TUESDAY • MAY 22, 2012
THE STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SINCE 1892
ISSUE 48 • VOLUME 123
Large admitted class forces adjustments on College Stephanie Xiao News Staff More students than expected have accepted a spot in the College’s class of 2016, pushing University officials to balance the U of C’s increasing popularity and its commitment to an intimate undergraduate experience. The incoming freshman class will comprise approximately 1,525 students, 125 more than the College’s consistent target size, according to University spokesperson Jeremy Manier. The number of students who accepted an offer of admission—the “yield rate”— rose to 46.8 percent, up 6.9 percentage points from last year. This is the first year that the yield rate strayed from the 36–40 percent range since
2007, even as the acceptance rate continued to decline. The Class of 2016 will also be the most diverse class to date, with 42 percent consisting of students of color. The College only accepted 20 transfer students, instead of the usual 40 or 50. The College is keeping a “z-list” option for the first time, offering applicants admission into the class of 2017 if they first take a gap year. Manier said that between 20 and 30 students are expected to accept that option. The unexpectedly high yield partly stems from the University’s growing name recognition, which pulls in larger applicant pools but makes it trickier for administrators to estimate matriculation. YIELD continued on page 2
March on McCormick Surrounded by police officers, protesters march toward McCormick Place, where the assembled leaders of the 28 NATO countries were meeting to discuss the direction of the military alliance. Article on page 3. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON
Questions abound as Stafford deadline looms Back in the black, MAB sells out at Summer Breeze Thousands pay extra to see Ludacris perform Lina Li News Staff Bouncing back from an underattended winter comedy show and a deficit incurred from last spring, the Major Activities Board (MAB) sold out for Summer Breeze this weekend, with hundreds more students springing for costlier tickets this year in order to hear a star-studded
line-up. MAB sold all of its 2,250 tickets, which rose in price by five dollars apiece this year, in order to pay for bringing rapper Ludacris to the stage. The board wasn’t able to sell nearly as many tickets last year, when rain forced the show into 1,000-person Mandel Hall. Sales were halted, even though the BREEZE continued on page 2
Student groped by unknown assailant Marina Fang Associate News Editor Fourth-year Josh Seale and second-year Stephanie Oehrlein, both recipients of Stafford loans, study together in the Broadview ballroom. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON
Ankit Jain News Staff Already among the priciest in the country, a U of C education could become significantly more expensive for nearly a third of undergraduates on July 1, when interest rates on certain Stafford loans may double. Roughly 34 percent of students in the College take on student debt while they’re here, many in the form of subsidized
Temperatures in Fahrenheit - Courtesy of The Weather Channel
or unsubsidized Stafford loans from the U.S. Department of Education. The interest rate for subsidized loans, which are need-based and do not accrue interest until after college, will double if Congress does not extend a 2007 bill which capped it at 3.4 percent. Despite bipartisan support for extending the lower interest rate, disagreement over how to provide the annual $6 billion needed to fund Stafford loans
has delayed passage of the measure. Second-year Ste phanie Oehrlein, who takes out the yearly maximum Stafford Loan amount, said that the increased rate could harm her future education, limiting her options once she graduates. “[An increased rate] makes going to graduate school a lot less desirable. It’s just finding the balance between [whether] STAFFORD continued on page 3
A U of C student was fondled in an alley off East 57th Street Saturday night, prompting the second campus-wide security alert from the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) this month. At approximately 10:05 p.m., as the crowd departing Summer Breeze filed out of the Reynolds Club, the student was walking west down East 57th Street when an unidentified male pushed her into the alley between South Woodlawn and University Avenues and groped her. The victim screamed, prompting the suspect to flee, and then called the police
after walking home. The UCPD issued the security alert about three hours later. The suspect, who is still at large, was described as a 19- or 20-year-old white male, approximately 6’0” with short blonde hair, and wearing a dark polo shirt and dark pants. UCPD is relying on witnesses and surveillance camera footage from the emergency phones in the area to investigate leads, according to UCPD spokesman Robert Mason. UCPD is investigating whether the perpetrator is affiliated with the University, according to Mason. However, he said, “There is no CRIME continued on page 3
Maroons cage Blue Jays, prepare to usurp Lord Jeffs » Page 12
Rhyme and little reason: Ludacris spurs crowd to act a fool » Page 7
Wild Bill heads west to NCAA Championships » Page 12
Summer Breeze 2012 | A photo retrospective » Page 8
THE CHICAGO MAROON | NEWS | May 22, 2012
Despite starting the year with a deficit, MAB secured expensive act while staying under budget BREEZE continued from front
show was on track to sell out, and between 400 and 500 ticket-holders had to be reimbursed. MAB estimates that it lost $15,000, and was left with a deficit. MAB has been able to stay within the $199,000 budget granted to it by SG’s Program Coordinating Council (PCC), even though ticket sales for Summer Breeze were not enough to cover $135,000 of the costs. Because of the deficit from last year, MAB opted for a relatively inexpensive act for their fall quarter show with pop duo Matt & Kim, paying $39,000 for the musicians’ fees and other expenses. It also paid $20,000 to put on the winter show with stand-up comic Reggie Watts, for which only 400 students bought tickets, out of a possible 1,000. “The plan going forward for this year was to have a smaller fall show and a smaller winter show, and to keep as much money as possible for Summer Breeze so that we could bring in big names like Ludacris,” said fourth-year Sam Abbott, who
College expands housing for incoming class YIELD continued from front
“It definitely means something to go to the fifth-best university in the United States,” said Daisy Lu, a senior at Brooklyn Technical High School in New York City, referring to the University’s ranking in the latest U.S. News and World Report. “It means that I have tons of resources and an impressive alumni base to draw from. It means that my mom can brag to our relatives abroad in China. It means that when I say I’m attending UChicago in the fall, I get nods and respect from my teachers and peers.” The perception of prestige is difficult to track, however. “The appeal of the College to students around the world has been growing quite a bit in recent years, and that creates a somewhat difficult job of predicting exactly where yield will end up in a given year,” Manier wrote in an e-mail. A few incoming students worry that a larger class may diminish the quality of their Core classes, like Humanities sequences capped at 19 students. “The small class sizes were a major plus when considering UChicago, and now I’m disappointed that those sizes won’t be what were advertised,” said Maira Khwaja, a senior at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, PA. A larger class of 2016 is “well within the ability of the College and the Office of Campus and Student Life to accommodate,” Manier said. “The College will bring in additional junior faculty to help meet teaching needs.” More students will be placed in Midway House in New Graduate Residence Hall, which housed first-year students for the first time this year. International House will also accommodate a new College House for roughly 78 students. Francisco Meyer, an incoming international student from Buenos Aires, is still skeptical about the quality of student life offered by newer dorm options after receiving an e-mail addressed to incoming students. “I would prefer to go somewhere with a more established culture where I can get the legitimate college dorm experience,” Meyer said. However, Edouard Brooks, a senior at the U of C Laboratory Schools, requested I-House as his first choice, optimistic that newer dorms can have a college culture, too. “Dorm life is what you make of it,” he said. The U of C joins other private universities and peer institutions with rising yield rates, including Case Western Reserve and Pitzer College, according to data from The Choice, a higher education blog of The New York Times.
is MAB’s chair. MAB would not disclose each artist’s fee for Summer Breeze, since musicians do not want published figures to skew future negotiations. “Summer Breeze is our flagship event. That’s where the majority of our funds go, and that trend will continue,” said thirdyear Lyndsey McKenna, who will succeed Abbott as chair next year. “We will continue trying to appeal to a large cross-section of the student body.” Still, Abbott said that MAB would consider spending more on the winter or fall shows, should an opportunity arise. “If someone pops up for a fall show or winter that we really like, we’d put the money out front,” he said. Abbott expects a similar amount of funding next year from PCC, which divides roughly $500,000 among MAB, WHPK, Doc Films, University Theater, Fire Escape Films, and the Council on University Programming. —Additional reporting by Rebecca Guterman
Major Activities Board: SUMMER BREEZE
$135,000 WINTER COMEDY SHOW
$20,000 FALL SHOW
THE CHICAGO MAROON | NEWS | May 22, 2012
Clamoring for NATO’s ear, thousands converge on McCormick Place Linda Qiu Deputy News Editor Students joined thousands downtown this weekend in a series of anti-war demonstrations against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) May 20–21 Summit in Chicago. “The People’s Summit” began on Friday and culminated on Sunday, as representatives of 28 NATO countries convened in McCormick Place. Demonstrators converged on Grant Park on Sunday for speeches from leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson before marching to the summit. U of C participants drew from activist RSOs with specific agendas such as UChicago Climate Action Network, UChicago Occupy, Students for Health Equity, and Southside Solidarity Network, along with students simply intent on “witnessing history.” “It was surreal and the most diverse thing I’ve ever seen,” said first-year Tyler Webb, who had previously observed one Occupy event. The organizers behind the weekend’s events, a group calling themselves the Coalition Against NATO and G8 (CANG8), trained a task force of around 60 “peace marshalls,” including a U of C student who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
to mediate between police and protesters and stop violent conflicts before they began. Meanwhile, some 3,000 CPD officers sporting riot gear were deployed in CTA buses and police vans to direct the path of the march and guard McCormick Place. Andy Thayer, an organizer for CANG8, told protesters that the march was directed toward political leaders, not the police. Sunday’s demonstrations ended at around 4 p.m. at South State Street and East Cermak Road. There, 45 decorated members of Iraq Veterans Against the War— including several veterans from the war in Afghanistan—cast their medals into the street toward McCormick Place. “These medals, once upon a time, made me feel good about what I was doing, that what I was doing was the right thing. But then I came back to reality, and I don’t want these anymore,” said Scott Olson, who threw his four medals into the road. Most protesters dispersed once their permit expired at 4 p.m., but stragglers began to clash with police at around 5 p.m., leading to as many as 60 arrests and a few injuries. Some 100 people have been arrested in the past week during the protests. No U of C affiliates were injured or arrested, although many,
Filled with remorse over his service in the Iraq War, veteran Aaron Hughes finds comfort in the arms of Reverend Jesse Jackson as Sunday’s NATO protests reached a fever pitch. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON
like first-year Brendan Leonard, witnessed the clashes. “I guess [police] just decided, when the permit ran out, that free speech was no longer protected,” Leonard said. “I was on the sidewalk, trying to stay out of the way, but they make it hard for you to not get arrested sometimes.” The protesters who were arrested
chose to do so, according to the U of C student peace marshall, adding that CANG8 views such arrests as distractions. The shifting identity of Occupy was also apparent. “What Occupy is has actually changed a lot these past eight months. A lot of groups with existing agendas have adopted
the Occupy moniker,” said Rob Jennings, an anthropology Ph.D. student at the University who was arrested in October. The future, however, remains murky. “There’s so much collective energy,” Leonard said, “but, honestly, no one knows what happens now.”
Criminal sexual abuse relatively rare in Hyde Park Students plan educational, personal cut-backs in case interest rate doubles in July STAFFORD continued from front
A student walking down East 57th Street between South Woodlawn and University Avenues at 10 p.m. Saturday night was sexually assulted by a man who pushed her into an alley and fondled her. JAMIE MANLEY | THE CHICAGO MAROON CRIME continued from front
evidence pointing to any particular individual or group.” This was the first reported incident of criminal sexual abuse this year in Hyde Park–South Kenwood, and the third in UCPD’s patrol area, which extends north– south from East 39th to 64th Streets and east–west from South Lake Shore Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue. “We take it very seriously,” Mason said. “It’s a crime against a person.” The first UCPD alert this month concerned two unrelated shootings on May 8 in Woodlawn. Mason related the incidence of three crimes in two weeks to spring weather. “We expect more crime in warmer weather just by the fact that there are more
people out and about in the community, good people and, unfortunately, a few bad people,” he said. Mason advised students to take precautions when traveling at night, including utilizing campus transportation and staying in groups. “It’s more common for individuals walking by themselves to be victimized. Fewer crimes occur when you’re with a group.” Since the security alert went out, fliers have appeared around campus reading, “Wanted: Sexual Predator,” with a sketch of someone loosely fitting the crime report’s description, but with dark hair. A call to the phone number listed went straight to voicemail. Mason said that the UCPD was not aware of these fliers.
the graduate program you’re going into is going to pay off in the end, or deciding that it’s not worth it—it’s too much,” she said. Oehrlein’s boyfriend, fourth-year Josh Seale, has an idea of what it would be like for the rate to double. A German major looking into graduate schools, Seale has been considering about how he might pay for his education through unsubsidized, higher-rate loans since 2011, when Congress eliminated subsidized Stafford loans for graduate school. He hopes to enroll somewhere after taking a gap-year abroad. “It makes it much harder for me to be able to potentially afford a Master’s program that isn’t completely covered by scholarships,” he said. “Given my current loans, [the program] would need to be really affordable for me. It wouldn’t really financially be an option for me to go to graduate school unless it was covered by scholarships.” Unsubsidized loans are already at 6.8 percent interest, which also accrues while the student is in school, although payment isn’t due until nine months after college. For other students, an increase in Stafford interest rates could lead to more immediate changes in lifestyle and spending. First-year Paul Liu said he would rather cut back on expenses right away and try to take out fewer Stafford loans next year if a rate increase did go into effect. Liu said this could mean “less pocket money to spend for next year, or a change to a cheaper meal plan.” SG President and fourth-year Youssef Kalad has been outspoken in his opposition to any increase in the interest rate that might require students to make costly sacrifices, such as, “choosing to
cut back on buying food, choosing to cut back on buying books, choosing to cut back on all these other things that you should not be cutting back on as a student,” he said. An increase in the Stafford loan rate might also deter students from coming to the U of C, one of a group of colleges that have broken the $55,000 mark for tuition and fees. First-year Lisa Ringdahl could have been one of these students. Ringdahl said the University’s tuition was a major potential barrier to her enrollment decision. Without a Stafford loan, it may not have been possible for her to have matriculated at all. “If it had been much more, then I might not have come here,” she said. Even if Congress manages to restore the rate after the July 1 deadline, Kalad said, the damage to students’ plans—and those of their families—will already have been done. “Tons of people need to know, at the end of this school year…what’s going to happen with those rates. Because it dictates whether they’re even in housing, or off campus, what classes they’re going to take, how many books they’re going to buy, etc.,” Kalad said. Adding fuel to the political climate surrounding higher education, the total amount of student debt in the United States recently topped $1 trillion. Third-year Alexis Morris, who has taken out both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, said that everyone in college is affected, whether they borrow or not. “All in all [the rate increase] is going to end up hitting the middle class,” she said. “Your liberal college education is all about diversity, but you can’t have diversity while missing a whole socioeconomic strata.”
Editorial & Op-Ed MAY 22, 2012
Yield for incoming students Increasing class sizes should prompt the U of C to mend the disconnect between Housing and Admissions The student newspaper of the University of Chicago since 1892 JORDAN LARSON Editor-in-Chief SHARAN SHETTY Editor-in-Chief COLIN BRADLEY Managing Editor DOUGLAS EVERSON, JR Senior Editor SAM LEVINE Senior Editor HARUNOBU CORYNE News Editor REBECCA GUTERMAN News Editor GIOVANNI WROBEL News Editor EMILY WANG Viewpoints Editor AJAY BATRA Viewpoints Editor CHARNA ALBERT Arts Editor HANNAH GOLD Arts Editor TOMI OBARO Arts Editor DANIEL LEWIS Sports Editor VICENTE FERNANDEZ Sports Editor MATTHEW SCHAEFER Sports Editor BELLA WU Head Designer KEVIN WANG Online Editor ALICE BLACKWOOD Head Copy Editor DON HO Head Copy Editor JEN XIA Head Copy Editor JAMIE MANLEY Photo Editor LINDA QIU Deputy News Editor CELIA BEVER Assoc. News Editor MARINA FANG Assoc. News Editor BEN POKROSS Assoc. News Editor
As reported in today’s Maroon, the admissions yield for the newest class in the College increased this year from 40 percent to an impressive 47 percent. The projected size of the incoming class is 1,525, which marks a record one-time increase in yield rate from last year. Though this increased yield is commendable, the University now faces a difficult housing situation. Last year, roughly 60 first-years were placed in New Graduate Residence Hall (NGRH) after the Office of Undergraduate Housing (OUH) anticipated fewer than the 1,411 students in the Class of 2015. With a projected incoming class that exceeds this figure by over 100 students and no new housing currently under construction, the University has demonstrated once again a problematic lack of communication between its Housing and Admissions offices. It must repair this disconnect or else risk negatively impacting the housing experience for all students. The seven percentage-point increase in yield rate this year in-
dicates that greater numbers of students now view the U of C as a place they are seriously interested in attending. The past few years have seen the yield rate stagnate at around 40 percent even as application numbers continued to rise. Given this relative stability, it is understandable that Admissions underestimated this year’s yield. Nonetheless, statements made by the OUH in previous years suggest a continued tension between Housing and Admissions that has serious consequences for current and incoming students. Current housing facilities—not including NGRH and International House—can hold 2,786 students. The incoming class would constitute approximately 55 percent of this capacity. Yet, a repeatedly stated objective of Housing administrators is upperclassmen retention in housing, a goal that appears at odds with Admissions’s efforts to increase yield in the short term. Last year, Director of University Housing Katie Callow-Wright stated that the OUH was not
expecting the incoming class of 2016 to be as big as the last one. She also denied any plans to construct new residence halls in the near future. Though there are now plans to replace Pierce Tower with a new residence hall, this would not materialize until some five years down the line. Until that time, Admissions should more cautiously calculate yield rates so that Housing is not left in dire need of accommodations it does not have. While the University has done a good job promoting house culture in the new Midway and Phoenix houses, the absence of NGRH and I-House from the current U of C “Office of Undergraduate Housing Student Room Selection Guide” is a good indicator that the University views these two options purely as last resorts. Such slapdash solutions could negatively impact new students’ all-important housing experiences and could conceivably limit upperclassmen’s ability to stay in housing should they so choo se. If Admissions would like
to see the yield rate continue to rise, and if Housing would like to retain more upperclassmen, the University must admit fewer students until housing options are expanded. Until that day comes, there is some leeway to be had in the form of the waitlist. In the event that smaller pools of accepted students in the future yield classes that are too small, accepting more students off of the waitlist is a safer bet than potentially over-enrolling yet again. Uniting the goals of the OUH and Admissions Office is a sure way to prevent the need for desperate measures. A May 2008 Maroon article about increasing yield rates noted that the Class of 2012— which contained roughly 1,350 students at the time—was “larger than the University had planned to accommodate.” As these students prepare to collect their diplomas, the problem that preceded them is still no closer to being solved.
The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.
MADHU SRIKANTHA Assoc. News Editor JENNIFER STANDISH Assoc. News Editor DAVID KANER Assoc. Viewpoints Editor EMMA BRODER Assoc. Arts Editor ALICE BUCKNELL Assoc. Arts Editor SCOTTY CAMPBELL Assoc. Arts Editor
Cooking with no reservations There are a bounty of reasons for U of C students to set aside time in their days to cook
DANIEL RIVERA Assoc. Arts Editor SARAH LANGS Assoc. Sports Editor DEREK TSANG Assoc. Sports Editor JAKE WALERIUS Assoc. Sports Editor SYDNEY COMBS Assoc. Photo Editor TIFFANY TAN Assoc. Photo Editor TYRONALD JORDAN Business Manager VIVIAN HUA Undergraduate Business Executive TAMER BARSBAY Director of Business Research VINCENT MCGILL Delivery Coordinator HYEONG-SUN CHO Designer
By David Kaner Associate Viewpoints Editor
SONIA DHAWAN Designer ANDREW GREEN Designer ALYSSA LAWTHER Designer SARAH LI Designer AUTUMN NI Designer AMITA PRABHU Designer
The following conversation, or something like it, has taken place between me and my roommate almost every day the last month:
“Do you want to cook tonight?” “Well, I dunno, we could go to the store and pick up...” A pause, followed by a look of mutual understanding. “Fuck it.” Just like that, we give in to yet another round of greasy takeout, or the aggressively mediocre food and ambiance of one of Hyde Park’s infinitely interchangeable restaurants. It makes sense. We’re tired, stressed, and low on time; that little extra bit of commitment needed to shop and cook
seems extravagant when there’s so much to do. But we should make the effort. We really should. As I’ve learned over the past year, however much of a hassle it seems sometimes, it’s worth paying a little more attention to home and, especially, hearth. For starters, cooking isn’t actually as much work as it seems, usually. Yes, you have to buy supplies first and, yes, the onion seems to have been bred over thousands of years specifically for its propensity to be impossible to dice neatly. However, when
all’s said and done, you wouldn’t have spent much less time waiting around for a check. Also, you’re in college—you’re not going to be preparing a 17-layer terrine or an elaborate soufflé anyway. As long as you keep it simple, and choose recipes that are either fast or can largely be left unattended, your time and effort spent in the kitchen will be less than you think. Another great thing about hitting the pots and pans is as clichéd as it is true: Food brings COOKING continued on page 6
KELSIE ANDERSON Copy Editor CATIE ARBONA Copy Editor AMISHI BAJAJ Copy Editor JANE BARTMAN Copy Editor MARTIA BRADLEY Copy Editor SHANICE CASIMIRO Copy Editor LISA FAN Copy Editor
Embracing the unknown College isn’t about learning all there is to know—it’s about knowing all there is to learn
ALAN HASSLER Copy Editor NISHANTH IYENGAR Copy Editor MICHELLE LEE Copy Editor KATIE MOCK Copy Editor ZSOFIA VALYI-NAGY Copy Editor ESTHER YU Copy Editor BEN ZIGTERMAN Copy Editor
The Chicago Maroon is published twice weekly during autumn, winter, and spring quarters Circulation: 5,500.
By Jane Huang Viewpoints Columnist
The opinions expressed in the Viewpoints section are not necessarily those of the Maroon. © 2012 The Chicago Maroon, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 Editor-in-Chief Phone: 773.834.1611 Newsroom Phone: 773.702.1403 Business Phone: 773.702.9555 Fax: 773.702.3032 CONTACT News: News@ChicagoMaroon.com Viewpoints: Viewpoints@ChicagoMaroon.com Arts: Arts@ChicagoMaroon.com Sports: Sports@ChicagoMaroon.com Photography: Photo@ChicagoMaroon.com Design: Douglas@ChicagoMaroon.com Copy: CopyEditors@ChicagoMaroon.com Advertising: Ads@ChicagoMaroon.com
Donald Rumsfeld was widely mocked in 2002 for this infamous statement: “[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns.” Though it is tempting to criticize someone who made many decisions that I strong-
ly disagree with, there’s certainly nothing untrue about his statement. And lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the value of “known unknowns.” Though the purpose of going to college is to get an education, it occurred to me that sometimes making the choice to attend can also end up limiting what you will learn. For example, when I was a senior in high school, one of my college interviewers asked me what I would do if I weren’t going to college. I did not acquit myself very well with my answer. As Rumsfeld might say, the life of someone who never went to college was a “known unknown” to me. I had planned on going to college for most of my life, as had all of my friends. Though I was certainly aware of what occupa-
tions didn’t require a college degree, anything I said was going to sound hollow because I could at best speak only abstractly on a subject about which my interviewer, a first-generation college student, was much more informed. This is not to say that it is impossible for a college student to understand the lives of anyone besides other college students. In fact, I believe that one of the main purposes of going to college is to develop the ability to envision the lives of people completely different from you. This can be achieved through many different means, including coursework, community service, or simply interacting with your classmates. Unfortunately, the disciplines that I think are most effective in helping people understand the lives of others, such as history, so-
ciology, and English, are also subject to much derision from those who aren’t studying those fields. Furthermore, though it is outside the scope of the curriculum of many of the so-called “practical” majors (i.e. STEM disciplines) to teach us what it might be like to be somebody else, it doesn’t help matters that such fields also tend to be less diverse than the student body as a whole. Thus, not everybody in college has the same opportunities to learn about other people. College can’t teach us everything we will ever need to know because four years just isn’t long enough. Besides teaching us content, though, college has the potential to teach us ways of thinking. Four years can be enough to set us up to continue learning for KNOWING continued on page 6
THE CHICAGO MAROON | VIEWPOINTS | May 22, 2012
Getting off the right track The GOPâ€™s increasing tendency toward radical positions may alienate more crucial moderate support
By Anastasia Golovashkina Viewpoints Columnist Several weeks before the Class of 2016 embarks upon the introductory jamboree that is O-Week, the nationâ€™s two major political parties will be hosting their own â€œorientationsâ€? of sortsâ€”namely, their national party conventions. Held every presidential election cycle, these conventions are important for three reasons: They seal the nomination of a partyâ€™s presidential and vice presidential candidates, allow a party to develop and adopt a new platform, and determine the nominating process for the next convention. With the Obama-Biden ticket sealed since last winter, it makes sense for us to focus on the convention that will matterâ€” namely, the Republicans.â€™ The first Republican convention took place in 1856, and centered on a controversial and complex, but ultimately clear and concrete issue: slavery. But slavery wasnâ€™t just the issue that was addressed in their platform; it was the issue that they actively campaigned on. Though the partyâ€™s composition ranged from staunch slavery supporters like Bates to avid abolitionists like FrĂŠmont, the cause the nascent Republican Party ultimately backedâ€”making slavery illegal in all new and to-be-added states and ter-
ritoriesâ€”represented a reasonable, moderate compromise that bridged the gaps among its members. In stark contrast to the North-South factionalized Democrats (who went so far as to run two separate candidatesâ€”a â€œDemocratâ€? and a â€œSouthern Democratâ€?), the Republican Party united, ran, and won. In the first century or so of its existence, Republicans continued to triumph on a kind of communal compromiseâ€”a unified backing of a mean position that lay between its two extremes.
The party is sending the message that supporters will not be heard unless theyâ€™re intense, radical, and loud.
Unfortunately for the GOP, this is no longer the case. Despite keeping to its distinct rallying cry of patriotic values, the partyâ€™s priorities have moved further and further away from the position of a Republican mean. Rather than take cues from its middle, the party has increasingly turned toward farther right-wing positions. Consider the partyâ€™s stance on college education: One of the first (and most notable) pieces of federal legislation concerning college education was 1944â€™s G.I. Bill, which provided a wide range of benefits to returning World War II veterans, chief among them a comprehensive financial aid package for higher education. Thanks in large part to this bill, veterans
made up half of college admissions in 1947; by 1956, nearly half of the warâ€™s 16 million veterans had utilized the legislation to pursue more education. Through these and other provisions, the bill boosted college graduation rates, economic productivity, household income, and home ownership. Importantly, the prime advocates of the G.I. Bill were mostly Republicans; author of the first draft Harry Colmery, for example, was the National Committeeâ€™s Chairman. Unfortunately, this is all a far cry from the Republican Party of 2012. By allowing itself to be guided by the extremism of an ever-richer elite, the party has been left no choice but to put its faith in Mitt Romney, a candidate who hopelessly encourages students to â€œshop aroundâ€? for an inexpensive college that offers â€œa good education.â€? In the â€™40s, the party understood just how unreasonable and useless such â€˜adviceâ€™ is, and felt duty-bound to aid its most dedicated citizens pay for college, but this no longer seems to be the case. Perhaps the most telling sign of the partyâ€™s growing extremism has been its approach to politics in general. Though attack ads and cross-party criticism have been a mainstay of two-party politics since the system first took root, painting an opponent like Carter as â€œweakâ€? is very different from persistentlyâ€”and against all evidenceâ€”waging misinformation-based campaigns against nonexistent problems like polling booth voter fraud, the â€œyoucan-marry-a-squirrelâ€? threat of legal samesex marriage, or drawing a false parallel between a familyâ€™s credit card debt and the US national debt. Much of this rhetoric has come from fringe movements like the Tea Party Pa-
triots. But more and more, thatâ€™s the only kind of rhetoric that the party has been promoting. By allowing itself to be defined by its extremists rather than its generally more moderate membership, the party is sending its supporters the message that they will not be heard unless theyâ€™re intense, radical, and loud. Though itâ€™s true that extremists are much more likely to splinter off in the event that their ideas arenâ€™t backed, the departure of a fringe movement is unlikely to matter much in the long run. The alienation of the moderate base, however, is. Moreover, the party needs to remember that advocating an increasingly radical right-wing platform is very different from preserving a platform that leaned right to begin with. If the Republican Party intends to stick around for the long haul, it needs to reorient its political compass and go toward positions that are popular among most of its members. From this follows a telling , important question: Should the GOP even care about long-term implications? After all, electoral politics are all about the importance of the short-term win, the next campaign, the next big election. If super PAC shouting matches and sensationalized non-issues are this yearâ€™s voter magnets (not to mention magnate magnets), then why not use them? Itâ€™s a great question, and it all boils down to the most important choice that the Republican Party will make this year: Stay true to its commitment to â€œpreserving our nationâ€™s values,â€? or redefine itself as the party that confuses radical with right. Anastasia Golovashkina is a first-year in the College majoring in economics.
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The Great Wave, Hokusai
performed by the University Symphony Orchestra, University Chorus, Motet Choir, and Rockefeller Chapel Choir
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THE CHICAGO MAROON | VIEWPOINTS | May 22, 2012
Perfect your recipe for romance in the kitchen COOKING continued from page 4 people together. You think you don’t have friends? Maybe you’re under the impression that no one in your life can spare an hour for you? False. You have merely failed to attract them with promises of fresh baked bread, hearty daal, or summery chicken tortilla soup (all, I swear, a snap to make). There are very few people in the world who actually have the ability to turn down a homemade meal, even if the definition of “home” is stretched to include the ding y cave that is your MAC apartment. Throw something in the oven and, without fail, people will gather. And if your friends are true paragons of camaraderie, you might get some beer or wine in the bargain too. This advice, by the way, goes double for romantic occasions. Cooking is sexy. It has an element of the primeval; you wield your knife deftly against an animal or vegetable foe (just because it has been pre-filleted does not mean it isn’t a threat to your loved ones), bend it to your will (read: dredge in egg and then roll in flour), and then throw it onto a fire. Hot, no? And on top of any weird Freudian elements you read into it, it shows you care enough to spend time preparing a meal, and that you have a skill worth sharing. In my heteronormative experience, girls appreciate it. And I’m quite confident anyone, of any sex, gender, or orientation, would feel much the same. None of this is to say that cooking cannot be an end in itself as well. An amazing thing about the culinary arts, especially as you get more comfortable with them, is their capacity to be just what they sound like—arts. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but look: I can’t paint; I can’t draw. The last time I tried to pick up a musical instrument I was threatened with legal action. As far as I’m concerned, playing
chef is as valid an outlet as any of these other, more (personally) frustrating pursuits. Not, mind you, that I’m necessarily offering it as a substitute. But on a bad day, when writer’s block hits you hard or you leave the studio uninspired, try turning some simple garlic, tomatoes, and oil into something you’re proud of. You might be surprised how much it feels like a real, fulfilling accomplishment and creative release. Finally, cooking is just plain fun. It should be, anyway. There are few hobbies more difficult to get overly serious about, assuming the Iron Chef film crew doesn’t spontaneously materialize in your kitchen. It’s normally an unusually relaxed atmosphere; how often are you with the people you care about and doing something as mindless as washing or stirring ? Run with it. Make silly mustaches with pieces of spaghetti. Throw flour at your housemates. Accidentally set the dial to broil and entertain your friends for years with the story of how you ruined your oven by throwing an entire lobster pot of water onto a flaming chicken breast (true story) (sorry, mom and dad). If you’re too “mature” to be a total goofball in public, at least take advantage of your right to be one in the privacy of your own home. It’s therapeutic. Julia Child, of culinary and so-so Meryl Streep-vehicle fame, once said, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” Damn straight, Julia. How many other fields can you throw yourself into with abandon, with so little risk and so much potential, tasty benefit? So what the hell, right? Let’s get cooking. David Kaner is a second-year in the College majoring in Law, Letters, and Society.
Students must cherish perspective when problem solving KNOWING continued from page 4 the rest of our lives. In order to do that, we have to be taught to recognize what we don’t know—that is, the “unknown unknowns” need to be converted to “known unknowns.” As college students, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’ve got the solutions to all of society’s seemingly intractable problems. “If only politicians would read our term papers and school newspaper op-eds,” we think to ourselves, “then we could easily fix unemployment/ gender inequality/ the obesity epidemic/ the rest of the world’s ills.” College students’ ideas aren’t necessarily bad; in fact, some of them might be quite similar to plans enacted by policymakers. However, if a seemingly good idea hasn’t achieved its intended result, then something important has probably been overlooked. I think that part of the reason that certain problems seem unsolvable is that people tend to come up with ideas based on the notion that other people are fundamentally like themselves. For example, Mitt Romney once suggested to some college students that they borrow money from their parents
to start a business. Although that plan will probably work out well for those who have backgrounds similar to Romney’s, it is simply not feasible for a lot of people. Since our own set of “known knowns” is different from everybody else’s, it would be very difficult to fully understand what it’s like to be somebody else. Nevertheless, recognizing the limits of what we do know will help us become better problem solvers. At the risk of overgeneralization, I think most of us here fall into two categories: Those who will leave college confident in their expertise and those who will leave college humbled by the scale of what they have yet to learn. It can be tough to be a part of the latter group—it is tricky trying to persuade someone who’s confident in her worldview of anything if you’re perpetually aware that further information might change your perspective. Nevertheless, a little self-doubt will push you to seek more knowledge and make better-informed decisions in the long run. Jane Huang is a second-year in the College.
SUBMISSIONS The Chicago Maroon welcomes opinions and responses from its readers. Send op-ed submissions and letters to: The Chicago Maroon attn: Viewpoints 1212 East 59th Street Chicago, IL 60637 E-mail: Viewpoints@ChicagoMaroon.com The editors reserve the right to edit materials for clarity and space. Letters to the editor should be limited to 400 words. Op-ed submissions, 800 words.
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Trivial Pursuits MAY 22, 2012
Rhyme and little reason: Ludacris spurs crowd to act a fool Tomi Obaro Arts Editor
Ludacris commands the crowd to shake its moneymaker at Summer Breeze. JOHNNY HUNG | THE CHICAGO MAROON
When the Major Activities Board (MAB) announced that the headliner for this year’s Summer Breeze concert would be none other than the rapper Ludacris, people lost their minds. After years of talented but obscure emcees, here at last was a bonafide hitmaker, a rapper famous enough to both draw the ire of requisite fuddy duddy Bill O’Reilly and light up the Billboard charts with clubbanging classics like “Stand Up” and “Moneymaker.” That Luda is at least nine years removed from the height of his popularity didn’t matter. He was the soundtrack to many an awkward middle school dance, and everyone knows that the millennial generation is susceptible to huge bouts of nostalgia. Coupled with indie-cred acts Cults and Neon Indian, this year’s lineup was officially topnotch, so it was hardly surprising that tickets sold out. Hull gate opened at 5, and by 5:10, there was already a solid phalanx of people sitting by the barriers in Hutch Courtyard, trying to preempt the Luda rush. It felt like summer, a stark contrast to last year’s frigid rain that forced the concert indoors. This year, hipsters and frat boys alike were wearing muscle shirts.
There was even the pungent whiff of marijuana smoke in the air. After student DJs Quinten Rosborough and Joey Vasquez plied the burgeoning crowd with thumping bass, long-haired indie-pop duo Cults sauntered onstage with their backing band. Lead singer Madeline Fillon was awkward in a charming way, bouncing up and down in time with the music, shouting out a perfunctory “Thank you!” at the end of each song, and laughing good-naturedly at the inherent awkwardness of such a move. The bulk of crowd interaction was left to lead guitarist with the rockstar name Brian Oblivion. “This next song goes out to the two kids who have already gone home with alcohol poisoning,” he quipped before playing the straggly opening chords of “Rave On.” Hazy dream pop is their main gig, but the muffled acoustics did the band no favors. You could only really hear Fillon when she was belting and a bomb joke that might have been related to the actual bomb scare at the 57th Metra early that morning fell flat mainly because no one could understand what Oblivion was saying. Still, people cheered and sang along when Cults played their most famous number, “Go Outside,” and when Oblivion said that “this was the coolest college we’ve ever SUMMER continued on page 10
Comics conference explores the brainier side of cartoons Arman Sayani Arts Contributor Comic books have always suffered from a kind of personality crisis. Forced to occupy the unfavorably ambiguous space between cartoons and the novel, they have been shrugged off for years as either too childish or too simple to be worthy of any real literary merit. Time, however, has been kind to the industry, which is enjoying new success from fans and literary critics alike. Such favor reached an apogee this past Friday at Comics: Philosophy and Practice, a threeday conference that paid homage to the world of cartoons. The event brought together artists, illustrators, academics, and comic book aficionados from Chicago and elsewhere to give credit to an industry that has, in recent years, enjoyed broad exposure and success. Sponsored by the newlyformed Grey Center for Arts and Inquiry, the conference was designed to address issues pertaining to the history of the industry, its integration into mainstream culture, and the craft’s alwayschanging future. Seventeen renowned cartoonists offered workshops, lectures, and panels, all of which took place in and around the magnificent, airy and unfinished auditorium at the Logan Center. The conference marked the
Grey Center’s first public event. While the snazzy venue wowed students and onlookers alike, it was by no means the main attraction. At the end of the weekend, the main talking points were inarguably the conference’s illustrious participants. Industry giants Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman (just about everyone cited one or the other as an influence) were both in attendance, as well as more recent experimental artists like Chris Ware and Charles Burns. Conference organizers David Levin and Hillary Chute went all out to create the best possible overall experience, a gesture that the audience greatly appreciated. The conference opened to a packed auditorium on an unexpectedly warm summer’s day. After Levin and Chute delivered brief opening remarks and introductions, the first speaker took the stage. The audience greeted the venerable presence of Art Spiegelman with frenzied clapping , satisfied whoops, and other (regrettably unprintable) histrionics. Clad in a classic Spiegelman getup (three-piece suit, jacket), he walked to his seat leisurely, taking in his devotees’ rapturous applause. W. J. T. Mitchell, an author, editor, and professor of English and art history, was Spiegelman’s interviewer and discussion partner. The two chatted about
English and art history professor W.J.T. Mitchell and American cartoonist Art Spiegelman have a conversation during “Comics: Philosophy and Practice,” a three-day conference this past weekend. SARAH BLAUSER | THE CHICAGO MAROON
the history of the comic medium, charting its development from the days of the newspaper strip and “floppy copies,” to the more substantial graphic novel format, and finally to the electronic comics that readers can follow on a wide variety of media today. The discussion, aptly titled “What the %$#! Happened to Comics?”, succinctly captured a key issue in all mainstream art: the changing
of tastes over time. The days of serialized comic books (at one point, the public consumed 15 million comic books a week) on newsstands are history. But the industry is witnessing a revival as more and more people devour graphic novels, works that Spiegelman called “comic books that you can place a bookmark in and reread.” The new popularity of the graphic novel has motivated
cartoonists to adapt, reinvent, and keep the comic revival going strong. They then addressed the graphic novels as a form of art debate. Spiegelman admitted that there was a time when the form was subject to a sort of deal with the devil, where it could either evolve into a respected art form or die out as an irrelevant relic of COMICS continued on page 10
THE CHICAGO MAROON | ARTS | May 22, 2012
SUMMER BREEZE 2012 2
1. Move, bitch! The crowd edges forward toward the stage. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON 2. Cults’ lead singer Madeline Follin. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON 3. Ludacris and Lil’ Fate work the audience. JOHNNY HUNG | THE CHICAGO MAROON 4. Neon Indian’s lead singer Alan Palomo sings a ditty. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON 5. Neon Indian’s keyboard and synth player Leanne Macomber. TIFFANY TAN | THE CHICAGO MAROON
THE CHICAGO MAROON | ARTS | May 22, 2012
In Sound of My Voice, maturity of young filmmaker resonates Daniel Rivera Associate Arts Editor After the credits rolled at the end of 2011’s sci-fi indie drama Another Earth, I was a changed man. Brit Marling, who’d been the film’s lead and one of its co-writers, was cleareyed and intentional in a way few modern young actresses are, and director Mike Cahill’s no-frills approach to framing her stellar narrative was refreshingly human. More than anything, I was struck by the purity of what Marling and Cahill did with their movie—they captured well-drawn, fully realized characters under the duress of a straight-forward, innovative premise. There was no multi-million dollar budget, no pretentious third act twists, no big stars or quick camera cuts. Not once did I feel their lack. So it goes without saying that I was excited for Zal Batmanglij’s Sound of My Voice, the second of Marling’s indies to be given mass distribution by Fox Searchlight after making waves at Sundance. Suffice it to say, it did not only meet my expectations — it exceeded them. The premise of Sound of My Voice is relatively straightforward: Peter and Lorna (Christopher Denham and Nicole Vicius), a couple of 20-something-year-old documentary filmmakers, set out to infiltrate and expose a Los Angeles-based cult and its leader, an enigmatic woman named Maggie (Marling) who claims to be from the year 2054. Things go from bad to worse when Peter begins to lose his objective distance to Maggie’s allure, straining his relationship with Lorna and testing just how far they’re both willing to go in order to expose what appears to be a potentially lethal fraud. Or is it? Cue some preternatural awareness on Maggie’s part, and suddenly nothing’s certain.
SOUND OF MY VOICE Zal Batmanglij AMC River East
Batmanglij was apparently operating under a tight budget (Marling revealed that a few scenes shot on an airplane were done covertly
Sharing time for Brit Marling and her followers in Sound of My Voice. COURTESY OF FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES
on a roundtrip from LAX to San Francisco), but it only adds to the movie’s suspense. A bulk of Sound of My Voice is spent in a white basement, extra clinical so as to not endanger Maggie’s apparently fragile immune system after her almost-deadly trip through time. The monotone, windowless room is perfectly claustrophobic, emphasizing the inescapability of the situation Peter and Lorna have inserted themselves into. Batmanglij’s simple camerawork is efficient and powerful, if not a little evocative of Cahill’s style in Another Earth (understandable since both worked together closely in their days at Georgetown University, where they met Marling). It magnifies the incredible performances on display here—Denham, Vicius, and Marling maintain chemistry integral to the movie’s success, and make the film compulsively watchable. Granted, the movie is replete with all your requisite cult tropes—blindfolds, white vans going to unknown locations, forced showers, intricate handshakes—but there’s a realism here that convinced me to accept it without question. Just
like Another Earth, there’s an expectation upon viewing that, to a certain extent, you’ll need to leave your doubt at the theater door. Cahill and Batmanglij ask you to open your mind, and in turn, they make a promise to respect it. Make sure you check out the movie’s soundtrack as well. Scored by the director’s brother, Rostam Batmanglij, a member of Vampire Weekend, it’s hypnotic and subtle. Never intrusive, but heavy where it needs to be—one scene in particular comes to mind, probably one of the movie’s most visceral as Maggie recounts her memories of “waking up” in a motel bathroom 40 years into her past. It all comes to a closer under Hot Chip’s trippy “Thieves in the Night,” which will now be looping forever on my iPod. There’s also a brilliant sequence featuring The Cranberries that—not to spoil—had my whole theater particularly enraptured. It’s refreshing to see a score utilized smartly in an era of movies that tends to force music onto their audience as a means to tell us how to feel. Sound of My Voice
rests on the strength of its script, and smartly so. Silence here is just as effective as any song. The next we’ll see of Marling and Batmanglij will be in their first major studio venture — a drama called The East about a conservative contract worker (Juno’s Ellen Page) hired to infiltrate an anarchist group (True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard) intent on punishing corporate greed. The movie’s in post-production but with no current set release date. My suggestion? Catch Sound of My Voice, currently playing at both Landmark and River East, and rent Another Earth. Soak up all the genius now, and don’t wait until Marling, Batmanglij or Cahill gets their inevitable Oscar nod and becomes the next “It Thing.” If nothing else, in a summer full of mega-budget studio monsters, this can be the indie that makes the money you spend on a ticket matter. The Avengers has already hit the billion dollar mark. The Dark Knight Rises is obviously going to. Screw the superheroes, I say. There’s a (potentially) sociopathic basement-stricken cult leader out there who deserves your attention.
No more California dreaming in Best Coast’s new album Alice Bucknell Associate Arts Editor As ninth week kicks off with blue skies, breezy temperatures in the low 70s, and plenty of sunshine, summer seems just around the corner. Suddenly the idea of spending a Sunday afternoon at the Point, sunbathing and wading knee-deep into the still water of Lake Michigan seems much better than writing that Sosc paper. And the idea of dropping $9.99 on an album that seems to encapsulate all things summer — from lyrics crooning over “the ocean, the babes, the sun, and the waves” paired with a fizzling, lighthearted eclectic guitar melody — seems even better. At just over half an hour long, Best Coast’s second album simply can’t afford to lag. The Only Place opens up with its title track, an irresistible ode to the Golden State and all that it has to offer. Elements of the band’s first album Crazy for You, released in 2010, shine through as front woman Bethany Consentino deploys her usual “fun in the sun” lyrics, accompanied by high-tempo instrumentals courtesy of the band’s second member, Bobb Bruno. The sound is delightfully familiar, though noticeably more polished. The fuzzy, adolescent garage-style pop that made Crazy for You so lovable has evolved into something cleaner and undeniably more mature. It’s richer and more
dynamic, though the warm sound of almost-tangible golden California sunshine is still there, boasting the effortless ability to transport its listeners over to the endless summer of the West Coast. Clouds roll over the album’s sunny start as the first track dissolves into number two, “Why I Cry.” The peppy teenage concerns of cats, crushes, and weed melt away as Consentino turns inward for the first time in Best Coast’s short history. Though still framed by familiar guitar melodies, subtly enhanced by the clattering of tambourines and intermittent bouts of high chords, the album takes on an air of moody introspection. The carefree charm of the first track is replaced with more serious undertones, as Consentino lets her listeners know that being a kitty-loving, Cali-living rock star isn’t always a walk in the park: “Look to the future, nothing’s there/don’t know why I even care.” Consentino sings at the song’s opening, letting it end with lyrics that stay true to her typically terse style, though they are much darker in content: “Yeah, you seem to think you know everything/but you don’t know why I cry/you don’t know why I cry.” The album’s next song, “Last Year,” is a retrospective look at Consentino’s past: “I used to wake up in the morning and reach for that bottle of glass/but I don’t do that any more, kick my habits out the front door,” she slowly croons,
referencing personal themes of alcoholism and addiction. While the guitar work is more subdued than in Crazy for You, it adds a weightiness to the mood of the music that never appeared in the previous album. The pace of Consentino’s singing slows from a peppy cheer to a steep drawl, and her confession is as deliberate as it is seductive. Glittering oceans, endless sunshine, and the wild, natural beauty of California and its inhabitants — all idols of the band’s first album — no longer keep Consentino afloat. Rather, these themes now act as a sort of prison in their idealism. While the tempo of the music does transform from song to song, no doubt in favor of the band’s rapidly expanding and developing sound, each track is rooted in a sort of world-weariness. Tracks such as “How They Want me to Be” and “Dreaming My Life Away” look back upon the airy, effervescent sound with which the band staked its claim to fame two years prior, but flip the function of the reverie on its head by subjecting it to more intense lyrics, layers of added instrumentals, and cleaner editing. Consentino reveals her maturing selfunderstanding and the band demonstrates its musical talent, sounding more controlled and polished. “Up All Night,” the eleventh and last track of The Only Place, adds a nice wrap up to the album, as it echoes some
of the melody of the opening track. But, by the end of the work, sunny California exultation is almost entirely bled out of the album (save for the track just prior, “Let’s Go Home,” which is a disillusioned plea for a return to the sunshine state). The Only Place closes with an insomniac’s plea for rest and a dose of sanity after a tough break up: “I don’t know what day it is/ Because I’ve been
up all night/ Oh well now all I wish I could see/ Is you and me.” While fans of the lighthearted, easygoing familiarity of Best Coast’s debut album might find some dissatisfaction with the new album’s changing forecast, The Only Place nevertheless reveals the band’s growing stylistic strides. Hopefully more blue skies are on Consentino’s horizon.
Album cover of Best Coast’s sophomore release gets grimmer. COURTESY OF MEXICAN SUMMER
THE CHICAGO MAROON | ARTS | May 22, 2012
Enthusiastic conductor leads CSO in speedy concert John Lisovsky Arts Staff The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony, Vaughan Williams’s Tuba Concerto, and Beethoven’s Seventh, last Wednesday was scintillating. Part of the CSO series Afterwork Masterworks, which features concerts on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. without intermissions, the concert was guest-conducted by Jaap van Zweden, the excitable Dutch music director of the Dallas Symphony, and a stark contrast from stately conductors like the CSO’s own Ricardo Muti, German-born Kurt Masur, Bernard Haitink, and the austere Esa-Pekka Salonen. I have no doubt that van Zweden’s colorful interpretations, replete with more parries and lunges than a fencing match, will color my view of the conductor for the
future, though my conservative preference for the anti-theatricality of giants like Toscanini and Richard Strauss in no way impugns the maestro’s stellar musicianship or his apparently excellent rapport with the Symphony—a rapport which is perhaps easier to take seriously with closed eyes. Van Zweden’s conducting was fast but confident, and the program was brought off excellently. The first piece, Chamber Symphony, arranged by Rudolf Barshai for string orchestra from Shostakovich’s Eighth String Quartet (1960), dates from the end of the latter’s career. The trauma of Shostakovich’s polio coupled with his fraught connection to the Community party is said to have influenced the work. The piece itself is certainly quite dark, and the central motif, which spells out the composer’s initials, reinforces the composition’s semi-autobiographi-
Variety of bands play at WHPK Scotty Campbell Associate Arts Editor It was heard, not seen. Tucked into a corner of the quad amid food stands, moon bounces, and (not necessarily sober) Summer Breeze revelers, Saturday’s WHPK show had a single puny stage. The alternative concert hosted five bands and covered almost every genre in the independent music spectrum, from costume-clad girl bands to Southern punk-rock acts. WHPK, the U of C’s radio station, has put on a live concert during Summer Breeze for over 15 years. Since the station specializes in independent music, it deliberately chooses bands that frequent its own on-air roster. For example, Wiccans, a punk-rock band from Denton, Texas, was chosen as the group ranked first on the station’s charts throughout 2011. According to former station manager and fourth-year Sophia Posnock, “We book the bands based on what our DJs play and what makes our charts, and what bands we personally would like to see play.” Most of the crowd around WHPK’s Saturday stage was peripatetic, using the bands’ music as a soundtrack for casual carnival-browsing instead of dedicated audience membership, though some sidled in for a closer listen when particularly lively bands played. Wiccans was one of the show’s more intense acts. Rapid percussion aided frantic guitars and mostly-tuneless vocals, typical of the “hardcore punk” sound the band tries to embody on its Web site. Presumably playing music from its new EP, Teenage Cults, Wiccans’s muddy sound quickly clashed with the surrounding laidback atmosphere. While some stayed to hear the band out, repetitive drum kit iterations failed to ingratiate the group to most of the Summer Breeze throng. Fortunately, the girl-fronted Californian band The Sandwitches provided a welcome
contrast to Wiccans’s stringent sound. The trio played summery songs, mixing clever, folksy guitar with breezy lyrics and lazy percussion; all were appropriate for the 80-degree weather and festival attitude of the carnival. While Wiccans was chosen for its popularity, Posnock said The Sandwitches was chosen for its members’ gender: “Since I play mostly girl bands on my [WHPK] show, I refused to book a show without at least one girl band,” she said. Though the bands at the show didn’t share the same sounds, they sometimes, strangely, shared members. Video, for example, includes musicians from, among other bands, Wiccans, and also hails from Texas. Video’s sound was more laid back than Wiccans’s, as traditional rock instrumentals joined more restrained singing. Two local bands were booked to join the show as well. Chicago’s own Brain Idea is already a WHPK favorite, the band having released albums on Chicagobased label Permanent Records. Brain Idea played mostly dreamy pop-rock songs; while most couldn’t manage to overcome the surrounding noise of the carnival, the atmospheric vocals at least provided respite for those gathering around the stage. The Man, the other local act, includes three WHPK alumni. According to Posnock, two of the members had their own shows while at the University, and one was the station’s librarian. While the WHPK show may not have completely overshadowed the other Summer Breeze activities, it did at least highlight five independent bands along a quirky spectrum of relative fame. In particularly good taste was the choice of two local bands; seeing as the day’s larger concert featured all out-of-state acts, it was interesting and encouraging for U of C musicians to hear two homegrown bands. As Posnock said, “We like to support the good bands in Chicago.”
cal status. It remains an open question, however, whether Barshai improved on the original by expanding it for a few dozen instrumentalists. Certainly, he allowed for broader textures and ranges of expression, and van Zweden made full use of the considerable forces in the CSO’s string section. If the work alone didn’t justify the entire evening, it may at any rate be the most effective opening piece the Symphony has played this season. The Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto, the second piece of the night, is something of an anomaly. Williams, a Brit, was famously most comfortable writing deeply nostalgic works. Despite its enduring popularity (not least among tubists, to whom it offers a handful of showy solos), the concerto has not been particularly influential. It’s an enjoyable work; indeed, it’s almost impossible to listen to principal tubist Gene Pokorny play
in the instrument’s lower reaches without giggling at some of the visceral incongruity in Williams’s musical juxtaposition. The breezy, 13-minute performance received a hearty ovation. Though it was nominally the main event, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, a lighter mature symphony than many of the composer’s, did not exactly dominate the program. The structure of Afterwork Masterworks, with its lack of an intermission, helped the show’s pace, and because the Shostakovich contained such musical catharsis, one would be challenged to find Beethoven prior to the late quartets that did the abreactive work of the String Quartet/Chamber Symphony, and certainly the Seventh Symphony, even in its rather overplayed second movement, did not outdo the Russian. If the concert was an exercise in speed, the Seventh Symphony,
which Richard Wagner termed “The Apotheosis of the Dance,” was its clearest articulation. Van Zweden’s conducting was unusually rapid throughout, and his performance of Beethoven made the notoriously fleet Toscanini recording appear positively staid. The second-movement “Allegretto,” so frequently victim to the melodramatic shortcomings of other interpreters, perhaps benefited from van Zweden’s speed, gaining in forthrightness whatever nominal losses there were to emotive effusion. The orchestra was perhaps not entirely used to playing the third-movement scherzo at the tempo van Zweden asked, and was, despite the institution’s stratospheric standard, at times uneven. By the finale, though, it seemed to have recovered. The performance was commendable, with or without the Maestro’s slightly indulgent conducting practice.
Even on autopilot, Ludacris still brings out fans SUMMER continued from page 7 played, seriously,” he managed to provoke my sympathy in a way that was only surpassed when I later saw him sitting in the grass by the orange barrier fence alone, watching Ludacris. Neon Indian, the electronic pop brainchild of 23-year-old Alan Palomo, performed next after a long break, playing hits like “Polish Girl” and other songs that honestly began to meld together in my head. Still, it’s definitely easy to see why Palomo has become something of an indie sex symbol. When he came back onstage after the set to help break down, a cabal of front row girls screamed “Alan!” He turned, shook their hands and flashed a beatific smile. As soon as Neon Indian was done at about 8:30p.m., people began swarming into the courtyard from all corners of the Earth. A security guard had been placed in the Hutch fountain to forbid people from standing in it, but he just upped and left, effectively saying, ‘To Hell with
it.” Chaos ensued. One girl headbutted another girl in her quest for front row. At least twice, the push from the crowd was intense enough to make me lose my balance and I skinned my knee in the process. It was nothing too out of the ordinary for a live concert, I suppose, but it was surprising, because hey, it’s the University of Chicago. We’re supposed to be all passive and shit. It was worth it though, because Ludacris was great. He came out promptly (around 9:10) to the roars of the crowd. It didn’t matter what he said; people were already hyped up, and Luda seemed to know it. He never rapped the entirety of a song, opting instead to entertain the frenzied crowd with fragments of hits (his as well as others) and to pit one side of the audience against the other with the help of his hype man, Lil’ Fate. (“I think this side has more Ludacris fans than the other. Point your middle fingers at the other side!”) He did a lot of shout-outs, too. He shouted out to the black peo-
ple, the Latinas, and the white people (if you were Asian, you were out of luck). He shouted out to the alcoholics and the pot smokers. He even channeled his inner Beyoncé and shouted out to “the independent women who don’t need no man and make their own money.” (This was right after the ho-heavy jam “Area Codes,” so I think it was a strategic move on his part.) He seemed genuinely surprised that so many U of C students knew all the words to every song, even “What’s Your Fantasy,” “his very first single, the true test of any Ludacris fan.” When he said that this college had some of the livest Ludacris fans he had seen in a while, I believed him. Luda pretended he had to finish his set at ten, and then came back for an encore, during which he took requests from the ladies (“My Chick Bad”) and the fellas (“Move Bitch”). “Luda is officially my favorite live rapper,” opined one student, when the whole thing was over. Make of that what you will.
Graphic art conference covers process, growing popularity of the form COMICS continued from page 7 a forgotten time. Now, comics and graphic novels are used as teaching materials, museum exhibits and inspiration for novels, films, and other forms of art. The situation is no longer dire, and comics exist not only as forms of entertainment, but as relics of a rich past. The stifling, sticky second day of the conference featured an all-star panel of famed cartoonists Charles Burns, Seth, Chris Ware, and Dan Clowes. They spoke on the subject of form in graphic novel illustration and how in recent years, illustrators have begun to take more risks with their style and presentation. In the past, editorial boundaries required illustrators to stick
to stringent methods of procedure and application; this effectively curbed an illustrator’s creative improvisation. This has changed, since editors now give artists more creative liberty. The results speak for themselves. The three cartoonists were humorous, frequently amusing the audience with offhand jokes about everything from Hitler to charming anecdotes about kissing the television during the Peanuts Christmas special. Day three, in keeping with the generally sweltering conditions, forced attendees into flip-flops and tanks. But the outside conditions failed to distract attendees from the conference’s final talk by cartoonist Ben Khatchor.
Titled “Halftone Printing in the Yiddish Press and Other Objects of Idol Worship,” Khatchor’s speech dealt with the connection between the banishment of idols in Jewish art and culture and the workings of the 20th century Jewish printing press. Khatchor, who is the first cartoonist to have received a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” gave a stimulating presentation that explored relevant realities about art and its effect on people’s thoughts, an idea that was much in keeping with the conference as a whole. In the end, the conference was equal parts idea and art, equally appealing to the philosophers and drawers among us. And there’s nothing sketchy about that.
THE CHICAGO MAROON | SPORTS | May 22, 2012
NCAA Outdoor Championships Preview BILLY WHITMORE
After narrowly missing out on NCAA qualification in the 5,000-meter this indoor season, third-year distance runner Billy Whitmore will be hoping to make amends when he takes to the track this Thursday to compete in the 10,000-meter. Whitmore finished the season ranked 17th in the nation with a time of 30:18.26. That time put him second on the U of C’s all time honor roll. To make the top 10 at nationals Whitmore will have to improve on his current time by over 20 seconds. Any finish higher than that will most likely see him break an eight-year school record set by Tom Haxton in 2004. The 10,000-meter begins at 7:05 p.m on Thursday.
Third-year Kayla McDonald waited until the last second to book her place at the NCAA championship, but secured her spot in the 800-meter last Friday at the North Central Last Chance, posting a season’s best time of 2:12.02. McDonald is now ranked 24th in the country, just fewer than five seconds behind the nation’s top ranked 800-meter runner, Roanoke’s Carmen Graves. That sort of time may be beyond McDonald, but she won’t rule out a shot at the division’s top 10. She is only two seconds outside of that group, but given that her current season best is also a lifetime best and a Maroon record, she will have her work cut out for her if she wants to make it. The preliminary rounds of the competition are set for Friday evening, with the final getting underway at 4:20 p.m on Saturday.
Third-year Sizek is probably as surprised as anyone that she’ll be competing in the NCAA Championship this week in the 10,000-meter. Her 10,000-meter performance at the North Central Keeler Invitational this month was her first in the event, but her time (36:04.08) was good enough for an eighth place ranking in the country. It’s hard to know what to expect from Sizek given her inexperience in the event. She is over a minute behind the top ranked athlete in the country, but will have her sights set on the nation’s top five, which, based on regular season form, will require her to beat her current time by just under 20 seconds. It might be a long shot, but then again, at the beginning of the season, so was NCAA qualification. The 10,000-meter gets underway this Thursday at 6:20 p.m.
Claremont-bound: McDonald, Sizek to compete in Nationals Women’s Track Isaac Stern Sports Staff With their Last Chance over, two Maroons can set their sights on the national championship in Claremont, California later this week. Fifteen South Siders competed in the North Central Last Chance Meet this past weekend. The meet posed some of the toughest competition the team has faced all year, and while this led to zero top-three finishes for the Maroons, Chicago participants achieved some very good individual marks. “The level of competition this weekend was extremely high as most people were attempting to get qualifying marks for Nationals,” first-year thrower Kelly Wood said.
“It was definitely simultaneously intimidating and motivating to be competing against such high-caliber athletes.” Third-year Kayla McDonald was able to qualify for Nationals with her season-best time of 2:12.02 in the 800-meter. Other Maroons that were able to garner seasonbests at North Central included first-year Pam Yu, second-years Kimberly Kucharski and Sarah Peluse, and fourth-year Madison Allen. Yu placed 11th overall with a distance of 10.85m in the triple jump while Allen also placed 11th in the long jump with a distance of 5.25m. Meanwhile, runners Kucharski and Peluse placed 21st and 10th respectively. Kucharski ran the 800-meter in 2:25.98 while Peluse ran the 5,000-me-
ter in 18:18.64. “I am extremely proud of our team this weekend —everyone put in their best effort to get a new personal record, whether it was to qualify for Nationals or just for personal achievement,” Wood said. Fourth-year high jumper Paige Peltzer also competed this past weekend but was unable to beat her previous best mark of 1.67m set at the DePaul University Invitational. Peltzer fell in the national rankings to 23rd, one spot short of qualifying for Nationals. McDonald will be accompanied to Claremont by fellow Maroon and national qualifier Julia Sizek. Sizek did not compete this past weekend at North Central but is currently ranked eighth in the nation in the
10,000-meter run with her time of 36:04.08. McDonald currently sits fewer than five seconds away from the regular season firstplace ranking of 2:07.32 set by Roanoke’s Carmen Graves in the 800-meter run. Sizek is just over a minute behind Wartburg’s Alana Enabnit who ran the 10,000-meter run in 35:03.17. By the end of this week, both Maroons’ national rankings will be solidified for the year. “This weekend we will all be rooting for Kayla and Julia to do their best at Nationals and to hopefully get new PRs. Such elite competition will definitely provide an atmosphere conducive to improving,” Wood said. “Even though we won’t be with Julia and Kayla like at our regular season meets, we are supporting them 110 percent.”
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Maroons cage Blue Jays, prepare to usurp Lord Jeffs Women’s Tennis Alex Sotiropoulos Senior Sports Staff
First-year Kelsey McGillis returns a backhand during the NCAA regional finals against Whitewater at Stagg Field. COURTESY OF DAVE HILBERT
Four years—four national semifinal appearances. Chicago (22–4) topped Johns Hopkins (18–6) 5–1 in Monday’s national quarterfinal in Cary, N.C. But the score does not tell the entire story. While fourth-year Jennifer Kung and third-year Linden Li gave the Maroons an early team lead with an 8–5 win at No. 2 doubles, an 8–6 loss by first-years Kelsey McGillis and Megan Tang at No. 3 evened up the score. A win at No. 1 doubles would give the edge to the winning pair’s team heading into singles. Johns Hopkins seemed likely to take that advantage as Hailey Hogan and Nandita Krishnan took a 4–2 lead. Fourth-years Kendra Higgins and Carmen VacaGuzman came back, though, and evened the score at eight games apiece. In the tiebreaker, Higgins and VacaGuzman overcame another deficit—this time at 4–1—to win 7–4. “Being up 2–1 after doubles play definitely gave us some momentum going into singles,” VacaGuzman said. With the lead heading into singles, the Maroons needed three
wins to clinch a semifinal spot. Those wins came from Higgins (6–3, 6–2) at No. 1 singles, Kung (6–2, 6–2) at No. 2 singles, and McGillis (7–5, 6–1) at No. 6 singles. Although the other matches went unfinished after McGillis’s clinching performance, momentum was on the Blue Jays’ side. Tang was down 6–3, 5–4, Krishnan was ready to even up her match against VacaGuzman to split sets, and Li was mired in a tight second set after winning the first 7–6. The last time Chicago met Johns Hopkins, the Maroons won 6–3. VacaGuzman said that the two bouts with Johns Hopkins marked grueling tennis. “They were tough both times— they had some changes in their lineup—but either way, NCAA play is so much different than regular season play,” she said. “Every single team really brings it and the level of competition is unreal.” After the Maroons won, Amherst (18–3) barely edged out Carnegie Mellon 5–4. Chicago had beaten Carnegie Melon 8–1 earlier in the year. The South Siders will play Amherst in the national semifinal for the third time in four years at 11:30 a.m. today.
Wild Bill heads west to NCAA Championships Men’s Track Jake Walerius Associate Sports Editor The men’s track and field season came to a close last Thursday and Friday at the North Central Last Chance for all but one Maroon. Third-year distance runner Billy Whitmore will head to the NCAA Championship this Thursday to compete in the 10,000-meter after finishing the season ranked 17th in the nation at the D-III level. The Maroons had three athletes competing at the Last Chance with a realistic shot at national qualification. Fourth-year thrower Daniel Heck, fourth-year distance runner Moe Bahrani, and third-year sprinter Dee Brizzolara all entered the competition harboring some hope of an NCAA berth. Whitmore took the week off with his ranking all but secured. Heck was the first of the three athletes to compete and finished in 13th place in the hammer competition with a throw of 46.66m, nearly six meters shy of his season’s best (52.20m). Heck missed out on the nation’s top 50 by 0.99m. “Daniel didn’t have his best day,” head coach Chris Hall said. “I think that had more to do with the throwing circle. It was a
little slippery and he had a hard time controlling his footwork in the circle, in particular when he was tracing big throws. It was disappointing for Dan, but what a great season for him. He really had a great year.” Bahrani had the more successful meet of the two fourth-years, finishing 14th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a season’s best time of 9:22.44, nearly three seconds faster than his previous best. Bahrani finished the season ranked 47th in the nation. “Moe ran a life time best,” Hall said. “It wasn’t enough to get him into the NCAAs, but he moved up to number three in our all time honor rolls and really had an outstanding performance.” Brizzolara, perhaps the Maroon who was most likely to make a late charge to qualify for the NCAAs, finished fourth in the 200-meter in a time of 21.87s. That was three one-hundredths of a second behind his season’s best, leaving him ranked 50th in the nation. Brizzolara also competed in the 100-meter, running a season’s best (10.88s) in the qualifying round to finish in seventh place. He did not compete in the 100-meter final, focusing instead on the 200-meter. “I was disappointed I didn’t make it to nationals,” Brizzolara said, “but [my performance in]
the 100 and 200 both far and away exceeded my expectations about what I could do. I think that’s a big tribute to our new sprints coach who’s helped me develop a lot as a runner.” For those Maroons without prospects of national qualification, the meet provided a valuable opportunity to test themselves against one of the strongest fields they have seen all season. The younger athletes had the chance to experience the level of competition they can expect if they hope to qualify for Nationals in the future, while the fourth-years said farewell to college athletics. “I definitely was not too pleased with my performance Friday,” said fourth-year Brian Schlick, who finished 31st in the 1,500-meter in a field of over 50 athletes. “After coming off a strong showing the week earlier, I don’t think I had much left in the tank, so to speak. However, I felt very proud to be able to represent my school these past four years and look forward to seeing how our team competes in the years ahead.” Attention will now turn to Whitmore, who is hoping to make the most of his final collegiate crack at the 10,000-meter later this week. The NCAA Championship gets underway this Thursday, with the 10,000-meter scheduled to start at 7:05p.m.
Third-year Billy Whitmore competes in the Elmhurst College Earlybird Invitational during the cross-country season. COURTESY OF DAVE HILBERT