Posts Tagged ‘Diane Vance’

Diane Vance reports on M.U.M.’s new David Lynch MA in Film for The Fairfield Ledger

August 14, 2013

M.U.M. adds master’s in film

By DIANE VANCE | Aug 14, 2013

The Maharishi University of Management debuts a new master’s degree this semester, The David Lynch MA in film.

The university has offered undergraduate filmmaking since 2007 in its Media and Communications Department and animation courses available in the Art Department for many years. It is now adding the next layer of learning.

“The graduate program is designed to take an idea to completion in a major project, with the possibility of publication,” said Gurdy Leete, co-chairman and associate professor of M.U.M.’s Media and Communications.

The course and fall semester begin Monday, and as with all M.U.M. courses, are taught in the block schedule of one course at a time.

“We’re expecting 20 to 25 students,” said Leete. “This program is about creating a supportive environment where artists connect with the audience. Students will have the opportunity to make deep connections in the film-making industry and gain recognition.”

The one-year, August to May course, includes curriculum in Advanced Narrative, Advanced Screenwriting, Acting for Film, The Frame, The Field, and from February to April an Advanced Video Media Project and then, The Media Market. Students who have not yet learned Transcendental Meditation will be taught the technique during the first few weeks of class.

About half the expected students have attended M.U.M. before.

“I’m excited about the group of students enrolled and how they will be producing great work,” said Stuart Tanner, co-chairman and assistant professor of M.U.M.’s Media and Communications. “The students will get a great deal out of working with one another and following the structure of the program. The goal is to produce a major piece of work.”

Tanner has had a glimpse of some of that work. The department offered a full scholarship for the master’s in film program based on applicants submitting a short film to compete for the scholarship.

Leete said the department received several dozens film submissions, which were all screened by the department faculty and program sponsors. The top six short films were then submitted to David Lynch, filmmaker, writer, artist, for viewing.

Tanner talked with Lynch by phone Tuesday for about 20 minutes.

“He really liked viewing the six shorts,” said Tanner. “Some of them were very accomplished pieces. He said when watching a film he watches for what stays with the viewer, what leaves a strong feeling. A short film doesn’t have a long time to develop that. He selected the film by Kinga Kulcsar as the scholarship winner because hers had that quality of making an impression, leaving the viewer with a feeling.

“I got to tell her last night that she won the scholarship.”

Tanner said the film will have a link at M.U.M.’s David Lynch MA in Film website filmschool.mum.edu in the near future.

Students in the master’s program also will visit with Lynch about filmmaking.

“We’re still working with David about his schedule,” said Leete. “Students will connect with him by Skype and at some point in the year the class will travel to Los Angeles for a couple of days and students will have a few question and answer sessions directly with him.”

Tanner said naming the program for David Lynch is a perfect fit for the program.

“He is the filmmaker’s film maker,” said Tanner. “He’s a fantastic person to be around. He is a role model and visionary with great integrity to his own vision. Putting his name on the program is perfect. It’s an idea that’s been bubbling away for a while and now it’s happening.”

Tanner said Lynch will be calling the classes throughout the year.

“And we will bring other insiders from the industry, we’ll bring other experts to the classes,” said Tanner.

Leete said the department is in contact with other industry people to connect with the program.

“Other luminaries in the field will connect by Skype, visit Fairfield and lead workshops or be available when we are in L.A.,” said Leete. “Schedules are always changing for people in film, but we expect quite an array of industry insiders from various fields to work with us.”

Not all students in the program will need to produce a major film. Many aspects of film will be studied and students may collaborate with one another to create a project. Students may screen write, direct, cast, design costumes and sets, or be special effects supervisor. Film also has an important business side and students may focus on setting up a media company.

“Students can create different products, it could be a film or a website of music videos,” said Leete. “The idea is to make a giant step forward and make it easier at the end of the program to work in the industry.”

“All we require is that film plays a significant part in the final project. The program is about having a year to go deeply into a creative experience that will transform both you and your career,” according to information on the program’s website.

Admission requirements include a bachelor’s degree in any subject, a resume, a portfolio of best work, including at least one film of any length created by the applicant, other creative work and special achievements. Applicants also have an interview with department faculty.

Published with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Also reported in Indiewire: There’s a David Lynch MA in Film. Why is it in Iowa? Must students meditate? Burning questions, we’ve got answers: Besides Transcendental Meditation, What Does One Learn with the David Lynch MA in Film?

Diane Vance and Norman Zierold discuss his new memoir, That Reminds Me, at Revelations Café

March 12, 2013
Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table.

Norman Zierold, author of “That Reminds Me,” autographs one of his books for Peter Ecob Saturday at Revelations Café, after a book discussion. Freddy Fonseca, center, pushes in a chair after attending Zierold’s interview while Terry Weiss, seated, talks with others across the table. Photo by Diane Vance

Fairfield author talks about recent work

By DIANE VANCE
Ledger staff writer
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More than a dozen people attended a book discussion Saturday featuring Fairfield author Norman Zierold talking about his latest publication, “That Reminds Me.”

An Iowa native, born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold has written and published eight books, but this latest, subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir,” comes 40 years after his seventh book, “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen.”

Those first seven books, beginning with “The Child Stars,” published in 1965, mostly deal with Zierold’s first-hand encounters, insights and research about authors, stars of stage and movies, his life and work in New York and Hollywood.

Zierold moved to Fairfield more than a decade ago and works at Maharishi University of Management.

“For about 50 years, people have said I should write a memoir,” he said. “I was always doing other things. I moved to Fairfield — though I’d been in and out of here before — and it took a couple years to begin writing.”

Having committed words to paper, he wasn’t sure how to get it all together in a readable fashion. He asked a co-worker and friend, Ken Chawkin, for help.

“Ken helped me get it all on my computer so I could manage it,” said Zierold.

“I always felt like I’d do a memoir; I knew I had one more book inside. Everyone has one book in them — everyone has ups and downs, traumas and experiences, and if presented well, it makes an interesting read. Everyone has a book,” he said.

So while Zierold happily drops names throughout his memoir, it is not about bragging or a “kiss-and-tell” expose.

Rather, Zierold keeps the little-boy wonder of the Iowa farm kid who spoke only German in his youngest years and relates everyday incidents, family dynamics and serendipitous meetings with the likes of Andy Warhol, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, Groucho Marx and many more.

Working for nearly a decade in New York City at Theatre Arts Magazine, Zierold’s job included interviewing Noel Coward and others, attending theatre productions and rubbing elbows with intellectuals, playwrights and celebrities at Sardis.

Even before his magazine job, his service to country and Navy uniform got him in to see performances of Ethel Merman, Edith Piaf and Mae West— including a back-stage meeting with her after the show.

Anthony Quinn hired Zierold to help him organize writing his autobiography. Part one took place around Los Angeles, with Quinn’s favorite retreat for working on his writing in California’s Death Valley. Part two took Zierold on a six-week encampment in Libya in 1979 while Quinn was shooting a movie on location in the Sahara Desert.

Zierold’s second book, “Little Charlie Ross,” published in 1967, is a true crime story about the first kidnapping for ransom in America in July 1874. His book landed Zierold an interview on the “Today Show” in New York, with Barbara Walters.

While studying for a master’s degree in English at the University of Iowa, Zierold was alone in a faculty lounge when the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas walked in.

“He was lecturing classes there for awhile, and he walks in and we have a visit, then I hear him again when he’s teaching the class,” said Zierold. “His reading of poetry is incomparable.”

Zierold is an avid reader. Before the book discussion began Saturday, he was perusing the biography bookshelves at Revelations Café while his audience gathered.

“I grew up reading, and especially liked Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway,” he said. “Now I read biographies.”

He refers to Voltaire and Henry James as other favorites.

“I would encourage anyone to write,” he said. “Writing has a rhythm. Write without censoring yourself. Put it all in — you can take it out later. But if you leave it out and think you’ll go back to put something in later, it can interrupt the flow and not fit. It’s much easier to take something out than add it later.”

“That Reminds Me,” is a memoir, but it is not written in a chronological fashion. Zierold “puts it all in there,” and lets it flow as a conversation with a friend — this thought leads to another topic; that incident reminds him of another story.

Reading the slim paperback gives a full glimpse of a life, as he wrote in Chapter Five: “These digestible portions of prose will add up in time to a fully drawn portrait, just you wait and see. It will be like nature’s unfolding of a rose, petal by petal.”

Zierold writes about cocktail parties and gala weekends spent at various friends homes, at the shore or in Mexico. He writes about eventually asking himself if getting high, waking with hangovers and being witty at parties is all there is?

He relocates from L.A. to nearby-but-a-different-world, Laguna Beach. He describes the town’s peacefulness and incomparable beauty and power of the Pacific Ocean.

He sees a poster about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and decides to attend a meeting, where he meets young people who have learned Transcendental Meditation. At age 45, Zierold discerns meditation seemed to work for them, so he signs up to learn TM in 1972. It is a quiet, gradual transformation for Zierold that leads to transcendence, bliss and months of euphoria, then becoming a TM teacher himself. He adds more travels to his passport and continues learning.

One of the gems among the jewels in this book is Zierold’s story about his own father and their relationship as adults.

Zierold asks questions about life and offers some answers.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger. This article was featured prominently on the front and back pages.

Here’s an earlier announcement Diane Vance wrote Thursday, March 7 on the upcoming book discussion and signing at Revelations Café.

Author speaking about new book

Iowa native and Fairfield resident since 2002, Norman Zierold, will talk about his latest book, “That Reminds Me,” at 2 p.m. Saturday upstairs at Revelations Café in Fairfield.

Everyone is welcome to this meet-the-author session.

This is Zierold’s eighth book, which he’s subtitled, “A Conversational Memoir.” Reading it is nearly like having a conversation with him. He tells stories from his days of rubbing elbows with celebrities, including authors, artists, movie stars, Broadway stars, TV stars, news anchors and more.

Saturday provides an opportunity to have an actual conversation with Zierold. A time for questions and answers is planned.

Born and raised in the Amana Colonies, Zierold enlisted in the navy, graduated cum laude from Harvard and earned a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Iowa.

He always wanted to write, but also travel, and he spent two years in France on a French Government Teaching Assistantship. After Paris, he spent a decade in New York City, teaching at Brearley School and working at Collier’s Encyclopedia before landing rewarding assignments with Theater Arts Magazine and Show.

His first book, “The Child Stars,” was published in 1965 and is available at the Fairfield Public Library. It features stories about the child stars of the 1920s and 1930s, including Shirley Temple, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

Other books followed: “Little Charlie Ross,” in 1967; “Three Sisters in Black,” in 1968, which won a Special Edgar Allen Poe Award; “The Moguls,” and “Garbo,” both in 1969; “The Skyscraper Doom,” in 1972; and “Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen,” in 1973.

His books run the gamut of true crime novels, tales of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1940s and 1950s, and science fiction.

Posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger.

For more information and other articles and interviews on Norman, see: That Reminds Me: A Conversational Memoir by Hollywood biographer Norman Zierold is now out!

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency: by Diane Vance, Fairfield Ledger

July 30, 2012

Military veterans speak on need to increase resiliency

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

By DIANE VANCE, Ledger staff writer | Jul 30, 2012

Howard Judge, left, of Fairfield, talks with Luke Jensen Saturday after the forum, Healing the Hidden Wounds of War. Jensen, a former Army Reservist from Story County, spoke about his struggles with posttraumatic stress after an Afghanistan deployment in 2009 and the help he found in practicing Transcendental Meditation. Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo

Saturday’s forum in Fairfield about posttraumatic stress was a kick-off to promote the need to equip today’s military with more tools to increase resiliency, said Chris Busch, program director at the David Lynch Foundation.

“We need to establish resilience in our warriors, not only for combat,” Busch told the audience of about 200 people attending Healing the Hidden Wounds of War Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Center for Performing Arts.

“The Veterans Administration is paying for two large studies about the effects of Transcendental Meditation on post traumatic stress disorder,” said Busch. “One of the studies is going on in Saginaw, Mich., and one in Minneapolis.”

Jerry Yellin signs a copy of his book, “The Resilient Warrior,” which the Warrior Wellness program of the David Lynch Foundation had available for donations after Saturday’s forum. Refreshments were served in the lobby while a four-piece band played music at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center after the program. (Photo by: DIANE VANCE/Ledger photo)

Another TM study is under way at Norwich University in Northfield, Vt. A private university founded in 1819, Norwich is the birthplace of Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Military cadets volunteered to learn Tanscendental Meditation last school year.

Busch shared a video about the study, including feedback from the student soldiers who have practiced TM since autumn.

“At Norwich, we’ve always worried about the whole person,” said Norwich University President Richard Schneider, in the video, dressed in his two-star, major general U.S. Army uniform. “We’ve always concentrated on making very smart and very strong, great leaders; ethical leaders. I think TM will provide us another whole dimension of integrating all that and improving performance in all those areas. I haven’t found anything else that will do that.”

Cadets in the video speak about heavy class loads, being in leadership positions of responsibility and being tired; tired muscles, a tired mind and falling asleep in classes. Meditation brought noticeable change — in being more alert and muscles relaxing during meditation and experiencing a rejuvenated mind.

One student cadet said a difference he sees in his meditating platoon versus non-meditating platoons, is his “platoon is more professional, ‘more locked-on,’ they’re not joking around.

“It makes my job easier [in a leadership position] that the platoon is meditating,” he says. “Meditating definitely enhances their ability to understand what we’re essentially asking them to do. When I was a ‘rook,’ we had to have things explained three or four times before we finally got it right. Now, I can tell my rooks the first time, and maybe a second time and they’re getting it right.”

A freshman cadet said, “We’ve picked up a reputation on campus as ‘those weird people that meditate.’ I kindly point out to them the fact that we don’t fall asleep in class, we’ve got better PT [physical training] scores, we do better on tests, we have better uniforms, we don’t get yelled at as much as they do, and then they quiet down pretty quickly after that.

“I’d say the biggest benefit is the energy,” said the freshman. “In high school, I’d drink a whole thermos-full of coffee each day. I don’t have to do that anymore. It feels good not to have to rely on things like that and be able to do it myself.”

A female senior cadet said in the video she was at first a skeptic.

“Now that I’ve learned [TM], it’s great. I’ve directly seen the benefits. I’m a senior, and I’ve never earned a grade point average over 3.0,” she said. “This semester, I’ve taken 22 credits, four lab sciences and I have a 3.6. I don’t think I got that much smarter all of a sudden. The TM helps me focus so I get more out of study time.”

“ROTC commissions 70 percent of all the officers of the United States,” said Schneider, who with other administrators at Norwich learned TM a short time prior to the cadets’ learning.

“Can you imagine if by this experience at Norwich University, the birthplace of ROTC, we provide a very important tool in these young officers’ tool box they’ve never had the benefit of before; we can influence 70 percent of officers in a very short time. And we owe it to them to give them the best tools to win, and I think this is one of those tools.”

The five-minute, 13-second video is available on the David Lynch Foundation website.

Two of the main speakers Saturday were veterans Jerry Yellin and Luke Jensen.

Yellin, now a Fairfield resident, was a young World War II fighter pilot, who suffered from PTSD for 30 years before learning TM in 1975, “which genuinely saved my life,” he said.

“I’m here today to offer scholarships to any veterans, and their families, who want to learn Transcendental Meditation,” said Yellin who co-chairs the Warrior Wellness program begun in 2010, supported by the David Lynch Foundation.

He related his own story, including his wife’s support. Yellin and Helene married in August 1949.

“She never knew she married damaged goods,” said Yellin. “I know I caused her a lot of suffering. War had wounded me in places that can’t be seen.”

He also introduced Jensen, 33 years old: “No one understands combat like a combat veteran. I’m pleased to introduce my hero, Luke Jensen,” said Yellin.

Jensen, an Iowa native living in Story County, had deployed to Afghanistan in August 2009 as a member of the Army Reserves. He began experiencing severe stress, panic attacks, depression and suicidal thoughts shortly after arriving in Afghanistan.

A story in the Des Moines Register published a year ago, detailed Jensen’s struggles and life back with his wife and two young daughters when he returned home. Yellin had read that story last summer and called Jensen at work the next day and offered David Lynch scholarships to Jensen and his wife, Abi, to learn TM.

Saturday in Fairfield is the first time Jensen has told his story to a live audience. A video with the Jensens was created prior to Saturday, which told some of their story.

“Thank you Jerry for reaching out to me when I was in very dark space,” Jensen said. “Since learning TM in July 2011, I have less anxiety, my blood pressure is down, and I now know this practice has helped veterans from every generation of wars.”

Jensen recounted his story, from aspiring to work in law enforcement and fulfilling that in 2001, to daily suicidal thoughts and drinking to self-medicate in 2010 and 2011. His voice sometimes shook from nerves or emotion. He used the word “ashamed” frequently.

“TM helped my family come out of darkness, it brought me relief and gave me hope for the future,” said Jensen.

Yellin, Travis: TM programs needed for veterans

At Healing the Hidden Wounds of War forum, Jerry Yellin, told about his inspiration to ask for a division of Operation Warrior Wellness to teach Transcendental Meditation to help military veterans.

It came from a personal experience, a tragedy of another soldier’s family that had Yellin pursue a program to help veterans.

“I asked what was the cost of current treatment for veterans with post traumatic stress when I met with the deputy of the V.A. administration,” he said.

The 2006 and 2007 Veterans Affairs cost of mental health support to veterans of all wars, was $15 billion and $18 billion, said Yellin.

“We have so many young veterans who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Yellin. “They will live another 50 to 60 years … and mental health costs could be $20 billion each year?”

That provides an economic motivation to have Transcendental Meditation programs available on a large-scale basis for veterans, he said.

Fred Travis, a Maharishi University of Management professor and director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness and Cognition, also said larger-scale TM programs are needed for veterans.

“The Veterans Administration will approve TM for a veteran on a one-at-a-time basis,” he said.

“We still recommend that TM is a part of a treatment program, not the only part,” said Travis. “Work with professionals.”

Travis explained how post traumatic stress works on the brain.

“The Amygdala part of the brain tags important events to file away in your memory,” he said. “It tags each detail; it’s permenantly stuck on. Every experience is tagged with strong emotion.

“Post traumatic stress is a natural reaction to unnatural events. So once all these events are tagged with strong emotion, the person now feels they have to be completely in control. You experience hyper-vigilance and can’t rest. We also know from research that when someone is experiencing PTS, the brain’s frontal lobes turn off. The frontal lobes are the ‘CEO’ of the brain. When it’s not functioning properly, you don’t have the brain power to find a solution; you only see the problems,” said Travis.

“TM takes the mind beyond just coping,” he said. “If we could do something beforehand to increase resilience, how much better.”

— Diane Vance, Ledger staff writer

This cover story was posted with permission from The Fairfield Ledger

Other post-event coverage: Mark Newman: Courier: Iowa soldier seeks peace of mind through meditation and medication and KTVO News: How one soldier regained his life with help from WWII veteran and TM for PTSD. Pre-event coverage: WHO TV 13: WARRIOR WELLNESS: Healing Hidden Wounds | Des Moines Register: Fairfield and Ames war veterans team up to bring meditation (TM) to fellow Iowa vets with PTSD | Fairfield Ledger cover article by Diane Vance: Combat stress subject of public forum Saturday | KTVO: Veterans speak out on post-traumatic stress, offer a proven way to heal PTSD | Story County Veteran Once Suicidal Finds Relief from PTSD with Transcendental Meditation: AmesPatch article by Jessica Miller | Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: open forum for Iowa veterans and their families affected by PTSD, sponsored by Operation Warrior Wellness | TM Blog: “TM saved my life”—Suicidal Afghanistan war veteran who suffered from PTSD

Award-winning journalist pursues master’s degree at Maharishi University in Fairfield, Iowa

February 9, 2010

Daily Gate City captures awards

By the Daily Gate City
Published: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 11:48 AM CST

The Daily Gate City received six awards in this year’s Iowa Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contests.

Nearly 4,000 entries in dozens of categories were judged by class, based on circulation. The Daily Gate City competed in Daily Class 1, which includes dailies with circulations of 9,999 and less.

The newspaper and staff writer Cindy Iutzi placed first in the best spot news story category with a story about a group of teenagers who floated down the Des Moines River and were stranded on an island overnight.

The Daily Gate City and Iutzi and staff writer Diane Vance finished second in the best news story category with a story about sexting, a practice in which sexually-suggestive and explicit photos are sent over cell phones.

The newspaper finished third with its coverage of education during the contest period. Most of the articles were written by Vance, who has left the paper and is pursuing a master’s degree at Maharishi University in Fairfield now.

The Daily Gate City and Iutzi received a third-place award in the best news photo category with a photo of the Parkersburg tornado taken at a storm spotters’ seminar in Keokuk.

Amanda Grotts of the DGC’s composing department placed third in the best ad designer category with a group of different ads.

In addition, the newspaper was judged third in the best newspaper Web site category.

The awards were presented Friday during the INA 2010 Convention and Trade Show in Des Moines.

The Des Moines Register was named the INA’s Newspaper of the Year for 2010. The Muscatine Journal placed first in general excellence among the Class 1 dailies.

Copyright © 2010 – Daily Gate City

Diane Vance graduated from Maharishi University of Management with a graduate degree in education, left to teach at a school, then returned to Fairfield to write, very well, for the Fairfield Ledger. Here is a personal article about her journey to Finding peace in Fairfield.


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