All Creative-Minded Humans Should Read 'Hamilton: The Revolution'

All Creative-Minded Humans Should Read 'Hamilton: The Revolution'

If you participate in any type of storytelling, this is a must-read.

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Over the Thanksgiving break, I spent a good chunk of time reading "Hamilton: The Revolution" by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter. I've been a fan of the show for years, so it was about time that I finally picked it up. And while my focus was on the annotated libretto (or script) for the purpose of a school project, I took advantage of the free time I had to read through a number of the chapters interspersed between the scenes. And despite the fact that I haven't finished them all yet, I found it so inspiring.


Overall, the book's basic purpose is to detail the development of this musical from the beginning to its peak as of the time of publishing. (Clearly, it's got "The Revolution" in the title for a reason.) It talks about the people (plus a dog) who inspired Miranda along the way, credits the whole team that helped each aspect of the show come into fruition, explains the lead cast members' path to and through "Hamilton", and gives notes written by Miranda himself on certain pieces of the music/script that give a deeper understanding of the show. In addition, it comments on the position of this show in the social world at the time (which happened to be just before this new post-2016-election era).




Why is this important? Everyone knows by now the genius of this musical, whether they like it or not. It didn't win all those Tonys, a Grammy, or the Pulitzer Prize for nothing. Part of this importance is because learning about important pieces of art is central to cultural awareness. But in the creative world, it becomes even more valuable.


Something I've heard time and time again through my years of working on different art forms and being around countless others doing the same is to constantly expose yourself to others' art- especially in your own field. Writers have to read. Musicians have to listen. Artists have to look around. Actors, theater designers, and dancers have to watch. The list goes on- but "Hamilton" incorporates all of that and the way this book outlines all of it is remarkable.


The annotations in the libretto don't just deepen your understanding of the show- they give you background and share anecdotes that show you how he came up with the little nuances that make it what it is. I mentioned that each core member of the team- the director, the choreographer, the set designer, the costume designer, the orchestrator, the producer, the lighting designer, and more- get credited, but it's more than that. They all have whole chapters dedicated to explaining what went into their work. I definitely did not realize all the little details that went into things like the costume design of this show and such before reading this. Each of the lead actors has chapters about them, too- the stories of Hamilton team finding them and deciding to cast them, their approaches to their roles, and more. The book really shows all sides of how this Broadway hit came to be.


From left: "Hamilton" choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, Lin-Manuel Miranda, director Thomas Kail, and orchestrator Alex Lacamoire.



Then there are the chapters on how Miranda found his inspiration, which expand upon how he wrote the show with such precision. How he took bits and pieces from landmark pieces of music, from musical theatre to hip-hop to operetta, to create new ones. How he spoke about every historical detail with the author of the biography of Alexander Hamilton that inspired the show in the first place because, to quote him, "I want historians to take this seriously." How he read many of Hamilton's old writings as well as his correspondence with other characters mentioned in the musical. How he spoke with seasoned Broadway composers about their works. And though there's a quote in one of his annotations that says much of the writing process is "pooping around on Twitter until [he gets] an idea," it's clear from the contents of this book that there's so much more to the process than that.




All of this together really shows every detail of what it takes to put together such an incredible and complex piece of storytelling. And that's all that art is- storytelling in one way or another. Exposing yourself to how professionals in not just your field but in other forms of art tell their stories can give you a new perspective on how you tell your own. Hamilton isn't a bad place to start.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.
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Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.


2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.


4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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