The Daily Princetonian
Thursday february 16, 2017
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LOVE & LUST
In honor of Valentine’s Day, STREET explores stories of heartbreak, marriage and everything in between. This issue marks the return of our anonymous “Love and Lust: In the Orange Bubble” column which illuminate the successes and failures of romance. Eliminate your expectation of cliché Hollywood romances with these candid narratives.
For You (and About You) This Could Have Been A Story About Us
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1. A confession: I make lists of what we might fight about (don’t worry, this is not that kind of list). I’m terrified of the inevitable mistakes, hurt, poisonous words. I can (and frequently do) imagine several lifetimes’ worth of failures and heartbreak, and it’s almost enough to make me want to run far, far away. 2. I find myself watching you: but then, you look at me. You grab my fingers or wrap your arms around me. You tell me something about yourself — a thought that makes me marvel at what your eyes observe, at the wiring of your brain, at the way you see the world. You tell me something about me that I didn’t even know and you’re excited by the act of knowing someone. 3. Me watching you watching me: I laugh, delighted, and you smile at me. You have this surprised look on your face, and I laugh again. 4. Another confession: You know, I had an idea of the person I would fall for, the perfect boyfriend. And you’re not him. And maybe that’s not good, but it’s good for me. Because you don’t fit into my plans (semester, five-year, life, any of them), but you keep me guessing, intrigued, curious. 5. Sometimes there’s logic: And sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but it works. And I like to know you and you like to know me, but we’ve never known this nameless familiarity, the feeling of being home. I get to learn more about
you every day and marvel at the roots of ourselves that we have in common, and it is a goddamn privilege to know you and to be known by you. 6. You asked me once if I had butterflies in my stomach: I don’t. I don’t have the “feeling”: the little flutters of liking someone. There’s no trepidation or jitteriness or jaggedness here. No, I feel a quiet kind of happy — a happiness thick like honey, sinking deep into my bones, all the way to the center of me. It’s like when I’m with you, the world can wait, because everything is OK. 7. Words: I write about you in my journal. A lot, right next to words like laughing, talking, exploring, asking, not counting. 8. Little stolen moments with you (stolen not because they’re not ours by right, but because they sneak up on me — these precious seconds that I lock away and relive and remember): I don’t know how much you remember of that night. Nose to nose. My hair slipping between our faces. Your hands, urgent, around my waist. I whispered in your left ear, why do you know me so well? You replied, because we’re us. 9. It’s typical: Two minutes later, you fell asleep sitting upright, me still on your lap, your face held between my hands (it was 5 a.m., but everything was OK). 10. Us: I like to spend time with you, too. -Anonymous
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This could have been a story about us. About how I felt lonely one night, so I went on the app that one uses for a good time and found you. This could have been a story about how we eventually decided to meet after a few days of talking. About how I bragged to my friends after we had sex that first night even though we had sworn we wouldn’t. This could have been a story about love. About how, even though I swore to my friends I’d never enter a relationship with a girl I met on Tinder, I had fallen for you. Talking with you slowly became a part of my daily routine. Staying over in each other’s dorms, eating dark-chocolate-covered blueberries, and listening to “Lay Me Down”’ by Sam Smith became our norm. I remember all the plans we made, about meeting each other’s family and maybe becoming official. Then I finally got to meet your sister, and we dropped her off at a pregame before going back to mine. I remember that pink moscato we shared right before heading out because my pregame got
shut down and we hadn’t had anything yet. I even remember how we had what seemed like the best sex I’d ever had and, for a moment, I thought I loved you. But I wasn’t expecting what came next. I wasn’t expecting the tears streaming down your face as your head rested on my chest. I wasn’t expecting your confession that you weren’t yet over your ex, your first heartbreak. And I definitely wasn’t expecting you to break up with me as you sported my Princeton long sleeve on that following Monday. What can I say? You broke me. The man I thought I had become was now an inconsolable mess who didn’t want to interact with friends, who stayed in bed for four whole days, and who cried at any thought of you. It was funny how people would tell me you weren’t worth it and how “I’m an amazing guy,” but those felt like empty words any friend would say to console someone who wasn’t good enough. So, instead, this is a story about my own first heartbreak and the regrettable choices that came with it. See, I
thought I found someone shortly after you. We went on cute dates and took a road trip. And I met her parents. And she told me the three words you never said. She even likes dark-chocolatecovered blueberries like you do and, for a moment, I thought I loved her too. But I realized that I don’t. And I’m too scared to let her down because I’m scared of breaking her the way you broke me. I know I’ll have to do it eventually, but I don’t yet have the courage to perpetuate the cycle that you started. So, no matter whoever you are with now, I just hope that you’ve learned as much from this as I have. I’m not happy about the decisions that I’ve made after you left, and I know I’m the only one to blame for them. But if there’s one thing I can thank you for — and it’s really the only thing — it’s that you taught me to feel something I had never felt before. And I hope I get to feel that way in the future with someone who cherishes me the way I once thought you did. -Anonymous
Married Faculty at Princeton: Suzanne Staggs and Jason Puchalla MIKAELA SYMANOVICH Contributor ‘20
This week, while most students were preoccupied dreaming up their own Valentine’s Day wishes or plans, I took the time to sit down with professor Suzanne Staggs and lecturer Jason Puchalla to talk about being a married couple in the Princeton bubble. Staggs has been a professor of physics at Princeton for roughly 20 years now, focusing on cosmology and astrophysics, while Puchalla is a physics lecturer and maintains an active research lab, investigating a wide range of biophysical phenomena. The couple first met at physics conference in Chicago in the ‘90s, but the two have slightly different versions of the story. “He claims we met earlier than I think we met,” Staggs noted. According to Puchalla, the two first encountered each other at a very large physics conference, before officially meeting at a later conference. “In a room of physicists, she stood out to me,” he explained.
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The two were both studying at the University of Chicago at the time and working on cosmology and astrophysics. Staggs was pursuing a postdoctoral position while Puchalla was studying as a graduate student. However, as they recalled, they were brought together again when working under the same
mentor on their respective projects. They had their first date following the conference during the Mardi Gras celebration in Chicago. The band Big Guitars was playing in the bar that they went to together. Since then, their work and relationship brought them to the East Coast.
Initially, they did research together in the area of cosmology and astrophysics. Over time, while Staggs has continued to teach and research cosmology and astrophysics, Puchalla has become involved in research in biophysics. When asked about the difference of academic interests, Puchalla said, “She looks up, and I look down!” “He knows what I’m talking about, but I don’t know what he is talking about,” Staggs joked. In 1996, Staggs began work at Princeton as an assistant professor, while Puchalla was completing his post doc. “I got the call [that Staggs was in labor] while I was in the lab at the University of Pennsylvania performing a particularly dangerous task,” Puchalla said. He joked that “what I was doing in the lab had the potential to blow up, and I made some inappropriate comment like, ‘can you wait a little?’’’ He got there in time, but they made the decision to both work at the same place after that experience, which they perceive as a turning point in their relationship. After their first child was born, the couple decided that it would be too dif-
ficult to work in separate places. Today they live in Princeton with their two daughters, ages 15 and 18. The couple admitted, “We use all sorts of geeky physics language at home, that our kids don’t always understand. On a microscope, the big mirror is called the primary and the little mirror is called the secondary, so we used to refer to our kids as primary and secondary, especially when one was a toddler and the other just a baby.” Outside of work and spending time with their children, Puchalla and Staggs still enjoy hiking and backpacking. Their adventures have included tackling the Adirondack Mountains together as well as traveling to Italy. They have also recently visited Brazil. With overwhelmingly busy schedules, Valentine’s Day hasn’t been on the couple’s mind. They said that they normally take a relaxed approach to the holiday, fitting it in when they find the time. Reflecting on how often they see each other during the workday, Puchalla laughed, “She is on the second floor and I am on the first floor. We see each other at faculty meetings.”
The Daily Princetonian
Thursday february 16, 2017
SPRING SEMESTER OFFERS COURSES ON LOVE ERIC ZHAO Contributor ‘20
Love is ubiquitous in our society, but how well do you understand it? Love does not seem like the type of thing you learn from a textbook, at a lecture or in a seminar. However, there is a great deal of complex academia that studies love using everything from history and literature to sociology and psychology. At Princeton, there are many classes that provide unique opportunities to learn more about love and to challenge your existing views. These are all excellent, fascinating courses to take or to recommend to others in order build a stronger and more interdisciplinary understanding of love.
Of Love and Other Demons (SPA 213 / LAS 214) with Javier E. Guerrero This course, which is taught in Spanish, explores love in the rich literary tradition of Latin America and Spain, drawing upon its literature, film, music, and visual arts. Professor Guerrero explained that “seminar participants to explore a topic that has challenged the most renowned world philosophers, such as Derrida and Nancy. We love so much, but we are unable to question love or even talk about it. It can be so obvious or abstract that we give up without really trying.” You won’t be reading normal love stories in this seminar. When designing the course, Guerrero saw that pieces that had been labeled as love stories were “very limited in scope”, while “some of the best pieces on love have been completely overlooked because they have been understood in other contexts and related to other topics.” As a result, the course covers a wide range of unconventional stories about love: Márquez’s The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Eréndira and Her Heartless Grandmother, a story of an exploited granddaughter, prostitution, and a murder; Eltit and Errázuriz’s Soul’s Infarct, a book on psychiatric patients, photography, and love’s starting point; and Ribeiro’s The Way He Looks, a film about a blind student who falls for a fellow male student. Guerrero added that he was, “especially interested in the hidden gems of literature and cinema that contain the most complex and critically challenging love stories” since all of the stories challenge the traditionally sacred concept of love.
Guerrero noted that his “idea is not to repudiate love but rather to hear love when it screams”
and that “one of the challenges of this course is to fight the prevailing tendency to idealize love”. In fact, the phrases “real love” and “obsession” are strongly discouraged in the seminar. Guerrero said “there is no ‘real love’ in my dark history of the emotion, instead there is only love accompanied by its other demons.” Despite this, Guerrero added that after the course, he would often hear from his students that “they finally felt in love.” He then explained that
“when we face the complexities of our world, when we allow ourselves to doubt love, we ac-
quire the power to live out our own ideas and love, or love even more.”
radical ly th roughout histor y.” The seminar covers many of these changes, including how new technologies and apps like Tinder, Grind r, and WhatsApp have changed love, f lirtation, and seduction. Especially given recent political events, Nagel noted that “students were most interested in the political question of seduction… like comparing ‘Triumph of the Will’ to Trump’s rallies.” Nagel added that another aspect of love that he’s interested in discussing is love in the political realm. He said that “at this point, the slogan “Love Trumps Hate” comes up… I think it’s an important thought right now - the question whether love can be a political concept.”
Fun fact: One thing Guerrero said he never told his students was that he got married during the first semester that he taught this course.
The Invention of Romantic Love (FRS 162) with Sarah Anderson On the other hand, “The Invention of Romantic Love” approaches love quite differently and looks to romantic love in the literary tradition of the West. Professor Anderson explained that she looks forward to “collaborating with students from all disciplines across campus as we think about what makes love “real”, how it is or is not like friendship, and how its representation as the most powerful human emotion was constructed.” Anderson noted that “we are surrounded by invitations to improve our attractiveness, to love
The Politics of Intimacy (WRI 108 / 109) with Alexander Davis
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The Way He Looks is a film that students in Guerrero’s course SPA 213 will watch.
Flirtation or Seduction? (FRS 105) with Barbara N. Nagel
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Riefenstahl’s “Triummph of the Will” is a Nazi propaganda film watched in FRS 105.
others better, and to have stimulating love lives.” However, Anderson added that he wanted his students to ask themselves questions like: Where does the idea of love-sickness come from? Why is love associated with madness? By what methods can we access and understand an emotion like love in ancient, medieval, and early modern literature? Students in the course will read works of great English literature such as Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 116”, Auden’s “Lullaby”, and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, while also covering Bernstein and Sondheim’s West Side Story and even the medieval songs of the troubadours. In addition, students will have access to visual art at the Princeton University Art Museum and manuscripts at Firestone Library. Through these works, Anderson explained that he wants to invite students to “think about that condition of being in love, to examine something that will affect them now and again in their lives, and to consider how literary texts, works of art, and works of music read what may be a universal human phenomenon.” Fun fact: Anderson pointed out that “it’s never a bad idea to have a stock of poems in your head if things have just turned sour between your lover and you.”
Similarly, this freshman seminar approaches love by comparing the concepts of f lirtation and seduction, connecting history, philosophy, politics, and literature. Professor Nagel explained that the course attempts to “distinguish the concept of seduction from f lirtation,” where seduction is a “theological practice” that requires strategy and a power structure, whereas f lirtation is a “nontheological open endeavor” like Kant’s concept of beautiful. The cou rse discusses these central concepts across works that span ned German critical theor y, f lirtatious texts, and political texts, including Laclos’s Dangerou s Liaison s, Ka f ka’s “The Silence of the Sirens”, Plato’s Sy mposium, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Machiavel li’s The Prince, and even R iefenstah l’s “Triumph of the Wi l l”, a Nazi propaganda f ilm. Students explored such topics as the boundar y between f lirtation and love, as wel l as love’s abilit y to stupefy. At the same time, Nagel explained that “the ver y notion of love as we understand changes
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Students in Nagel’s FRS 105 class will also get to read Machiavelli’s The Prince
Professor Davis, a sociologist, noted that at the “heart” of this writing seminar is “learning to question what American culture and American institutions tell us are normal, preferable, and desirable ways to connect with other human beings”. Carter Choi ‘20 chose this course because they felt “the subject of love is inherent in human nature and the fact that the government can limit our freedom in our intimate relationships is interesting.” Even at the beginning of the course, many students were
“surprised to learn that the concept of monogamy as we know it today where both the woman and the man are equal with consent of both parties stems from the proletariat rather than the bourgeoisie.”
In the first unit, marriage is heavily covered in sources ranging from Engels’s capitalist critique of the patriarchal family and the Supreme Court case Griswold v. Connecticut, to more recent social science on American expectations of marriage. The second unit, Davis explained, “is all about exploring the extraordinary range of intimate practices, sexual desires, and romantic preferences that human beings really do have” and “trying to make sense of why and how contemporary American media embrace some of those differences while sidelining or squelching others.” Davis added that then for unit three “the training wheels come off.” For the larger picture of the course, Davis explained that the course will grapple with “a dazzling array of perspective on intimacy - from the most interpretive corners of the humanities to the more equation-bound disciplines among the sciences and engineering.” Although recognizing the interaction between our institutions, our ideologies, and ourselves is very valuable, Davis noted that the most valuable insight from studying intimate politics is that it provides “unparalleled fodder” for “grappling with challenging material from multiple perspectives,” which, in turn, “is essential to cultivating the critical thinking skills and intellectual independence at the heart of a liberal arts education.”
The Daily Princetonian
Thursday february 16, 2017
Q&A WHAT MAKES US FEEL LOVED? LYRIC PEROT Staff Writer ‘20
As an ode to Valentine’s Day this week, The Street interviewed four random students on campus to get a glimpse of what makes Princeton students feel loved. We received a variety of responses, which range from family and friends to a cup of Campbell’s tomato soup. Morgan Thompson ‘20: The Daily Princetonian: What makes you feel loved? MT: I recently did a love language test; my love language was words of affirmation. But also spending quality time and just seeing people, which I think is really important. DP: Do you have any moments where you felt particularly loved? MT: Right before I came back from Intersession, my mom and dad came into my room and we all laid down on my bed together. My mom was on my left side and my dad was on my right side, and it really made me feel so safe and loved. David Gilhooley ‘17 DP: What makes you feel loved? DG: Knowing that I have so many great friends on campus and that they are willing to do things for me. Simply knowing that is really nice. DP: Do you have a favorite moment? DG: We are currently planning a birthday party for one of our friends next weekend, which reminds me of one of my favorite moments on campus. My friends planned a big surprise party for me on my birthday; they got a cake and signed a card for me. I still have the card hanging up on my wall, and it’s filled with memories from what we had done together throughout the year. I love to go back to that card and read what people wrote, and that makes me feel loved. Joshua Burd ‘17 DP: What makes you feel loved? JB: I’m guessing that a lot of people are going talk to you about their love languages. And I think that how I show love is very different from how I like to be shown love. I rely on other people for affirmation a lot. I think it’s important for me, on a daily basis, to have my friends check in on me, ask if I’m ok, or just to know when I’m not, and bring me food or a cup
ASK THE SEXPERT This week, we discuss safe sex. Dear Sexpert, I am currently taking birth control because I am sexually active, and the pill has been my contraceptive of choice since I started. However, I have heard of a lot of women are rushing to get intrauterine devices instead because they are worried that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act will make birth control too expensive. This way, they can charge the IUD to their insurance now and avoid purchasing new contraceptives for the next few years. Is this a good idea? Can I get an IUD at McCosh? — Concerned (Birth) Controller
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of hot chocolate. It makes me feel so much better knowing that someone cares about me like that. Once when I was sick, someone from my a cappella group brought me a cup of Campbell’s tomato soup that he warmed up in the microwave. I didn’t really need the sustenance, but I definitely needed the love. DP: What about the ways that you show love? JB: I really like spending time and sharing experiences with people. I like to compliment people and create memories together. I like to organize other people to do things, to go somewhere or to hangout. Inclusivity is important to me, too. I often try to look for people who I think don’t have a community and try to be a friend to them. DP: Has your view of love changed since coming to Princeton? JB: I think real love comes down to face time, which is something that I came to realize when thinking about my family from whom I live eight hours away now. Calling my parents to talk to them is a very simple way of showing them love. I have learned that just being present in their lives to share their little joys and hard-
ships on a daily basis can be enough to show them that I love them. Ciara Corbeil ‘17 DP: Are there any moments or acts of kindness that you have experienced in your life that made you feel particularly loved? CC: I am thinking about the time when I came back from studying abroad. I spent six months in Cape Town, South Africa. My term abroad was spring semester, and then we had summer break, so it was quite a while that I was away from Princeton and all my friends here. When I came back in the fall, my two closest friends were waiting for me at the Dinky station. It was a pretty awesome feeling to know that even though I had been gone for a really long time, I was missed. I felt really welcomed home. DP: Do you think you express and receive love in different ways? CC: I like to show love by doing nice things for other people, and being a listener and a shoulder to cry on. But I have noticed a discrepancy in how I share and receive love, because it really means a lot to me when people express how much they care about me in words, as well as just being there for me.
Dear Concerned Controller, You are correct that a lot of women are opting for IUDs due to both the changing administration as well as an increased interest in long-acting reversible contraception given its high levels of effectiveness and less possibility for user error. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, reported that the organization is seeing a 900 percent increase in people trying to get IUDs from Planned Parenthood healthcare centers. An IUD is a small device inserted into the uterus that prevents pregnancy and can last for up to 12 years. It is safe, effective, and long lasting, but it must be inserted by a healthcare provider and may cost up to $1,000 if paid out of pocket[JM1]. There are, however, numerous advantages and disadvantages to IUDs that should be considered before making your decision. Just because many other people have decided to obtain IUDs does not mean that it is the right decision for you. IUDs are completely reversible once your healthcare provider removes the device, and IUDs that include hormones can be used to lessen the discomfort of periods[JM2] . Alternatively, copper IUDs provide a non-hormonal option that is still extremely effective and can be used as a form of emergency contraception if inserted within five days of unprotected sex. Additionally, IUDs do not get in the way of penetrative
sex — most partners report not feeling it at all. You should be aware that IUDs have been known to cause side effects, especially during the first three to six months. These side effects can include mild to moderate pain when the IUD is put in place, cramping or backaches for a few days after insertion, spotting between periods, irregular periods, or heavier periods and worsened menstrual cramps. IUDs also don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections and can very rarely cause more serious problems, particularly in women with prior conditions such as certain types of cancers or STIs. You should always consult your doctor first to determine if an IUD, and which type, is right for you. The political context can be relevant to all sorts of medical decisions, but don’t forget that your personal medical context, the advice of your healthcare provider, and your own lifestyle should all come first. If you are not considered at-risk for serious complications, the IUD is a fantastic contraceptive option, but be sure to consider all of the factors with your provider before making a decision. Regarding insurance, if you are on the Princeton University Student Health Plan , there are no foreseeable changes in current coverage, including contraceptives. If you are covered by private insurance (e.g., your parents’ insurance), you should consult with your insurance provider to ensure you know your costs associated with contraceptive options. We’re not sure what will happen with the ACA yet; regardless, you can get an IUD at McCosh Health Center. Make an appointment for a consultation with a provider at Sexual Health and Wellness by calling 609-258-3141. — The Sexpert Interested in Sexual Health? The Sexper t is always looking for members of the community to join the team of sexual health educators who, along with fact-checking from Universit y health professionals, help wr ite these columns. Email sexper t @ dailypr incetonian.com for more infor mation and questions about sexual health.
10 WAYS TO: MAKE A PRINCETON STUDENT FALL IN LOVE MOFOPEFOLUWA OLARINMOYE Staff Writer ‘20
At Princeton, it’s easy to justify being too busy, too stressed, or simply too tired to even consider being romantically engaged on Valentine’s Day. Despite being scholars, artists, and scientists, it seems as though we haven’t yet managed to crack the formula of finding love — but perhaps there are things that will get a Princeton student to fall in love with you. This week, the Street suggests ten ways to get closer to a Princeton student’s heart: Step 1: Bring them late meal —
It’s often been said “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” but we’d like to think that here at Princeton, the power of late meal transcends gender. A good plate of shrimp quesadilla, fries, or a bag of cookies might just be enough to wheedle your way into a Princeton student’s heart (especially if they’re an upperclassman). Step 2: Take them to Sunday brunch at Forbes — Aligned with the theme of food (which seems to dictate much of our life at Princeton), Sunday brunch at Forbes entails a certain level of commitment (enough to walk over to Forbes), an opportunity to have an extend-
COURTESY OF WIKIART: NORMAN ROCKWELL “BOY AND GIRL GAZING AT THE MOON”
ed conversation (on the long walk over), and a level of fitness (in making it all the way there). The only downside: If you don’t get a good table you could be sandwiched between two people who you didn’t intend to be part of your soul-baring conversation, which is probably not the most romantic of settings. Step 3: Obtain passes to the Street for them — Having the humility to beg for passes in the quest for a lit night is pretty much the ultimate expression of love, right? Dark lights, dancing, and terrible handeye coordination while playing beer pong — what else could anyone ask for on a freezing Friday night? Step 4: Go on a run together — For some reason, Princetonians can be seen running at all hours of the day. Whether in the wee hours in the morning or close to midnight, there appears to always be someone making the uphill climb from the toe path (and don’t worry, if you’re not the long-distance runner type, Lake Carnegie has some pretty scenic viewpoints where you can stop to catch your breath). Who knows? Perhaps the endorphins released from running will boost a burgeoning relationship. Step 5: Set up a hammock on the golf course and look at the stars together — Despite how seemingly romantic this sounds, you need to be careful on this step. Firstly, check the weather so you’re not freezing in the cold (unless you are one of those funny people that can stroll around with only a sweatshirt on in sub-freezing weather), and consider bringing blankets along with you. Secondly, don’t tell anyone else you are doing this or your annoying friends may crawl along the grass to attempt to scare you. Thirdly, make sure that your hammock is big (and stable) enough for the both of you. You probably wouldn’t want your date to feel like a sardine while looking at the stars. Step 6: Serenade them with the help of Old Nassoul during an arch sing — Music is another way to the heart. This is the Princeton equivalent of you holding a boombox at your partner’s window, real classic stuff. Step 7: Stroll around Prospect
Garden and amaze them with your knowledge of Princeton botanical history — If you are an Orange Key Tour Guide, you’re already set. If not, no fear, a quick Google search should do the trick. Step 8: Buy them coffee and chocolates during midterms week — When the going gets tough, the tough get chocolate. Now this cinches it all together. During midterms week, everyone is rushed and the to-do list just keeps on getting longer, so you can show that you care about someone by simply by being there. Don’t talk about GPAs, p-sets, or grade def lation. Just be there. Step 9: Support them in their Princeton career — Since we’re talking about how to show your love at Princeton, why not help your loved
one succeed in their classes by compiling a list of the readings they haven’t done yet, introduce them to professors in their field, and make an exams Spotify playlist (because, let’s be real, Adele will be there for us through the good and the bad). Step 10: Initiate prolonged eye contact with them when you see them — You’ve given them food. Danced on the Street together. Sweat together. Now you’re at the stage when you acknowledge each other amongst the masses. According to psychologist Arthur Aron, staring into each other’s eyes for two to four minutes is an essential part of falling in love. Science says it, so it must be right. I hope this will set you up for next Valentine’s Day. If not, then hey, more late meal fries for you.
The Daily Princetonian
Thursday february 16, 2017
Princeton Art Museum Presents: Art from the HeART EMILY SPALDING Contributor ‘20
With gallery walls and f loor spaces adorned with a vast assortment of fine paintings and statues, it is hard for any patron visiting the Princeton University Art Museum to not feel a sense of romanticism in the air. On Feb. 11, this sense was further heightened when the recurring Art for Families series dedicated their event, Art from the HeART, to telling some of the great love stories behind select museum works. Part of the established series Art for Families, which exposes children to art in an accessible and engaging manner, Art from the HeART invited families from Princeton and neighboring communities to experience the Art Museum through storytelling and hands-on activities. Laura Berlik, a docent at the Art Museum since 1999, was one of the storytellers at Saturday’s event. She told the story of Nydia the Flower Girl of Pompeii in the Gallery of American Art, which houses a statue of the story’s heroine. Other stories told at the event included Daphne and Apollo and Cupid and Jupiter. Berlik noted one of her favorite aspects of Art for Families is the original artwork component,
in which participants — typically children of graduate students or those living in neighboring towns, aged two to ten years old — are given the freedom to create a piece of their own inspired by the theme of the week. “We have opportunities for them to follow a pattern and do it ‘the right way’ more or less, inside the lines, or outside. We have something for all of them,” Berlik explained. For Art for the HeART, the activity was, fittingly, making valentine cards. Berlik also touched on the importance of teaching children about art as a way to evoke a new way of thinking. “I think what we mainly do is try to get [the children] to look,” she explained. “I had a tour of kids this morning, and, among other things, we looked at this painting, and they would talk about the five senses,” Berlik added. “What do you see here? If you were right here in this scene, what could you hear? See, smell, taste, feel, touch? ” EMILY SPALDING :: CONTRIBUTOR Berlik believes that through encouraging young participants to Art for the HeART invited families from Princeton and neighboring communities to experience the Princeton Art Museum. think about art in this context, since “they are a bit more observant the museum lends itself to events one gallery and leave, as opposed involved. “It opens the museum to when they start off little like that.” such as this one. “Since the mu- to some of the larger museums in the families in the area and it opens Mary Furey Gerard, a docent at seum is right here in the middle New York or Philadelphia,” Gerard the children’s eyes to art and gets the museum for four years and one of town, it’s a wonderful resource, stated. them interested in how you look at of the volunteers for Arts for Fami- and it’s a small enough venue that She also described the role the things and colors and doing their lies, noted that the very nature of you can take your children and see program plays in the lives of those own art from an early age.”
An Unconventional Coming-of-Age Story: Pilobolus’ “Shadowland” DANIELLE HOFFMAN Contributor ‘20
There are certain expectations that one has when going to a dance show. One anticipates seeing dancers in beautiful costumes gliding across the stage in ways that seem to defy gravity and human anatomy. One expects to hear music that perfectly captures the quality of the movement on stage, and one awaits to be swept into an alternative reality in which movement becomes the best medium to convey pain, passion, love, and what it means to be human. Pilobolus somehow simultaneously defies and exceeds these expectations. Founded in 1971 by a group of students at Dartmouth College, Pilobolus has grown into an internationally acclaimed arts organization, known for its interdisciplinary, experimental approach to movement and storytelling. This Tuesday, I saw “Shadowland” at McCarter Theater, an eveninglength show collaboratively created by Pilobolus’s directors and Steven
Banks, the lead writer for SpongeBob SquarePants. The show recounts a young girl’s dream, in which she is trapped as a shadow behind her bedroom wall. Combining choreography with projected images on multiple moving screens, Pilobolus uses shadow theater to truly capture the “shadowland” that the girl is trying to escape. It was unlike any performance I have ever seen in its audacity and creativity to stray so far away from conventional dance practices as to redefine and extend the reach and power of movement. Stripped of the tutus one might typically associate with a dance show, Pilobolus’ performers took to the stage predominantly in underwear, sometimes even shedding this extra layer to perform significant portions of choreography in the nude. Their bodies, uncovered and unornamented by frills or tulle, became the sole focus of the audience, drawing attention to the images and characters the dancers created through the contortion of their own bodies rather than those typically projected onto them through clothing
and props. Over and over, the audience joined together in collective awe as the intricate images and characters projected onto the screens were deconstructed to reveal the dancers’ bodies coming together to create each picture, weaving together a story behind the lit screen.
The dancers transformed themselves into tables, animals, monsters, buildings, creatures, and much more, each time leaving the audience questioning how their bodies could morph together to create such detailed and nuanced images.
To me, one of the most beautiful transformations throughout the show was also the most subtle. Shortly after being trapped, the girl encounters a large, mysterious hand that descends from the screen and transforms her into a dog from the waist up. The girl’s elbow bends to become her snout, her hand drapes over her head to form her ears, and her curly hair falls forward to frame her face in a scrappy, canine way. It was such a simple, elegant, and brilliant shift that the dancer skillfully maintained for the rest of the show. In this transformed, half-canine state, the girl then continues her journey through various hardships until she finally awakens from her dream at the end of the show with a new sense of self and maturity. “Shadowland” truly epitomizes the power of movement to tell a story, and the capacity of human bodies to create and convey images madden with meanings. Pilobolus defies limitations, extending its storytelling into realms
of humor and intimacy, passion and play, joy and pain, and fantasy and reality. Ultimately, all of the impressive and fanciful visuals are employed to convey the simple, touching coming of age of a young girl. “Shadowland” has received some criticism for what some see as an apparent lack of depth in its storyline. However, I found this to be part of this show’s beauty. The abstract, open-ended nature of the story allows for its audience to piece together the myriad of images in whatever way they choose, and to reach a conclusion that echoes their personal experience. To me, the stunning imagery in Pilobolus’ “Shadowland” told a fun, heartfelt, and intimate story of a girl whose time spent in a dreamy “shadowland” allowed her to grow and wake up with a new acceptance and love of herself. Without saying a word, the show tells an entire story of pain, adventure, and love. And is there any better reason than that to go see a dance performance?
COURTESY OF DANIELLE HOFFMAN
“Shadowland” at McCarter Theater was an evening-length dance show which was collaboratively created by Pilobolus’s directors and Steven Banks, the writer of Spongebob Squarepants.