“Bill Cunningham New York” Is A Fashionable Delight

April 20, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

By Caroline Foster
cfoster@smu.edu

The official movie poster for "Bill Cunningham New York" featuring NYC's finest - and fashionable.

The documentary “Bill Cunningham New York” follows The New York Times fashion and party photographer as he leads his extraordinary yet unique life. Every morning, rain or snow, clouds or sun, Cunningham navigates his bicycle through the busy streets of New York City with a camera around his neck ready to take pictures.

He focuses on what people are wearing, from a hat to a shoe and everything in between. He looks for the out of ordinary fashion, not the typical “cookie cutter” looks many New Yorkers wear. Cunningham takes pictures quickly and unobtrusively which are then displayed in the style section in the Sunday edition of The New York Times.

For all his photo-snapping in public, Cunningham is a very private person. He has few friends except for those in the business. Light is shed on his personal life and what his family thought of his foray into the fashion industry. Those who work with Cunningham as well as many people who have been featured in his photographs are interviewed in the film. Their anecdotes and accolades about the man behind the lens paint the picture of a genuine person who has dedicated his life to his work.

Cunningham’s sweet disposition and humble attitude make the film extremely enjoyable and uplifting to watch. To see a man who lives amongst countless file cabinets filled with negatives of his old photos in a small corner apartment in Carnegie Hall adds to the unique story of Cunningham. Whether you have an interest in style or not, Cunningham’s dedication to his work is something we can all admire.

Inspiring – that’s the one word to describe this fashion documentary. An 80-year-old man who is as passionate about his work today as he was fifty years ago is remarkable. As college students it’s hard to decide what to eat for breakfast, let alone a passion to pursue for the rest of our lives. But Bill Cunningham is a remarkable and endearing example of the centuries old quote by Confucius “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“Bill Cunningham New York” is currently showing at the Angelika Dallas in Mockingbird Station. This is a limited engagement so see it while it’s here!

VIDEO: Campaigning Begins for General Election

March 22, 2011 by · Comments Off 

By Andy Garcia
atgarcia@smu.edu

A program that will bring national news publications to campus now has the support of the SMU’s Student Senate.

Elections for next year’s Legislature are coming soon, so make sure to keep an eye out for candidate Facebook groups and webpages.

College Grads Make Their Mark in the Service Industry

December 10, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Bridget Bennett
brekow@smu.edu

David Jander of Mesquite received a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Charleston State University in 1980. He had earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of North Texas by 1991.

While working on his advanced degrees, Jander, 47, worked as a research assistant conducting feasibility studies for a gamma ray laser. He wrote a doctoral dissertation titled “Optical and Structural Studies of Laser Plasma Discharge Diamond Films.”

Today David Jander is not a physicist or a mathematician. He is a valet driver and parking supervisor in Dallas.

Jander is one of more than 112 million Americans working in what the Bureau of Labor statistics calls service-providing industries. While many of these positions may provide low hourly rates, some service jobs at high-end restaurants, exclusive private parties and designer vendors can provide a very stable salary. From interviews with service industry employees in Dallas, it appears some of people are over qualified for their position.

In 2009, college enrollment in the U.S. reached a record high, with more than 70 percent of recent high school graduates taking college courses according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, unemployment rates were the highest they had been in more than 30 years. In light of these statistics, some college graduates are finding positions in the vast service industry appealing, even though they may have been trained for more specialized professions.

New York Times columnist David Leonhardt recently spoke at Southern Methodist University about unemployment and the struggling economy. Leonhardt said the economy has been hard on everyone, including the highly educated. But unemployment rates are still the highest for people without higher education.

“There is a sort of switch going on where highly educated people are taking the jobs generally filled by the lesser educated,” Leonhardt said in an interview following his lecture.

Fort Worth native Mason Norlander, who said he is “pushing half a century,” knows all about this switch. Norlander traded his bank cubicle and paperwork for open tables and wine lists as a server.

“Two and two is always going to be four; the human factor is so much more fun,” Norlander said.

Norlander graduated from Texas Christian University with an accounting degree and worked for “king and country” for seven years and four months. During that time, his company went through two mergers and one bailout.

“I have not been to a bank since and have no plans to,” he said.

Starbucks supervisor Warren Eely attributes his current job position to personal growth. Eely, 28, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s in theology. He spent a year as an overseas missionary, but came back to work for what he calls a great company and a great boss.

“Do I wish I was making more money than I am now, sure, but the opportunity to grow as a leader is worth it,” Eely said.

But some service industry jobs can be far from a financial burden. Jander said his financial compensation has kept him at his valet position.

“I would take a pretty substantial pay cut to teach high school. Even teaching college would mean a substantial pay cut in the short term,” Jander said.

Norlander said he has a comfortable lifestyle with a 401K and full insurance. His best year at the restaurant brought him $72,000. And he said he has never made less than $60,000 a year.

SMU student Tiffany Hoffman understands the benefits of a job in the service industry. Hoffman, who is majoring in economics and sports management, works part time at Lilly Pulitzer in NorthPark Center. She said she receives decent compensation, but especially loves her 20 percent employee discount.

“If I were a manager there it could be a full time job, but it is still something you can definitely live off,” she said.

Considering the job market, Hoffman said she would gladly stay at her retail job after she graduates if she cannot find something in her field right away.

“A job is a job,” she said.

But Norlander, a nine-year employee of Oceanaire Seafood Room in the Galleria Mall, says it can be so much more than just a job. Despite some long hours, short weekends, and missed holidays, Norlander said it is the people who come through the door of his restaurant that make his job so much fun.

“If you treat people with respect, you can have a lot of fun,” Norlander said.
For Jander, the physicist-turned-valet, the quality time he can spend with his family makes his job worthwhile.

“Before meeting my wife, I was perfectly ok spending the whole day in a lab. But then I decided I didn’t want to be lying in bed trying to solve a math problem,” he said.

Big D Blog: New York’s Just Jealous of Cowboys Stadium

September 21, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Jaimie Siegle

I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest Dallas Cowboys fan, but regardless of my NFL alliances I couldn’t help but be jealous of all the people in the new stadium tonight. The $1.2 billion dome is a masterpiece; John Madden, Emmitt Smith and Ross Perot all thought so. Laura Bush and W. were pretty content in their seats throughout the evening, and Diana Ross looked pretty stoked too (whether it was because she was performing at the stadium or because she was simply performing, we’ll never know).

D Mag’s FrontBurner cites the Star-Telegram’s article on the Cowboys Stadium “inauguration,” if you will, but The Observer‘s “Unfair Park” blogger Robert Wilonsky pointed out that The New York Times wasn’t in as much awe as the rest of us deep in the heart of Texas were.

Architect critic Nicolai Ouroussoff chiseled away at the mammoth stadium in his review until it became a “conventional suburban office park.” Ouch.

Maybe The Big Apple’s a little jealous of Texas’ ample space. Still, Cowboys fans and Dallas denizens would’ve had a much better retaliation had their team won the game on their new, ridiculously expensive turf. And speaking of a disappointing field goal, the Cowboys game was eerily similar to SMU’s game against Washington State this Saturday. Maybe it’s just a bad weekend for Dallas football.