African Storyteller draws crowd into Arcata Playhouse

By Bailey Tennery
Flapjack staff

Once upon a time laughter filled the Arcata Playhouse on April 4, as a Grammy-nominated storyteller Diane Ferlatte, 72, acted out lively characters from one of her stories. The audience sat and listened quietly during the beginning, but throughout the end the audience became incorporated in the story by singing along or clapping when given instructions to.

Ferlatte believes that personal narratives as well as folktales can be used to help cross cultural understanding, and hopes her audiences grasps the message she is sending.

“It gives me the opportunity to pass on history, especially folk history, culture, and values, in the most traditional and effective way,” said Ferlatte. “Good stories can serve as excellent examples and teaching tools in the area of character development.”

Ferlatte’s mother was poor. She was a maid all her life cleaning and washing for Europeans.

“She was happy,”said Ferlatte. “Sometimes when you’re poor it doesn’t take long for the whole bottom to fall out.”

The Street Sweeper was Ferlatte favorite story she told that night. It was about a poor farmer who left his family to get a job in the city. The farmer swept the streets and kept his money in the shop of a jeweler. After five years the jeweler refused to return the money.

“No one wants to do business with a man who wants to steal from the poorest of the poor,” said Ferlatte. “You’re not rich by what you possess your rich by how you can do without. Those who know enough is enough will always have enough.”

Ferlatte believes that African culture storytelling is not a spectator sport in comparison to European culture. She appreciates audience interactions.

“I was once invited to tell stories at a brunch, their faces were stone, arms crossed, legs crossed, eyes crossed, no face,” said Ferlatte. “When I finished they roared and gave me a standing ovation, but I thought why didn’t they show me a sign.”

A high school psychology and history teacher Ana Farina, 34, received a master’s degree in education from the University of San Francisco. Farina full-heartedly believes in the art of storytelling.

“Storytelling is an invaluable tool that I use to help my students remember things,” said Farina. “It enables me to attach emotion to a concept or historical event in a way that a textbook never can.”

The part Ferlatte loves most about storytelling, is that when a person has a dark day a simple story can make them feel better.

“When we tell stories, especially personal stories where we open ourselves up to whoever is listening, there is often for the listener a value to be learned,” said Ferlatte. “There is also encouragement to be gained, knowing that others before them have conquered fears and challenges similar to their own.”

Before Ferlatte became a storyteller held an office job. The idea to change careers sparked when she adopted a four-year-old boy named Joey, with her husband Tom. The boy was glued to the television, she dedicated herself to breaking him from it.

A private school 5th grader, Kayla Fiedler, gave her full attention during the performance and expressed her thoughts about Ferlatte’s act.

“I liked how she used sound effects and sign language,” said Fiedler. “I also liked how she used her own life references in her stories.”

David Ferney, 54, has been in the world of theater for 40 years and has performed in 20 different countries. Ferlatte’s performance was a part of the Playhouse’s Family Fun Series which was sponsored by Kokatat Watersports Wear, Holly Yashi Jewelry and Wildberries Marketplace.

“We bring the schools here to the Playhouse instead of us going to them, to their schools,” said Ferney. “We do this so that they gain experience in theater and that they become exposed to the performers, and when they become older they come back to the theater.”

Erik Pearson a native Pennsylvanian, adds music to Ferlatte stories. Pearson studied music at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. According to him, there is no rehearsal before performances with Ferlatte.

“It is organic, most of it is listening and having an idea of how to respond to fit the story she is telling,” said Pearson. “She used to have another musician, but he moved away before she was about to perform at the Hollywood Bowl an outdoor amphitheater in LA.”

According to Ferlatte stories are a mirror, meaning that they teach us a lot about ourselves. There are many reasons why she tells stories, one of them is to educate other cultures.

“I like to tell stories to teach people about my culture,” said Ferlatte. “Other cultures have been telling our stories for long enough, it’s time that people hear our stories from our culture.”


Students explain HSU’s decreasing enrollment

By Uche Anusiem
Flapjack staff

Leaving your family member and loved ones to go off to college is not an easy task. Many people even get home sick from being apart for so long. But could that also contribute to the number of students choosing to transfer out or leave Humboldt State University?

It is not a secret that students are dropping out or choosing not to attend this university due to various reasons, though not all students will disclose those reasons.

HSU computer science major Deejay Watson, 23, is from Riverside, California, in SoCal, and has been going to HSU for two years. Watson likes the college town vibe but he isn’t crazy about the weather here, and at times he’s concerned for his safety.

“I like how it’s a town filled with a majority of college students, makes me feel like we can relate to the same struggles of living in a town that usually doesn’t have much going on,” said Watson. “And some of the things that I don’t like about being up here is the constant cold weather. And also I’m concerned about my safety up here.”

The Mad River Union newspaper reported on the decreasing number of student enrollments for Fall 2016.

“Humboldt State University’s Fall 2016 enrollment figures are down 250 students from a year ago, accompanied by a loss in freshman-to-sophomore retention rate,” wrote Jack Durham from the Mad River Union.

For a majority of students interviewed, two things that stood out. One of them being the weather in Humboldt County, and the other being their safety in the area. That comes as no surprise as the city of Arcata is known to have cold weather and constant rain fall. And in Humboldt County especially in Eureka, there have been known crimes to occur in the area.

HSU marketing major Jake Hunt, 21, is not coming back to HSU in the fall. Hunt is from Santa Rosa, California, north of San Francisco. Though it is not SoCal, areas such as Riverside and Santa Rosa both differ immensely from some of the towns here in Humboldt County.

“I feel like there’s people that leave Humboldt because this isn’t really a place that has many things going on to begin with,” Hunt said. “Like there’s really not much to do up here compared to other places or campus locations.”

For several students, the university is not located in the most favorable of areas compared to other schools in more populated areas like UC Berkeley, Chico State and Sacramento State. The homeless problem in the Arcata community also troubles students. It does not give the university or the area the best image when trying to actually recruit student to attend the university.

HSU science major James Flag, 20, has been a student at Humboldt for a little over two years now.

“To be honest man, this isn’t the funnest or safest place to attend school. Especially for someone who might be looking for that full college experience, you know?” Flag said. “Don’t get me wrong though, you can still have a great college experience coming up here. It’s just that there might be some students who came from places like the inner city areas or places where you know they had many options that were close by to and eat or places to go have fun at like clubs or bars and stuff. Not saying they don’t have it here but it’s not a lot or it’s too far.”

Magic of film survives in a digital world

By Lauren Shea
Flapjack staff

Roxana Ramirez, a 21-year old art student, shoots in both film and digital.

“I think it looks more organic than shooting with digital,” Ramirez said.  “I like how the colors show up in film.”

Film photography is still around and people enjoying shooting in that format. Film photography may not be popular with everyone anymore, but people still enjoy film photography.  It’s a great learning tool for people that want to learn more about photography.

“I think we should keep it around because that’s where it all started,” Ramirez said. “I would hope it would last as long as digital is around. I hope it never goes away. I think it would be a really bad choice on our part to just think that it’s over.”

Nicole Hill, HSU art professor from Eureka, California, thinks that film is a great tool in teaching beginning photography students. Film provides more basic information about how a camera’s manual settings work. The photographer controls the ISO, the aperture, the shutter speed and the focus on the lens.

“From a teaching perspective, it’s incredibly valuable,” Hill said. “It helps reiterate the concepts of camera functions and exposure. You can teach it a lot better if you have access to both because you can’t really fidget with film. With film photography, it forces you to slow down and pre-visualize the picture before you actually hit the shutter. There’s also the anticipation that goes into it and the kind of excitement from the reveal of that experience that I think is really magical.”

People can take multiple photos at a time. There’s this tendency today for people shoot many photos thinking that some of the photos will be great. That however is not the case most of the time. Taking more photos won’t make great photos, but taking the time to take the shot will.

“There’s this feeling that the cameras are so advanced now and that they can capture these really great pictures, but actually a daguerreotype that was utilized back in 1839 has far more detail  because it really came down to the optics of the lens and the way it was capturing information,” Hill said.

The difference between shooting film and digital is that the image on film is recorded by light sensitive particles on the film that is brought out when light hits the film and then goes through a developing process to bring out a negative image that a photographer can then print through another process. Everything is a lot more hands on in film photography. Digital cameras record light that hits the sensor and then digitally records the information on a secure digital (SD) card and saves it as a collection of pixels in a file that make up a photo. The analogue cameras are able to capture more details of objects and light onto film better than digital can.

“Film was only really uncool for a very brief window of time because people got excited about digital, but then digital was everywhere all the time and it saturated our lived experience almost immediately,” Hill said. “I think it’s going to become more of a niche thing like printmaking or vinyl records, but I think it’s always going to exist.”

Here in Humboldt County, there is still places where you can buy film and places to develop film. Swanlund’s Camera in Eureka still develops film in their shop as well as provides digital services. Joaquin Freixas, manager of Swanlund’s Photo from Eureka talked about film in the digital world.

“Digital in today’s world is a must,” Freixas said. “However, I would say what’s probably disappointing with digital is that people don’t make a lot of prints probably because they aren’t necessarily satisfied with what comes out from their camera. They have everything online and saved on their computer hardly ever getting around the time to organize photos and look at them in the same way. I think people are missing a huge part of their history. I think film will be around because it has the capabilities that digital doesn’t.”

Photography really comes down to the knowledge of the photographer and not necessarily the tools the photographer decides to use to capture an image. People are drawn to a photograph regardless of it being film or digital and chances are most people wouldn’t even know the difference.

“The limitation to digital photography is your imagination, your time and your money,” Freixas said. “The biggest part about any picture is does it tell a story and if it tells a story, people will be drawn to it.”


Chigi Anderson beats odds playing high school football

By Uche Anusiem
Flapjack staff

It is only a select few who get the chance to extend their football careers, and current junior at Sonora High School Chigi Anderson, 17, is trying to be in that select group of football players who get a chance to play at the collegiate level.

“Ever since I was a freshman I’ve always wanted to earn a scholarship to play college football, cause it just means that I’m another step closer to my dream of make it to the NFL,” said Anderson.

Anderson is 6’2 and weighs 185 pounds. He’s a junior with one more year of high school ball to play left and is very driven and focused. Earning All-League honors and currently being recruited by various universities, he is one of the most talented players in his conference. During another interview with Anderson’s football teammate, current junior also at Sonora High School, Robert Hernandez, 17, credited Anderson for his talent and value to the team.

“Honestly, he’s like our best player,” Hernandez said. “And sometimes it like we don’t know what we would do without him. I’m just happy he’s on our team because no one wants to have to play against him.”

Located in Orange County, Southern California, Sonora High is one of the smaller high schools in County.  Anderson described the struggles of trying to gain recognition at a smaller known school compared to other power house programs around the area.

“I think it’s definitely harder to gain recognition when you play at smaller school, like those were some of the things I was worried about when I first came here,” he said. “But I just knew I had to pray and work hard.”

Anderson works out and practices five days a week, Monday through Friday, while also playing on an offseason travel team on weekends. The team plays against other skilled athletes and travel to different parts of California and even different states as it they get opportunities to meet college scouts and gain more recruiting interest.

With such a busy schedule at only 17 years old, what does he do in his free time?

“Homework and sleep,” Anderson said. “And if I’m lucky get chance to get some Madden or 2k(video games) in. It’s like a nonstop grind, it never ends. But honestly I like it this way because I’d rather be busy, plus I’m working toward something you know?”

Anderson’s older brother is a Cal State Fullerton science major, Andy Anderson, 23.

“He’s been playing football since he was a little boy, from like around 7 or 8 years old,” Andy Anderson said. “He’s always liked playing football, probably cause he’s real good at it too. And I salute cause I know Chigi works hard.”

Chigi Anderson had a good season last fall but his team did not. Does he think that team success affects an individual’s recruitment process?

“Honestly we had a bad year team-wise,” he said. “I think we only won 1 game this season. Yup we went 1-9 this season, it was all bad man.”

A winning team attracts scouts looking for talented players.

“I feel like team success does affect a player’s recruitment to an extent,” he said. “Because people don’t talk about teams that always lose. They talk about the winners, and obviously if a team is winning a lot of games there’s probably a high chance that they have more talented players, bringing more interest from scouts.”

One of Anderson’s football coaches Dustin Stafford, 26, is the current assistant coach for the Sonora Raiders. Stafford agreed that Anderson is a valuable player.

“He’s definitely one of the better players we have on the team, and he proves it every game,” Stafford said. “The kid is a special talent and he’s only getting better. Even though we had a poor season, He was still able to continuously make plays for the team when needed.”

Turns out that playing at one of the smaller high schools on a losing team has not stopped Anderson. He currently holds two football scholarship offers from University of Wyoming and University of Las Vegas Nevada. He is still being recruited by multiple schools and awaiting offers from schools, including UCLA, University of Washington and the University of Utah.

Being recognized and recruited by such prestigious schools feels good, Anderson said, and it is a step in the right direction.

“It feels good to get what you work so hard for,” Anderson said. “And what makes it better is it only makes me closer to my dreams of one day playing in the NFL. I just have to keep working.”

21-year-old turns antique hobby into occupation

By Jacob George
Flapjack staff

Rummaging through old antiques seems like an unusual hobby for a 21 year-old, but Zubin Mushfiq is turning his hobby into big profits.

Zubin Mushfiq, of Sacramento California, is a young entrepreneur that alongside his cousin, 23 year-old Zayn Mushfiq, run a business of buying and selling antique items. The two of them use the popular online shopping site eBay as the main host of selling their items that they pick up from Sacramento and Bay Area antique stores. As of 2016, eBay had reached up to 167 million active users, and as the world of online shopping begins to grow by the year, Zubin sees this as the best time to get involved in the business.

“At this point, everybody goes online to do their shopping, not just people my age or your age, but the older people have come around and seen how much easier it is to buy with a click, and let someone else dig through the stores,” said  Zubin Mushfiq. “And they’re usually gonna pay more.”

The Mushfiq family spent a lot of time in the Bay Area growing up as kids, which is where Zubin says to have found his first interest in antiques.

“We would go to San Francisco a lot on the weekends, and my Mom would take us into all these stores and look for hours,” he said. “I’d just wander around and pick up everything.”

To many, Zubin Mushfiq’s choice of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur seems too much of a risk, especially with only a high school diploma at his back, but he prefers the less traditional route to success.

“I hate being told what to do or having a boss,” says Zubin. “Even in high school I hated the teachers telling me what I had to do and when, I knew college wasn’t going to be for me.”

Zubin Mushfiq was expelled from his Sacramento high school half way through his senior year for a reason not mentioned, but says that hasn’t affected his career goals or plans in any way, except by speeding them up a couple months. Him and his cousin had been planning the business partnership for a while, and had devised to bring it all into fruition once Zubin graduated high school. After his expulsion the two were able to get a head start on the business. Zayn Mushfiq saw business potential in his younger cousin Zubin from a young age, and feels like the two are a lot alike.

“We would always be the two in the family trying to make some money off of something,” said Zayn Mushfiq. “We did YouTube videos and Vines at first thinking we’d get rich, then started doing iPod and iPhone screen repairs and shit.”

Zayn Mushfiq also remembers the weekend trips to San Francisco that the families would often take together, and spend rummaging through old antique stores. He says he first thought of the business idea after his parents would buy things from Bay Area stores and then sell them for higher prices to older relatives.

“My Mom would buy something from one of the stores and put it somewhere around the house, and at the next family gathering one of my uncles or aunties would ask how much she got it for, and right away offer her more than what she paid,” he said. “It was like a light bulb went off, but I was still pretty young.”

So how successful is Zubin Mushfiq and his business partner?

The two go through good weeks and bad weeks, some weeks netting up to $1,500, while in others losing that same amount.

“It’s all about taking risks,” Zubin said. “For every 2 or 3 items I end up flipping a profit on, I know I’m gonna end up losing a couple bucks on that fourth item, which is fine.”

Zubin Mushfiq’s day often consists of visiting multiple Bay Area antique stores, and picking up between 2-3 things a day. He picks out the few things that he is most confident he can re-sell and for a high price.

“I have to have that stock market mentality, buy low sell high.” he said.

James Cross Antique Centre in Oakland, and Keith Tower Antiques of Berkeley are two of the stores he notes that he visits on a regular basis, and often asks store owners of other places in the area where he can look to make a profit.

With the numerous amounts of online resale web-sites available today, you might wonder why eBay is almost exclusively used in the business. Zubin Mushfiq explains how the website is more widely used, and known, by people in the age bracket for buying antiques. He also notes how the easy PayPal transactions make it easier to use than credit or debit card transactions, and how bidding helps him increase his profits.

“Sometimes people just keep bidding and bidding way past the point where you’d be fine selling it at.” he said.

Zubin has recently began to bring his high school friend, Abid Allahyar, along with him to shop in an attempt to teach him the basics and expand the business by 1. He believes that with more people out scavenging for potential hidden gems, the success rate for the business will increase. Allahyar believes that he can help the business in a number of ways, and is appreciative of Zubin for letting him into the small business they have created.

“I can help bring in more items, and I’ve always felt like we have the same mentality in a way,” said Allahyar.