Night of the Arts

As Drexel students we go beyond the expectations of average college students. We are creative individuals who deserve to showcase our talents in all mediums of art. That is why the Entertainment and Arts Society (EAS) at Drexel is hosting the Night of the Arts later this month.

It will be the first event where artwork from over one hundred student artists will be displayed in an effort to build artistic relationships between students, faculty, alumni, and industry professionals.  At this event you can expect to see visual artwork, music, theater, and more. The Maya Literary Magazine will also be represented with a place to display our materials at the event, so feel free to stop by and experience the creativity of the written word with us.

noa2    The night will begin with introductory remarks from the president of the EAS, Joy Weir, the faculty advisor, Lawrence Epstein, and the Dean of the Antionette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Allen Sabinson. Following suit will be an a cappella performance by the all male group, 8tothebar.

The event is broken up into three venues. The first venue, the Black Box Theater, will be showcasing live performances from the improve comedy troupe, the Drexel Football Team, as well as the Drexel Players, the Drexel Fanaa, the Drexel Dance Program, The Last Frontier, and RFA.

The second venue is the Screening Room, which will be showing films created by Tristan Santana, Connie Chung, Anna Pruett, Laurel Gabel, and Dan Mosley. When the films are not being screened, the Drexel Flow Arts will be performing.

Finally, the lobby will host visual artwork by Josie Driscoll, Stephen Bell, Prairie Yang, Marissa Fu, and Allison Liu. Caylie Landerville, the 2015 DreX Factor winner, will also be performing in the lobby, and there will be a Chinese Auction with prizes to arts and entertainment events in the Philadelphia area. Finally, there will be various other tables in the lobby that hold information, as well as, complimentary refreshments for the attendees.

noa3               The event will be held on November 20th, 2015 in the URBN Annex of Drexel University located at: 3401 Filbert Street, Philadelphia PA 19104. The tickets will be sold at the door and all guests will be given wristbands to allow easy reentry if they choose to leave the building. General admission will be $5.00, but Drexel students can attend for free. For more information, please visit https://sites.google.com/site/drexeleas/night-of-the-arts.

In all, come support Drexel University’s Co-op Fund and the Entertainment & Arts Society here at Drexel. It’ll be a night of culture and entertainment and I hope to see you there!

-Sara Nichterlein

The Birth of Maya Literary Magazine

If you’ve spent any time on Drexel’s campus, you may be familiar with the literary magazine known as Maya. We’re a publication that reviews fiction, non-fiction, poetry and art pieces submitted by the undergraduate student body for publication in our magazine. Over the past few years, the magazine has practically doubled in size, and we’ve attempted to match that growth in outreach as well. Maybe you’ve seen our advertisements, maybe you’ve seen our publications, maybe you’ve even submitted something to us. But have you ever wondered where the name came from? What is Maya, anyway? Is it named after Maya Angelou? Or perhaps the ancient Mesoamerican civilization? The answer, I’m afraid, is a little more complicated than that.

It all started in 1967.38924_108069365912934_3079494_n

That was the year that saw the creation of Maya, Drexel’s only undergraduate literary magazine. After some substantial digging, however, I discovered that this statement is really only half true. While 1967 is the first year that the magazine began publishing under the name Maya, it did in fact exist for several years prior – under a different moniker. So, Maya was not so much created in 1967, but rather reinvented – as a continuation of an older magazine with a brand new title. But why?

In the year 1961, a literary publication known as “Gargoyle” was born. Unfortunately, the members of Gargoyle kept very little record of the organization or its proceedings, and it seems that Drexel has few to no copies of their publications. All we really know is that from 1961 to 1966, it was Drexel’s only undergraduate litmag.

However, in 1967, a young student named Norman Auspitz took over as editor of Gargoyle. It was during his leadership that the organization decided that a change of name was in order. Over the past few weeks I have had the remarkable fortune of making contact with several of Maya’s former editors, including Dr. Auspitz himself. When I asked him about the reasoning behind changing the title of the magazine, this is what he told me:

“A number of us felt that the Gargoyle was not getting circulation for a number of reasons. So, we attempted to update the38875_108069215912949_3120533_n publication with a new name, we felt was more indicative of where Drexel had evolved (more departments, a graduate program, etc. than in the past). We also changed the size, the color of the paper, and the color of the ink.”

This is, of course, a perfectly logical explanation. Drexel was a rapidly growing university at the time, much as it is now, and it makes sense that the staffers would want to reach a wider audience. However, it’s entirely possible that there were other factors at play. For instance, around the time of the name change, the Vietnam War had been raging for over a decade and was just beginning to pick up speed. The final 1966 issue of the Gargoyle, according to Maya’s second editor-in-chief, Dr. Ron Wetzel, was incredibly thin. Certainly this could be due to poor outreach on the part of the magazine – but it could also be a direct consequence of the disillusionment felt by so many of the nation’s youth during that wartime era. Perhaps the change in name was intended to be a clean slate, a fresh start for all those once-hopeful young writers who had become too jaded to pick up their pens. This is all just speculation, of course, and we may never definitively know all the reasons for the new name; but I was, to some extent, able to find out where that new name came from.

According to Dr. Auspitz, the magazine was named after an ancient philosophy of the Hindu faith. If you endeavor to research this topic as much as I have of late, you will find a variety of different definitions and interpretations, many of them contradicting each other. The meaning that the Gargoyle staffers intended for the magazine to be associated with, according to Dr. Auspitz himself, is the concept that “all is energy and what we perceive as matter is an illusion, i.e. maya.”

Essentially, staff’s interpretation of this philosophy at the time was that all earthly ties and worldly possessions are simply an illusion – in other words, your spirit is all that matters, and material objects are unnecessary. Maya is the term that encompasses this idea.

In the first ever issue of them magazine under the name Maya, there is a piece entitled “A Maya Sutra,” the first line of GFGFGFGFGFGFwhich reads “Maya is not an illusion. This is presumably a reference to the philosophy after which the magazine was named as well as to the magazine itself. The content of the piece is somewhat confusing, but it is wonderfully written nonetheless. Seeing as it is one of the first pieces published during Maya’s official tenure, I thought it appropriate to include here. As to its meaning, you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

In my endeavors to reconnect with former magazine staff, as I mentioned before, I also had the good fortune of finding the contact information for Maya’s second editor-in-chief, Dr. Ron Wetzel. Dr. Wetzel was not only quick to respond but eager to share with me the details of the magazine, thoroughly corroborating Dr. Auspitz’s claims as to the intended meaning behind the new name. When I asked him if there was anything he’d like to say about his time with the magazine, this was his reply:

“I do believe…that creative writing allows us to exercise a different side of our communication skills and that this exercise has some generic benefit, no matter what kind of writing you do.  So in addition to any other benefits that developing an artistic side might have for the ‘soul’, I think at least in my case there has been great benefit in expanding my writing skills, and Maya really for the first time validated my efforts in creative writing.”

This quote, to me, is a perfect summary of the magazine even as it is today. It is a place where beauty and heart can be 182043_154353481284522_2557786_npoured haphazardly into words and printed neatly on pages, where the vibrantly contrasting colors of original artworks come together with a glossy finish, and where passionate young romantics can pool together the fruits of their imagination to create a little paper haven for all the old souls who come across it. So, even if all the decades of issues of Maya Literary Magazine really are just part of a false construct where material objects are simply lies, know this:

To the people whose lives it touched, it was never just an illusion.

Author’s Note: I would like to thank both Dr. Auspitz and Dr. Wetzel for their generosity in taking the time out of their busy schedules to provide me with so much invaluable information regarding the inception of our beloved litmag. It is incredibly touching to know that former staff members such as themselves still care so wholeheartedly about the magazine even decades after they helped to establish it.

Gina Vitale