30 May, 2015

Art of Kitsch

Within the framework of the "U.S. Art Residence in Dnipropetrovsk” project today’s session of the WOA’s Gabfest club (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was devoted to the topic “Art of Kitsch”. After an illustrative video the group tried to give their own definitions of this genre of popular art.
According to Walter Benjamin, kitsch "offers instantaneous emotional gratification without intellectual effort, without the requirement of distance, without sublimation".
Once the idea of kitsch art was presented the group was introduced to the works of Jeff Koons. He is an American artist known for his reproductions of banal objects - such as balloon animals produced in stainless steel with mirror-finish surfaces. He lives and works in New York City. His works have sold for substantial sums of money, including at least one world record auction price for a work by a living artist. Critics are sharply divided in their views of Koons. Some view his work as pioneering and of major art-historical importance. Others dismiss his work as kitsch: crass and based on cynical self-merchandising.

As today’s Gabfest session was attended by our American guest Mr. Brian the group was given a task to tell him about Ukrainian kitsch. The majority of the examples were from the popular music field. The introduction of the so called “village glam” style allowed the group to tell Brian fun facts about Ukrainian history and culture. The examples of the Soviet times’ kitsch allowed the group to pick up some new vocabulary.
The session was difficult, but educational for all participants.
Number of participants – 19 persons.
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Monopoly @ American Teen Club

Monopoly @ American Teen Club.
Today’s session of the American Teen Club in Window on America Dnipropetrovsk (Ukraine) was dedicated to the Monopoly (board game) again.
Monopoly is a board game that originated in the United States in 1903 as a way to demonstrate the evils of land ownership. The current version was published by Parker Brothers in 1935. Subtitled "The Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game", the game is named after the economic concept of monopoly – the domination of a market by a single entity. It is now produced by the United States game and toy company Hasbro. Players move around the gameboard buying or trading properties, developing their properties with houses and hotels, and collecting rent from their opponents, with the goal being to drive them all into bankruptcy leaving one monopolist in control of the entire economy.
Number of participants – 7 persons.
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28 May, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Within the framework of the “From mines to art heights” project the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was visited by the group of National Mining University students majoring in IT studies. The group was accompanied by the English language lecturer - Mr. Brian Chung, the Fulbright academic exchange lecturer from New York.
The WOA Center premises were used as a site for an out-of-class training session. The freshmen continued to watch and discuss an American action-adventure movie Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) directed by Steven Spielberg. Movie ranked among the greatest films of all time in the action-adventure genre and often in general.
The story tells about archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones who hired by the US government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis.

Mr. Brian stopped the film on a regular basis to explain to the students American idioms and cultural phenomena presented in the movie. He also asked questions on the content of the film to check the students’ comprehension.
Number of participants – 12.
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Movie Afternoon

«Movie Afternoon» and WOA’s free resources presentation
The Window on America Center Dnipropetrovsk was visited by the 8th grade students from the local high school number 22, it provides in-depth study of English and is one of the best in town the school is a longtime partner of the WOA Center and the DOUNB library.
The Center’s free resources for learning English were presented to the group. The activities most popular among library patrons were presented to the group - the theme book displays, weekly Movie club and weekly English-speaking clubs for different age groups (for teens and adults).
Then students watched the family movie “Mr. Popper's Penguins” (2011). 

It’s a funny story about the life of a businessman, which begins to change after he inherits six penguins, and as he transforms his apartment into a winter wonderland, his professional side starts to unravel.
After the movie WOA’s Head Svitlana Usenko offered to play “Apples to Apples”- the game of hilarious comparisons. It's as easy as comparing apples to apple: just open the box, deal the cards and you're ready to play. Select the card from your hand that you think is best described by a card played by the judge. Each game round is filled with surprising and outrageous comparisons from a wide range of people, places, things and events.

The students have inspected the book and image display «VE-Day – the 70th Anniversary», a paper display «Music Scene and Heard», and a «New arrivals» display. The focus of the paper display was on the panels that deal with American jazz and other genres of music that Ukrainian audience associates with the American music. Pop/Rock, Musical theater and religious music complemented the information about Jazz. The panels represent collages with the images of the American stars in the above-mentioned genres and provide comments to the images.
The highlight the new arrivals display is pop-up book «Ice Age».
Number of participants – 25.

27 May, 2015

The Blind Side

“Wednesday Movie Club” at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, offered screening of the sport drama film The Blind Side (2009) with Quinton Aaron, Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw starring.
The story of Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy who became an All American football player and first round NFL draft pick with the help of a caring woman and her family.
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writers: John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis (book)
WOA’s patrons who wish to improve their language skills enjoyed the film and the discussion that followed.

23 May, 2015

Jewish American Heritage Month

Today’s session of the Gabfest Club (Dnipropetrovsk Window on America center, Ukraine) was dedicated to the topic «Jewish American Heritage Month». In the USA it is a national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. The society acknowledges the achievements of American Jews in fields ranging from sports and arts and entertainment to medicine, business, science, government, and military service.
The group was offered a video about Emma Lazarus. She is best known for "The New Colossus", a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty placed in 1903. The video about the Jewish History museum in Philadelphia impressed the group as it showcased the achievements of the Jewish community in the USA.

The topic of Jewish heritage allowed the club members to demonstrate their knowledge of Jewish heritage sites in Ukraine. We have discussed the places that for Jewish Americans would be a ‘must see’. The group demonstrated a good knowledge of Jewish Heritage and are ready to give recommendations to potential tourists. The difficult topic didn’t discourage the group from the conversation.
The group was informed about the recent visit of the vice consul and the Diversity visa presentation.
Participants number – 21 persons.

22 May, 2015

Diversity Visa Presentation

The United States Vice-Consul Jeremy Little visited Window on America Dnipropetrovsk and gave a presentation on Diversity visas and general immigrant visas issues.
During the presentation Mr. Little explained the process of applying for U.S. diversity visas. He covered the main aspects of the process and explained what should be done to ensure a fair and transparent application process. Mr. Little discussed visa fraud issues including agencies that offer their help with the U.S. visa application as well as “assist” in winning the Green Card.
Mr. Little answered numerous questions that the audience had regarding current immigrant visa application procedures.
Number of participants – 25.

21 May, 2015

From mines to art heights - 12

Within the framework of the “From mines to art heights” project the "Window on America" Center (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine) was visited by the group of National Mining University students. The group was accompanied by the English language lecturer - Mr. Brian Chung, the Fulbright academic exchange lecturer from New York.
The WOA Center premises were used as a site for an out-of-class training session. The freshmen continued to watch and discuss an American movie.
The group watched and discussed an American film. Mr. Chung explained to the students the colloquial phrases and idioms that were difficult for the understanding of the ESL students.

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20 May, 2015

Vanilla Sky

"Wednesday Movie Cl" at Window on America center Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, offered screening of the Fantasy, Mystery, Romance film Vanilla Sky (2001) with Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz starring.
A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writers: Alejandro Amenábar (film "Abre Los Ojos"), Mateo Gil (film "Abre Los Ojos")
Number of participants – 6.
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17 May, 2015

Windows go biking -2

Dnipropetrovsk WOA’s Head Svitlana Usenko visited Lutsk and took part in the second part of project «Windows go biking – 2».

Olena Pyshniuk, the Lutsk WOA’s Head, told:
To fulfill one of the main goal of the work of the library– to attract more and more people – on May 17, 2015 the Window on America visitors together with guests from Ternopil, Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk went along the streets of the city on bikes.
This unusual and very effective way of attracting people to the libraries was of great success.
More than 30 people on bikes advertised the numerous services of the Volyn library.

Great number of the hands out about the Window on America services, literacy programs, and foreign language classes were given to people on the streets.
That “out of door” event helped to understand and better appreciate the library and welcomed more new visitors.
The event was held in the atmosphere of lovely communication and we believe that more people will come to the library and join our numerous clubs that are geld at the Window on America center in Lutsk!

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