Tag Archives: FIT Professors

RUNNIN’ A TV STATION AIN’T EASY

Hue has never started a business. The opposite is true of Marguerite Moore.

Moore, who teaches classes at FIT’s Enterprise Center and who blogs for Hot Topics Insider, wrote Love and War, The Human Side of Business: The Tale of The Arabic Channel about the cable station for Arabic speakers (channel 507 on Time Warner) that she and her husband Gamil launched in 1991, while she was working at Lehman Brothers. Since then, it’s been a trial by fire of buying content, selling advertising, and struggling to turn a profit in the wake of the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks.

Moore has a built-in readership; she plans to teach the book to BE261: Starting a Small Business this spring. Hue sat down with Moore to ask her about the channel and the book.

Hue: What are The Arabic Channel’s most popular shows?
Moore:
We run a lot of soap operas and films, from Egypt, Syria, and Dubai. Movies about [medieval Egyptian sultan] Salah El-Din, Genghis Khan, and Anwar Sadat, have been very popular, as has a documentary on the October 6 War [also known as the Yom Kippur War], when Egypt conquered Israel. We used to produce our own news, getting the feed from the AP. Now we show Al Jazeera.

Marguerite Moore and her husband Gamil hold a quick confab inside The Arabic Channel HQ.

Hue: Running an Arabic channel must get politically dicey these days.
Moore:
We entertain all faiths and try to be apolitical. But it’s not easy. When we show the Jumu’ah, the Friday prayer of Mecca, our viewers like that, but one Christmas we put on the Orthodox Mass, and we got complaints.
Shortly after the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the FBI visited us. They wanted to know if we had been contacted by anyone involved in the bombing. They tapped our phones. We didn’t realize that the FBI was aware that The Arabic Channel existed. And every time we picked up the phone, we had to be careful.

Hue: How did you come up with the title for your book?
Moore: I was having difficulty with that, so I had lunch with my friend Merry, who is a big reader. She said, “Love and War. The book is about a marriage, going back and forth between love and war, and the World Trade Center attacks are a kind of war. And you’re relating what happened to you, which is the human side of it.” Every time I was writing, I’d think about those elements.

BALI + BAMBOO = BEIGE BEAUTY

While vacationing in Bali, Professor Joan Melnick, Interior Design ’61, spent a day in a bamboo wonderland. She was inspired to visit after watching a Ted Talk.

Almost everything in the Green School and adjacent Green Village are made out of bamboo. Because bamboo takes just four years to mature, harvesting it doesn’t cause deforestation. The school’s founder, John Hardy, helped set up bamboo farms where the village now gets its wood.

A bamboo house

Swiss Family Robinson goes green: The Green Village in Bali. All photos courtesy of the Green Village and Ibuku.

The school offers its mostly international students a natural, holistic education. Instead of spending the whole day at a desk, students explore their surroundings and help create their own experiential curricula.

The Green Village, created by Hardy’s daughter Elora, allows for a community of residents by the school.

A villa at night

A villa at night.

The architecture is marvelous. All the structures fit together without nails, and the entire village is powered by a nearby river. “The light and shapes are beautifully undulated,” Melnick says.

A center column of bamboo with a concrete base provides strength for the multilevel structures.

Bamboo column

The foundation for the buildings starts with a column of bamboo.

Instead of blueprints, the architects create 3D models.

3D model

A “blueprint” for a bamboo villa.

“The Balinese are considered incredible craftsmen,” Melnick says. “That’s something we’ve lost in Western culture.”

worker on the roof

Working on a bamboo roof. Building is mostly done by hand.

As of now, three homes have been built. Visitors can rent them short-term or long-term. The interiors are, of course, stunning.

Green Village living room

That’s some serious cross-ventilation.

It’s paradise. And if we see more sustainable developments like this, maybe this paradise will last for future generations.

PROFESSOR KONG MAKES IT BIG

Assistant Professor Anne Kong, Display and Exhibit Design ’77, was named one of nine Retail Design Influencers in DDI Magazine’s September issue, for her work bringing together Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students and the industry they’re working toward.

She’s also mad talented at building stuff.

As a prototyper, she takes commissions to create larger-than-life versions of everyday products. Like these Skullcandy headphones that she custom-built, all in different sizes, for 25 statues around New York City.

Even the FiDi bull is trying to tune us out.

She sculpted each one in foam, coated it in plaster, and sanded it smooth. Then she lay a sheet of PVC plastic over it and heated it up until the plastic started to droop. A vacuum machine underneath sucked the PVC onto the form, and voila, instant headphones. They might not have been functional, but from a marketing perspective, they worked like a charm.

She also made this enormous Clarisonic cleansing device, for a trade show. If it actually vibrated, this baby could polish the kitchen floor in ten seconds flat.

The mother of all sonic cleansing brushes.

She placed each bristle, as fine as a human hair, by hand. It took four days.

The Clarisonic brush before going into hair and makeup.

“They give you killer deadlines in this business,” she says. “And when you finish something, they’ll ask you to illuminate it.”

These feats are all the more astounding when you consider that Hue cannot make a working paper airplane.

ENGLISH AND SPEECH PROF SAYS “LET THEM EAT COOKIE”

Growing up near Youngstown, Ohio, Assistant Professor of English and Speech Matthew Petrunia never tasted a wedding cake. Instead, the staple dessert at weddings for him was the cookie table—or, more accurately, tables, lined up all around the ballroom, crowded with platters of cookies baked by the couple’s family and friends, enough for every guest to gorge on about 30 of them.

Hue thinks that just takes the cookie.

“The first wedding I went to after moving to Colorado, there was no cookie table,” Petrunia remembers. “I thought it was a colossal joke.”

For an info session for incoming students about Liberal Arts minors on August 23, he decided to bring the tradition to FIT and create a cookie social, where students could mingle with professors in a relaxed, butter-heavy setting.

Matthew Petrunia's cookie table

The cookie table: Starting from bottom right, the cookies are pizzelles, marmalade thumbprints, apple thumbprints, and pecan tarts.

But procuring all those baked goods was no cookiewalk. He drove more than seven hours to Santisi’s IGA Marketplace in Girard, Ohio, and picked up 1,500 cookies, plus 15 pounds of Giannios chocolate candies, then drove right back. (Cookies from a respected supermarket, apparently, can stand in for the home-baked variety.)

The goodies came from a melange of ethnicities: clothespin cookies (a flaky crust with a cream filling), kolache cookies (filled with apricot, poppyseed, or nuts; also called foldover cookies), and buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate), but none of the chocolate-chip variety. “I was interested in bringing cookies they hadn’t seen before.”

The cookie table

The cookie table (again). From bottom, Italian wedding cookies (the white balls), walnut bars, raspberry kolaches, nut kolaches, buckeyes, and kiffles.

He plated the sweets with Fenton Glass and Viking Glass, colorful candy dishes that everybody’s grandmother owned when he was growing up. FIT’s cookie table became a rainbow of glass and jelly.

Handkerchief vase

Giannios candies inside a Viking handkerchief vase

Then the students flooded in, and the treats went like hotcookies. The buckeyes disappeared after just 40 minutes.

“There were polite cookie-takers who took three and walked away,” he says. “Then there was this one girl who had about 20 cookies on this little plate. I like that she lost control.”

Crowds at the cookie table

Students loving the liberal arts (plus cookies)

By the time the room emptied two hours later, just 23 marmalade thumbprint cookies remained. Clearly, at FIT, you can’t have your cookie and eat it too.

By Monday, 22 students had signed up for a Liberal Arts minor. Now isn’t that just the icing on the cookie?

HUE LOOKS AT PHOTOGRAPHS OF ITALY BY FIT FACULTY AND STUDENTS, AND SIGHS WITH LONGING

Hue is stuck at work today, sitting in front of our glowing screens.  Bummer.  We would much rather be out frolicking in the world, looking at art, trying on shoes, and smelling trees.  But, to paraphrase our favorite tautology, a deadline is a deadline.  We have taken heart, however, that on this gray day, we have some beautiful photographs to look at from a beautiful, exotic place.

That place would be Italy, where Ron Amato, chair of FIT’s program in Photography and the Digital Image, spent part of June.  Hue has spent the day looking at his pictures and sighing.  With longing.  Like, a lot.

These two particular images were taken in Venice.

Amato also took some mouth-watering pictures of food:

And, to boot, a few lovely abstract images that make Hue happy in the most indescribable way, like this one taken in the Giardini di Boboli, in Florence:

Hue is also quite interested in the blog that Amato put together called, “FIT Students in Italy.”  It is nice.  Between June 3 and 23, Amato taught a for-credit course for students studying photography.  The group traveled to Florence, Milan, and Como, and along the way Amato gave the students who traveled there with him assignments in the form of a theme—“Old and New,” for example, meant the picture should include things that are…you guessed it.  The students got to practice looking and framing and thinking about how to make a bodacious picture, and now you can look too.  And look and look and look.  Here are the photos from that course.