Talk of the Quad: Here, there and everywhere: Beatlesmania then and now
At 8 p.m. on February 9, 1964, The Beatles took the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show, making their American debut in the most public way possible. Those who had been lucky enough to land a ticket started screaming and flailing about in the audience before the show even began. The 74 million Americans—that is, 60 percent of the country—tuning in at home shuffled about in their living rooms and adjusted the antennae on their television sets.
Once the live audience had settled in their seats and home viewers had planted themselves on their sofas, Ed Sullivan gave his cue and the Fab Four launched into “All My Loving.” The boys were quick to mesmerize, syncing cartoonish head bobs and foot taps with the beat of Ringo’s drumsticks. In my mind’s eye, I imagine all of America bobbing along with them—rosy-cheeked, wide-eyed, falling in love.
A half-century later, I pressed a few buttons, first on my iPod and then on the treadmill, and started running to “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” The gym was sparse, quiet and so drafty that I kept my sweatshirt on until I’d gained some speed. By the time Paul started singing “Falling, yes I am falling,” I was sprinting. I’ve found Paul’s vocal lilts are best experienced in short periodic bursts, while John’s drones are more suitable for long jogs outside. A mile and a few tracks later, I slowed to a walk and finally stopped. I pressed pause right in the middle of a loud and rowdy “I’m Down,” and for a second the silence stunned me. There was no applause and certainly no fainting fans. Just a few earbudded girls doing crunches quietly on the mats.
If you ask around at parties, “What’s your favorite Beatles album?” you’ll get a disproportionate number of votes for Abbey Road. Objectively speaking, this is probably the right answer. It’s the band’s penultimate studio album and culminates six brief, bursting years of innovation. It boasts one of the most memorable bass lines (“Come Together”), features George’s best track ever (“Something”), and ends in a graceful pageant of transitions as “Golden Slumbers” turns into “Carry That Weight” turns into “The End.” And of course the image of the four of them mid-step made a cultural imprint like no album art before.
Best is not the same as favorite, though, and I often feel like an outlier when I cast my vote for “Revolver.” But it was those specific tracks that made their way to my ears when I was most impressionable. Like anything from childhood, my own private experience of Beatles fandom is steeped in imagination rather than fact.
I lacked the logic of a collegiate amateur music critic, and so I couldn’t have known all the merits of Abbey Road. All I knew was that “Sun King” was boring and “Got To Get You Into My Life” made me want to dance.
We millennials never knew the hits when they first graced the billboards, when the country seemed to scream in unison. But we have experienced the ghost of that fandom. For me, this meant listening at the whim of my baby boomer parents.
In the basement we had this disorganized record closet, and there the Beatles’ chronology became disordered. Before dinner, my dad would put one on at random, and I could only guess at the context of it’s recording. One night 1967’s “I Am The Walrus” would have me in a fit of giggles and the next night we’d have time traveled back three years to “A Hard Day’s Night,” which wasn’t quite as funny, though working like a dog was still pretty hilarious. In that space before dinnertime, I forged my own opinions and understanding of the Beatles without verification from a visible fan base.
Which is to say I got some things wrong. I misheard the word kaleidoscope in “Lucy In The Sky” and for years thought John was singing “A girl with ‘colitis’ goes by.” I was eventually corrected, as I was corrected about many things. I learned that the Beatles did in fact do drugs, which was confusing to me because only criminals did that. I learned that John didn’t think much of George’s solo career and said some nasty things about him after the breakup. And then in college I learned that Abbey Road is probably the best album after all.
But there was a time, before I got all the facts straight, when I was able to live in my own peculiar, anachronistic Beatlemania.
When my dad told us about the “Paul is Dead” hoax of 1966, my sister and I spent a full day searching the cover of Sergeant Pepper’s for clues. On the living room floor there in 2002, it was illogical to really believe that Paul had died and been replaced by a look-alike, but the clues were convincing and I started to doubt the identity of the modern day man claiming to be an aged McCartney. At recess, while the rest of my class played capture the flag, my three friends and I would play “Beatles” and push our already fantastical conception of who they were to ridiculous ends; in my mind, Lovely Rita, Polythene Pam and Lady Madonna evolved into characters complete with costumes and quirks that the lyrics left out. The Beatlemania of my childhood was more than just music. It was an interactive mystery, it was a game, it was an infinite repository of stories left open-ended.
So looking back on it, it seems a funny thing happens when we hijack someone else’s nostalgia and make it our own. We may have tuned in to "The Ed Sullivan Show" 50 years late, but we’ve inherited a version of that fandom that we’ve colored and spun into something private and subjective. My own strange Beatlemania lives quietly within me, and when I catch a glimpse of album art on an iPod or hear a familiar whistling on the path, I suspect a version of it lives in others as well.
Creation Theories: Inside the writing process of former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl
For Betsy Sholl, poetry is an exercise in ventriloquism. On the pages of her notebook—she starts each draft with pen and paper—she channels a voice different from the one that carried across the table to me in her cozy Portland kitchen. I had asked, perhaps unfairly, to what extent the voice of her poems is her own.
“I would hope on some level the voice is mine,” she laughed. “But I do try to get the first person pronoun out of my poems—I want to be an ‘eye’ more than a capital ‘I’.”
Sholl has not always emphasized such an observational voice. In her earlier years, her mouth overpowered her eye.
Creation Theories: Chef of Trattoria Athena crafts culinary art with Greek and Italian flavors
Chef Tim O’Brien of Brunswick’s Trattoria Athena Restaurant washed the crab off his hands before shaking mine. He had been cracking shells and scooping out the meat to prepare the filling for handmade crab ravioli. It sounds delicious, yes, but you won’t find the dish on the menu.
“It’s the birthday of one of our bartenders over at the Enoteca, and she’s coming in tonight with some friends,” he explained. “She loves crab, and I wanted to do something special for her.”
Enoteca Athena is O’Brien and his partner Marc Provencher’s new wine and small-plate bar situated behind chic glass doors at 97 Maine Street. But the tiny Trattoria, O’Brien’s first restaurant, occupies a one-room space on Mill Street just around the corner. Its location speaks to his vision: the restaurant is cozy, hidden and hospitable—it’s a place one comes home to and finds a surprise waiting. The restaurant is, after all, modeled on a very real home. O’Brien grew up rolling pasta dough in his Italian grandmother’s kitchen.
Creation Theories: Portland writer’s book animates nonfiction
It’s a familiar trajectory: the first saccharine notes of the madeleine seep into the tongue, and its eater sinks deep into the recesses of his own memory. Or at least that’s how it works for Marcel Proust’s narrator in “Remembrance of Things Past.” For Portland freelance writer Mike Paterniti, a bite of Páramo de Guzmán—an artisanal sheep’s milk cheese—dispatched him to rural Spain, into the cellar of a cultural memory that was not his own.
Paterniti’s most recent nonfiction book, “The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese” chronicles Paterniti’s journey to the tiny, Castilian town of Guzmán and the stories he was told in the confines of the contador—that is, the telling room.
“[Telling rooms] are these caves they built on the north side of the village. It’s like a little hobbit hole,” Paterniti explained.
Creation Theories: Maine-based photographer thrives on unexpected inspiration
It was on his way down from the summit that Brunswick photographer Howard Search got his view. In true Mainer fashion—in true Maine photographer’s fashion—he had ascended
Pemaquid Lighthouse in Bristol, hoping to get a shot or two from the top. That was the first mistake: planning the scene.
“My pictures are not pre-planned,” he said, “They happen. I may be looking for something but something else finds me.”
Creation Theories: Portland painter Holly Ready uses landscape as vehicle for light
Portland artist Holly Ready keeps her gallery door open. Outside, Congress Street buzzes with the hum of motors, the stomping of feet along the sidewalk, and an incessant beeping as a truck pulls over to the loading zone. Inside the gallery, dozens of seascapes hang on the white walls, reflecting pockets of light back to the street outside. Occasionally, one pair of stomping feet will step inside to take in the light from up close.
“I love it when people come in just to look, when someone comes in and interrupts me,” said Ready. “As an artist, I get so focused on what I’m doing. It’s great to get jolted like that every now and then.”
This columnist had jolted Ready mid-smear. She was adding a smidgen of white to “Blue Violets,” a 30x30 inch oil on canvas piece. The top 80 percent of the painting is sky, thick with rolling, purple clouds. Below, a strip of trees lines a calm pool of ocean.
Creation Theories: Poet Linda Aldrich works with intuition, not formula
I can’t seem to wrap my head around the idea of our campus encapsulated by a bubble—reflective and self-important in the mid-coast light, bearing the threat of an imminent pop the moment a student stretches a toe past the barrier.
Bowdoin is the most permeable of all the places I’ve called home. We depart—home for Spring Break, to a foreign country for a semester, to Katahdin for a weekend hike—and re-enter with such excitement and frequency that one could classify it as restlessness. If such a proverbial bubble were to exist, we’ve surely already punctured its soapy film.
Portland poet Linda Aldrich has a thing or two to say about place and metaphorical models that may resonate with Bowdoin students.
Creation Theories: Muralist paints under public's watchful eye
Francine Schrock is painting murals for Schooner Estates Assisted Living Community in Auburn, and she’s still getting used to the feeling of eyes on her back as the residents watch her work.
“‘We want you to put in a cat!’ they’ll say, so I’ll add a cat,” she said. “Hearing these things becomes part of the process of painting.”
Whether or not she sees the suggestion as an aesthetic improvement or thinks the work would have been better off sans feline, Schrock has come to appreciate the often brutally honest comments that the experience of public painting invites.
Creation Theories: The fine art of comfort food at 555
I feel as though I’ve already dined at 555, though I have yet to make an official reservation. The moment I step into the space on Congress Street to meet with executive chef Steve Corry, I’m overcome by a sensory overload. And this is before the topic of food is even put on the table. The restaurant’s interior is a configuration of brick and wide windows divided by sleek black panels. It is at once open and intimate, sophisticated but practical. It subtly gestures to both the cosmopolitan and the rustic, reconciling the dual personality of Portland itself.
College’s top earners see higher compensation
Bowdoin’s 13 most highly paid employees saw salary increases in the fiscal year ending in 2011, according to the Form 990 tax document filed by the College for the 2010-2011 calendar year. As a non-profit organization, the College is required to disclose the compensation packages of its highest-paid employees. The 2011 Form 990 is the most recent statement available. Senior Vice President for Investments Paula Volent was the highest-paid administrator, earning a total compensation package of $781,166. This figure includes a base salary of $416,456, plus retirement and deferred compensation ($42,890), nontaxable benefits ($19,615), other reportable compensation ($2,205) and a bonus and incentive package of $300,000.
Creation Theories: Intersecting planes: the collages of Robin Brooks
Something happens when suddenly we can count the degrees on one hand. It comes with the securing of a hat, the coiling of a scarf. It’s a gaze downward and a shuffle of boots along the path, marking with percussive treads the transition between dirt, ice, and asphalt. When at last those boots reach the linoleum in the Smith Union—the largest piece in the country, in fact—the gaze might lift and it might just intersect with another traveler who has also found refuge in the Union’s warmth. Robin Brooks shows me a digital image of her painted paper collage “Winter Wood,” and at once I’m reminded of what I’ve seen a thousand times but perhaps lately have been too wind-bitten to register. A horde of streamlined trunks extends vertically, shifting between grey black and brown to reiterate their bareness. Hints of green edge their way into the foreground, but it’s just the teasing burst of color of coniferous trees. The image is still winter in its most familiar form: a patchwork of shards of sky, stalks of wood, sheets of ice.
Approval ratings: Approval ratings up for BSG, down for dean’s office and CPC
Results from the Orient's latest approval ratings survey indicate growing support among students for Bowdoin Student Government, and increasing dissatisfaction with the performance of the Career Planning Center. Compared to the November 2011 survey, approval of the CPC dropped 16 points, from 74 percent approval to 58 percent. "Saying that they care about fields besides finance and consulting doesn't make it true," one student wrote. "I got no significant help in my job search. [I was] just told over and over to use more action verbs in my resume and given the web page of links that their interns come up with."
Upswing in STI cases prompts more students to seek testing
A greater number of students have been getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the Health Center in recent weeks. The influx of students occurred in the wake of an email sent out by Whitney Hogan, coordinator of health education, on March 7. The email reported an uptick in STIs on campus, including chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and gonorrhea. "We saw this spike right before spring break," explained Sandra Hayes, director of Health Services. "It was short notice, but we wanted students to be aware that if they chose to be sexually active over the break, that there's a risk to that. Some students feel very complacent in the Bowdoin bubble—they think their risk is smaller and that's not true."
Bowdoin trustee collects millions from Oaktree Capital IPO
Oaktree Capital Group, the world's largest distressed-debt investor, priced its initial public offering at $43 a share on Wednesday April 11. Bowdoin Trustee Sheldon Stone '74, a principal and portfolio manager, will take away the third largest share from the $387 million that the firm raised from the deal. The company first filed for an IPO in June 2011, and the IPO will allow its top executives to realize their stake in the firm.
Satellite investment office established in New York City
Bowdoin has established a second investment office in New York City, College officials confirmed this week. A statement sent to the Orient did not disclose the date of the opening, though a February 22 article published on the website of Foundation and Endowment Intelligence suggests that it occurred earlier this year.
Benchwarmers closes doors, Frosty’s reopens
Two Brunswick businesses faced diverging fates last Saturday; while the sports bar Benchwarmers closed its doors indefinitely, Frosty's Donuts reopened under new ownership.
Orbit will offer customizable activity feeds
The Orbit, which replaced the Student Digest last spring as the College's announcement network, is in flux once again.
Frosty's Donuts soon to reopen doors under new ownership
Though the door of Brunswick's Frosty's Donuts has displayed a "Closed" sign since last June, new owners Nels Omdal and his wife Shelby St. Andre are working hard to flip the sign to "Open" in just a few weeks.
ED I apps increase 3.7 percent, new high
The Office of Admissions received 589 applications for the first round of Early Decision, the largest number in the College history. Despite last Tuesday's deadline, this number is not a final count for the total ED I applications that the office will receive. "Some arrive in the mail and some applications come in incomplete, so this is just a preliminary number," explained Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn. "It will probably be another week to ten days before we have our final number."
College weathers storm, other NE schools suffer
Bowdoin experienced a premature taste of winter when a record-breaking snowstorm hit the East Coast Halloween weekend. Beginning Saturday night and continuing through Sunday morning, the storm spread throughout Maine, covering the Midcoast area in five inches of snow.
Bowdoin Brief: Jack Magee's Pub and Grill to offer express lunch option
On Wednesday, the Dining Service began its plan to offer express lunches at Jack Magee's Pub and Grill. The new option resulted from vocalized student interest and support from the administration.
New digest begins its orbit, replacing class email lists
In an effort to limit the white noise on Bowdoin's online notification network, the Orbit was introduced this fall as the official events communication system of the College, replacing the old Student Digest and class email lists.
Art Smarts: Hedden shares expertise on Native American petroglyphs
Students got an opportunity to learn about 3000-year-old archaeological marvels from the film "Song of the Drum: The Petroglyphs of Maine," which was screened in Smith Auditorium in Sills Hall on Wednesday.
‘Including Samuel’ explores challenges faced by those with special needs
At Bowdoin, where students share roughly similar learning abilities, it can be easy to overlook the challenges facing children with special needs. But for photojournalist Dan Habib, the issue of mainstreaming special needs students into the public education system is not only pertinent—it is personal. His documentary “Including Samuel,” to be screened at Bowdoin today, chronicles his family’s experiences after his son, Samuel, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Art Smarts: Concert Band to celebrate iconic American composers
Though we are months away from July 4, Bowdoin is celebrating American heritage ahead of schedule.
Four winners of Delta Sigma Art Competition announced
Three seniors and a sophomore win the annual competition
The Delta Sigma Art Competition hosted its annual Wine and Cheese Awards Reception in the Lamarche Gallery in Smith Union on Wednesday.
Boyden brings natural, award-winning poetry to Bowdoin
Jennifer Boyden won the 2010 Brittingham Prize in Poetry for her first full-length collection
This Wednesday night, poet Jennifer Boyden recited her lyrical work to a warm audience in the Faculty Room in Massachusetts Hall. Boyden read from her first poetry collection, "The Mouths of Grazing Things," for which she won the 2010 Brittingham Prize in Poetry.
Tallman scholar connects with Bowdoin’s ‘right to be cold’
On particularly frosty February days it can be hard to conceive of the reality of global warming, but Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier does not go a moment without considering the dangers of this threat. Watt-Cloutier, Bowdoin's 2010 Tallman Scholar, spoke to students about the direct effects of global warming on her native Canadian Inuit people, as well as its implications for the world at large on Tuesday. The lecture, entitled "The Right to be Cold," was held in Kresge Auditorium.
BMOP ensemble to premiere contemporary compositions
Tonight, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) will be performing its second program of a three-part series at the College.
Chamber Choir to perform final concert of semester
Even with the simultaneous approach of frosty weather and first semester finals, some students on campus are raising their voices in lively song. Tomorrow and on Sunday, the Bowdoin Chamber Choir will perform their last concert of the semester at 3 p.m. in the Chapel.
Brandon Lutterman, brings artistry to the Craft Center
Passing through Smith Union, one hears the bounce of ping-pong balls, mailboxes snapping open and shut, the murmur of students absorbed in group work.
Wabanaki lecture celebrates Native American heritage
November is National Native American Heritage Month, and the prevalence and efforts of the Native American community at Bowdoin are greater than ever before.
Students race against the clock, look to graduate early
With the plethora of classes, extracurriculars and opportunities offered in a college setting, it is difficult to imagine speeding through the college process in any fewer than four years. But some students have chosen to do just that by arranging their academic schedules to facilitate graduating early.
Choir, Chorus prepare high notes for Homecoming
With the honey-toned leaves and fresh breezes of fall undeniably upon us, there seems to be no better way to celebrate autumn than to spend an afternoon listening to the mellifluous sounds of the Bowdoin Chamber Choir and Chorus taking place tomorrow as part of Homecoming Weekend.
A Day in the Life: A Day in the Life: Bowdoin Housekeeper Sabrina Bouchard
At 5 a.m., when most members of the Bowdoin community are still asleep in their beds with hours before the classes begin, housekeeper Sabrina Bouchard is hard at work cleaning the offices and restrooms of the Office of Admissions in Burton-Little House.