All posts by aalvi

The Last Paper Expert in Los Angeles

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On a quiet corner one block west of MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, sits McManus & Morgan. Stepping into the art supply store is akin to journeying back to Los Angeles’ art scene’s halcyon days, with its walls lined with exotic parchment sheets and shelves brimming with stationery.

At the counter in the back of the store is where you’re most likely to find Gary Wolin, the proprieter of the establishment and one of the lone paper experts left in Los Angeles. A quiet man with a husky voice and a likeness to Sir Ian McKellan, he’s weathered the highs and lows of running a business in the ever-changing MacArthur Park.

Wolin, a native of Detroit, came to Los Angeles as a teenager in the mid-40s after his uncle called his father to ask if he was interested in owning an art supply shop. His father, who had a background in art, was indeed interested and hopped on the first flight to Los Angeles to purchase the then 20-year-old business.

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Wolin’s father had originally been a traveling salesman, who would only be home for a few days each month, so growing up their relationship was nonexistent. But that changed with the acquisition of McManus & Morgan.

He and his father spent a week driving the family’s possessions from Detroit to Los Angeles. “We moved out here and jumped into it. And in moving to the art neighborhood of Los Angeles, we realized there was going to be a lot to learn,” Wolin said.

The whole family got involved in the business, with Wolin taking a huge interest in the day-to-day operations. Enough so, that he eventually took over the business from this father.

“The thing that my father created, that was of significance, is what you call a multiplex. We created pages on a stand for every single kind of paper here so that you just flip through,” Wolin said. He very proudly shows the multiplex that his father created to customers when they come in looking for a specific type of paper.

There was a point back in the heyday of the business where Wolin could drive around Los Angeles and say ‘That’s a customer. That’s another customer’. But “time has gone by and all the relationships have changed. Business was just phenomenal back in the day,’” Wolin said.

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Business started dropping off in the mid-80s with the onset of technology and the change in the demographics of the neighborhood. “Westlake/MacArthur Park is important to our business and it used to be that a lot of our customers were from the original art neighborhood of Los Angeles, but now it’s very little. People in the neighborhood are not currently art people,” Wolin said.

Although Wolin runs the business single-handedly and there’s no definitive person to pass the store on to, he plans to be there until the very end. “At this moment I’m very positive and the revival of this neighborhood has been a long time coming. I’m glad I stuck it out. There is definitely a future out there,” Wolin said.

Is New Jersey the Least Liked State in America?

The website, YouGov.com, recently released a poll in which they asked Americans how they feel about each state. According to their research, 40 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of New Jersey. So we sent Ariba Alvi to see what students around campus really thought of the “Garden State.”

Looks like students at USC have mixed feelings about New Jersey, but its reputation isn’t all negative.

We heard from Lulu Gonsalez, Lauren Johnson, Jaden Sun, Abhishek Shah, Bobo Machila, Will Denton, James Marsen, Ryan (no last name), Nancy Ruiz and Eugenia Gordillo.

 

The Brand of Madeline White

Madeline White

A tall young woman stands outside Wallis Annenberg Hall at USC dressed in high-waisted dark-blue flares and a rainbow-striped long-sleeve crop top with her hair in immaculate waves. The day before she had worn 60s-esque black mini-dress with a Peter Pan collar and black Mary Jane style Doc Martens and winged cat-eye makeup accentuated by bangs that graze her big brown eyes.

In the comfort of her apartment, Madeline White lets go of the characters she had dressed as earlier and dons a pair of black cotton shorts, a boxy white t-shirt with her hair thrown up into a topknot. Here, she is just Maddie.

White is the fifth generation of her family to inhabit the island of Coronado, just off the coast of San Diego. It had a small town feel that never had White dreaming of living in Los Angeles. But her personality was a bit bigger than the island could contain, so her parents channeled her energy into music, dance and acting.

It was in Coronado School of the Arts (a part of Coronado High School) that White’s personality began to fully take shape, yet a part of her actually yearned to struggle, to go through a miserable time in order to understand life from an artist’s standpoint. So White left her home, the island where a quarter of the population is related to her, and moved to New York City.

“There was only one black student in my high school, so coming to New York was like a complete cultural immersion. But I loved it,” White said. For four years she thrived off the energy of the city and earned her BFA in acting from Pace University.

She then signed with an agent and the excitement of launching an acting career was thrilling. But the agent proved a mistake. “He was a 40-year-old bachelor who had a bunch of pretty young girls as clients and only wanted to take advantage of me,” White said.

When it came down to her career or her dignity, White chose dignity and fired the agent – a defining moment in her career trajectory. “I grew a lot from that experience because of the decisions I had to make. It opened my eyes to the negativity of the acting industry,” White said.

Soon after, White returned to Coronado and reevaluated her true passions. She channeled her love for independent music by launching “Twenty First Century Foxx,” a blog with music reviews, and she starred in a Web series called “Raymond & Lane.”

The blog reminded her of her love of stories. So White applied to the USC Annenberg MS in Journalism program in hopes of becoming a broadcast journalist.

“I hate being limited to one way of thinking. I like to experience life in a lot of different angles,” White said. The program at USC gives her the opportunity to explore all the reasons why people are the way they are. It also presents an opportunity for Maddie, the person to cultivate her brand – the brand of Madeline White.

The Duality of Madeline White

A striking young woman stands outside the Wallis Annenberg Building at USC with a well-manicured hand on her hip, dressed in high-waisted dark blue flares and a rainbow-striped long sleeve crop top with her hair in immaculate waves. Only the day before she wore a 60’s-esque Peter Pan collar black mini dress with black Mary Jane style Doc Martens and winged cat eye makeup accentuated by her bangs, which graze her big brown eyes.

In the glow of a summer afternoon, she sits twisted in her Beverly Grove apartment in an upholstered high back slipper chair donning a pair of black cotton shorts, a boxy white t-shirt with her hair thrown up into a topknot. In the comfort of her room, Madeline White isn’t any of the characters that she dressed as earlier. She’s stripped down to who she is, to those that know her the best – just Maddie.

White, who grew up just off the coast of San Diego, is the 5th generation of her family to inhabit the island of Coronado. Although the former island is now a peninsula connected to the mainland, it had a small town feel that never had White dreaming of living in Los Angeles.

She was a self-proclaimed clown growing up and her personality a bit bigger than what the island could contain so her parents channeled her energy into music, dance and acting. White attended Coronado School of the Arts (which is literally a part of Coronado High School) where “musical theater was my focus, so I got to do a lot there but I was in a normal high school setting so I had my friends in theater and I had friends outside of theater, who kept me sane,” said White.

It was in that setting that White’s personality began to take shape but a large part of her yearned to feel the struggle and to go through a miserable time in order to understand an artist’s standpoint of things. So White made the decision to leave the home where she’d grown up, and the island where she was related to at least a quarter of the population, to move to 3,000 miles away to New York.

New York was a bit of a cultural shock because of the small-town feel of Coronado Island. White says “There was only one black student in my high school, so coming to New York was like a complete cultural immersion. But I loved it.”

After four years of thriving off the energy of the city and earning her BFA in acting from Pace University, New York proved to challenge White in the way that she was. She signed with an agent right after graduating and the excitement of the potential to launch her career was thrilling. “He was a 40-year-old bachelor who was had a bunch of pretty young girls as clients and only wanted to take advantage of me,” said White. When it came down to her career or her dignity, White chose her dignity and fired her agent – a moment in her life that defined her career trajectory. “I grew a lot from that experience because of the decision I had to make,” said White.

Not long after, White returned to her hometown of Coronado and reevaluated where her true passions in life lay. White channeled her love for independent music by launching “Twenty First Century Foxx” a blog with music reviews and starred in a webseries called “Raymond & Lane”.

It was her blog that reminded her of her love of stories. So White decided to apply to the USC Annenberg MS in Journalism program with the hopes of becoming a broadcast journalist. “I hate being limited to one way of thinking. I like to experience life in a lot of different angles,” said White and the program at USC gives her the opportunity to explore all the reasons why people are the way they are and to continue to cultivate the brand that is Madeline White.

The Talented Ms. White

What began with a segment on KCMS at Coronado Middle School on patriotism has evolved and brought Madeline White to the multi-media news studio at USC Annenberg.

With acting, singing and comedy already under her belt, White plans to take her skill set to the next level by pursing a Master’s of Science in Journalism.

A native Californian, White has been preparing for her lifelong dream of being a broadcast journalist by acting in local productions and web series, singing both on stage and on YouTube, and modeling for local clothing lines. White has formally trained as an actor and received her BFA in Acting from Pace University in New York City.

White has also spent time polishing her digital media skills with her stylistically shot Instagram account which links to her Tumblr and her well-versed Twitter. Although somewhat private in terms of her social media presence, she is very open about her love for her close-knit family and friends.

Although her career has not come without some hurdles as White had esophageal stricture dilation surgery last year that had her in the hospital for a day. White has continued on with pursuing her goals, resolute and passionate as ever in becoming a multi-media savvy broadcast journalist.