that woman described.  I spent Friday in my apartment watching Dave Chapelle’s comedy DVD.  Laughing up a storm.  After a week of tests, papers, and whatever else school entails, spending some quality time with myself  was much needed.

Saturday was a little different.  I studied for my Theatre History exam and my friend Jorge asked me if I wanted to go to see a play.  Dearly Departed, directed by my friend Janet Solis, was hilarious.  I didn’t expect to laugh the whole time.  Especially the character played by one of my classmates Tasha Gorel.  The best part was being with my friends, because life gets really really busy these days.  Watching a play inspires me to act, write, and produce my art.  Speaking of art.  Auditions for UTNT (University of Texas New Theatre), which are plays written by MFA playwrights in the department, were Saturday.  Although I didn’t audition because I want to focus on other goals next semester, my friends Ja’Michael, Dominique, and Jorge auditioned and each of them got called back!  Their talent amazes me.  As for me, I want to focus on writing.  I’m applying for a spot in the UT Lab Theatre for the spring semester.

Jelisa and friends

My friends and I at Jorge's Induction Ceremony.

Sunday was Jorge’s Induction to the Spanish Honor Society (picture above).  It was a tear-jerking moment to see him recognized for his accomplishments.  Not to mention there was free food (a college kid’s dream!)  Afterwards we had dinner (after talking for hours), and then I went to study with my friends Ira, and Polly.  Polly, Ira and I never really get any studying done when we are together!

Lesson #__: Be yourself

I’m watching The Mis-Adventures of the Awkward Black Girl, my favorite youtube web series.  I realized that Issa Rae the lead actress actually came to UT this Wednesday.  I love her awkwardness.  One of the reasons I love her is because I’m a bit awkward myself.  When they called my friend’s name at the induction ceremony, I stated clapping before I was supposed to. Luckily the audience laughed. Like the lead character, I’m comfortable with my awkwardness.  So if I have one piece of advice, it would be to be who you are. Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter…don’t mind.

Doing "the creep" while studying for an exam.

Doing "the creep" while studying for an exam.

Lesson #__: Give to the world.

Taking Black Power Movement with Dr. Moore has taught me a lot of things.  Most importantly, be yourself, and give back.  We all have an obligation to help others.  I love being apart of UT Service Scholars.  It is a wonderful program that encourages students to serve in areas of their interest.  I’ve got the opportunity to talk to my Black Power Movement class about it, chat with local Non-Profit orgs, and commit to service my community. Anyone that is involved in volunteerism should apply for this  program. It’s one thing to serve, but another to be in a room with many other people who dedicate their lives to helping others.  The deadline is Dec. 16, 2011.  If you need info, hit me up at

Well, today was my exam.  I think it went well.  Only time will tell. I hope you have a wonderful day!

Jorge and Jelisa enjoying life.

Jorge and I enjoying life.

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November 14, 2011 | | By Jelisa | 4 Comments

My 5 Minutes of Fame

One of the things that I love about U.T. is that you can go to events that are so foreign to you and you can participate in projects that are completely out of your comfort zone. I feel as though being somebody who was in the College of Natural Science and then moved (happily) into the College of Liberal Arts, I have become a more rounded person because I know and understand what somebody in a different college is going through.

I have attended events and meetings where I watched Dr. Laude (Natural Science) cause a cloud to form (with thunder and some rain), as well as, heard speakers discuss the political turmoil that effect Africa (Liberal Arts). This weekend, I was able to add College of Communication to “events” in which I have participated.

On Monday, one of my friends in the College of Communication asked me if I would help her with a film project that she was having to do. I quickly said yes, after all, I need a Best Actor Oscar to round out my resume. I had no idea what to expect, what I was needed to do, or if her grade would be based on my acting skills. I was extremely nervous. As the film date grew closer, she informed me that the project was to make a 5 minute film with no dialogue. In my brain, I instantly thought of one of those ancient silent films where somebody would act and then afterwards the words would show up. I had no idea what I was in form.

Friday night, I finally got all of the details about the film. The film was going to be about Cupid who falls behind on his quota for love and so he quickly finds two people to fall in love (I don’t want to spoil all of the details in case it comes to a theater near you). She gave me a list of emotions that I would need to need act out (again with no words) and I began making facial expressions and preparing for my debut role.

So the afternoon arrived and I was “ready for my close up.” Let me tell you now that it is over, I had no idea the amount of time and work that went into making a film. I knew that it would be an all day commitment but I had no idea of how much was required just to make a movie. We started at 12:30 and finished at 5:00! We had to make sure the lighting worked, that we were not laughing, looking directly at the camera, and the sound was correct. Then as if that was not enough to have to worry about, we had to wait for people to walk by and make sure no cars were driving by. Long story longer, I have so much more respect for RTF (Radio, Television, Film) majors and the ideas that they turn into action.

It was a ton of fun. There was a ski mask involved, people falling, and giant glitter, all in all, a fantastic day. I had such a blast getting to see what was involved in a different college and what people outside of my college were working on. I cannot wait to see the final cut and how we all turned out. I don’t think this blog does justice just how much fun I had. I feel as though 10, 20, or 50 years down the road I will look back laugh and smile about how great this day was. I am so thankful that my friend asked me to help her with this project and if her professor is reading this, she deserves an A!

Ciao and Hook’em!

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November 14, 2011 | | By Landon | 2 Comments

your photo here