Olivia AtwoodNumber of articles: 24
First article: September 19, 2013
Latest article: January 29, 2016
Shockingly snowless at Bowdoin
Snow devastated the East Coast last weekend, hitting cities as far south as DC and dumping at least two feet of snow on Central Park. Shockingly, Winter Storm Jonas skipped right over the Great State of Maine, especially avoiding the little hamlet of Brunswick. Even Boston, hit with a record-breaking winter in 2015, was spared from Jonas’ wintery claws. However, despite the lack of fresh snow at Bowdoin, around 100 students still faced maddening delays as they attempted to return to campus.
Sandro Cocito ’19 was flying through Baltimore and his flight was cancelled. He finally got back to Bowdoin, but missed his Monday and Tuesday classes.Unlike many of the weary winter travellers, Cocito was not attempting to leave a state buried in snow.
As Cocito explained, “In New Orleans there was no snow, and in Maine there was no real snow, so I was flying from a place with no snow to a place with no snow and still got stuck.”Cocito, however, was thrilled to have a couple of extra days of break, unlike some students.Kelsey Gallagher ’17 had been in Brunswick for the last two weeks of break, doing Wilderness First Responder Training.
“I felt lucky knowing that I didn’t have to miss any of my first day of classes,” she said, noting that she would have probably been bereft to be absent.
Mimi Paz ’17 didn’t miss class, but was nonetheless stuck for hours in Philadelphia on her commute from Los Angeles.
She was trapped for roughly four hours, and expressed frustration about arriving to Maine and not finding the winter wonderland she had been so excited for.
“I was like, what the beep!” she said. “I watched it on the news and I was like, oh, my gosh, it’s a blizzard! But it wasn’t.”
Maggie Seymour ’16 foresaw the impending doom brought forth by the snowstorm and struck out two days early for Bowdoin.
“I was pretty salty about it. I wanted to stay at home,” said Seymour, forced from the cozy confines of her Baltimore, MD home on Friday rather than Sunday. She had to drive through the night on Friday because she had made plans at home during the day. All in all, she describes her entire experience as “a pain.” However, she was pleased with her choice to flee early, because had she not, she would have been “stuck for the week.”
The worst story that fell upon the Orient’s ears would be the tragic tale of Kevin Zmozynski ’16. Zmozynski hails from Cleveland, and was supposed to return to campus on Sunday, flying from Ohio to Newark to Portland. All of his flights were cancelled. The determined Zmozynski then proceeded to spend a total of seven hours on hold with the airline as he tried to reschedule his trip back. He was able to snag a flight back on Tuesday, but alas, it too was cancelled.
“I thought okay, I’ll be good to go since it’s Tuesday,” said the repeatedly rebuffed Zmozynski, “It was ridiculous.”
Zmozynski ended up opting to fly to Chicago in order to get to Portland since the airlines wanted to route him through the storm’s epicenters, New York or DC. “I ended up going West to go East,” he said.
And yet, despite the snow-fueled drama and delays transpiring across many a state, no new snow fell in Brunswick according to eyewitnesses. Luke Carberry ’18, also already stationed on campus, notes, “It was a normal weekend.”
He explained, “[The storm] hit all up the east coast and it snows a lot in Maine, so you would have thought it would hit us too.”
However, Carberry was “not shocked” to hear of his fellow students’ delays
“It was forecasted that they wouldn’t be able to make it to school. I expected them to not be here, and they were not here,” he said.
Guest director collaborates with students in theater dept. musical
If you peek into a “Sondheim on Sondheim” rehearsal, you will find students singing, others dancing and music playing—in other words, a typical Bowdoin evening rehearsal, but with one key difference. The man observing, guiding and giving pointers is not a member of Bowdoin’s Department of Theater and Dance. Instead, this show is directed by Edward Reichert, a guest director from the University of Southern Maine.
Reichert received his Bachelor of Music degree from the Aaron Copland School of Music, and his resume includes many Off Broadway plays and musicals. He has also worked professionally at Maine State Music Theatre and many others.
Davis Robinson, a professor of theater, was instrumental in bringing Reichert to campus. “I have watched him work with students, and I like his rapport,” said Robinson. “He was very encouraging, even in auditions, helping [students] find notes, helping them work.”
Robinson and Reichert struck up a conversation through going to see shows at each other’s schools and transformed that conversation into a working relationship.
Robinson and Reichert began planning this show last fall. The department’s show, “Sondheim on Sondheim”, worked on many levels.
“I wasn’t really interested in doing a big, splashy, old-fashioned traditional book musical,” said Reichert. “Because [Robinson] knows I’m quite a Sondheim fan—I was a guest for when Sondheim came to Bowdoin two or three years ago—he pretty much had me hooked. It’s been a very enlightening and positive rehearsal process so far.”
The show, according to Reichert, is great for the college campus because it is educational.“It really tells you how Sondheim thinks, creatively,” said Reichert. “It’s not just a chronological show; it’s really about how you create a piece of musical theater and why you write a song and how it changes over time. It’s thrilling to teach [students] and expose them to so much of this amazing history.”
Coming from a background other than Bowdoin, Reichert’s directing experience has been surprising for him at times.
“It’s a nice opportunity for [Reichert] to work with students who are a little different because they’re not musical theater majors, so they come at it from a slightly different perspective,” said Robinson.
The students benefit from working with someone who really knows the musical theater world. “It’s a great experience for students to work with someone who has done tons of musicals and whose life is musicals,” said Robinson. “He’s worked with so many people that he knows how to help someone find their strong voice and sell a song.”
That being said, scheduling has been one major challenge. In a typical musical theater program, rehearsals are part of the major itself, and people often show up for rehearsal four or five nights a week. At Bowdoin, students go to rehearsals on top of their schedules.
“There’s so many multi-tasking commitments, it’s complicated,” said Robinson, “A lot of these students are squeezing [the musical] in around every other extracurricular activity.”That being said, Reichert finds the varied interests of the students to be a wonderful component to the show.
“I love the students. Their interests and their courses of study are so varied, it makes them more interesting performers,” said Reichert, “I am so impressed with how talented and how bright and how smart these eleven performers are. It’s one thing just to have a fair amount of talent or ability to do something, but when you’re nice and you’re bright...it just helps everything. It’s refreshing...they’re producing a nice environment for art.”
Pejepscot Society bringing 155-year-old game back to Bowdoin
It’s a game that started 155 years ago, with no mitts and underhand pitches. It’s a game that was played with the second-oldest baseball bat in American history. It’s 1860s baseball, and it’s coming back to Bowdoin this Saturday.
The Pejepscot Historical Society, in partnership with the Bowdoin Athletic Department, will be recreating a game of 1860s baseball by Farley Field House at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Dirigo Vintage Base Ball Club, a team that plays exhibition games all around New England, will be coming to campus to compete against a team Bowdoin has put together, followed by a game between the Bowdoin team and the town of Brunswick. There will be peanuts, cracker jacks and Necco wafers to add to the historical ambience of the event, and vintage-style baseball caps will be sold.
John Cross, one of the event’s organizers and a former member of the historical society, is excited about the easy-going nature of the day.
“It’s very much in tradition of finding a cow pasture somewhere and setting up and playing a game,” he said. “People keep score at some level, but the point is to have a good time and relax.”
In 1860, baseball first came to Bowdoin in a game between the juniors and the seniors. The juniors brought home the title, and on October 10, 1860, the seniors took on the town’s team, The Sunrise Club, and once again lost.
“That original game was played to strengthen ties between town and college,” said Cross. Additionally, it is the tradition of the game that the winning teams keeps the bat and ball.“The ball disappeared somewhere along the way,” he said, “but the bat was returned to the historical society.”
The bat used in that first game is still in existence today, and will be on display at the field this weekend. The bat is the second oldest baseball bat in recorded history, and had been turned on a lathe by a local hardware store owner. All the players who played in that first game signed their names on the bat, and while the writing is much faded, it still makes for a significant historical object, according to Cross. The entire game, in fact, constitutes as a historical occasion. The box score has been recorded, as well as the players who participated.
“You can get a sense of what students might have been doing, 155 years ago, outside of getting into trouble,” noted Cross, “it's not too different from today.”
Also significant is the distinct time period of the historical game.
“This is the class that graduated right into civil war,” said Cross, “They happened to be the group that played the game. They faced some pretty trying circumstances.”
The game this weekend hasn’t just attracted Bowdoin students, but prominent figures as well. The team roster originally included none other than President Rose, though a trip out of town has stopped him from playing. It’s almost a relief that the new president won’t be on the field, however.
“If he injures himself and is on crutches for his inauguration, then I'm in trouble,” added Cross, “But he's a grown up and if he wants to play, he can play.”
That sentiment is the very spirit of the game: it’s a fun, family oriented game where those who want to play, can play.
“It captures that sense of when baseball was new and not played by multi-millionaires,” said Cross. “It was played by neighbor and fellow students, just out to have a good time and relax.”Cross believes that fun will be had by all, even those just cheering on the side.
“Maybe they’ll come out from the stands and play an inning or two,” said Cross. “I think it will be a good time.”
Talk of the Quad: The waiting room
Recently, I checked the dinner menus and shrieked with delight, because the dessert offering for the evening was dirt cake. Dirt cake night is probably the most exciting night of my life, second only to the night of the Final Rose Ceremony on The Bachelor. I live for dirt cake. Seeing it on the menu is a stop, drop, and roll thing for me. So naturally, I sprinted to the nearest dining hall, bypassed the hot food line entirely, and shimmied over to the dessert bar. I was going to fill a massive, planet-sized bowl with dirt cake and eat it all. I deserved this. And that’s when my life came to a screeching halt.
There was no more dirt cake.
This was a DEFCON 1 situation, people. I blinked, pinched myself, and trembled. I checked the giant pan once more: empty. This simply couldn’t be. Dirt cake? My one true love? I fell to my knees and let out a bloodcurdling scream. My life was over. Images from my childhood flashed before my eyes. I would have to be buried under the dessert bar. I envisioned the headstone: Here lies Olivia, heart broken by dirt cake (or lack thereof).
As I writhed beneath the empty basin, it occurred to me: you know what? No. They don’t run out of dirt cake until I say they’ve run out of dirt cake. So, with a new fervor in my step, I planted my feet into the floor and began to wait. I grew roots. I would not budge. This was a stand-in, folks, and I wasn’t moving a single muscle until I was presented with a new bathtub quantity of dirt cake. My friend Faith massaged my back to keep my strength up. This was war...well maybe not war, but you know, a skirmish.
A half hour passed in this way, and then, he appeared. An angel, if you will, bearing a brand new container of dirt cake. Someone in dining services had driven to Thorne, snatched one from those greedy bastards, and driven it back for me. I had half a mind to take the entire cake back to my table, but no. I am a martyr. I stood back and smiled, arms crossed, saying, “Oh, you’re welcome. Really. No need to thank me” to every soul who scooped a dollop of glorious dessert. I filled my bowl with a heaping portion of dirt cake, even though I wasn’t hungry anymore. I was high on adrenaline and full of victory. My friend approached me as I marched back to my table, bowing to the uproarious (okay, it might have been a smattering of) applause.
“Olivia,” he said, having witnessed the whole spectacle, “I cannot believe they just brought a pan of that stuff back for you. That’s impressive. You’re the kind of girl that those things just happen to.”
I maniacally giggled, licked my spoon, and dug in.
His words didn’t really kick in until a week later, as I sat in a dull economics lecture about consumer power or something with no relevance to my life, obviously, and I got to thinking: what did he mean, that those things just happen to me? Am I some kind of special person, who has the stamina to wait for hours on end? I mean, clearly we would all put our lives on hold in the name of dirt cake, but what more did this say about me?It feels like lately all I do is wait. I wait for class to be over. I wait for the light to change on Maine Street. I wait for that one boy to text me back. I have waited at the C-Store, at the printer, and in the crowded downstairs Smith Union bathroom by the mailboxes (people, that’s my bathroom. Please find other places to do your business).
I don’t think the phrase “good things come to those who wait” is relevant anymore. Sure, it worked in the context of dirt cake, but I think it’s outdated, garbage, and a useless filler phrase that people throw around to condone laziness. And I’m sorry to say I think I’ve fallen victim to it. Not to mention that it seems to me like every time I wait around for something, it ends up being not so hot. I waited around in my house during a party, thinking some strange and attractive boy with a mysterious Scottish accent would round the bend, knock into me, and call me Lassie, but no, I ended up blow-drying pee off of someone’s sweatpants (long story).
I waited to do my laundry but the one machine we have broke, so I had to haul my basket across the quad and do it in Coleman. A few weeks later, after complaining repeatedly about my lack of socks, I stumbled upon a collection of wet socks by the Chapel. They had fallen from my basket as I lugged it back to Helmreich from my Coleman laundry trip, and they had since been nibbled on by squirrels. Maybe if I had jumped on the opportunity to do my laundry earlier, I wouldn’t be sockless and widely known as the Weird Quad Laundry Girl. All I’m saying is, they tell us that patience is a virtue and that waiting is a good thing, but when you really think about it, they’re wrong.
I don’t want to be the girl who waits anymore. I want to stop biding my time. What are we all waiting for? If Jillian on The Bachelor would only just tell Farmer Chris she loves him, (and that she’s ambidextrous to boot!), maybe she wouldn’t still be waiting to get a rose (she could really help out with the crops with both her left and right hand, I think). It’s time to finish that dirt cake, to do our laundry, to get moving, to start farming, to jump in. I don’t really know what these metaphors mean, but it will give you something to think about the next time you’re waiting.
Just kidding. Because you’re not going to wait anymore. And neither am I.
-Olivia Atwood is a member of the Class of 2017
Home schooled and on the road: non-traditional paths to Bowdoin
Ian Kline ’15 didn’t exactly follow a normal school schedule in high school. Sometimes his family jetted off to New Zealand for three weeks in November, just for fun. He learned about coral reefs, and then snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reefs. He studied opium production in Thailand, and then explored the Golden Triangle. But Kline wasn’t skipping school to go on these expeditions; he was in school. Kline is one of Bowdoin’s few home-schooled students.
“It was the best education ever,” he said.
Marina Marlens ’16 had a different home schooling experience. Marlens switched to a more traditional high school for her last two years after having been taught at home for freshman and sophomore years. Her family didn’t follow a strict curriculum, choosing the path of “unschooling,” a method of learning based on “customizing the academic experience to each individual,” instead. Her parents objected to the idea of “uniform compulsory education,” and with a large community of home schooling groups in Marlens’ then-home state of California, the choice to home school was obvious.“It was really good for [both my sister and I] when we were young,” said Marlens, “The culture that you are home schooled in is going to have a huge impact on the experience you have. In California, we were in this huge home schooling group, there were constantly events, like museum days or hikes.” Once the family moved to Colorado, however, things changed.
“Not as many people were home schooling for reasons similar to us. Most people were doing it for religious reasons. That definitely changed things,” said Marlens.
Kline’s family moved to Asia after his ninth grade year and instead of sending their children to a Singapore-American school, which cost 40,000 dollars per year, the family opted for home schooling, despite the cautions given out by Kline’s former Knoxville, Tennessee high school.
“Before I left, I asked my teachers, ‘Can you give me maybe a curriculum?’ They told me if you [homeschool], you’ll fail. You won’t get into colleges,” said Kline.
Marlens, too, was nervous when it came time to gather her materials and apply to college. “I think that it’s always sort of unpredictable how any kind of alternative application is going to be received,” she said. “I was definitely nervous.”For Marlens, having the two transcripts, one alternative and one more traditional was an added benefit because she felt the high school transcript gave her other transcript a frame of reference. This was a reference Kline did not have.Jumping into home schooling was a risk that the Kline family decided to take, but the transition wasn’t easy. Klein said that the first few months of home schooling were rocky. His mom found a curriculum online that had rave reviews, but it was incredibly Christian, and the first line of the curriculum’s Chemistry textbook was ‘Evolution is fake.” This curriculum wasn’t suited to Kline, who had been in AP Chemistry beforehand. Halfway through the year, Kline took it upon himself to find a new path of study, and ended up using an online resource called “Think Well” which consisted of online lectures.
“That first year was definitely about figuring it out,” he said. “What if those teachers were right, back in Knoxville? When we applied to colleges, it was really scary.”The warnings from the teachers back in Tennessee haunted the family, especially when Kline got rejected from the first three schools he applied to.
“Oh, no, we were thinking. We’ve ruined my future. We were crying,” recalled Kline. However, he was then accepted to three schools on the same day, one of which was Bowdoin.
“It was like, okay, breathe,” he said.
Kline and Marlens are members of the small and relatively unexplored home schooled population here at Bowdoin.Janet Lohmann, the dean of first-year students, noted that there have been home-schooled students on campus from time to time.
“I don’t necessarily see [home-schooled students] as having a collective or finding one another, but I would say that often times there are similar issues that they face,” said Lohmann, who has in the past been able to connect home-schooled students to one and other.
“I’ll say, you know, this might be a good person for you to talk to; they can help you figure out this place,” said Lohmann.Lohmann has noticed that sometimes the transition to Bowdoin can be difficult for home-schooled students.“I think there are certain articulated expectations here: how to meet deadlines, how to communicate with faculty,” explained Lohmann.
Lohmann described one occasion where a student did not realize that showing up for an exam at the time when it was scheduled was a requirement. It seems absurd, but the student explained that he had never had to show up to take an exam at a specified time. For home-schooled students, a big part of the adjustment is learning expectations, like what it means to go to class, meet deadlines, ask for help and use resources.
“While lots of people think of this place as very small, for home- schooled students, this place can feel very big,” said Lohmann.
Kline said that he does not know of any other home schooled students at Bowdoin, which Lohmann also noted.“I don’t know what the critical mass is,” said Lohmann, “I certainly could talk with Admissions and say, how do we identify those students and how do we create sort of a [community]. There are so few of them that it becomes hard to get a critical mass.”
“It would definitely be cool to talk to other people about their experiences. It was obviously a huge part of my life, but it isn’t something I think about day to day,” said Marlens, who also is not aware of other home-schooled students on campus.
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Scott Meiklejohn said that Bowdoin gets between 20 and 30 applicants from home schooled students each year.
“It’s like everything else,” Meiklejohn said, “It’s really hard no matter where you’re from or what you’ve done. Some years we’ve admitted some home schooled students, and some years we haven’t.”
Marlens said that when she applied, with her transcript mainly from her home schooling and partially from her high school, she felt that Bowdoin was accommodating.
The Bowdoin admissions website specifies that “Home school applicants are required to submit ACT test results or SAT test results with two or more SAT Subject Test results. SAT Subject Tests should include a science and Math Level 1 or Math Level 2.” Applicants from regular backgrounds are not required to submit test scores, since Bowdoin is test-optional.
Kline took six SAT subject tests and five AP tests. His mother felt comfortable grading his English assignments, but everything else was based off of his grade on the AP.
“If I got a five on the AP, I got an A. If I got a four, I got a B, and so on,” said Kline. “It was all based on that final grade.”Meiklejohn said that though home schooled students send in slightly different materials, Admissions reviews their applications like all others.
“We see academic achievement and talent and promise and personal qualities and ways to add to Bowdoin community. The review is not any different, but the contents of the application are sometimes different,” said Meiklejohn.Marlens does not regret the way she conducted her education. However, she does think the application process would have been easier had she switched to traditional schooling freshman year of high school.
“If I could do it again I would absolutely still home school up until that point,” said Marlens, adding that she “probably have decided to start going to school freshman year. It would have been less stressful.”
Lohmann said she thinks students who are admitted to Bowdoin are usually prepared to take on the challenge.“I think while every student has transitions, some students are fine with figuring this place out on their own. I think students find their way here,” she said.
While Lohmann may have heard of some students struggling to adjust, Kline found the switch from homeschooling to Bowdoin relatively easy.
“I found it way easier academically here,” said Kline, “because I had people telling me what to read, when to read it, and what to write a paper on.”
Back at home, Kline’s mom would have him pick a book that he liked, design a schedule around it, read it, discuss it and write a paper on whatever he wanted.
Marlens also enjoyed the switch from home schooling to the more traditional model, because she craved more structure.“I like a lot of structure. [Home schooling] works in different ways for different people,” said Marlens. “I am pretty self-motivated and I was able to get a lot done, but I wanted external requirements and guidelines.”
Kline felt similarly, saying, “I was very used to doing things independently, so when I came here, having other people structure things, it was very easy.”
Home schooling was never easy for Klein. He recalls handing in his first ever paper, and having his mom rip it up, declaring that they needed to work on his writing skills.
“She really made sure that when I made a point, I knew how to defend it,” said Kline, “I was able to write argumentative papers very well coming into college.”
Marlens said that her education was rigorous, but also incredibly untraditional. She just picked it up on her own. “Kids want to figure it out,” said Marlens, “It depends on the person, but kids want to learn things. Kids are naturally curious, I think.”
The biggest benefit of Marlens’ home schooling was her time spent outdoors.
“I cannot emphasize enough how much time I spent outside as a child. An unbelievable amount of time...that’s the biggest thing I cannot imagine. I can’t imagine being inside for 8 hours a day my entire childhood,” she said.In terms of the social adjustment in coming to college, Kline and Marlens felt very well prepared, though they have both found that home schooling stereotypes still exist and often get surprised reactions when they mention their backgrounds. However, both feel that being home schooled enhanced their social abilities.
According to Kline, the nice thing about home schooling is it did not limit him to talking to only people of his same age. With a family that traveled a lot, Kline got to talk to people who were anywhere between the ages of four and 87. “You get to meet people from all walks of life, and you learn how to talk to people from all walks of life,” said Kline. As a result, Kline has friends on campus from all over the world.
“I’m really lucky because I’m friends with Allison [Voner] in the mail center, Sue [O’Dell]from the science library, Guy Mark Foster, an English professor, Sandy, on the housekeeping staff,” said Klein. “I have a lot of people whom I consider really great friends who are not students here. And I feel like that’s because of home schooling.”Marlens too found herself in groups of people outside her own age range while being home schooled, noting that it feels almost unnatural to be kept alongside kids of only her age, as in the traditional school setting.Growing up, Kline initially felt forced to meet people outside his age range, but eventually, he started looking out for friends who were different than him. In Singapore at outdoor eating areas, Kline would strike up a conversation with the people cooking.
“I got whoever I could interact with,” said Kline.
Kline feels like the biggest transition for him was switching from spending his time with his family to living with roommates not related to him, but even that didn’t trip him up too much.
Home schooling worked for Kline. He found his way around Internet censorship in China, and smuggled educational resources into the country. He bought himself textbooks and watched biology experiments on YouTube. Each Sunday, he would write out a schedule for himself, and by the end of the week, he made sure everything had been accomplished, even if he had to scoot things around to accommodate for unexpected outings in Singapore, like mid-day family hikes. Kline would write his own exams trying to trick himself.
“I’m very self motivated. Homeschooling works when you have that self-motivation,” said Kline, “It might not work for somebody else.”
“It’s so dependent on the individual. For some kids, [traditional] school is great, and for some kids, it’s destructive,” said Marlens.
Home schooling, according to both Kline and Marlens, gives students the opportunity to explore. Both studied what interested them and read what they enjoyed.
“There’s a difference in the work that you do when you have a consciousness that you are doing it of your own volition,” said Marlens. “Most kids don’t really think about school as something that is optional. I think I had a greater awareness, like, I don’t want to waste my time here.”
“I feel that flexibility is really powerful in education,” said Kline, “I feel like you can’t learn something if you don’t feel motivated by it. And I felt motivated by what I was studying, so that got me to study more.”
Theater department to premiere French comedy ‘Imaginary Invalid’
Anyone strolling through Memorial Hall at some point in the past few weeks has most likely heard laughter, shouts, singing or booming voices emanating from the various rehearsal rooms scattered throughout the building.
Those noises coming from rehearsals for the Department of Theater and Dance’s production of Molière’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” directed by Assistant Professor of Theater Abigail Killeen with the help of Assistant Director Anna Morton ’15.
The show—which first premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012—is an adaptation of French playwright Moliere’s 1673 comedy. According to Morton, Bowdoin students will find it “funny and accessible.”
“I’ve had a lot of fun working on it so far,” she said.
Morton jumped at the opportunity to assist on the show, albeit at the last minute. She explained that Killeen looked for help in the first few days of the semester, asking if anyone would be willing to assist her on the show because Killeen was acting in a professional show off-campus.
“She told me about her vision for the show,” said Morton. “She was interested in letting someone have a more hands on experience and she was like, ‘I feel you could handle it.’ I said I wanted do it and it happened quickly.”
Morton studied dramaturgy at the Williamstown Theater Festival over the summer is currently enrolled in a course on directing taught by Professor of Theater Davis Robinson. She said it has been valuable to have this “real world experience” with directing.
“There have been a couple of rehearsals where Abby hasn’t been able to be there and it’s been interesting for me to figure out how to command the room,” said Morton.
While some might find it odd or difficult to direct their friends, Morton has found it engaging.
“It’s fun to look at my friends from a different perspective,” said Morton. “It’s fun to watch them grow.”
The actors agree that the process has been rewarding so far.
“It’s a really great show,” said Trevor Murray ’16. “The comedy in it is phenomenal.”
The show is challenging for Murray, who plays three characters, but he is enjoying it anyway.
“There’s something very fun about trying to bring three characters to life in a unique way,” he said.
Murray said that he has benefited from working with Killeen.
“She’s great,” said Murray. “She really knows what she wants. She has a real vision for how she wants the play to come together and she is phenomenal at giving very specific advice on how to improve our scenes.”
“She’s so enthusiastic about the theater world,” Morton said.
Morton said that having a dual relationship with Killeen—student and assistant director—has been an interesting experience.
“It’s cool to be her student, while working with her in a more official capacity,” said Morton. “I get different viewpoints and she has been so inclusive with me, keeping me involved in the process. Any big decision—she consults me.”
Evan Horwitz ’15, who was pre-cast in the role of Argan, the typical main role in the show, hesitated to declare himself the lead or anchor of the show.
“It’s a show that really has a nice ensemble feel and it only really pops and it’s only really funny when we’re all working together and we’re all on the same page,” said Horwitz.Horwitz also noted one of the show’s greatest strengths is the cast members’ varying levels of theater experience.
“It adds a life to the show that we have first years and sophomores and seniors and juniors. We have a really nice group dynamic with a lot of different people,” he said.
Murray also revealed his biggest worry about the show—that the audience members might not enjoy themselves—but said he was confident that the cast would entertain.
“You know, I think everyone has this inherent fear that a show is not going to be received well, but that’s just because you don’t really have this outside view of a show once you become so invested in it,” he said. “But I think the show is going to be received really well.”Morton said she also has her fair share of nerves.
“I’ve never had this experience of not being in a show, and having so much invested in it,” said Morton. “I’m just nervous, period. Now it’s up to these actors, and I have to take a leap of faith.”
The cast members all said they were excited to see what happens when they take the Wish Theater stage November 6, 7 and 8.
“We’ve been having a lot of fun,” said Horwitz. “Really, we’ve been playing.”
INFOGRAPHIC: Percentage of students with Pell Grants 2012-2014
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Professor’s new book explores theories of place
While teaching a class theorizing people, place and space at the Pratt Institute in New York City, Dr. Jen Jack Gieseking realized that she and her colleague, William Mangold, were rewriting the same, overdone syllabus that so many people had taught before them. So they decided to do something about it.
That something evolved into “The People, Place, and Space Reader,” a new anthology dedicated to scholars writing about the ways in which people inhabit the space around them.
Though it initially seemed an arduous task, Gieseking was excited by the idea of compiling all of her favorite works into one accessible reader.
“This is really great, fun material, and people think about it all the time,” explained Gieseking.
Mangold and Gieseking, along with renowned researchers and scholars Cindi Katz, Setha Low, and Susan Saegert, dove to work set on assembling the best texts from geography, sociology, design, and other fields.
“Space is everywhere we go,” noted Gieseking. “We wanted to take this very unique interdisciplinary approach and get it out to the world.”
Gieseking approaches “space” in a broad sense.
“I mean the environment; I mean the landscape: I mean buildings, neighborhoods, cities. The global, the intimate, the body, the street. Everything from the Cartesian coordinates on a Google map to the experience of where your head is at. That sort of relative and relational space, all those kinds of spaces.”
Whether students are aware of it or not, space affects everything in their worlds, all of the time, Gieseking asserts.
“How does the campus design affect how you feel about yourself? Here, we have these ‘teched-out’ classrooms and this beautiful view, and it really changes who we are and how we feel about ourselves,” Gieseking said as she gestured. “I’ve been obsessed with this since I was a child.”
For years scholars have been experimenting with compiling readings in the discipline. “The People, Place, and Space Reader” contains texts from geography, anthropology, psychology, architecture, urban studies and even a piece by Virginia Woolf about not being allowed entrance to the Oxford Library.
“It’s exciting. It’s compelling. There’s something for everyone,” she said.
For her, this project has a special draw: “It’s a lot about power and empowerment,” she noted, “It’s a lot about examining limited access to space.”
A huge part of this project was universal accessibility. Their website, peopleplacespace.org, provides the written introductions for each reading and a complete list of texts.
According to Gieseking, a group of people in Colombia who do not have enough money to buy the “The People, Place, and Space Reader” have been using the website to read the introductions, locate the PDFs online, and then hold local reading groups about the material.
“That is exactly what I want,” said Gieseking. “[The website] is an entry point that you can just jump into. You can do this on your own.”
Additionally, young scholars can add to the People Place Space website with recommendations of their own.
Added Gieseking, “I don’t want the book to end.”
Studying geography as anundergraduate student and “making a lot of maps,” Gieseking has always loved space. Her own sexuality also played a role in her long-lasting obsession with space. Having gone to Mount Holyoke, a women’s college, Gieseking has thought quite a bit about women’s education and women’s spaces.
“I’m a lesbian, and trans, which wasn’t even a word until 1996. All of this led to a lot of thinking about women’s spaces and gay spaces. When people talk about LGBTQ spaces, they talk about neighborhoods, bars, and cities. I don’t know of a city of women; I don’t know of a neighborhood of women; and there are two lesbian bars in Manhattan for women, and 58 for men. So if that’s what LGBTQ spaces are, it doesn’t represent women’s experiences,” Giesking said.
She is also working on an interactive online map of New York City. Gieseking has compiled 2,400 lesbian/queer places and events thus far, and visitors to the site can click on the marker dots and read about the stories that transpired at those locations. She is also expanding this project to be nation-wide, considering there is a queer mapping initiative in almost every city that could be incorporated into one large survey.
For Gieseking, all of her projects this year have come to revolve around one concept.
“There needs to be access to knowledge,” she said. “That is key.”
‘XIX’ exhibits work of senior visual arts majors
After four years of jogging around Brunswick to get to art class and spending late nights in the studio, the 18 seniors in Senior Studio, Professor James Mullen’s capstone course for senior visual arts majors, will display their final semester’s work in the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance today.
The show is called “XIX” because the group is “a team of 19,” including Mullen, said James Boeding ’14. Each student has created a project independently, with the freedom to take it in whatever direction he or she desired.
“They came in and they had 18 different directions,” said Mullen. “That’s what’s very exciting about this—we have a very broad array of media and types of work that people are investigating.”
This course, which is the culmination of their four years as student artists, pushed the students to take the materials with which they have grown familiar and “challenged them to become even more thematic and conceptual,” said Mullen.
The show includes drawings, paintings, photographs, collages, videos, sculptures and mixed media projects.
“It’s an opportunity for people to deeply investigate a body of work. They drive the bus, instead of being given assignments by instructors. The work has their stamp on it,” said Mullen.
Boeding, who has concentrated on photography during his time at Bowdoin, decided to focus on working with film. He experimented using the popular short video app Vine and explored using segmented screens to show multiple video source outputs.
“I created a camera that holds nine video cameras at once and films nine different perspectives. I call it the nine-eye,” said Boeding.
For Boeding, this semester has been a new experience.
“It was fun to start something new. My videos have been described as disorientating and kind of trippy, cool, a different way of looking at world,” said Boeding. “It’s like the world became the subject.”
Mullen noted that some students entered the class already armed with an idea of what they wanted to do while others came in clueless.
“They now know how to chart their own artistic course,” said Mullen.
Dana Hopkins ’14 said she changed her vision several times over the course of the semester. She said that it took her so long to settle on a project because of the freedom the class allowed.
“I didn’t really know how to paint yet, so I started trying to learn color and faces. I had to step back and start looking more deeply,” said Hopkins.
She ended up exploring the faces of female Bowdoin students through close-up portraits.“They’re just face, no body, and mostly only hair,” said Hopkins. “They’re meant to take the context away, to see how much of someone’s identity comes through when all you’re presented with is a face.”
Those involved in the course noted how rewarding it has been to work alongside the other senior art majors in the class.
“The feedback is diverse and that’s fun,” Boeding said.
Hopkins noted that prior to the class she really didn’t know the other majors all too well.“It’s been really nice, being in one building, inspired by what other people are doing. Not to mention the late night sessions we would have in the studio,” she said. “It’s nice to have camaraderie, and to meet people who I should have met a long time ago. It’s nice to know we all still had to figure ourselves out.”
All the artists plan on continuing with art in some capacity in the future, though perhaps not in professional careers.
“They will all pursue aspects of a creative life,” Mullen agreed. “Art will penetrate and have a presence in any path they take now.”
‘BNL’ provides new kind of Ivies late night
Live, from Bowdoin College, it’s Tuesday night! Simon Brooks ’14 will unveil his independent study, Bowdoin Night Live, on Tuesday as part of Ivies week. Taking place in Kresge Auditorium at 9 p.m., the show will follow the classic Saturday Night Live format with a musical guest—campus band The NARPs—and celebrity cameos. Tickets for “Bowdoin Night Live” (“BNL”) are available at the Smith Union Information desk.
“I love Saturday Night Live, it’s my dream to be a part of that writing team,” said Brooks.The project has been an independent study this semester.
“I want to write sketches,” said Brooks, “I write sketches in my free time, so I figured, why not get credit for it?”
He has spent the semester pursuing the independent study under the guidance of Davis Robinson, a Theater professor.
“We tried to make it as close to the timeline of the real SNL as possible,” said Clare DeSantis ’16, writer and cast member. “The difference is, writing sketches is their only job, and we have to go to classes too.”
Brooks assembled a team of writers—though he had the final say on all sketches—and then assigned roles.
The cast of eight includes Sam Chase ’16, Catalina Gallagher ’16, Chuck Rollins ’14, Liv King ’14, Clare DeSantis ’16, John Swords ’15, Leo Shaw ’15 and Brooks himself. The writing team created sketches with specific cast members in mind.
DeSantis said that prior to working with the group, she vaguely knew five of the eight, noting that Brooks did a good job of gathering people from different social groups on campus.
“It is interesting to pick up on what different people think are the funny things about campus, the interesting quirks of Bowdoin,” she said.
The sketches focus on humorous elements of life on campus.
“The idea of SNL is social commentary on the world,” explained Brooks, “So rather than do what the professionals do, we decided to comment on our small world, with sketches and jokes about Bowdoin.”
Other than hinting at its structure, Brooks is tight-lipped about what else the show will include. “I don’t want to give away any of the sketches,” he said.
Brooks’ decision to stage the show at the onset of Ivies stems from his perceived lack of campus comedy shows during the festivities, which are overwhelmed by musical performances. The group has rehearsed almost every night this past week, and they have been filming the digital shorts—inspired by The Lonely Island—for over a month. However, most of the sketches will be live.
“People like laughing,” said Brooks. “There’s more of a demand than supply for comedy on campus.”
DeSantis agreed. “Maybe this could start carving out a niche for more comedy on campus.”
Here Having Been There: "Here Having Been There" spotlights socioeconomic diversity of students' roots
“Home is not something we talk about very often here,” said Marta Misiulaityte ’14, one of the curators of the “Here Having Been There” exhibit that opens this Tuesday, April 8, in the basement of the Visual Arts Center.
On a college campus, the idea of “home” is a loaded one, as students adapt to new surroundings and leave family behind.
“We felt that people who come from similar low-socioeconomic backgrounds, like us, are underrepresented at Bowdoin, and their voices are not heard as much. We wanted to organize an exhibit that showcased places where people come from, in a very visual way,” said Misiulaityte.
The exhibit’s curators hope to display some of those origins and open up a conversation about the different places that students call home. They have received about 25 photos so far, and hope to reach about 40 in total, after the addition of photos from faculty and staff. All the photos will be displayed in black and white, but some will be different sizes.
“People tend to avoid conversations about class, because it’s such an uncomfortable topic. You get here and you’re supposed to be on a level playing field. Maybe people talk about their parents or siblings, but it’s hard to visualize,” said Misiulaityte.
Originally conceived as an exhibit exclusively focused on the homes of low-income students, “Here Having Been There” now attempts to represent the homes of all students and explore “how the definition of home differs,” according to Andrew Cushing ’12, the other curator of the exhibit.
The exhibit may have branched out from Misiulaityte and Cushing’s personal experiences to include a variety of different homes, but it still holds personal value for each curator. Misiulaityte will graduate this spring, and Cushing will leave Bowdoin for graduate school after two years of work as a sustainability outreach assistant.
“I’m leaving campus,” said Cushing. “There’s nothing for me to be ashamed of anymore. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point, but I feel comfortable sharing now, especially if it makes other students feel more comfortable about where they’re coming from.”
Cushing and his brother are currently tearing down their childhood home, a home of which he has no photos.
“That was kind of the impetus for me. How do you encapsulate that loss of childhood upbringing?” said Cushing.
Misiulaityte expressed a similar sentiment.
“Coming from a place of lower means, there’s a component of embarrassment, maybe even shame,” she said. “I thought, if my doing this will help some first years have more conversations about where they come from and the meaning of home, then I’m perfectly positioned to open up that conversation for them.”
The photographs in the exhibit are from a wide array of places, including Montana, Alaska, Lithuania and Nova Scotia.
“It’s fun to see the diversity, and sometimes, how similar some of the homes do look,” said Cushing.
Some students whose homes appear in the exhibit expressed a desire to explain their photo, while other students wanted their pictures to speak for themselves. One student explained that her home was her Bowdoin bedroom, because she had never had a permanent home outside of school.
“This is our visual contribution. I want to open these conversations up to everyone, make it less of a taboo thing to talk about,” said Misiulaityte.
Misiulaityte doesn’t think of this project as her parting gift to Bowdoin, but she did say that the project is one of her most personal endeavors.
“Being on ResLife, I was always doing programs for first years and residents,” she said. “I was always doing assignments for professors, but this feels like the first project coming out of a personal sense of urgency to make this happen.”
Cushing added that the exhibit does not just showcase the homes of poorer students, though students from more affluent backgrounds have been timid about putting forth their photographs.
“Privilege is embarrassing too, for some students,” said Cushing.
In working on the exhibit, Cushing and Misiulaityte partnered with the club the Undiscussed, which is orchestrating discussions about risk and comfort zones this semester.
Video: In Focus: Bowdoin a cappella
No treble in paradise: a look at the auditions, rivalries, and inner workings of Bowdoin a cappella
Throughout the school year, students flock to campus venues to hear their favorite a cappella groups perform. Whether the event is the large holiday concert in Pickard or a more intimate, laidback gathering in Ladd House, the performances are well attended almost without exception. However, there is a lot more to the world of a cappella than belting out your favorite Macklemore song in the chapel. There are logistics involved: organizing auditions, obtaining recording funds and the ongoing effort to dispel the prevalent notion of tense rivalries between groups.
The A Cappella Council, spearheaded by Noah Gavil ’14, works to facilitate communication between the six groups to ensure that these logistics run as smoothly as possible. Although the groups perform together three times a year, their contact is otherwise fairly limited, and the Council has recently been working to change that.
“This year, for the first time that I remember, we had a big meeting between all the other groups to work through some of the kinks,” said Kevin Miao ’14 of the Longfellows. “In the past, it was much more fragmented and there wasn’t much communication.”
One of the most important aspects of this communication occurs during audition period. At the beginning of the year, each group goes around to the first year bricks to do “dorm sings,” making sure not to overlap too closely with anyone else. Interested students then sign up for auditions later in the week.
“People kind of do their own thing with auditions, but it’s mostly a variation of the same thing,” said Gavil, who added that after the first wave of auditions, leaders from each group consult to create a schedule for callbacks. This way, if someone gets a callback from two groups, they can attend both.
“There’s a big draft through all the groups where we talk about who wants whom,” said Erica Nangeroni ’14 of the coed group BOKA. “If we have someone we really can’t make a decision on we say, ‘Hey, you got into a couple groups; you have a few minutes to decide which one you want to be in.’ It’s a little high pressure.”
As a side note, Nangeroni added, “We tend to have more girls audition than guys. The general trend is that boys are pulled a little bit more towards all-male groups and girls are pulled more towards coed group.”
“There have been occasions where someone has been in two groups, but it is somewhat discouraged,” said Gavil. “They are always in one group first and then if they want to be in another group, they can audition in later years.”
The lack of overlap in groups could feed the idea of their being rivalries amongst them, but Gavil, a member of Ursus Verses, maintains that this is not the case.
“It’s all artificial to me—it’s sort of funny,” he said. “I think any rivalries are not real rivalries—they’re not like Seahawks and 49ers—and I think what is cool is that all the groups definitely have their own vibe, and their sort of type of repertoire and type of presentation.”
Meddiebempster Michael Yang ’14 agreed, highlighting the difference in presentation between the two all-male groups. Where the Meddiebempsters (Meddies) are more “barbershop and tongue-in-cheek,” according to Yang, the Longfellows have a slightly more modern style in terms of song choice, arrangement and choreography.
“We sing completely different things,” said Miao. “The kinds of kids who are attracted to the Longfellows aren’t necessarily attracted to what the Meddies bring to the table and [vice versa].”However, just because such rivalries do not exist does not mean that they never did.
“I know that my freshman year, some of the Meddie/Longfellow seniors—I don’t even know who—just personally didn’t like each other, and that grew into a group thing,” said Yang.
“We have been trying to get rid of the perception of rivalries. I’ve loved a lot of Longfellows…As long as both groups are good, then that is a great thing,” he added.
Nangeroni expressed similar sentiments.
“When I was younger, there were more rigid rivalries so to speak,” she said. “I think there was just a little bit more contention when I was an underclassman, and I can’t really say why.”
She added that Thursday night’s Bursurka—a joint concert with BOKA and Ursus Verses—is a good way to dissolve the notion of rivalries.
“I think the [idea] stems from the fact that there are two male groups, two female groups and two co-ed groups, and automatically people think that all of them are going to be butting heads,” she said. “Bursurka is a good opportunity for us to show the campus that the coed groups are here to work together and we’re just here to have fun with each other.”
“There’s always a friendly rivalry,” said Margaret Lindeman ’15 of Ursus Verses, “but I think it more comes from the fact that every group wants to make really good music. So we’re always pushing ourselves to perform better and be as good as we can be, not by putting other groups down, but by doing the best that we can.”
One aspect of the a cappella community that has always been strong is alumni relations, particularly with the Meddies and Longfellows, who hold frequent reunions.
“We have really tight alumni connections,” said Yang. “I know alums from ’06-’07 pretty well even though I never went to school with them, because they visited here sometimes. I’ve been added to the email thread list of recent alumni from 2001 on, and there’s a Facebook group too.”
Although the alumnae networks in the all-female groups may not be quite as established, the leaders say that their alumnae remain an important part of their identity. Over Spring Break, Miscellania did a weeklong tour of New England and New York, where they were able to touch base with several alumnae.
“We’ve done relatively informal reunions in the past, but I think it would be great to do a bigger, official reunion, too,” said Paige Gribb ’14 of Miscellania. “We’ll have our 45th anniversary in 2017, so that will definitely be cause for celebration.”
Above all else, the singers all seem to agree that a cappella has been a defining part of their Bowdoin experience, and many of them hope to continue singing after graduation.
“[A cappella] has helped me with my personal confidence in terms of singing,” said Nangeroni. “It’s honed my leadership skills but also my public speaking skills. After college, I know that I want to keep singing. I don’t know when or where, but I know that I need some sort of outlet, because it’s been a great way to just relieve stress and I enjoy it so much.”URSUS VERSES
Founded 2001 * co-edbehind the name: Ursus means bear in Latin, and verse is a musical term for a line of wordsMUSICAL STYLE: Pop music, ranging from hip-hop to folkMOST POPULAR SONGS: “Leaving Town” by Dexter Freebish, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Intro” by the xx and folk song “Down to the River to Pray”TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with BOKA CLAIM TO FAME: The song “No More Crazies” from their 2012 CD was featured on the Best of A Cappella CDRECORDINGS: Three CDs signature PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Semi-casual gray scale
BEHIND THE NAME: Ursus means bear in Latin, and verse is a musical term for a line of wordsMUSICAL STYLE: Pop music, ranging from hip-hop to folkMOST POPULAR SONGS: “Leaving Town” by Dexter Freebish, “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus, “Intro” by the xx and folk song “Down to the River to Pray”TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with BOKACLAIM TO FAME: The song “No More Crazies” from their 2012 CD was featured on the Best of A Cappella CDRECORDINGS: Three CDs SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Semi-casual gray scaleMISCELLANIA
Founded 1972 * ALL WOMEN
BEHIND THE NAME: Created the year women were first admitted to Bowdoin; wanted the name to match the Meddiebempsters; looked in a dictionary and chose Miscellania
MUSICAL STYLE: Range of classical choral music and current pop
MOST POPULAR SONGS: Depends on the audience, but currently “Royals” by Lorde
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: ValJam with the Longfellows and Meddielania with the Meddiebempsters
CLAIM TO FAME: They were on Maine Public Broadcasting Network with the Meddiebempsters a couple of years ago.
RECORDINGS: Several CDs are out, most recently Little Black Dress, and another in the works for this year or next
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Black dresses
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Scarborough Fair” by Simon and GarfunkelTHE LONGFELLOWS
Founded 2004 * ALL men
BEHIND THE NAME: Named after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, class of 1825
MUSICAL STYLE: Pop, contemporary a cappella and traditional American choral pieces
MOST POPULAR SONGS: “Hey Juliet” by LMNT
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: ValJam with Miscellania
CLAIM TO FAME: Semi-finals at the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella 3 years ago; made the Top 30 on the show Sing Off two seasons ago; sang the national anthem at a Celtics games
RECORDINGS: A new EP is on the way, and they have previously recorded three CDs.
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Black suitsBOKA
Founded 1994 * co-ed
BEHIND THE NAME: It stood for Bowdoin’s Only Co-ed A Cappella, but the Best of College A Cappella CD acronym caused confusion, so the C was changed to a K
MUSICAL STYLE: Pop, with a little bit of indie
MOST POPULAR SONGS: A mashup of “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber and “Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: Bursurka with Ursus Versus
CLAIM TO FAME: Low-key concerts for friends in college houses
RECORDINGS: The last CD was recorded 3 years ago, and another one is due this spring
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Jewel tones
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “No Scrubs” by TLCBELLAMAFIA
Founded 2007 * ALL WOMEN
BEHIND THE NAME: Randy Nichols said that the group was pretty in crime so they decided to incorporate it into the group’s name.
MUSICAL STYLE: Mostly folk with some higher energy music.
MOST POPULAR SONGS: A mashup of “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys and “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem ft. Rihanna
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: PrezJam with the Meddiebempsters
CLAIM TO FAME: They perform in many elderly homes in Brunswick and for the Portland Review.
RECORDINGS: One currently out, with another coming next year.
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Seasonal. They wear sweaters and try to coordinate.
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Elastic Heart” by SiaTHE MEDDIEBEMPSTERS
Founded 1937 * ALL men
BEHIND THE NAME: The original story is that someone was blindfolded while throwing darts at a map of Maine, and one dart struck Lake Meddybemps.
MUSICAL STYLE: Founded on barbershop, but they also do jazz arrangements and modern pop songs
MOST POPULAR SONGS: “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington and “Goodbye, My Coney Island Baby” by Les Applegate
TRADITION OR EVENT THEY’RE ASSOCIATED WITH: PrezJam with Bellamafia, and their annual tour
CLAIM TO FAME: They’ve sung at the White House, in Korea and in California
RECORDINGS: Decades of CDs, including Christmas with the Meddies
SIGNATURE PERFORMANCE ATTIRE: Khakis, white shirts, blue blazers, and Bowdoin polar bear ties
IF THEY COULD PERFORM ANY SONG, WHAT WOULD IT BE: “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot
Longfellows celebrate ten-year anniversary with alumni reunion
At ValJam, the most recent Longfellow’s concert, audience members were thrilled to hear upbeat tunes like “Juliet” by LMNT and “Ignition Remix” by R. Kelly. This weekend, however, the Longfellows will be singing those pop songs alongside songs from years past, like “Sing me to Heaven” and “It is Well.”
This year marks the a cappella groups’ ten year anniversary and 20 former Longfellow members are coming to campus for a reunion.
The group, which started in 2004, has since become a core part of Bowdoin’s a cappella scene. It was founded by a member of the Class of 2007 who felt there was a need for another all-male group on campus. The Longfellows began as a barbershop quartet, called BBQ, but developed into the larger group they are today.
This weekend’s programming is planned by Alumni Relations, and includes a casual dinner on Friday night, a presentation on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and a formal dinner with dates and friends Saturday night.
Kevin Ma ’17, one of the newest members of the group, is particularly excited for the Saturday dinner.
“Where have they been for the past 10 years?” said Ma. “Ten years worth of Longfellows, I’ve heard a lot of stories about past Longfellows, and based on the stories, they all sound like real characters.”
Saturday night’s dinner will feature most of the singing. First, the original group, BBQ, will perform, followed by a middle group of alumni and finally the current group. To conclude, all the members will sing together for their families, friends and dates.
“It’s very recent history, compared to the Meddies,” said Ma. The Meddiebempsters started in the 1930s and are the nation’s third-oldest a cappella group. However, the Longfellows consider their short history to be a unique and valuable quality.
“It’s what we treasure most,” said Shan Nagar ’16, who currently leads the group. “Since our group is so young, we’re privileged to be able to stay in close contact with the founding members. At any time throughout the year we can reach out for help and advice on life or music. Once we graduate, we’ll be able to reach out to members of the group.”
Ma said that he was looking forward to hearing the contrast between the old songs and the new.
“We’ll sing the songs of the Longfellows today, [and the alumni] will see what kinds of songs we do now. Then we’ll get together and sing the songs that all of us know. It’s like history through song,” said Ma.
Nagar also noted how exciting it is to see just how far the new a cappella group has come since its conception in 2004. In 2011, the group made it to the Top 30 on NBC’s reality show “The Sing Off;” that same year the group made the semifinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. This year the group performed at a Celtics game, just as they did in 2010.
“We’ve been fortunate to break out of the Bowdoin sphere,” said Nagar.
Additionally, Nagar said he appreciated the excuse to see the recent graduates this weekend:“I think that really the point of the weekend isn’t just celebrating the ten year anniversary, that just gives us an occasion to do this,” said Nagar. “It’s a chance to build unity between every member of the Longfellows, every generation.”
Alum returns to Bowdoin as 'Aurora Whorealis' for Drag Show
It all started when Antonio ’12 watched Manila Luzón, a television personality and runner-up in the third season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a show that premiered in 2009 with the hope of finding America’s next drag superstar.
“I was a huge fan,” said Antonio in a phone interview with the Orient. “I figured, I can learn from Manila.”
(For personal reasons, Antonio prefers to be referred to by his first name only.)
After he began watching drag on television, Antonio began performing drag as Aurora Whorealis, the alter ego he adopted his senior year at Bowdoin.
“I didn’t know much about drag or drag queens. That was my first exposure to it. I had never been to a drag show before, but I wanted the campus to experience it,” said Antonio.
“I actually had Manila [Luzón] come and teach me a workshop—me and maybe 12 other kids. We learned how to do drag makeup,” he said. “I’ve actually seen Manila a couple times since then and reconnected with her, and been able to show her that my drag has come so far.”
Antonio will be hosting the drag show sponsored by the Bowdoin Queer-Straight Alliance (BQSA) as Aurora Whorealis on Saturday night.
“I thought it was a great idea to host the Drag Ball,” said Antonio, “I felt honored to be asked because I had so much to do with it my senior year. I think it’s a good opportunity to get to come back, since I’ve continued to do drag for two years, and it all started with the BQSA Drag Ball. That was formative in deciding that this was a hobby I really enjoyed.”
According to Antonio, regardless of sexual identity, drag’s main draw is its appeal to people who just want to have fun and experience something new.
“Some of my friends who had most fun my senior year were students who just decided they wanted to have fun and dress up in drag,” said Antonio. “They were students who identified as straight and non-straight, and there were some students who chose not to identify [as either]. You can be as big or as little as you want to be.”
Antonio was president of BQSA his senior year, and “wanted to make drag culture bigger” at Bowdoin.
In 2012 he invited a drag queen to Maine to host Bowdoin’s first ever drag show. It was held in the basement of a College House, and it was there that Antonio performed for the first time.
“I was really frantic that entire day,” recalled Antonio. “I was nervous about everything being in place. [Before performing] I always find an inner calm. It was nerve-wracking to dance around wearing high heels and ratty wigs, but it was really fun. I had a blast and got a really positive and supportive response from the audience.”
However, Antonio noted that only a handful of people attended. The audience, he said, was “fantastic,” but he still wanted to find a way to make drag culture more visible at Bowdoin.
Since Antonio’s tenure, BQSA has held events like the Drag Ball in Jack Magee’s Pub and Grill, which has increased awareness of them on campus. Being in the Pub (where Saturday’s performance will be)—under the lights and on a real stage—makes the show more of an experience.
“It definitely will feel more like a real drag show. [The venue] is appropriate for the event and it’ll be a really good time. I’m glad the BQSA moved it out of a social house and into the Pub, because that’s one of the most central, public spaces on campus.”
For the past few years, Antonio has been living in Philadelphia—a bigger city with a bigger LGBTQIA population.
“There’s just a lot of people looking for outlets to express themselves,” said Antonio.
Antonio said he does not feel his alter ego is too much of a leap from his everyday personality.
“Aurora Whorealis...it isn’t too much of a persona,” said Antonio. “I don’t really act too differently. I put on some makeup, some tight fitting outfits, but I don’t really have a different performance identity. I don’t really draw a line of distinction between the two. I haven’t invested too much time in creating character. [Drag] is a hobby for me; it’s on the side.”
A typical drag show consists of several different performances, usually including a lip sync to a song or a mix of songs. According to Antonio, the experience is very theatrical.
“It takes a lot of guts to get in drag. You really share a part of your soul, your creative side,” he said.
Since Antonio only began perfoming in 2012, he said he sympathizes with performers who are anxious about getting on stage and he has some advice.
“Just have fun. Don’t take it too seriously,” he said. “The common thread seems to be to do it for the fun. The moment it becomes labored, it’s not worth it anymore.”
“A drag show is something different, something the grand majority of students have never seen,” Antonio added. “I’m excited to see who comes out and see what kinds of fun we can have.”
If students are having fun, Antonio said, there is a customary way of showing it.
“At bars, people tip drag queens with dollar bills. It’s a really great way to show them you are having a really good time,” he said. “Drag performers love tips...though I don’t think you can tip in Polar Points.”
‘Exposure’ exhibit reveals study abroad experiences
The 62 photos currently displayed in the Lamarche Gallery as part of the Office of Off-Campus Study’s “Exposure” exhibit range from professional shots to pictures snapped from a flip phone that are “barely Facebook worthy,” according to Kate Myall, assistant director of Off-Campus Study. However, these photos are not hanging because they are deemed excellent works of art, but because they tell unique stories of Bowdoin students abroad.
Christine Wintersteen, director of Off-Campus Study, and Myall sent out prompts to students who were abroad in the past year, asking them to send in photographs and include a short caption explaining the image.
“It was a way for the students to find a different means of processing their abroad experience and reflect back on it, trying to see whatever country they were in, in a different light,” said Abbie Geringer ’14, the curator of the exhibit.
Transsexual artist opens Union portrait gallery
Despite growing up in Philadelphia in a religious family of six that “encouraged self expression,” Zen Browne left home at age 17 after coming out as a gay woman. Decades later, Browne’s work is now on display at Bowdoin, documenting the painter’s journey of becoming a man.
“They couldn’t take it when I came out,” said Brown. “It wasn’t okay, to be gay or lesbian. But I don’t believe in sad stories. Pretty much everything that has occurred [in my life] has served as inspiration for me. It made sense that I couldn’t stay at home, because I needed to express myself and become who I am.”
A form of that same self-expression comes through in Browne’s artwork, a portion of which is now on display in the Blue Gallery of Smith Union, and will stay there until February 28. The show, entitled “Obscure Identities: A reflection on men of transsexual experience through painting,” displays paintings by Browne depicting both friends and people he has come to know since beginning the project, all of whom have undergone the sexual transitions from female to male and now consider themselves transmen. Browne’s work with these paintings directly parallels his own transition.
One semester in, Edwards Center for Art and Dance unifies student, faculty artistsUpon entering the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance, it is clear that it is a home for the arts—or at least that’s how dancer Adrienne Hanson ’14 feels. “You really feel the creativity when you walk in,” explained Hanson. “It’s incredible.”Last year, walking to a painting class could take anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour. Prior to the opening of the Edwards Center in August 2013, the visual arts and dance classes were spread out around campus and throughout the town of Brunswick, most notably at Maine Street’s Fort Andross Mill. The new center—a $6.5 million renovation of the former Longfellow Elementary School—has created a unified home for the visual art and dance departments.“In the building, we get to house all of the visual arts classes,” said Ella Blanchon ’16, a visual arts and government major. According to Blanchon, the best thing about the new building—aside from the closer location—is its size.“We just have so much more space to do things. Like six by seven foot paintings. That’s not something I would have ever been able to do in the VAC. There’s just not enough studio space,” said Blanchon. “It’s crazy how exciting it is to be able to think about a project on that scale. Before, the biggest you could go was maybe four feet.”Blanchon said she loves having the new building. Last semester, she got her own studio with huge windows and natural lighting, which she said is “extremely important” for painting. The new center has created many opportunities for creative synergy, but Blanchon doesn’t believe the intention of the building is to unify the visual and performing arts.“To the extent we’re all in the same building, it’s unifying, but it’s tough, because there’s not a lot of cross over. We’re all very artistic and crazy...but that’s about where it ends. Everyone’s his or her own individual,” she said. “I don’t think the aim of the building was to unify people...at least not to unify the visual and the performing arts. It was to be a gorgeous building where we can have all of the art department in one place.”Paul Sarvis, senior lecturer in dance performance and chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, noted that it’s still challenging to “function as a department” despite the new space. Some dance studios are still located in Memorial Hall, forcing professors to walk across campus. Another key aspect of the new arts center is its ability to draw the attention of prospective students. Blanchon was looking for schools with beautiful arts centers when she was applying, and she was disappointed by the lack of an artistic epicenter at Bowdoin before the conception of the Edwards Center. “[Art] wasn’t as ingrained here, and I think the new building really helps to facilitate a more artistic community,” said Blanchon. “It allows us to actually have shows in one place.” Hanson agreed with Blanchon’s assessment of the Edwards Center as a pull for prospective students. “I feel like that’s going to mean something for people looking at Bowdoin...knowing that the arts are a huge department and the professors here have wonderful things to offer,” she said. “For the most part, the Edwards Center has been fantastic,” said Sarvis. “What had been previously just a prep room in the train station building that we moved from is now a studio being used for teaching, and it’s big enough so the student dance groups can use it for rehearsing.”“Architecturally the spaces are inspiring to me, the high ceilings, the skylights, and the natural lighting.”Sarvis noted that there have been some “building issues that still have to be worked out with regard to the air handling and heating systems and the dance floor, but those are getting addressed and will get worked out in the next couple of years.” Hanson echoed some of Sarvis’ concerns about the building issues, and his assurance that the problems are being dealt with. Sarvis recognizes the continuity the Edwards Center offers to Bowdoin’s artistic community. “It’s delightful and really significant to be housed with visual art, because I think that dancing and visual art have a tremendous amount in common,” he said. “It’s kind of amazing what a difference it makes to just simply be passing people and have casual conversations that turn into substantive discussions about teaching or about art history and practice.” Hanson’s only other complaint involves the availability of the building. “I’m in a dance class, but I don’t have access to the other art studios or the media lab or even to the [dance seminar room],” she said. “I understand that the media lab has a lot of very expensive equipment, but [the lack of access] is a little frustrating, for someone like me who really finds such solitude here.”
Upon entering the Robert H. and Blythe Bickel Edwards Center for Art and Dance, it is clear that it is a home for the arts—or at least that’s how dancer Adrienne Hanson ’14 feels.
“You really feel the creativity when you walk in,” explained Hanson. “It’s incredible.”
Last year, walking to a painting class could take anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour. Prior to the opening of the Edwards Center in August 2013, the visual arts and dance classes were spread out around campus and throughout the town of Brunswick, most notably at Maine Street’s Fort Andross Mill. The new center—a $6.5 million renovation of the former Longfellow Elementary School—has created a unified home for the visual art and dance departments.
Meddiebempsters participate in recording for dementia research
Last Saturday, the Meddiebempsters, Bowdoin’s oldest all-male a cappella group, performed at the 2nd Annual Smith College concert to benefit the Neil McManus Fund and the Beverley Pickering Alzheimer’s and Music Program.
The concert was a benefit for dementia caregivers. While the concert provided audience members with music and laughs, the songs performed were recorded and will be used for another purpose: a music therapy study conducted by Johns Hopkins and Harvard University.
The Meddies shared the stage with Smith College’s Smiffenpoofs, Mount Holyoke’s Victory Eights and Connecticut College’s CoCoBeaux. Recordings of the concert will be sold and proceeds will go towards the Neil McManus Memorial Fund created by Heather S. Craig, a former dementia caregiver, in memory of her late husband.
Public curates one-night exhibit at Pop-Up Museum
It’s not everyday one finds a program for a 1970 Red Sox game, a record of sheep sacrifices from 1900 B.C. and an armadillo sewing basket sitting side-by-side. But attendees of Tuesday night’s Pop-Up Museum were privy to just that.
A Pop-Up Museum is essentially a temporary exhibit created by whoever shows up to participate. People arrive with an object in hand and put it on display to share with the public.
The Pop-Up Museum, held in Hubbard Hall, was an idea formulated by Susan Kaplan, professor of sociology and anthropology and director of the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center. Inspired by her “Who Owns The Past” course, Kaplan decided to take a stab at creating Bowdoin’s first Pop-Up Museum.
Portrait of an artist: Lucy Walker '14
It’s not every day you see a student and her professor lowering a 14-foot painting out of a third-story window, but that’s exactly what Lucy Walker ’14 and Mark Wethli, professor of art, did this summer with an oil paint mural of the Brunswick Town Green—the product of Walker’s years here at Bowdoin. It will be unveiled on November 16 in the waiting room of the Brunswick Mid Coast Primary Care and Walk-In Clinic.
“I came up with it the spring of my first year in a course called Public Art, and I was contacted that following summer asking if I wanted to actually make it,” said Walker.
“The Brunswick Downtown Association came to our class...and said that we could choose to work with any space in town. They were soliciting our ideas,” she added.
Portrait of an artist: Esther Nunoo '17
At the first Open Mic Night of the year, Esther Nunoo ’17 took the stage and silenced the audience with the words from her slam poetry piece, “Shalom.” Other than being “super nervous,” what she remembers most about the experience is what people commented on afterwards: her lack of shoes.
“I don’t like to perform with shoes on,” explained Nunoo, “I feel like spitting—that’s what I call [speaking my poetry]—is very therapeutic. It’s kind of ritualistic. One artist put it perfectly, he said, ‘Performing poetry is kind of like performing open heart surgery, in front of an audience, with no anesthesia.’ That’s how I feel.”
Nunoo has been performing her poetry for several years now. In eighth grade Nunoo starting doing rap battles with a friend, but it wasn’t until he introduced her to the Writer’s Collective in ninth grade that she truly began to take to slam poetry. The Writer’s Collective is a group of young people from New York City who gather on a weekly basis and write about social justice issues.
Art Society to curate student work, discuss modern art world
This fall, Bowdoin Art Society, a new art interest group, entered the College’s art scene. For the past few years, Bowdoin has had two different art groups: Art Club, dedicated to the making of art, and the Student Museum Collaborative (SMC), devoted to bridging the gap between Bowdoin College Museum of Art and students. Art Society’s agenda, however, involves fostering conversations about visual arts and creating art shows composed of student work.
“Art Society is about bringing together people who have an interest in the arts and forming a nucleus for the art community on campus,” said Tom Rosenblatt ’16, Art Society co-president.
“Right now, there are a lot of other great art clubs, but we want to really centralize the artistic sphere on campus,” he added.
Portrait of an artist: Emily Hochman ’15
Dressed in maroon corduroys cuffed at the ankle, strappy suede sandals and an oversized sweater, Emily Hochman ’15 exudes the aura of an artist—as she rightly should. Hochman spent the summer living in rustic Canada as an artist-in-residence on Kent Island, a research outpost owned by the College.
While most people go to Kent Island to pursue biology research, Hochman, set out to film a documentary.
Hochman observed several other Bowdoin students doing field research projects based out of the Kent Island facility. She is working this semester on an independent study with Sarah Childress, visiting assistant professor in film studies, to compile the footage she collected.