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David Levithan's Popular Novel 'Every Day' Comes to the Big Screen

Imagine waking up in a different body each morning. That’s what A, the teen entity in Every Day, David Levithan’s hit young adult novel—now a movie from Orion Pictures—faces. A doesn’t know why it happens, or how. The only thing A can count on is that each body will belong to another teenager. And that each new person A occupies won’t live too far away from the last one.

“I’ve seen the same color blue look 50 different ways with 50 different pairs of eyes,” says A, early in the book. “Every day of my life, I wake up and just try to live that day, for that person. Make no mark, leave no trace.”

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School of Acting Grad Embraces Variety and Taking Risks

Academy of Art University School of Acting alumnus Sean Gunnell hadn’t been in a musical since he was a kid. But when his girlfriend encouraged him to audition for Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center’s production of Cabaret last fall, he was up for the challenge. Set in a 1930s Berlin nightclub, the play captures the city’s sinister transformation under the Nazi regime. Usually cast as a good guy, Gunnell hoped to land the role of a villain, Nazi Ernst Ludwig. He prepared diligently for the audition, working especially hard on his singing. But when his big moment arrived, he choked.

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2018 Honorary Doctorate Recipient: David Pfeil

For the past 20 years, David Oliver Pfeil has played a key role in Academy of Art University’s commencement ceremonies. The former director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television (MPT) creates the engaging videos that celebrate the accomplishments of each distinguished alumni and honorary doctorate recipient. This year, in addition to filming the stories of other honorees, Pfeil got to turn the spotlight on himself. On May 9, he received an honorary doctorate from Academy President Dr. Elisa Stephens.

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The Verdict Is In: 'Legally Blonde' a Smash Hit for School of Acting

From the opening number of Academy of Art University School of Acting’s musical “Legally Blonde,” it was clear that the actors were having a blast. And so was the audience that packed 620 Sutter Street Theatre on a recent Friday night. 

In the first scene, a bevvy of Delta Nu sorority sisters sashayed around the stage singing the infectious “Omigod You Guys,” excited for their beloved president—and the play’s main character—Elle Woods’ pending engagement to her boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. By the time Elle joined them on stage mid-way through the song, the audience was swept up in the moment and burst into applause.

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JEM Grad's Wearable Art Fuses Fantasy and Electronics

The fantasy worlds and characters depicted in films such as Harry PotterThe Lord of the Rings and Batman have captivated Ryan Hsiang since he was a little boy growing up in Shanghai, China. As he got older, he grew more interested in uncovering the deeper meanings of these tales and how they relate to real life. Enrolling in Academy of Art University’s School of Jewelry & Metal Arts (JEM) provided him with the means to create wearable art, sculpture and other pieces that reflect his passion for connecting fantasy and reality.

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Erase the Stigma

My daughter was six when she was diagnosed with pediatric bipolar disorder. I was shocked, but also relieved. And so was she.

Her history of erratic, sometimes frightening behavior started in preschool. By kindergarten, she'd earned some less-than-flattering labels. The weird girl. The bad girl. The crazy girl.

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Awards Ceremony Honors 2018 IND Edwin T. Meyer Scholarship Winners

On the evening of April 12, a group of Academy of Art University faculty, students and guests gathered among the gleaming vintage cars at the school’s automobile museum. They were there for an awards ceremony to announce the winner of a design competition for a $10,000 Edwin T. Meyer Scholarship. The five finalists included School of Industrial Design (IND) automotive students Max Benon, Kevin Chen, Mitchell Galik, Joshua Reese and Arindra Singh. It was the fourth year in a row that IND students participated in the competition. The scholarships are made possible thanks to a charitable trust established in memory of hot rod pioneer Edwin T. (Bud) Meyer by his long-time attorney and trustee, Mark Eskander. 

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I Wish My Parents Had Gotten Divorced

By the time I was 12, I often fantasized about how much happier my family would be if my father wasn't around. I used to lie in bed cringing to the stop-and-start screeching of car brakes approaching our street. I knew it was my dad, drunk again, inching his way home. I was sure that everyone else on our block knew it too. He was an embarrassment. And sometimes, he was frightening.

I hated the way alcohol fueled the rage he unleashed on my mother. I pretended to be asleep during his tirades — huddling under my covers and praying he wouldn't open my bedroom door. He didn't — his anger was always aimed at Mom. But that scarred me just the same.

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EssaysRobert Holmes
Finding ‘Sorority Sisters’ in the Psychiatric Unit

I sat with three other moms on ugly green wedges of modular seating in the lobby of the hospital’s psychiatric services building. It was a Tuesday evening and we were waiting for our daughters to finish their first session of group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for kids with bipolar disorder. At first, we wrapped ourselves in cocoons of awkward silence. Our eyes bounced from our phones to the clock on the wall or – whenever it dinged, rolled back its heavy doors with a groan and deposited someone into the shadowy room — the elevator.

I glanced at the pretty Asian woman sitting next to me. I remembered her kind smile when we’d all dropped off our girls – who ranged in age from 11 (Sadie, my daughter) to 15 – in the stuffy, windowless conference room on the third floor.

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EssaysRobert Holmes
A Label She Loves

By the time my daughter, Sadie, was in fifth grade, I’d stopped asking the usual mom questions—What did you learn today? How’d you do on your spelling test?—when I picked her up after school. I had more important things on my mind. Like how people responded to whatever ensemble she’d painstakingly put together that morning.

“Did you get compliments on your outfit, honey?” I asked one spring afternoon as she slid into the back seat of my Subaru.

“Yeah,” she chirped, her dark eyes dancing in the rearview mirror. “A lot of people really liked it!”

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EssaysRobert Holmes
Something to Sing About

We arrive at my 9-year-old’s school talent show a little late. I made sure we didn’t get there too early. Sadie doesn’t go on until after intermission and I worried that sitting through all those other acts would only increase her jitters. And mine.

The auditorium is warm and humid as a hothouse, the air thick with the smell of popcorn and pizza. Hoards of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends cram into rows of folding metal chairs or stand along the walls. The size of the crowd overwhelms me. We are so doomed, I think.

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EssaysRobert Holmes
Modern Day ‘Mad Man’ Thrives on Mentoring Advertising Students

In his more than two decades in advertising, Academy of Art University alumnus and instructor Terry Jones has built a portfolio of high-profile clients Mad Men’s Don Draper would envy. Just a few examples include GMC Trucks, Buick and Cadillac, Bank of America, Hewlett-Packard, the Walt Disney Corporation, California Lottery, AARP and General Mills. But Jones claims he wasn’t set on a career in advertising when he enrolled at the Academy. The award-winning creative director half-jokes that advertising chose him.

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Raising a child with mental illness: What I wish I’d known

When my daughter Sadie (who I wrote about in Bipolar at 5? and who is featured in the video Sadie’s story: The tale of a bipolar child) first started showing signs of abnormal behavior, I had no idea the kind of journey I was embarking on.

Trying to make sense of the opinions of teachers, a parade of mental health professionals, and information gleaned from books and late-night internet searches was often overwhelming. There were so many things I wish someone — anyone — had told me; things that, once I embraced them, made my life easier and my daughter’s path to feeling better that much closer. Each family is unique, so what works for one parent or child may not work for another. Still, there are some general, often overlooked, tips that can aid families struggling to help a child with emotional issues. Here are a few of the essentials I wish I’d known — along with resources for support and information — to help you on this journey.

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I Fear My Daughter Will Become the Alcoholic That I Am

I was the same age my daughter Sadie is now — 13 — the first time I got drunk. It was at a sleepover with my friends, Anne and Susan. While Anne's parents were out, we raided their fancy Chinese liquor cabinet and started swigging brandy and sickly-sweet liqueurs straight from the bottles. We stumbled around the neighborhood, laughing and shrieking at everything and nothing. Me, always shy and riddled with anxiety, the loudest of all. I'd escaped the prison of being me. And it felt wonderful. I was bold. Witty. Reckless. All the things I'd yearned to be but wasn't — until that night.

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EssaysRobert Holmes
Bipolar at 5?

When her daughter was diagnosed at age 5, she fought the label. Then she realized that her once happy, effervescent daughter was turning into a tormented stranger.

I wasn’t at my 5-year-old’s school the day she started to rip off her clothes and twirl in the rain in front of the music room. But when her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Stapp, called to tell me about Sadie’s latest episode of troubling behavior, I wasn’t surprised. I’d witnessed plenty of similar incidents.

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Gaze at the holiday lights on a weekend escape to the Mission Inn in Riverside

Once famed for its citrus groves, Riverside today is best known for its Festival of Lights. About 500,000 visitors will flock to the holiday extravaganza, which runs through Jan. 6. The fun centers on the historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa and spills into the adjacent Main Street Pedestrian Mall. My family and I spent a weekend at the festival last year. Each evening we joined other revelers to gawk at the hotel’s spectacular light displays and decorations, listen to free concerts and sample seasonal treats. Another highlight: the horses that jingled and clopped around the inn, from Cinderella carriages to hay wagons filled with merry passengers. By day, we explored downtown’s shops, restaurants and cultural attractions, including the Riverside Art Museum. The tab: About $1,000 for a two-night stay at the Mission Inn and meals.

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Army Lifestyle Suits Photography Student Garrick Morgenweck & His Family

Some might view devoting years of one’s life to military service as a sacrifice. But Garrick Morgenweck considers his lengthy Army career a boon for him and his family. Along with providing financial stability for his wife and three daughters, the military has given him the means to pursue personal dreams—such as studying photography—that likely wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

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Photography Grad's Work Helps People Heal From Loss

As a young girl, Susan Mah inherited a passion for photography from her father. “He was a fantastic photographer and my first mentor,” said Mah, who delved deeper into the art form in a ninth grade photography class. She learned how to process film in a darkroom and shoot manually on her first real camera. Like her architect father, Mah enjoyed taking pictures of buildings as well as places she visited. She even dreamed of becoming a photographer for National Geographicone day.

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PhotographyRobert Holmes
On a weekend escape to Pacific Beach, you can party on the boardwalk and chill on the bay

San Diego’s Pacific Beach has a split personality. On the ocean side, the energy is as pumped up as the surf during a southwest swell. Play in the waves, wander Crystal Pier or join the cyclists, skaters and pedestrians who cruise the three-mile stretch of boardwalk linking Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. But cross Mission Boulevard, the main drag, to Mission Bay, and it’s a different story. Crowds are sparse, and the mood is as calm as the water. Take a leisurely bike ride on the uncrowded path that circles the bay, rent a kayak or bliss out in a paddleboard yoga class. My husband, daughter and I enjoyed both sides of Pacific Beach in the fall. The tab: $800 for a two-night stay at Tower 23 Hotel and about $250 for meals.

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Savor live music on a weekend escape to Saratoga, Calif.

Wine lovers appreciate Saratoga's laid-back sipping experience. But I wasn't hunting for a great new Cabernet or Pinot Noir on a recent visit to this peaceful town in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. My daughter and I were lured to Saratoga to watch two of my favorite vintage '80s bands — Echo and the Bunnymen and the Violent Femmes — in concert at Mountain Winery.

The stunning hilltop venue serves up an extensive menu of alfresco concerts from late May through mid-October. The Greek-style amphitheater and complex of stone buildings, where you can enjoy a fancy sit-down or casual pre-show dinner, exude an old-world Mediterranean vibe. Like fine wine, headliners here tend to be perfectly aged. (Think Tom Jones, Pat Benatar and Steve Winwood.) But the annual lineup also includes a few contemporary artists such as Sheryl Crow and Michael Franti.

Before or after a concert, check out the shops, tasting rooms and restaurants that line Big Basin Way, Saratoga's charming main drag. Or hit a nearby hiking trail. The tab for our overnight stay: $235 for a room at the Inn at Saratoga, $180 for two concert tickets, and about $125 for meals.

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