Contributor bios

Jonathan Gray is a ubiquitous presence in Charleston. An accomplished bassist and teacher, he gained a measure of fame with the popular Charleston-based band Jump, Little Children and has been a national and international touring musician for 20 years with many bands that you may or may not have heard of. He is a self-professed string quartet junky.

Eric Grode, the author of “Hair: The Story of the Musical That Defined a Generation,” has written about the arts for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, American Theatre and more than a dozen other publications. Formerly the head theater critic for The New York Sun and, he writes about theater for the Times and also teaches arts journalism at Syracuse University. He is supervising the Goldring Program students in Charleston this year.

William Gudger is professor emeritus of music at the College of Charleston and recently has retired after more than 30 years on the organ bench at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul. His preconcert talks are a regular feature with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, as are his program notes, read by CSO patrons and at concerts in New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Charleston native Edward Hart is a professor of music at the College of Charleston, where he has been on the faculty for more than 15 years. His music has been performed throughout the U.S., Latin America, Africa and Europe. Orchestras that have performed his music include Orquesta de Baja California, Philharmonica de Montevideo, Lviv Philharmonic, Symphony of the Americas, Kiev Philharmonic, Arpeggione Chamber Orchestra (Austria), the South Carolina Philharmonic, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

Eliza Ingle is originally from New York and received her B.A. in dance from Middlebury College in Vermont. She has been teaching dance at the College of Charleston since 1994 and is a freelance writer who has been published in Charleston Magazine, Skirt!, The Post and Courier and Charleston She hopes to spread the love of dance as she educates audiences by writing about it.

Yiorgos Vassilandonakis is assistant professor of composition and music theory at the College of Charleston and the curator and music director of Magnetic South, a contemporary music series in partnership with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.

It was during his senior year of high school that Josh decided to combine his passion for theater and writing. Now, wrapping up his master’s in arts journalism from Syracuse University, Josh will continue to venture out into the world as an arts aficionado and commentator. With dreams of being a theater critic, Josh served as the editor in chief of Green Room Reviews and as the regional editor and critic for He also immersed himself in the theatrical scene this past spring while interning for the national trade magazine Backstage. Edward Albee once said, “The thing that makes a creative person is to be creative and that is all there is to it.”

Nic Bell is a Georgia native and received his Bachelor of Science degree in new media and communications from Macon State College in Macon, Ga. While at Syracuse University, Nic has written for The Newshouse, Newhouse’s news and information website. He also has interviewed Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of Dreamworks Animation. Nic is a public relations and multimedia intern for the Near West Side Initiative, an urban development nonprofit in the Near West Side neighborhood of downtown Syracuse.

Paige Cooperstein writes about film and pop culture. As an intern with Vanity Fair, she researches and transcribes interviews. Paige has written front-page features for The Post-Standard newspaper in Syracuse. She also reports for magazine in Philadelphia. She produces audio previews for the Green Room Reviews theater blog. When she’s not working, Paige holes up to watch TV marathons. She finished seven years of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in two months. Paige is also a proud Penn Stater and Syracuse University graduate student studying arts journalism.

Greg Cwik is a New York-centric writer and journalist. His most fervid proclivities include literature, film, pop music, jazz, comics, coffee and graphic design. His work has appeared in The Believer and Bright Lights Film Journal, and he regularly contributes to He Tweets, too: @gregcwik1.

Nick DeSantis is a multimedia culture journalist and graphic artist with specialties in music, film, video and infographics. He has spearheaded numerous marketing campaigns as a graphic designer and illustrator. Nick returned to his alma mater in 2012 to pursue a master’s degree in the Goldring Arts Journalism program and has served as a lead producer for the SU community website The Newshouse and as an editorial intern for The Syracuse New Times. He works as an editorial and design intern at MTV Networks for the websites NextMovie and

Melanie is an aspiring arts writer and editor and a 2013 graduate of the Goldring arts journalism master’s program at Syracuse University. She has covered everything from theater to gourmet coffee, and she writes profiles, breaking news stories and everything in between. Melanie enjoys photography and is active on social media. She has interned with a number of publications in Connecticut and New York, including Rolling Stone. You can follow Melanie on twitter: @mdeziel.

A multimedia writer and visual artist, Joseph explores the way art and technology intersect, enrich and create communities. His commitment to urban development and the arts shows through in his video, graphic design and written work, most recently seen in The Syracuse New Times. He continues to explore the possibilities, implications and applications of interactive and multimedia storytelling, with specialties in visual arts, video, film, urban development and music.

With years of immersion in music — playing the piano, being in a band and singing in an a cappella group — Xiaoran Ding has developed a sharp ear. Her reviews, whether about theater or TV, are music-oriented. Now an arts journalism student at Syracuse University, she is a contributing writer of the arts blog of NewsHouse, writing film and TV reviews. She received her B.A. in English from Sun Yat-sen University in China. As an undergraduate, she contributed film and literature reviews to Insight, a newspaper at Sun Yat-sen.

For Ying “Vinny” Huang, clothes are a lot more than eye candy. From Beijing to New York, from ELLE China to Harper’s Bazaar, she’s well-adapted to the “wild, wild world” of fashion. Writing in both English and Chinese, doing both street and studio photography, obsessed with not only contemporary design but also period costumes, she is a keen style observer.

Zach is a culture critic focusing on the historical and political context of art. He interns for The New Criterion in New York City and also conducts research for the Newhouse Web Content Team at Syracuse University. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., in political fundraising after graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has written for Eagle Newspapers and The Post-Standard in Syracuse, as well as publications affiliated with the Newhouse School. His favorite form of entertainment is British television.

After graduating from Canisius College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in English, Alyssa Nappa worked as a marketing intern for Say Yes to Education Syracuse, where she wrote press releases, created biographies for current scholars, maintained the website and helped with the planning and exhibition of events. Her real passions, though, are in the world of entertainment. Alyssa has served as an editorial intern with Today’s CNY Woman magazine, where she worked with the publication’s social media and wrote stories about local women. Currently, she is an editorial intern at HGTV Magazine in New York City.

Eesha Patkar has B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from the University of Mumbai in India and has written on postcolonial, gender and contemporary literature. While interning at Mid-Day, a daily newspaper, she was part of a team of reporters covering the events surrounding the serial bomb blasts on July 13, 2011 in Mumbai. At present, Patkar is a reviewer for Green Room Reviews, the Arts Journalism theater website. She also moonlights as a photographer for Newhouse School’s website, NewsHouse, shooting rock concerts, psychic fairs and famous drummers.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Briana was raised on Southern food and culture. Interning at MTV Networks this spring, Briana helped draft licenses for new music from independent artists, worked on programming and assisted with the music licensing management of various shows. She also has worked as a production assistant for segments of WCNY’s cultural arts show, “Artifex,” and as web editor for New Orleans’ Jazz and Heritage radio station, WWOZ 90.7 FM. Briana has served as a New Orleans correspondent for SPIN and contributed to arts and culture magazines throughout NOLA including Where Y’at Magazine, Offbeat Magazine, Louisiana Weekly, Gambit Weekly, Renaissance Publishing and

Writing always has been her thing. From being a journalist, playwright, poet and English teacher — her career always has involved something to do with words on a page. In 2011, she received s B.A. in English literature with a double minor in linguistics and fashion merchandising at Georgia Southern University. She has just completed her master’s in arts journalism from Newhouse at Syracuse University and hopes to continue her career in journalism and the arts.

Lucia Camargo, a voracious reader and nonfiction writer in training, is interested in literature, arts, politics and social development through print and web products. Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, she has worked as a journalist in several Colombian organizations. She was an intern at the national daily newspaper El Espectador, webmaster in the Bogota International Art Fair, editor of One Hundred Days magazine, a human rights NGO publication, and part of the communications office of the Colombian Reintegration Agency, a government institution that works with demobilized combatants. She attended Pontificia Universidad Javeriana for undergraduate school, where she obtained dual degrees in communication and literature studies with honors.