Published Writing Samples

My work has been published in UMKC's University News, Spoon University435 Magazine and Vacation101

Top things to do in Kingston, Jamaica

December 12, 2019

Millions travel to Kingston every year, despite its reputation for danger. Like any major city, the safety and socio-economic factors vary between neighborhoods. With common sense and awareness, Kingston is a worthwhile and safe destination. The capital city of Jamaica pulsates with culture and diversity, and there’s bound to be something fun for everyone. Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Kingston.

HOW TO PRONOUNCE "PHO" CORRECTLY WITHOUT SOUNDING LIKE AN IDIOT

Oct. 13, 2017

There are some food pronunciations that don’t matter, tomato, tom-aH-to, potato, po-taH-to—you get the gist. Aside from the opinions of a few food snobs, there's rarely a time when those different pronunciations aren’t permissible. It’s a personal choice, really. However, learning how to pronounce pho the right way is much more than a personal choice to me. 

When it comes to cuisine from different parts of the world, the debate over pronunciations gets a little more heated and correct articulation becomes more necessary. Pho, for instance, is one of the most commonly botched words.

FIGHTING FIRE WITH PEACE AT DISMANTLING ISLAMOPHOBIA LECTURE

October 10, 2017

Meaningful dialogue that promotes social justice, diversity and inclusiveness can be difficult to come by these days. When people come together and have difficult conversations, open their minds to new ideas and work to find solutions; profound conversations occur and different people can find common ground.

This past week, UMKC students and faculty had the opportunity to foster conversation and gain new insights into diversity and inclusiveness. Nearly 40 people gathered early Wednesday morning in the Bloch Executive Hall for a presentation called “Dismantling Islamophobia” by Amer F. Ahmed.

WHERE TO FIND THE 7 MOST DELICIOUS FRENCH DESSERTS IN KANSAS CITY

September 27, 2017

Aside from holding the title for the wine, cheese and fashion capital of the world, France also has an absolute monopoly on desserts. Baking the flakiest doughs, the richest chocolates and the creamiest nougats; dessert is just another elite form of French art that surpasses its aesthetic only in flavor.

Following a summer study abroad experience, where I adhered to a strict pastry-a-day diet, my nostalgia and sweet tooth compelled me to seek out the 7 most delicious French desserts Kansas City has to offer.

After thorough investigation, here is what I found:

MEN ON BOATS: A RIVER OF CHALLENGING IDEAS AND WIT

September 14, 2017

The only thing funnier than a play that pokes fun at macho male stereotypes is a play with an all-female cast acting in male roles jesting about these stereotypes.

 

Last week, Men on Boats debuted its nearly one month run at the Unicorn Theatre.

Loosely based on the journals of Maj. John Wesley Powell (Vanessa Severo), Powell leads nine assertive men down the Colorado River on the first government-sanctioned expedition.

 

They face harrowing dangers, fast-flowing rapids and jagged canyon walls. They laugh in the face of danger, religiously swig whiskey and devour bacon, all while (in typical masculine fashion) refusing any guidance that disagrees with their own manly doctrines.

GETTING ‘ECLIPSED’ AT PLAYWRIGHT SLAM

September 5, 2017

It’s not a typical night at the theatre when an audience member asks if it’s “kosher to bring a drink on stage.” This week, the Kansas City Repertory hosted one of their OriginKC: Monday Night Playwright Series, “Playwright Slam”, along with cold beverages and an enthusiastic audience.

What is a “Playwright Slam?” Slams give up-and-coming playwrights and creatives the chance to anonymously submit and test the waters on new plays as they are being built. Playwright Slams give life to 1-3 page scripts, with script-in-hand readings acted out by volunteers from the audience.

DENIM DAY CONTINUES FIGHT AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

May 5, 2017

An unexpectedly chilly Wednesday wasn’t enough to keep UMKC students from coming out to take a stand against sexual assault and rape culture.

The Violence Prevention and Response Program, the UMKC Women’s Center, and the UMKC Student Affairs and Enrollment Management recognized Denim Day USA as a part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Denim Day is part of a global campaign to raise awareness for sexual assault.

The Denim Day movement was started as a reaction to an Italian Supreme Court case that overturned a rape conviction. Citing the victim’s choice to wear tight fitting jeans, the court claimed this implied consent.

 

Now, wearing denim on Denim Days is used to speak out against rape culture verbally and visually, and it seen as a symbol of protest.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN REVIEW

April 12, 2017

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is as moving and relevant today as it was when it debuted in 1959, when Hansberry was the first black woman to have had a play produced on Broadway. The story is about a black family’s experiences in a slum in Chicago’s South Side in the 1950’s as they attempt to manage and make something positive out of an insurance payout from the death of their father.


The Kansas City Reparatory Theatre began their run of A Raisin in the Sun on Mar. 16.

UPB PROMOTES BLACK HISTORY WITH TRIVIA AND SNICKERS

March 2, 2017

Last week, Union Programming Board (UPB) dished out trivia and handfuls of Snickers candy bars to promote Black History Month.

Pens in hand, students convened in the Student Union to answer questions on sports, literature, political organizations and history; all to celebrate and promote Black History.

FIRST DATE BRINGS THE HUMOR AND SENTIMENT

February 27, 2017

Productions at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre are synonymous with hot summer nights in an 8,000-seat venue, large-scale Broadway productions, and popular musicians.

A fact little known to many is that when the weather cools down, the stage at Starlight is pushed back, risers are set up, and the space becomes the 500-seat Cohen Community Stage House.


Last weekend, I had the pleasure of viewing Starlight Theatre’s first self-produced indoor comedy-musical, First Date. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, too! While most of Starlight’s shows are of the touring kind, First Date is acted and produced by a local professional cast.  First Date is a musical comedy centered around a blind date, based on the book by Austin Ginsberg, with music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner.

VAGINAS: A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH

February 22, 2017

The UMKC Women’s Center, co-sponsoring with the UMKC Violence Prevention & Response Program, put on a stirring performance of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler last week.

“Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one has ever asked them before.”

    

The Vagina Monologues is a series of orations spoken by a varying number of wildly different women.  With titles such as “My Angry Vagina,” “Because He Liked To Look At It,” “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could” and “Reclaiming Cunt,” it is clear that The Vagina Monologues delves in to an expansive collection of topics. The monologues range from droll to sexy to poignant to somber.

UMKC GREEK LIFE GIVES STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET INVOLVED

January 31, 2017

On any given day, there are students sporting sweatshirts, T-shirts and baseball caps embroidered with letters, strolling to classes in the quad. There are tables full of young women set up in Royal Hall raising money, or promoting awareness for charities, and there are students hosting philanthropy events all over campus.

These are the students of UMKC Greek Life. On the Panhellenic Council, there are four sororities—Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Sigma Alpha, Chi Omega and Delta Zeta. There are four fraternities within the Inter Fraternity Council, as well—Beta Theta Pi, Delta Lambda, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Sigma Phi Epsilon.

ROOS TAKE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

November 8. 2016

For many, October is fondly viewed as the month of Halloween and the highlight of the fall season.  However, many may not know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This week, University News was able to speak with Kacie Otto from the Violence Prevention Program at UMKC about what UMKC does to combat domestic violence and spread awareness about the issue.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence states that nearly 20 people per minute are abused by their intimate partner. Additionally, one in three women and one in four men have been a victim of some sort of domestic violence by an intimate partner. Locally, there were 40,645 incidents of domestic violence reported in Missouri alone.

6 CHEAP CHAMPAGNES THAT TASTE LIKE DOM PERIGNON

November 8, 2017

Most people are of the narrow-minded belief that Champagne and sparkling wine are sacred libations reserved for toasting to newlyweds, New Year’s Eve, and other rarely-occurring formal occasions. I’m going to let you in on a secret: you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy a flute (or two) of sparkles and I can tell of you about six cheap Champagne brands that taste and sparkle like Dom Perignon to create everyday opulence. 

#SpoonTip: According to European Law, Champagne can only be called “Champagne” when it comes from within 100 miles of a specific region in France—Champagne, France—go figure.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GYRO VS SHAWARMA

October 24, 2017

People figured out fire approximately one million years ago. Ever since, there has been a primal allure to roasting meat on a stick over a bed of crackling flames. From a medieval suckling pig to the rotisserie chicken you grabbed at the grocery store last week, the popularity of spit-roasted meat is ever-growing.

 

Food trucks and street food are all the rage right now, and they offer an astounding variety of different international meat-on-a-stick bites. Despite the excess of fast-casual cuisine available to us daily, there's nothing as tried and true as a well-made gyro or shawarma. Though both are tasty and seem quite similar, there is a difference between gyro vs. shawarma. 

©2017 by Annie E. Navran. Proudly created with Wix.com