Elevate Difference

Reviews by Rachel Muzika Scheib

Rachel Muzika Scheib

Rachel Muzika Scheib is a teacher, writer, editor, and graduate student living in the Pittsburgh area. Her academic interests include Education, Literary Criticism, and Professional Writing. She is currently in the process of transforming the skeleton of a soap opera into a full-length novel. She is simultaneously thrilled and terrified at the mere thought of this venture.

Veganize This!: From Surf & Turf to Ice-Cream Pie--200 Animal-Free Recipes for People Who Love to Eat

One of the struggles faced by many vegetarians, vegans, or any other person who has a restricted diet is that you can no longer eat the “comfort foods” you enjoyed earlier in your life. One of my favorite foods to eat when I was a child was beef stroganoff. I can still taste it when I think about the flavors, aromas, and even its delightfully sloppy appearance. Alas, I no longer eat red meat, so beef stroganoff is not a part of my culinary repertoire. And although I’ve made the low-rent version with mushrooms and cream sauce, the flavors and aromas that went along with this venture are just not as memorable.

Sleepwalking Land

Based on the novel by Mia Couto, Sleepwalking Land showcases the bittersweet journey of an older man and a boy as they meander through the war-ravaged countryside of Mozambique. Initially, Muidinga and “Uncle” Tuahir are seeking the basics: food, shelter, and safety from traveling gangs. Tuahir had pretended to be Muidinga’s uncle when they were residing in the Xalala refugee camp. The boy was presumed dead until Tuahir noticed otherwise, and by claiming a familial bond, the man was able to take the boy under his wing.


Trailerpark is a student-made feature length production by Ohio University’s MDIA 419 course. It is based on the book of the same title by award–winning author Russell Banks. Despite an initial comment by another viewer that the sound quality was not good, we both agreed that visually, the film had much to offer, and that story-wise, there was a lot of (mostly) intriguing information to absorb.

Adrift (Choi Voi)

At last year's Venice Film Festival, Adrift won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize. With its lush scenery, layered characters, and startling soundtrack, it’s not hard to see why the film stood out to an international panel of jurors. The film is in Vietnamese with English subtitles and is set in various Vietnamese locales, including Hanoi, Quang Ninh, and Hoi An. Jam-packed streets filled with tiny tuk-tuks and motorcycles are juxtaposed with lonely, gorgeous beach campfires at sunset.

Levantine Indulgence

Singer and composer Gaida’s debut album Levantine Indulgence is named for Levant, the Fertile Crescent’s desert oasis. Aptly named, this album offers listeners an abundance of vocal and instrumental styles that even the most resistant listeners can find nourishing and enchanting. The opening track, “Dream,” begins with rhythmic clapping and percussion and a chorus of male voices who share vocals with the lead singer.


Christine is desperately seeking employment. She doesn’t want to leave New York City and return to Michigan to teach, and doesn’t feel confident that her writing will bring in sufficient income. Although Christine’s story is happening in 1983, the same story could be told as a result of today’s recession. What do you do when you can’t find a job in your field? Well, you branch out and find the first job available. It turns out that the first available job is as a ticket holder in a box office at an adult theater in Times Square.

Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings

The fourth edition of Social Theory: The Multicultural and Classic Readings offers a lesson in sociological practice that moves beyond the atmosphere of a university auditorium. This collection is arranged in chronological order and organizes the Modern Era into distinct historical categories.

Alicia en el Pueblo de Maravillas (Alice in Wondertown)

As Alice in Wondertown begins, a sense of foreboding emanates from the screen. Alice is running along a beach, away from an invisible threat, and her ill-fitting boots are impeding her progress. She makes it to the main road, screaming to a truck full of workers for help. After what seems like a full minute of Alice screaming, the truck finally screeches to a halt and the occupants acknowledge the distressed woman in the street.