Writing

Seth Bisen Hersh’s “Love Quirks”, Off-Broadway at Theatre 54 in NYC
Added on September 22, 2014

By Artisthead staff writer, Heather Sell


Love Quirks is a new musical of unconventional devotion exploring the trials and tribulations of love. Four characters, straight and gay, experience the frustrations and perils of dating and relationships in NYC.


Seth Bisen Hersh’s new musical “Love Quirks”, debuted on September 11, 2014. For those unfamiliar with Seth or his work, he is a freelance writer, composer, and lyricist. He’s written and performed in Cabarets, has a web series called Every Day a Little Seth, and loves cats. Brian Childers directs, Marck Childers is the book writer, and Eric K. Johnston is the musical director.


Love Quirks is the result of years of hard work, and eventually started out as a song sequence. The songs were originally songs he wrote for cabarets about sex and dating. A friend, director Brian Childers, heard the songs and told Seth, “There’s a show here.”
The musical features songs such as “I’m not interested in you” and “Why do I always fall for straight boys?” which both are fairly self-explanatory. The show opened September 11, 2014 at Theatre 54. The show has a three-week run.

Martial Arts Legends Join Forces to Make Movie Magic
Added on April 21, 2014

Artisthead staff writer, Heather Sell


For fans of martial arts and movies, it is often hard to find a film that marries the two effectively. Sometimes the writing is good, but the acting and martial arts is not. It is often hard to find a film that can contend with films like “The Karate Kid” (the first one, not the remake). Film director, Michael Baumgarten, hopes that his directorial effort, “The Martial Arts Kid” will pay homage to both martial arts and film. He hopes his choice to cast martial arts legends Cynthia Rothrock (known to her fans as “Lady Dragon”) and Don “The Dragon” Wilson will make the martial arts action sequences in the films as realistic and well-executed as possible.


The pair play an aunt and uncle who take in an unruly relative after the death of his mother. Eventually, to help him cope with his anger and to find a healthy outlet for it, they begin to teach him martial arts. Both Rothrock and Wilson gained fame in the martial arts field before ever appearing on film, so their focus on their craft will be appreciated by fans of martial arts, and hopefully by fans of films, too. Yet Rothrock and Wilson are no stranger to the world of martial arts film, having over 70 films between the two of them, giving them the experience in both martial arts and film.


Director Michael Baumgarten has set up a Kickstarter fund to raise more money for the film so that they can deliver the quality movie they want. They also will have as many, past and current, martial arts Masters and Champions appear in the film as they can. For fans of martial arts, the quality of the action scenes is probably most important factor, and the filmmakers know and appreciate that. The producers are hoping to release “The Martial Arts Kid” in 2015, and if you wish, you can help make that happen by donating on Kickstarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1088382504/the-martial-arts-kid

AACC Graduate Ellie Lewis Honored For Essay
By Heather Sell
November 5, 2015


Five students from the Severna Park and Pasadena area were recently honored with national League for Innovation in the Community College awards. One of the students, Elizabeth “Ellie” Lewis, was honored for her essay “Believe,” which was inspired in part by her childhood fascination with “Peter Pan” and how lack of socialization, due to being home-schooled, led to her to develop an active imagination. The essay is fascinating, innovative in its approach to sociology, and explores what we believe in as children and how those beliefs follow us into adulthood and shape our lives.


“I felt very isolated since I didn’t have many friends as a result of being home-schooled, so discovering ‘Peter Pan’ was a very magical experience for me,” Lewis expressed.
Lewis graduated last spring from Anne Arundel Community College, where she was awarded the Presidential Scholarship, which means she graduated within a two-year timeframe with a 4.0 GPA. She is now majoring in English at the University of Maryland, and she wants to pursue a career in journalism. Both her interest in English and passion for journalism should come as no surprise, given that she was honored for an essay she wrote for a creative nonfiction class. Nonfiction uses various literary styles and techniques to tell factual stories, often with a twist. The story can be factual with a condensed timeline, so the story follows a more narrative approach.


Lewis’ essay starts with her describing an encounter with her imaginary friend, Peter Pan. “I was sitting at my bedroom window as usual,” she wrote. “We were right in the thick of my nightly narrative concerning the events of the day when our conversation was suddenly interrupted by my older sister.” Lewis captivates the reader immediately, describing her “encounters” with Peter Pan, how she would put on a British accent when pretending to talk to him and how she actually believed he existed. In the essay, she claims she “became aware of his presence through a tingling in my spine.”


Lewis took the course at the encouragement of a professor and enjoyed it, yet creative nonfiction is not necessarily something she sees herself pursuing in her career. As a journalist, she is passionate about social and human justice, and she aspires to raise awareness about the sex trafficking industry, telling the stories of those who have escaped it. However, she does not think her work will go beyond raising awareness, since working directly with human trafficking causes — and many social justice causes — can be dangerous.


As a journalist, Lewis also wants to learn about documentary filmmaking, even though she’s more comfortable and familiar with print journalism, but all forms of journalism interest her. “I’m very open-minded and love to learn,” Lewis said.

No Capes Achieves Victory at CAC’s Be the Band Competition
By Heather Sell
November 5, 2015


Showcasing their vivacious energy and stage presence, No Capes – a band of mostly Broadneck High students – won Chesapeake Arts Center’s Be the Band contest on October 24. There are four members of the band, and since they started performing together three years ago, they have won a few competitions while also securing local gigs.


Drummer Ajay Draper, bassist Nick Howard and guitarist Garret Hall jammed together before they met lead singer William Guild during Garret’s sophomore year. No Capes started writing original songs and came up with the band name.


Dave Draper, Ajay’s dad, said the name is inspired by the movie “The Incredibles.”
“[The band] had been writing a song and heard someone shout, ‘No capes,’ and wrote a song about it, which eventually became the name of the band,” Dave explained.
No Capes won Battle of the Bands at Maryland Hall last year, and as a result, the group gained studio time to record two of the songs that will appear on its upcoming album. The Be the Band victory gave No Capes not only four hours of studio time at Konexion Studio in Baltimore but also a $1,000 prize.


Unlike Battle of the Bands, Chesapeake Arts Center’s Be the Band competition, which is in its second year, is open to all ages. Last year, 12 bands competed, and this year, there were nine acts. The competition is a three-step process. In round one, the top 15 bands are selected for the competition (since only nine entered, all of them were selected). In the second round, the top seven submit a video to Chesapeake Arts Center’s Facebook page and fans vote for the band they like. For the second round, Time Cycles won and was invited to play at CAC’s Studio 194 at CAC on October 3. The third and final round is a live performance in which three bands compete for the $1,000 cash prize and four hours of studio time. The three finalists were Time Cycles of Annapolis, Magic Wax of Pasadena and No Capes.


Nicole Caracia, marketing director at CAC, praised each band. “All the bands did an amazing job, and this helps the art grow,” Caracia said. “It helps CAC and creates more events for bands.”


The bands were judged on professionalism, crowd interaction, performance and attendance, among other categories. Caracia called the final a “close race.” Caracia describe No Capes’ sound as punk rock, and while the members don’t classify themselves that way, they do admit that there are multiple musical styles incorporated in their work.


“We do use influences from many different types of music to create our own sound,” Hall said. “But, if we had to label our sound, it would be alternative and indie rock. Our band typically plays drums, bass, guitar, vocals and sometimes synth/piano.”


Many bands have one person who writes lyrics and a lead singer who takes the reins. With No Capes, it’s more of a team effort.


“William is our lead singer; the rest of the band will throw in backup vocals,” Hall said. “Will doesn’t just stick to singing but is also an amazing guitarist and plays the piano as well. These additions help a lot in filling in our sound. Generally, William or Garrett will come up with a melody or guitar riff. Then the band gets together and comes up with structure and additions to finish the song. William generally writes the majority of the lyrics.”


While they are enjoying their success, No Capes band members are unsure of their future plans beyond the 2016 record release. “We are currently working on management to play out more and build a local fan base,” Hall said. “Once these things begin to take off, we will decide on the future of the band.”