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Arts & Entertainment

Comedy

Activist turned comic: Yang subverts the status quo

Award-winning comic Jenny Yang was an organizer for over 85,000 labor union members when she decided to try her hand at professional joke-making. The Los Angeles-based comedian had made a career out of political activism when she took a risk and devoted herself to what she had always been good at: making people laugh.

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Writing

Author Michael Paterniti talks process, travel and journalism

Michael Paterniti’s work combines storytelling in its multiplicity of forms, blurring the lines between creative writing, journalism and creative nonfiction. On Wednesday evening Paterniti visited campus to speak about his writing experience and to read from his recent collection of longform essays, “Love and Other Ways of Dying.” Paterniti doesn’t see his work as strictly falling into any one category.

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The Aux Cord

Sylvan Esso: a duo of unlikely grace and brilliant balance

Amelia Meath opened Sylvan Esso’s set at the Portland State Theater with a song about songs. “Sound,” the stripped-back opener of the duo’s 2017 album “What Now,” hears Meath at a near whisper, “All you’ll hear is sound, and / All you’ll feel is sound, and / All you’ll be is sound.” The lines aim to unify the natural and the artificial, as Meath sings note for note beside a lone synthesizer.

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Film

On PolarFlix: ‘Almost Famous’

Welcome to On PolarFlix, a column that will review a movie a week that can be found on Bowdoin’s very own, BSG-sponsored “PolarFlix” network. We are starting with Cameron Crowe’s cult classic “Almost Famous” (2000). Plot summary (no spoilers!): “Almost Famous” is a contained movie about colossal subjects: coming of age, the changing nature of rock ’n’ roll, first love and the ultimate disappointment of meeting one’s heroes.

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Museum

Please touch: interactive ‘Reading Room’ opens in museum

The newest exhibit at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) consists of one room with couches, chairs, bookshelves, two iPads and a chalkboard. “Reading Room: Experiments in Collaborative Dialogue and Archival Practice in the Arts” is a social practice art exhibit, part of an art discipline that views the creation of a social situation as art in its own right.

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Poetry

Acevedo performs poetry with power

Rats, Cardi B and Catholic iconography each have a home in Elizabeth Acevedo’s award-winning slam poetry. Sponsored by the Center for Multicultural Life, Acevedo’s performance on Tuesday night at Jack Magee’s Pub probed into issues of politics, race, culture and womanhood.

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Museum

‘Second Sight’ explores vision and accessibility

Both the visual and nonvisual are on display in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s newest exhibition, “Second Sight: The Paradox of Vision in Contemporary Art.” Alongside its array of diverse and often abstract works—from beaded curtains hanging from doorways to auditory works of art—the gallery contains a series of “audible labels” played through an innovative device developed specifically for this show.

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Theater

‘Love and Information’ is a play for the modern age

Watching “Love and Information” feels a lot like scrolling through your Twitter feed—which you might be, if you happen to sit in the “Tweet Seat” section. Based on the award-winning play by Caryl Churchill, the interactive play tackled what it means to be alive right now—to be constantly inundated by digital media.

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Visual Arts

‘The Spaceship’ settles in Portland

Inside a well-lit warehouse somewhere between Portland’s East and West ends, five friends create. They make gestures on canvas, develop film, produce sound and cut video content. Sometimes they lie on the couch and scroll through Instagram, at others they gather around to critique one another’s art, like they did in college.

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Theater

Green Day meets modern day in ‘American Idiot’

This weekend in Wish Theater, Masque and Gown will present ‘‘American Idiot,” a rock opera brimming with youthful angst and frustration. Based on the Green Day concept album of the same name, the show includes several of the band’s most beloved songs—including the title track “American Idiot,” as well as “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “21 Guns”—and weaves them into a story in which three central characters confront relationships, drug use and their own social and political disillusionment in a bleak, post-September 11 American landscape.

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Theater

‘The Poets and the Assassin’ spotlights Iranian women

Despite their centuries-long battle for human rights, the stories of Iranian and Muslim women have traditionally been overlooked in American society. Thursday night’s performance of the play “The Poets and the Assassin—Daughters of Iran” in Kresge Auditorium attempted to portray their stories and address the myth of the submissive, passive Middle Eastern woman.

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The Aux Cord

Hippo Campus to bring ‘college rock’ to Portland

In an industry where artists are usually discovered on a streaming platform rather than onstage, building a live show or even having stage presence seems no longer necessary to “make it.” But for this series showcasing artists with upcoming concerts in the Portland area, we are lucky to have Hippo Campus, a Minnesota indie band that rose to fame mainly due to a knack for electrifying live performances.

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Comedy

Ashley Gavin: comedy and social commentary

New York City-based Ashley Gavin has a range of talents: she’s primarily a comedian, but is also a writer and an actor, delving into topics like feminism and homophobia. She tours at colleges, hosts open mic nights, acts in the web series “Gay Girl Straight Girl (GGSG)” and has starred in television shows and movies.

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Brunswick

Campus and community unite for Longfellow Days

This month, poet and co-owner of Gulf of Maine Books Gary Lawless will once again don his Henry Wadsworth Longfellow costume and roam the town reciting poetry to passersby. This tradition is just one aspect of Longfellow Days, a series of events now in its 14th year, which spans Longfellow’s birth month and involves members of both the Brunswick and Bowdoin communities.

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Art exhibit illustrates varied forms of protest

Seeking to highlight the role of protest in the 21st century, seniors Eliza Goodpasture and Jenny Ibsen unveiled an art show entitled “PROTEST” in the Lamarche Gallery of David Saul Smith Union on Wednesday night. The exhibit features physical and digital forms of protest collected from members of the Bowdoin community.

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The Aux Cord

On ‘DAMN.,’ Lamar sidesteps expectations, spews self-doubt

Kendrick Lamar’s first mistake was releasing “DAMN.” on Good Friday. Fan theories blew up. The first about Easter Sunday, predicting a “second coming” and a second album on Easter Sunday. Then Lamar’s producer Sounwave tweeted “But what if I told you … that’s not the official version …” with a picture of Morpheus from “The Matrix.” A new theory, this one involving red pills and blue pills emerged, again predicting a second album.

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Theater

‘The Threepenny Opera’ is a beggar’s play, modernized

This weekend, the Pickard Theater stage will be filled with gangsters, prostitutes and the unusual sounds of Kurt Weill’s music in Bertolt Brecht’s “The Threepenny Opera.” From the plot to casting to music, this rendition of Brecht’s most well-known opera challenges perceptions of gender and class, particularly when viewed in a modern context.

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Student performance groups unite in relief efforts

Student-led performance and music groups from across campus will come together on Saturday night for a relief concert, organized by Karen Chan ’18 and Grace Punzalan ’18, to raise awareness and funds for the recovery from the natural disasters of this fall, including more recent disasters, such as the wildfires in California.

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Writing

Past, present, future: Jennifer Egan on writing

Eight years ago, Jennifer Egan found herself at a reunion for deep-sea diving army veterans, trying on a 200-pound Mark V diving suit. Research, the Pulitzer-prize winning author told a packed crowd in Kresge Auditorium last night, for her latest and fifth novel, “Manhattan Beach.” Before signing books, Egan read the first chapter of the novel and answered questions about her research and writing process.

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History

Mobile museum teaches black history through artifacts

“How do you get students in this age to talk about controversial materials and controversial issues?” asked Khalid El-Hakim, the curator of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum. At the heart of the touring museum is this question, which El-Hakim tackles using artifacts in an educational setting.

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Writing

Portrait of an artist: Carly Berlin ’18 on writing

Kodie Garza: What is the most meaningful piece you’ve written and why? Carly Berlin: Oh, that’s hard. I think the piece that I wrote this past summer was meaningful in a lot of ways. This summer I was mostly only working on this story about Clarkson, GA, which is a resettlement area for refugees for the past three decades.

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Performance Art

Bowdoin Slam Poets Society breaks new lyrical ground

Madeleine Lemal-Brown ’18, one of three presidents of the Bowdoin Slam Poets Society, was inspired to start writing poetry because of Lin-Manuel Miranda. “For me, that was really the first time I had heard anyone [perform] in a way that wasn’t quite rap, but it was this lyrical poetry type of thing,” she said of the writer and star of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton.” Lemal-Brown is president along with sophomores Sabrina Hunte and John-Paul Castells.

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Student work on display in 5th annual Fall Art Show

This weekend, families and Bowdoin community members will have the chance to experience Ladd House’s transformation from College House to art gallery. Bowdoin Art Society’s fifth annual Fall Art Show gives students, both inside and outside the visual arts department, the opportunity to put their artwork on display.

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Theater

Masque & Gown stages ‘The Laramie Project’

Yesterday, Masque & Gown premiered “The Laramie Project,” a production choice that continues the group’s break with the more traditional shows that characterized much of its history. “We had three plays in a row during my time here and, I understand, several more before this that were like white, living-room, family dramas where people sat in their kitchen or living rooms and talked about their white people problems for a nice hour and a half,” said Kathleen Johnson ’19, director of the show, in a discussion at Burnett House last week.

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Activism

Carmen Papalia addresses accessibility through art and activism

Although Carmen Papalia lost the use of his vision, he does not identify as blind. “I feel that word doesn’t serve me,” he said. “I often think of myself as a non-visual learner—someone who just made a choice to shift the value from the visual to the non-visual … I’d rather describe myself in relation to my learning style and my approach to learning than refer to a word that kind of means, ‘lack of preparedness or awareness.’ You just have to [search for] synonyms for the word ‘blind,’ and you get a long list of negative associations.” Papalia, a Vancouver-based “social practice artist and disability activist,” delivered a lecture about his work at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) on October 19.

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Visual Arts

Artist Tatana Kellner urges political engagement through art

“What happened last October?” Tatana Kellner asked students gathered at the popup show for her printmaking installation “Please Exit, Doors are Closing” on Tuesday in the Edwards Center for Art and Dance. Answer: the 2016 presidential debates, a time during which Kellner was working and reflecting on questions surrounding immigration policy in America.

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A Cappella

Meddiebempsters past and present

Last weekend, the Meddiebempsters’ 80th reunion brought together current and former Meddies representing eras of Bowdoin’s history stretching as far back as the 1950s. With such an extensive history on display, cultural shifts over the years were clearly apparent, in everything from the diversity of the group to the music they performed.

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Photography

Workshop focuses on film production

Last Saturday, CLIO Award winning producer and director of photography Matt Siegel, along with a few other cinematographers, led an introductory workshop in digital film production for Bowdoin students. Because Bowdoin’s Cinema Studies program focuses heavily on history and theory, the workshop aimed to fill a gap in students’ education about the technical aspects of filmmaking.

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Frontier: Brunswick’s home for conversation and culture

Frontier brings more than food to the table. Igniting conversation about the world beyond its rustic walls, Frontier, located in Fort Andross, describes itself as a “food, art and cultural destination.” Here, visitors share intimate conversations and globally inspired meals with views of the churning Androscoggin River below.

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OUTtober

Disability and identity: imagining a ‘liberated future’

A “queer disabled nonbinary femme writer and cultural worker of Burger/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent” is how Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha describes herself on her website. An activist and poet, she came to Bowdoin last night to share her work in several events sponsored by various groups from all areas of campus, underscoring the intersecting identities that have influenced her experience and perspective.

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OUTtober

Jonathan Katz identifies Warhol’s pop art as queer art

In his lecture on Wednesday, Jonathan Katz argued that pop art is an inherently queer form of self-expression, an idea originally censored in a now fully-published interview with Andy Warhol. Katz—founder of the Harvey Milk Institute and director of the visual culture studies doctoral program at the State University of New York at Buffalo—presented his interpretation of Andy Warhol’s pop artwork through a unique lens of queer studies and censorship in his lecture, “The Unknown Queer Warhol.” Flowing from an analysis of a resurrected version of this formerly censored interview with Warhol, Katz argued that Warhol’s pop imagery provided no less commentary on modern homosexuality than his blatantly queer early works.

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Live Music

Xenia Rubinos: bold, soul-powered songwriting

Xenia Rubinos’ music is refreshingly bold and authentic. An up-and-coming singer and composer, Rubinos recently released her album “Black Terry Cat.” Brought to campus by WBOR, she performed a sampling of her music at Ladd House this past Saturday. Rubinos emphasizes the creative capacity of individual experiences and self-expression. Her work documents an ongoing exchange between her state of mind and the exterior world. She describes her style as soulful, with a lot of energy and love.

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Visual Arts

Bollinger animates with paint

For painter and animator Matt Bollinger, art is all about self-expression. Even the pieces that seem outside the realm of possibility are in some way reflective of his experiences. This is especially true of “Apartment 6F,” the animation Bollinger showed at his talk on campus last Monday, which portrays an alternate reality; a neighbor invites the artist to a housewarming party where he is drugged for use as a sacrifice in a satanic ritual.

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Summer music festival draws international talent

Over the summer, over 250 music students fill the College’s dorms for six weeks to learn, practice and play music at a top-tier level. The Bowdoin International Music Festival attracts students from 23 different countries and from the top conservatories in the country, including Juilliard and the Berkeley School of Music.

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Theater

One-day play returns to stage

Most theater productions take weeks, or even months, to rehearse before the curtain rises on opening night. The same is typically true on the Bowdoin stage. But not this Saturday night. At 7 p.m. tomorrow, Masque & Gown actors will perform original plays that were written, directed and rehearsed in only 24 hours.

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The launch of an idea

On Thursday, Hawthorne-Longfellow Library hosted the first in a series of humanities-focused faculty book launches. Throughout the course of the year, six professors will introduce their newly published works, in a format intended to spark conversations.

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Theater

Alumnae wow audiences in off-off broadway play

Continuing their success from the summer of 2016, Maggie Seymour ’16 and Olivia Atwood ’17 returned to the stage to perform “15 Villainous Fools” ­—this time in New York City. Based on William Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors,” “15 Villainous Fools” is a comedy that follows the adventures of two sets of twins.

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Book Club

Presidential endorsement: on the merits of J.D. Vance’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

This past week I read a book recommended by a person who I know more intimately through social media than through conversation. He’s someone I view with a mixture of admiration, curiosity and deep respect. I was nervous that he would recommend a book that was more statistics or Latin phrases than regular English sentences, but nonetheless eager to read anything that influences the man who so profoundly influences us at Bowdoin.

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Visual Arts

Senior studio exhibition highlights non-traditional mediums

Senior visual arts majors presented their final exhibitions on Monday evening in an eclectic display of video monitors, sound art, photography and large oil portraits on canvas. In the culmination of their Senior Studio class, many students utilized both traditional and non-traditional mediums to reflect on their personal experiences at Bowdoin and at home.

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Book Club

Lore of young brilliance: Audre Lorde and unapologetic feminism

My beloved friend Caroline likes writing, Craisins, GSWS Jeopardy and dancing. She dislikes the Chainsmokers, New England ignorance of Midwest geography and the modern commodification of feminism. As the result of more major/minor switches than anyone else I know, she is a proud Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies (GSWS)/German double major with a math minor—Caroline leaves no stone unturned.

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Beyond the Proscenium presents dynamic musical ‘Spelling Bee’

In ways equally endearing and entertaining, student-run theater troupe Beyond the Proscenium (BTP) will present “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” this evening in an unconventional venue for a musical: Sargent Gymnasium. Following six preteens competing in a spelling bee run by three quirky adults, the show hopes to capture the perils of adolescence.

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Student Life

V-Day debuts original play based on experiences of Bowdoin women

This evening, Bowdoin V-Day, an organization dedicated to fighting sexual violence against women and girls, will end nearly 20 years of performing “The Vagina Monologues” due to debate about the Monologues presenting a one-dimensional, outdated portrayal of womanhood. In its place, V-Day is debuting the student-written show, “RISE: Untold Stories of Bowdoin Women.”

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Students reimagine ‘Apple Tree,’ challenge antiquated themes

One of Bowdoin’s student-run theater troupes, Curtain Callers, will subvert sexist and racist themes in a minimalistic, modified rendition of the 1966 play “The Apple Tree” by the writers of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The musical, which will open this evening and run all weekend, is divided into three overarching stories of man, woman and temptation, and will feature only seven cast members in an unconventional theater: Drake lobby in Memorial Hall.

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Office Hours to perform in NYC festival for second year

Office Hours, Bowdoin’s longform improvisation group founded by James Jelin ’16, has been selected for a second time to perform at the Del Close Marathon, a festival hosted by Upright Citizens Brigade Theater (UCB) that brings 72 hours of uninterrupted, nonstop improv to New York City for one weekend in June.

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Inside Out theater group brings formerly incarcerated youth to Howell

This past Tuesday, Howell House hosted Maine Inside Out, a nonprofit group founded in 2007 with the goal of empowering currently and previously incarcerated youth through theater. The members performed compelling acts on topics like police brutality, racism, xenophobia and the school-to-prison pipeline. Phrases like “When schools neglect, the streets accept,” rang throughout the performance, giving the audience a personal perspective from the inside out.

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Delta Sigma Awards Show hopes to embrace diverse art mediums

When the College phased out the Greek system in 2000, the Delta Sigma/Delta Upsilon co-ed fraternity—known for fostering creativity in non-formal spaces on Bowdoin’s campus­­—channelled its funds into a support network for future Bowdoin artists. The fraternity’s funds work to support the arts at Bowdoin today.

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Producer of ‘Hamilton’ on democracy

The religious Festival of Dionysus in classical Athens transformed the art of storytelling when Thespis turned and spoke to someone else on stage instead of directly to the audience. That 90 degree pivot, said Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater in New York City and producer of Broadway hits “Hamilton” and “Fun Home,” is an important, destabilizing act in the creation of theatrical dialogue.

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