The Indy is getting in a row. Cover Design by ANNA PAPP & ELOISE LYNTON
VOL. XLV, NO. 7
CONTENTS FORUM 3 Sophomore Slump NEWS 4 Stand Up and Speak 5 Kicking Balls and Taking Names ARTS 6 Domo Arigato for the Art 6 Hip, Hip, Hippie! 7 LBJ: Broadway Bound 8 More Like Mather? 9 All My Life's a Stage 10 Freedom of Speech SPORTS 11 Down by the River 12 Dudes with Discs
As Harvard College's weekly undergraduate newsmagazine, the Harvard Independent provides in-depth, critical coverage of issues and events of interest to the Harvard College community. The Independent has no political affiliation, instead offering diverse commentary on news, arts, sports, and student life. For publication information and general inquiries, contact President Angela Song (president@harvardindependent. com) or Managing Editor Sayantan Deb (managingeditor@ harvardindependent.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Christine Wolfe (editorinchief@harvardindependent. com). For email subscriptions please email president@ harvardindependent.com. The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
President Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Director of Production
Angela Song '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Miranda Shugars '14
News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Graphics Editor Associate News Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Arts Editor Associate Design Editor
Whitney Gao '16 Curtis Lahaie '15 Sean Frazzette '16 Alex Chen '16 Anna Papp '16 Milly Wang '16 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Travis Hallett '14
Cartoonist John McCallum '16 Business Manager Albert Murzakhanov '16 Columnists Aditya Agrawal '17 Michael Feehly '14 Jackie Leong '16 Andrew Lin '17 Madi Taylor '16 Shreya Vardhan '17 Senior Staff Writers Michael Altman '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Whitney Lee '14 Staff Writers Manik Bhatia '16 Xanni Brown '14 Terilyn Chen '16 Lauren Covalucci '14 Clare Duncan '14 Caroline Gentile '17 Gary Gerbrandt '14 Travis Hallett '14 Shaquilla Harrigan '16 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Eldo Kim '16 Chloe Li '16 Orlea Miller '16 Albert Murzhakanov '16 Carlos Schmidt '15 Frank Tamberino '16
Oh happy day.
Photo by Whitney Gao
By WHITNEY GAO
t’s a beautiful day by the river, finally a sunny one after a slew of cloudy, misty, drizzling skies. The rays fan over my face, gently coaxing me to take off my old high school soccer hoodie. I’ve already kicked off my black ballet flats, but the soft constant breeze persuades me to hold on to the sweatshirt for a little longer. Straight in front of me, the late afternoon sun turns the Charles from a polluted monster into a ripple of diamonds. Professional rowers and families alike cross my line of sight every so often. My roommate says the scene is straight from a Seurat painting. And I would agree — minus the period dress, of course. This is exactly what I would want my college fall experiences to consist of. Days spent by the river, writing and working, while friends sit beside me and work on their reading. A beautifully comfortable silence pervading our company. Cool enough to snuggle up in an old sweatshirt, but not too cold so that I’m clutching at my layers, struggling to muster up some central warmth. Maybe some Lana playing in the background. Despite all the perfection surrounding me, in this moment, I can’t see any of the light. I can’t see any of the goodness. I can’t let myself hold onto the happiness of the day for longer than a few fleeting seconds. Termed the “sophomore slump” by the afflicted, this general down-in-the-dumps feeling is commonly experienced in a student’s second year. Why is that? I really thought I was going to avoid it. I was going to be the one that escaped. I decided to only take three classes this semester to ward off stinky grades, and I cut down my extracurriculars to just the ones I really cared about. I tried to set aside time to do miscellaneous things just for the hell of it — trips to Boston, obsessive cleaning to keep The Harvard Independent • 10.17.13
a tidy room, cooking sessions, days to just sit by the river and read, etc. The number of things I could confidently check off that list is depressingly small, close to none at all. I’ve only been to Boston (on business) once, my half of the room looks like a tornado flew around my room before you came, I have made zero baked goods, and today was the first day I ventured out to the river this semester. If someone asked me last year why this happens, I would have told them they were horridly misinformed and something like this seems next to impossible. To a freshman, freshmen year is the single hardest obstacle in their college career. As a sophomore, I wouldn’t necessarily say that sophomore year is the most difficult year, but to be fair, I don’t say a lot of things with confidence anymore. The greatest reason, I think, is a sense of cumulated apathy that has been building since the end of freshmen year. You have every right to call me a drama queen, and I am most definitely being melodramatic. Things aren’t really that bad. I mean, I’m sitting here writing this article as a happy form of procrastination, even though I have a million assignments due in the next 24 hours and a midterm on Wednesday. (Yikes.) You could very well say that I could easily transfer the time I spend chilling with my roommates and catching up on How I Met Your Mother studying and being quite diligent. This, though, is the problem. I just find it so hard to care. Even though my grades are subpar, my love life lies tangled at the bottom of the pathetic drain, and I’ve gained half of the weight I lost this summer back already in the month and a half we’ve been back at school, I just don’t care. I can’t be motivated to study more, be happy about being a single and independent force-of-nature of a woman, or pick my exercise regimen back up. I just can’t.
Slowly, slowly, things just keep slipping away. My semester has been a series of small highs — a good weekend here or there, visible improvement on papers, a really good vanilla chai latte from Starbucks — that punctuate a continuum of mild enthusiasm at best. Even things I used to enjoy doing, I only find struggle and frustration in now. My HAA readings used to bring me so much joy; I looked forward to doing the readings, which were always interesting and captivating, and they never really seemed like work. But now, probably because I chose to take Japanese and African art classes this semester, all these readings are filled with terms that I have a hard time both understanding and remembering. Readings take me an infinitely longer time, which means I fall behind early and fall behind fast. But then the mounting levels of reading I have yet to conquer becomes more and more daunting, so I put it off even more. It’s a vicious cycle. So what do I even do with my days now? I sleep. I sleep more than any college student could imagine. Whether it’s because it’s easier to rationalize as a form of procrastination or because it’s a simple escape from reality, the idea of sleeping is a great comfort to me. I go to bed early, telling myself I’ll wake up early the next morning to finally do some reading. But then I sleep in until close to noon, telling myself that I’ll stay up late to get reading done. Another vicious cycle. But I have hope for myself. Get ready, because I’m about to launch into a sunshine-induced pep talk. It’s time to get it together. Time to appreciate the good things that have happened this semester: I’m not haggard from chronic sleep-deprivation (yet), I haven’t frequented Starbucks nearly as much as last year, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of people I wished last year that I knew better. I’ve also gotten the chance to explore more things that I love and choose to do instead of being required to do them. And my shift in priorities thus far this semester, while mostly unproductive and passive in direction, has taught me a lot about myself. Like the fact that I really don’t care about grades when I do truly feel like I’ve learned a lot in a class. (I actually have very strong feelings about testing and the grading system and alternative education systems, but that’s another article.) Or the fact that I cherish these moments spent learning a new song on the guitar with the roomies more than I care about memorizing the countless mudras and their meanings in Buddhist statues. Call this a cop-out, but I do think there is some truth in it. But there’s time for me to regroup and finish strong. There’s a lot to be said for strong selfdiscipline and the ability to just get shit done. No matter how unpleasant or difficult. I have the utmost admiration for those who have their life together enough to do what needs to be done, oblivious to distraction, temptation, and laziness. I wish I were more like that. But, unfortunately, my spirit is a little too free and out of control still. But what the hell, it’s college. I can slump if I want to for just a little while longer. I’m still going to spend the occasional afternoon messing around in the Lev hammock with my roommates. I’m still going to take too many thirty-minute breaks squeezing in another episode of Scrubs. And this afternoon, I’m still going to spend a little extra time smiling in the sun instead of soaking in Shinto temple architecture. Whitney Gao ’16 (whitneygao@college) wishes Frank Ocean would just serenade her all day long. harvardindependent.com
Coming Out for Equality
A Woman’s Inspirational Story and Advice.
By THE HARVARD INDEPENDENT
ast Friday, October 11, was National Coming Out Day. The impact of this not so simple act of bravery is far from trivial. Had it not been for the courageous acts of members of the LGBT community who came before us, the progress that we have reached thus far would not be a reality. The battle is far from over, which is why being out to friends, family and coworkers, when you consider it safe to do so, is crucial in moving the battle closer to equality. Most people’s homophobia stems from nothing other than ignorance and not personally knowing any LGBT people. The speech of an extremely brave and influential individual, targeted toward LGBT college students considering a career in Business, encapsulates the ability of an individual to make a true difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Julie Goodridge was one of the lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health – a landmark case granting same-sex couples the right to marry in the state of Massachusetts. Not only is she a prominent activist, but she also serves as CEO of a successful socially responsible wealth management company, NorthStar Asset Management. “It’s interesting being here because you all are about the age of my daughter, who was five when we started the fight for MA. I have an ancient perspective on the marriage struggle because we filed in MA 12 years ago; I joined with my partner Hilary and 6 other couples and we filed suit in the Commonwealth of MA seeking the right to marry. Given all the conversations I heard before, Given your status as undergraduates and your age, this may not seem like a big deal, but at the time that we filed, same sex marriage was a radical idea. Prior to engaging in the MA marriage case, I wasn’t a quiet person, but I didn’t consider myself an activist. I’ve been a community organizer for ACORN when I got out of undergraduate, but I thought the activists were the feminists, Marxists and Anarchists on my school’s campus. I had no profound social or political agenda in my 20s. I wasn’t a lesbian as far as I knew. I wasn’t bisexual as far as I knew. It began in 1987, and it began like this. My partner wanted to have children, and I was in a panicked state, recalling telling her, “We can’t have children, we’re lesbians.” I gave birth to Annie September 1st 1995, her birth was a sea-section, with one leg up (it’s helping her to get into college I think). Annie was admitted to the 4
neonatal intensive care unit, and we didn’t know if she would survive. I was just wheeled off to recovery, and Hilary, Annie’s other mother, was barred from seeing either one of us. The hospital did not consider her out relative; had we been married this would never have been an issue. This kind of thing could still occur in the majority of states in this country, regardless of the fact that we have federal recognition of marriage. It’s not like we didn’t prepare for the birth; I’m an investment advisor, we had healthcare proxies, wills, our attorney changed our name to Goodridge (we picked a name that we thought sounded like a nice name from Hilary’s family… so that we would appear to be a legitimate family like our friends’). None of the plans or the name change made Hilary kin. Legally we were still strangers. When she told the nurse at the hospital that she’s my partner, the nurse said sorry you’re not the mother of Annie and you cannot see her. I burst into tears, and she became hysterical, and at that moment the nurse escorted her in. She had no access to either of the two of us in a moment of tremendous crisis. We wanted to become next of kin. On March 28, 2001, armed with blood
tests and cash for the fee, Hilary and I went down to City Hall to apply for a marriage license. When we got to the window and asked for an application for the license, the clerk’s response was, “Where are the grooms?” MA didn’t have a law requiring a groom, but we were still denied. We filed a legal state against the state. Suddenly, I became an activist. I was the mother of a kid in kindergarten, running a company, and I became an activist. We needed to share our stories, because we were the lead plaintiffs we had to open up our private world to the media. The people in 9/11, for example, a partner loses her partner on a plane that was taken down in 9/11. She could not call the airline and get any information as to whether her partner was actually on that flight, and wasn’t entitled to any of the benefits, almost lost her house which was under her partner’s name. I remember one unfortunate afternoon; it was 98 degrees on a Friday. One afternoon a parent from Annie’s school said she received a large postcard in the mail, that showed us having coffee in the front, but on the back went into detail about my sex life with Hilary and the harm we are doing to our daughter
by raising her in a homosexual home. This was a postcard, many parent’s children in Annie’s grade received the postcard. We were deemed sinners and evildoers. We faced fewer obstacles than most who fought to marry who they loved before. Loving v. Virginia (1958), illegal until then or even later for couples of different races to marry, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents… The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” It took about 300 years for interracial couples to have marriage equality, it took 116 year for women to get the right to vote, but we filed our suit in 2001 and in NOV of 2003, the supreme court of MA sent out the following ruling: “Barring an individual from protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the MA constitution.” On that day we were granted freedom and equality under the law, as far as marriage goes. I believe, that the fight for equal marriage moved the LGBT community to a path of justice because the public got to know our families who were committed, caring, and boring as any of the others. The fight for full acceptance of every member of our community is very far from complete. Each of you must be the visionaries and activists that are behind he changes that need to come. This can be as simple as being honest about your identity, being out is so important because hiding who you are in any aspect of your life doesn’t create a safe place for us. I believe, we have a responsibility to share who we are and what we value with those around us. My daughter, despite attending a ritzy private school in Boston, was bullied by her classmates who didn’t understand the struggle of equality. She responded by becoming the head of the Gay Straight Alliance. She embraced activism. When I’m not in the midst of using my personal life as a catalyst for social change, I run a socially responsible wealth management company. Many people who don’t support same-sex marriage say none of their friends, coworkers, or families are homosexuals. This is why the very simple and brave act of coming out is so important. Over the last couple of years, it has been kind of a thrill to be considered a threat to society. We have a responsibility to work toward equality and injustice for all.” 10.17.13 • The Harvard Independent
Them’s Fightin’ Words: Krav Maga Goes Crimson There’s a new club in this town. By LAUREN COVALUCCI
five-foot-four, classically trained dancer walks into a martial arts class. Soon, five pairs stand shoulder to shoulder in the Pfojo learning how to throw a jab (that’s the punch line). No one gets hurt. I have the founding members of Crimson Krav Maga — Trevor BrandtSarif ’15, Gus Mayopoulos ’15, and Myles McDonough ’15 — to thank for my newfound ability to deliver a punch. The three decided to start a club devoted specifically to this discipline, which was developed by the Israeli military in order to prepare soldiers for realistic hand-to-hand combat situations. Krav isn’t about flash or glamour; the goal is to disable your opponent and extricate yourself from a conflict as quickly as possible. In order to gauge interest and give potential members some background knowledge, Brandt-Sarif decided to teach a month-long, four-hour introductory class, which seemed like the ideal start in self-defense for a twenty-something female who often finds herself walking alone at night. Along with a few friends, I signed up. The class received so much interest that Brandt-Sarif had to double the course offerings. Now, four times a week, the Pfojo (Pforzheimer’s martial arts/dance studio) is covered in mats and filled with students learning the most effective way to get out of a choke, among other Krav Maga basics. I asked Brandt-Sarif about the sport’s appeal: “Krav Maga thinks in terms of the way people naturally react, and the way things realistically happen, and says we need to get this problem solved,” he responded. “If you’re getting choked, what’s the most realistic and effective chance of you getting [out of the choke and] being safe? That’s how we built our system.” “That’s very Harvard,” I said. “It is very Harvard.” Though not yet officially recognized by Harvard, Crimson Krav Maga already counts over forty members, including students in the intro class. They hope to soon become a university-registered club sport and that many of the participants will continue on once the class is done. With funding for the proper equipment, they could move onto practicing more advanced skills and expanding their community. The first class I attended was well-structured and generously paced to cater to our relatively wide range of experience and fitness levels. We started from the ground up — learning a fight stance, learning how to make a fist, learning how to throw a punch. We escalated to groin kicks from there, which came with a disclaimer from our instructor about social norms and the average street fight: “Guys don’t think they’re proving anything by kicking someone else in the groin, so they don’t expect it. But in Krav Maga, there are no rules except being safe. So if I need to fight with someone who’s bigger than me, the very first thing I’m doing is kicking them in the groin. First off, I prove that I can beat up a big guy, but more importantly that I’m safe from the threat at the end of it all. That’ll do the trick in the Krav world.” Despite the threat of groin kicks, the classroom was a laid-back, unintimidating environment where I received friendly corrections from Brandt-Sarif and co-founder McDonough. I had time both to scrape up my The Harvard Independent • 10.17.13
knuckles and to make faces at my roommate while she tried to pummel me through the pad I held. A short drill of sprinting, kicking, and punching rounded off the class and sent me to dinner re-energized, excited for what I could learn in the remaining weeks and hoping to gain just a little bit more credibility as a badass. Not that I ever want to test said badassery, and it’s unlikely that any of us will do much real-world fighting. I’m fully aware that my best bet in a physical confrontation is to run away and find a linebacker to hide behind. However, a good groin kick might give me a head start. The idea isn’t that we can learn how to go pick fights; the point of the discipline is to avoid them, and if that’s not possible, end them. Krav is a rewarding sport practiced for its own sake, though, despite its ultra-practical nature. “Part of what’s great about [Krav] is that no one has to use it to benefit from it,” says Brandt-Sarif. “It can give you a lot of confidence in general, and it can help you avoid conflict because sometimes that confidence is what you need to diffuse a situation.” For this dancer, it’s mostly a fun chance to throw a kick without needing it to look pretty—a way to blow off steam in a positive, unfamiliar way. A lot of the interest shown in this new club can explained by the novelty that Krav Maga holds for most Harvard students. Brandt-Sarif says, “[The reason for] the excitement I see at the end of the first class is that this is one of the few things that Harvard kids, who are so diverse in their knowledge backgrounds, don’t know anything about. They don’t know anything about what real self-defense is. And it’s like learning a completely new field from scratch, which is just really interesting and cool. They’ve never done anything like this and found it really fun.” Hear that, Yale? We punch each other for fun. Watch your backs.
Lauren Covalucci ’14 (email@example.com) is ready for you to come and get it.
Custom and contemporary converge in CGIS South Tomokazu Matsuyama’s Palimpsest on display at the Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse By JOANNA SCHACTER
ragons, tigers, and horsemen have moved into the Japan Friends of Harvard Concourse, part of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for Japanese Studies, on the bottom floor of CGIS South. Japanese artist Tomokazu Matsuyama’s show Palimpsest is on display, and his work, full of bright colors and vivacity, seem to leap from the walls. His paintings harken to traditional Japanese woodcuts. Zodiac imagery and figures in traditional garb feature prominently in his work, but there is a twist: shape, color, and pattern jump from the canvas, and lend life and motion to Matsuyama’s subjects, even before these figures become apparent. One of the largest, most impressive installations is of a group of horsemen, galloping through a wood. This installation, called “Happy Zodiac,” is three canvasses sideby-side, taking up the whole wall. These near life-sized horsemen seem to emerge from the canvas through the gradient background, which blends the sky between the trees with the ground. The effect is both of extreme depth, and of depthlessness, and standing in front of the painting, it is hard not to believe that the horses are coming right at you. White paint splatter suggests a light snow, and the patterns that compose both the riders’ clothes and the horses themselves are dizzying, but it’s impossible to look away. A tiger sits to the left, and two alarmed-looking deer to the right, while a monkey hangs from a tree above them. This painting was by far the most beautiful in a collection of surreal dreamscapes, and was unfortunately placed all the way in the back. No matter how reminiscent of myth and history, what Matsuyama is doing is completely new. Collage seems to be an inspiration, and Matsuyama’s process gives depth through gradients and juxtaposition of pattern, and gives each painting a quilt-like feel that is astoundingly beautiful. Taking a close look at the paintings reveals that some parts actually appear to be pieces of canvas, painted in pattern, pasted on and then painted around to blend in with the rest of the piece, and while these horsemen and tigers are a clear Japanese influence thematically, there is something almost cartoonish, maybe even animé-like, about the animals, and about the figures’ eyes. What’s more, there is something tattoo-like, perhaps even graffiti-esque, about the dragons, because of how they are rendered, as Matsuyama uses a combination of color gradient, brush strokes that allude to spray-paint, and some splattering to convey motion. Even the way Matsuyama utilizes canvas is far from the tradition he depicts. Not only does he collage it, but Matsuyama also seems to enjoy using circular canvasses upon which his dragons can curl up. A quick look at his website revealed that almost all of his dragons are in fact painted on circular canvas, allowing for patterns to overlap and contrast one another in the swirls and folds of the dragons’ tails. One large installation in CGIS has one such circular dragon, but is surrounded by variously shaped canvasses — triangles, smaller circles, rectangles — painted fire-like shapes, and shapes conveying motion, that both touch the central canvas and are placed away from it. This gives the sense that the dragon is breaking through the wall it is hanging from. The word Palimpsest itself alludes to the layered nature of the show, both artistically and historically, and only a short walk from Annenberg, this dreamy, spectral show is one not to be missed. Joanna Schacter ’15 (jschacter@college) will be meditating over the art in CGIS if you need her. 6 harvardindependent.com
Hippie Meets Yves St. Laurent Couture with paradoxical politics. By ELDO KIM
ith mannequins sporting retro sunglasses and velvet jackets, “Hippie Chic,” the newest exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, displays several fashion pieces from the mid-1960s. A jukebox softly plays famous hits of rock bands ranging from The Beatles to The Rolling Stones. My attempts to play Jimi Hendrix, however, are spurned by the bored security guard who argues that his control over the jukebox is the only thing that’s getting him through his afternoon shift. Whatever, man. The exhibition is a refreshing change from the solemn artworks of Gauguin and Sargent that normally pepper the walls of the museum. “Hippie Chic” is indeed hip and groovy. I ask a first-grader next to me what he thinks of the exhibit. He pipes up, “I think it’s awesome! It’s like Austin Powers!” I’m slightly disturbed that he has watched Austin Powers. A college student with dreadlocks and a shirt that says “PUGS. NOT DRUGS.” tells me that he appreciates that the exhibition is fighting back against the image of pretentious posh and snobbery that people often associate art museums with. “Hippie culture is the farthest thing from shit like Picasso, you know? The implications are just completely different. It was about standing up against privileged assholes and all that they stand for. Yeah, fuck that shit, man.” Boy, that escalated quickly… The guy saunters off but I stand there and think about what he said. The dude is dead wrong. The hippie movement that began in the 60s, like the “hipster” rage of the 2010s, was perpetuated by white middle-to-upper-middle class youth. The very foundation of the culture was spearheaded by people from privileged backgrounds. What’s more is that hippie fashion, the flamboyant outcry against conformity, authority, and materialism, was hijacked by major fashion designers and displayed on runways of high fashion. High-end fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Guy Laroche began to dominantly use velvet materials, bright colors, tie-dye, Native American jewelry and psychedelic designs in their pieces. While the outfits displayed in the MFA may look like they have been picked off any street hippie from that era, a closer look at the captions reveal that they were designed by some of the world’s most renowned luxury designers ranging from Yves Saint Laurent to Geoffrey Beene. Whatever the noble intents of the hippies
may have been in the beginning, the impact and implications of the culture were used to glorify materialism, the very thing that hippies sought to fight against. This sense of irony is not limited to the walls of the MFA and the history of hippie culture and fashion. The movement to be environmentally friendly revolves around the themes of recycling and reducing. But instead of buying only what we really need, we simply buy endless number of “green” products. The image of Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist, is one of the most popular symbols on capitalist commodities. Several months ago, I saw a shirt of Guevara with an exaggerated moustache at Saks Fifth Avenue. Living a lifestyle has given way to buying into a lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong. Do go to the MFA and check out Hippie Chic. The exhibit is impressive in and of itself. The displayed fashion pieces are awe-inspiring, for they were the pioneering designs that led the world of fashion during that era. However, do not mistakenly think that the exhibit is meant to reflect the social values and standards of the hippie culture. Instead, it is a testament to how those very principles were perversely subverted and distorted. Well, damn. That was bit of a killjoy, huh? Oops. Eldo Kim ’16 (eldokim@college) really hopes that MFA Boston will not do an exhibit on hipsters in the year of 2030. 10.17.13 • The Harvard Independent
All the Way ART does LBJ
By XANNI BROWN
y the time I saw All the Way at Cambridge’s American Repertory Theatre, Bryan Cranston must have been quite used to standing on stage in his underwear. Three weeks into the show’s Pre-Broadway warm-up run, the Breaking Bad star hardly even seemed to notice the packed house as he powered through three hours of politicking, partisanship, and personal intrigue. Cranston spent nearly the entire duration of the show at the center of the action, disappearing only once to change from his first-act suit into pajamas for a domestic scene, and changing back into his second-act suit on stage as a political crisis called him out of bed. In a Texas accent thicker than their preferred style of toast, Cranston was almost manic as LBJ, looking for political opponents to annihilate or, if momentarily lacking in enemies, creating them. The show picks up just after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, with LBJ on board Air Force One, and preparing to make a statement with Kennedy’s widow. Looking for a way to consolidate his sudden influx of power, prove himself to a skeptical liberal elite, and honor Kennedy’s legacy, (in, according to this particular presentation, about that order of importance,) Johnson seizes on JFK’s Civil Rights Act, and pledges to get it passed. The rest of the show follows Johnson as he backslaps and bulldozes his way to a majority, all the while keeping his eyes on the real prize: reelection. One gets the sense that Johnson is more interested in having a successful personal agenda than he is in the actual content of that agenda. In an early scene, we see Johnson soon after deciding to push for the Civil Rights Act; he’s in the oval office working his phone to try to drum up some congressional support for his personal promises. He switches from stirring up the reforming republican firebrands to charming the southern dixiecrats faster than his secretary can manage the phone lines, giving a push here or a white lie there as needed. All the while, Martin Luther King Jr. sits on hold at the back of the stage, waiting for a president who never takes his call. The show is exceedingly wellThe Harvard Independent • 10.17.13
acted, with some cast members taking double-duty. Michael McKean (“famous” either for This is Spinal Tap, his role as Mr. Green in Clue, or his heroic-yet-ultimately-tragic run on Celebrity Jeopardy, depending on your particular brand of nerddom) makes for a spectacularly menacing J. Edgar Hoover, while Reed Birney manages to play a personally relatable Hubert Humphrey. William Jackson Harper takes on the role of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader Stokely Carmichael with conviction and urgency. Behind them all, a polished wooden set looms, resembling either a congressional chamber or a gladiatorial arena depending on the moment’s foreground action. All the Way likely bites off a few more vitally important historical events than it can properly chew, making only passing nods to prominent moments in American history such as Johnson’s Great Society programs, or the start of the Vietnam War. It throws major American political figures against each other, but fails to develop most of them to a point of empathy or understanding. It gives us the story of what was arguably the greatest piece of moral legislation in the 20th century, but it takes all the morality out of the legislative process. That’s not to say there is no moral weight to the show – its treatment of deep partisan divides in government and the pernicious influence of racial prejudice are quite relevant today – but rather that it sees no moral absolutes. When it comes time to vote, any principle or personal relationship can be compromised for the sake of making a deal. Johnson gets a moment at the end of the show to address the audience directly, to ask us if the train of earmarking and backscratching which led to the monumental 1964 Civil Rights Act made the audience uncomfortable, if we would have preferred not to know how that particular political sausage was made. It was a powerful moment, though diluted perhaps by the current dysfunction of Washington. As the government shutdown continues into its third week of debilitating partisan bickering, one
cannot help but look a little more softly on Johnson’s wheeling and dealing. At least at the end of the day, his congress got something done. It just happened to be historic. Xanni Brown’s (afsbrown@college) preferred political sausage includes a healthy serving of campaign finance reform. harvardindependent.com
Andrew Lin | futures past
Buildings Paradoxical: A look at the evolution and future of futuristic architecture.
he Science Center, built in 1973 to accommodate the rapid sprawl of Harvard’s already-robust undergraduate science and engineering programs in a single building, is certainly an interesting construction relative to the rest of fair red-brick Harvard Yard. Its bare Brutalist concrete, painfully anachronistic red inserts, and exposed gaps in the paneling all seemingly distinguish it as one of those buildings, the little brother to such edifices of mid-tolate century bureaucratic distastefulness such as Boston City Hall and Canaday Hall. But just forty years ago, the Science Center was considered futuristic in the best and brightest sense, an architectural marvel standing at the vanguard of modern design truly fit for the best university in the world. And herein lies the big question: what defines futuristic architecture? Certainly the question depends on the age in which it is proffered: from the fantastic 18th century etchings of Piranesi to the garish new skyscraper towers of brash oil sheikdoms, questions of fantasy and futurism have come up in both discussions and artistic representations of architecture in all eras. Indeed, humans have fantasized generally about titanic constructions of various sorts and kinds ever since the art of building and construction was first unlocked however many centuries ago. The Tower of Babel, the various mythological wonders of the world, and even the Pyramids were all hypothesized and real constructions meant to bring humanity closer to the gods, to divinity and often the geopolitical power concentrated within that association. Architecturally speaking, the modern world has certainly indulged in this same grandeur-worship as well, with the future instead of various gods serving as an object of idolization. The creatively-titled Futurist style, proffered and employed chiefly by the Italians in the early part of the 20th century, certainly stands as a valid example, espousing a mixture of Roman grandeur and sleek railroad-inspired straight planes seeking to merge the future seamlessly with the past. The modern conception of futuristic architecture, however, is still inextricably linked to the idea of modern science fiction, namely predictive science fiction of the sort that proffers ideas on what the future specifically – along with its buildings – will look like. In a sense, this sort of futuristic architecture emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, with the glitzy Googie architecture of 8 harvardindependent.com
World’s Fairs and comic-book serials set against the stolid academicism of International Modernism, of Le Corbusier and bureaucrats and authoritarian art schools at large. Googie architecture certainly flew in the face of straight-line modernism, with flowing, futuristic curves borrowing freely from the lush exoticism of Art Deco and spiraling electron paths of the Atomic Age. These roots explain much of its popularity in 50s’ and 60s’ science fiction: from The Jetsons to Marvin’s wacky Mars on Looney Tunes, Googie architecture was the sci-fi manifestation of a shining, technologically-guaranteed future paradise. Googie architecture also held tremendous sway over real-life construction in the Atomic Age as well, with edifices such as the Space Needle in Seattle and the various pavilions of the World’s Fairs in Montreal and New York all epitomizing the era’s reckless optimism. But with the tide of the 70s, of oil crises and hostage-taking and economic malaises, that same optimism seemed hopelessly outdated, and now most of the fantastical Googie-era constructions have long since disappeared into moldering rust and empty lots. Googie architecture in many ways was building branded for the consumer, a neatly-packaged product which, like the serialized sci-fi in which it was featured, was meant for instant consumption and rapid disposal. It is therefore logical that the impact of Googie architecture pales somewhat in its scope compared to the titanic towering power of academic and decidedly consumer-unfriendly International Modernism as a futurist construct and design philosophy. Certainly International Modernism preceded the Googie in both age and academic acceptance, with roots in the German Bauhaus School stemming back to the 1920s. Indeed, in the brief architectural flourish of the Roaring Twenties, Europe saw the development of modernist architects such as Le Corbusier (the designer of our own Carpenter Center) and Walter Gropius (the founder of the Bauhaus school) into architectural superstars. World War II posed a modest interruption, however, before construction proper of the new, International Modern world could commence. International Modernism espoused what was deemed the design aesthetic of the future, buildings that via straightline functionalism and a lack of ornament would convey a style that transcended national boundaries and sectionalized interests. Post-World-War-II, that meant a glut of titanic office blocks such as the Seagram Building in New York City, bare-concrete government buildings, and multi-tower housing projects. Fueled by seemingly limitless economic potential and unfettered by costs or logistical concerns, the new International Style was foisted upon the general population in full
force for much of the second part of the 20th century – and the people were not pleased with this new view of the future. The big problem with International Modernism, at least in the eyes of the public proper, was that people simply did not fit into the sterile buildings envisioned by the International Modernist architects sitting high in their offices and academic posts. The International Modern style – the equalizing style of the future -- often proved to be fantastically impractical in present practice, with office blocks ripping huge caverns of cold, impersonal glass and steel in the former hearts of cities, housing projects devolving into vertical slums, and government buildings reinforcing perceptions of government institutions as impersonal and monolithically authoritarian. An example that hits rather close to home is our own fair Boston, which certainly has borne some of the harsh after-effects of this futuristic architecture gone wrong as well; virtually the entirety of the historic West End – a full third of the Old City at the time – was razed in 1953 to make way for highways and housing, a startling example of futuristic planning run amok. Boston’s Government Plaza truly epitomizes big government gone wrong as well, with the inverted alien ziggurat-like City Hall baring its reinforced-concrete bones and blazing a plaza of concrete wasteland in the heart of downtown. And what is the role of the Science Center in the midst of this Bostonian modernist imbroglio? Perhaps an answer may lie within its designer, Josep Luis Sert, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Art and Design and initiator of the first urban design degree program in the country. Sert was considered a visionary at the time, constructing buildings in the modernist vein that were heavily influenced by Modernist predilections – and a Harvard-based visionary, no less. Many of his students are now defining the new ideals of PostModernism and Post-Post-Modernism, delighting in their freedom from the rightly-repudiated shackles of the discredited Modernists by exulting in ornamentation of all sorts and kinds. This is all well and good, at least when compared to the tedium of baldly-applied Modernism, but it lacks overt direction, the concrete vision of the future that futuristic movements of the past conjured in brick and steel. So now the duty falls to us, to the students here and now gathered at fair Harvard, to help rightly determine our future architecture, to directionally characterize our future world at large – a world that will shape our conceptions of ourselves and our lives. Andrew Lin ’17 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is accepting donations (checks preferred, although cash and cookies are also accepted) to his new architectural world order. 10.17.13 • The Harvard Independent
MADISON TAYLOR | BEHIND THE SCENES
Making a show – the rehearsal process S
o a show has a cast. What happens next? How does it go from the audition room to opening night? What happens during that mysterious rehearsal process that takes the show from words on a page to a living story on stage? The answer is lots of hard work, decisions, and many rehearsals. Each step of the rehearsal process is a learning experience about what does and doesn’t work, how each moment of the show can be brought to life, and discovering who the characters are and how they live in their world — after all, acting is just living truthfully in the circumstances of the play. Rehearsals start with the first readthrough. This is an exciting experience for everyone involved — the director, actors, and design team. It is often the first time all of the members of the cast and staff are in a room together, and what better time to come together than to finally hear the show read aloud by the actors who will be playing the roles? After the director says his or her bit about the show, the excited tension in the air is palpable as everyone waits for the reading to start. What’s it going to be like to hear the show out loud? What will the actors do with the characters? The read-through gives you a very rough sense of the direction the show will take — as a Stage Manager, I have met the cast before the readthrough begins but often didn’t see all of them read together during auditions. I love looking around during the readthrough and watching the actors almost unconsciously start to interact with each other as they read their lines. You can see the beginnings of the chemistry, humor, or drama that will end up making the show so vivid on stage, and it’s so exhilarating! Soon after the read-through, we jump right into beginning rehearsals. This is the period in which we ‘block’ the show and do a lot of character work. As the actors become familiar with their lines, we figure out their physical movement, or ‘blocking’, during the scene, and work on familiarizing them with their characters. What do their characters want? What are their backgrounds? What are their relationships to the other characters and how do they feel about each other? All of these questions are important for the actor to believably portray their role on stage as the more familiar they are with the character, the better they know how that character would realistically speak, The Harvard Independent • 10.17.13
respond, or move in a particular situation. As for blocking, some of it is suggested by the stage directions written into the script (which are either written by the author him or herself as documentation of their thoughts and intentions for the scene, or are a record of how the show was blocked in its original performance), while the director creates the rest of it based on the dialogue, impulses of the actors, or their own mental picture of what the scene should look like. At some point during these rehearsals, the actors are told to be ‘off-book’, or have all of their lines completely memorized. After that point, it is much easier to do in-depth work on the dynamics of a scene which, for me, is probably one of the most exciting parts of the rehearsal process as the show is really coming to life. After the show has been blocked, lines are memorized, and characters analyzed, it is time to start doing runs of the show as we get closer and closer to opening night. The period of doing full runs often involves long hours of rehearsal so we can run through the entire show, sometimes starting and stopping to work on specific moments, to get a sense of its flow. These runs are important for smoothing transitions between scenes, knowing where actors have to enter and exit in each scene to be ready for the next one, figuring out where props will be throughout the show, and making sure the characters and the overall show are consistent and cohesive. By this point, the actors have generally become very familiar with the show, each other, and their lines and characters. They are nearly ready to perform for an audience, but we continue fine-tuning as we arrive at the beginning of tech week. Tech week, otherwise known as ‘hell week’, is the craziest, busiest, most utterly insane, but absolutely wonderful week of working on a show. This is the week we move into the theater, get to work with the set for the first time, and add lights, sound effects, props, and full costumes into the mix. Tech week begins with Paper Tech, during which the Director, Stage Manager, Light Designer, and Sound Designer go through the script line by line to decide where there should be sound and light cues and what the lights and sound should be during each of those moments. From there, we load into the theater — the whole staff and cast comes together to
put the set up and finish any last minute painting, etc., so that it is ready for our first tech rehearsal. This rehearsal is known as Cue-to-Cue, and as its name implies, we go from one light/sound cue to the next, working through the show slowly so that the designers can program each cue based on where the actors and set are positioned for that moment, and so we can test that everything is working. While this rehearsal is generally more for the technical staff than for the actors to work on their scenes, it gives them a sense of how the show will come together with all of its elements in place. Finally, we begin dress rehearsals. At this point, all of the light and sound cues are completed, the actors are in full costume and have learned how to navigate the set, where to enter and exit, where their props will be, and they are ready to practice for their first performance with an audience. During dress tech rehearsals, we generally run the entire show twice in one evening, as it would be performed during an actual performance (i.e. little or no stopping, taking an intermission, continuing on if a light cue goes wrong or someone misses a line or a prop disappears backstage — a lot can happen during dress rehearsals). These are often exhausting evenings, with everyone giving 110% for six straight hours, several days in a row, to prepare for a hopefully-perfect opening night. But in the end, it is so rewarding for all involved as we finally have our show in all of its completed glory. As dress rehearsals and tech week draw to a close, we come to opening night — that wonderful evening when weeks or months of hard work and rehearsals pay off and we get to entertain and captivate an audience for a few hours. The show often changes remarkably from its early rehearsals to the finished product, and in the end, everyone’s collaborative efforts come together in beautiful harmony to create a piece of art that will hopefully make a lasting impression on everyone that sees it. Madi Taylor ’16 (madisontaylor@college) is about to go into Tech Week for a show, so she very thankful for Starbucks’ proximity and for getting to share with you all how shows like this one come to life!
Through an indian lens | ADITYA AGRAWAL
Eliot, Keats and the Spoken Word: why spoken-word could represent the next big thing for young America.
he featured in Macklemore’s Same Love. And she’s a feminist. Fodder enough to shake my bovine self into sacrificing the fuzzy sanctity of my bed on a damp Sunday evening of October 6th to attend a concert in the SOCH by this certain spoken-word artist. But the fuzz of my sheets never really did desert me over the next two hours, as I sat wrenching at the surreal quilt of music and words that Mary Lambert weaved over an audience too enraptured for even applause. We winced and we warped; our collective pulses leapt and froze and ignited and scurried like chickens across a street on a winter Cambridge night. That words had magic, I had heard. » 10 harvardindependent.com
I could now claim as much. Poetry in India was largely viewed as belonging to the same circles as highbrow intellectualism. The closest you could get to spoken word was shayari, a form of Urdu/Hindi poetry. Performed as an act of establishing superiority in the armored possession of witticisms, shayaris are (generally) fluidly rhythmic quatrains that sought to capture definitive sentiments. But largely, poetry remained a domain insulated against the perils of experimentation and hybridization, an edifice bordered off from plebeian appeal by the fences of rigidity and formalism. Spoken-word defined by Wikipedia as ‘a performance art that is word based, generally consisting of poetry or storytelling’, presented a major departure from my conception of poetry as I had grown up viewing it. It painted a paradigm that was at once splendidly novel and decidedly problematic. Was not poetry an art that sprang from and thrived in the delightful meadows of the self: an intensely personal art form that sought to manifest, without bounds, the endless possibilities and perspectives that the reverberating consciousness and the physical universe held? Poets wrote for the simple joy of creation for creation’s sake; doesn’t the introduction of an audience as an incentive fundamentally distort and rob conception of its very hallmark? Disfiguring a composition to pander to popular tastes as a way of eliciting optimal public appeal, as with most forms of commercial music, was a concern that had me raise my hackles at the fundamental construct of spoken word. Every art form has to evolve and refine with the dictates of the times it finds itself embedded in. Spoken-word is a blazing example of one such adaption mechanism. Those of us ensconced in our upholstered armchairs in the ivory towers of elite educational institutions may have both the time and the disposition to debate the nuanced minutiae of sonnets, diamantes and all that fancy jazz, but young America does not. Spoken word has been handcrafted exclusively for a generation that receives #YOLO as its official motto and swears by speed hookups. By dismantling the frigid structure of a formal poem, or better still, by placing no bounds on the artistic requisites and attaching minimal judgment value, spoken word has made the poem accessible to our cohort of youth, preventing it from curving off into an asymptote to death, like the opera and certain native art forms. Purists may be up in arms about the decimation of the literary
aspect, but when the relevance of the form itself finds itself flailing at the stake, everything else turns supplementary. But this statement is no flagged acknowledgement of the spoken word representing a marked declination in the literary specs of the poetic form as a whole. It is vital to recognize that a poem’s literary aspect is not an end in itself; it is the means to an end that — in this case — represents a poem with a bloodbath of meaning that pierces your senses with all the sharpness of a glass shard and depth that gives you primal flashes of intermittent clarity and bewilderment. For all its informal structure, stopgap language, and flippant word choices, a spoken word composition may achieve all of the above. Consider the following lines from a composition that Lambert performed: ‘Women like us don’t shoot; we swallow pills Still wanting to be beautiful Still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive’ The words are unerringly unembellished and sure don’t have the markings of a verse that The Advocate would be inclined to add to its gild-edged archives. But it makes you freeze in your tracks, and the words penetrate much deeper than your skin to unlock floodgates of emotion you never knew existed: emotions fluid and fleeting, emotions forceful and incapacitating. This presents, to me, the most compelling reason that makes spokenword an essential parcel of mainstream artistic fabric in twenty first century America. By virtue of its mass appeal and ability to facilitate messages both powerful and discomfiting, spoken word can potentially be a media for social advocacy. There couldn’t have been a better representative to initiate me into this artistic tradition than Lambert herself, who uses her compositions as a buffer to stream her views on sexuality, feminism, and everything in between. I sense immense scope for the spoken-word as a vessel for whole sections of disenfranchised populace to galvanize causes, people and entire systems. The spoken-word has only arrived, and I am assured that the ‘I Have a Dream’ of our times will be a product of it’s fertile grounds. Aditya Agrawal ’17 (adityaagrawal@college) hopes that the next presidential debate is held in a spoken-word format.
10.17.13 • The Harvard Independent
Down By the River By SEAN FRAZZETTE
ast year, after two hours of Nantucket red shorts, Polo hats, and grueling rowing, Harvard’s Eights set history at the Head of the Charles. For the first time in the forty-seven years that the competition has existed, a team of Eights had won back-to-back titles. After University of Washington was given a ten second penalty, the Crimson Crewers (which, while not making much sense, should be the unofficial nickname of these rowers) were able to clinch the victory. But on October 19th and 20th, the Crimson look to win much more, while also setting the record as the first ever to threepeat. With the tragic passing of heavyweight Coach Henry Parker this past summer, Harvard is led by new coach Charley Butt — but the history and tradition of victory remains. Yes, that’s right, folks — the Head of the Charles is here. What’s that? You didn’t grow up in the Metrowest area surrounding Boston? You don’t understand the hype around this event? You don’t shop at Brooks Brothers? You don’t even know what the Head of the Charles is? Well, you’re in luck. Here is the Harvard Independent’s official (and semi-annual) preview for the Head of the Charles: What is the Head of the Charles? The Head of the Charles is a conglomeration of a number of different crew races, from one man/woman, twos, fours and eights. Since 1965, thousands of rowers come to compete for the best time and hundreds of thousands of White AngloSaxon Protestants (among a few others) come to watch the event.
A head start on the biggest races of the year.
The races are head races, which means the rowers do not directly compete with one another but with the clock. The start times are staggered by a few seconds and each team attempts to finish with the best time possible. Therefore, some slower boats may be passed, but being passed does not necessarily mean that boat is losing the race. Where should I watch it? In my humble opinion, bridges are the best place to watch the races. The over the top view of the race gives you a perspective of the big picture as well as an effective people-watching vantage. The best bridges? 1) Larz Anderson Bridge The only knock on the Anderson Bridge is the crowdedness of the venue. The bridge has an incredible view, sits between the boathouses, and allows the viewer to be in the thick the hive. 2) Weeks Footbridge This bridge allows you to see the turn where collisions may occur and hysteria may arise. No offense to crew, but the sport isn’t that…well… exciting. But if boats hit each other, it becomes something to watch. Don’t miss out on the wrath of rowers. 3) Charles Eliot Bridge A bit of a hike from Harvard’s campus, this bridge gives you little crowd watching ability but a lot of free space to spread out and watch the end of the race. Just before the finish line, this vantage point allows real enthusiasts the ability to see the down the wire finishes of rowers trying to beat the clock. Who is participating? Everybody from veterans, alumni, colleges, and
high schoolers race in the two day event, so be ready to watch many people you don’t know row down the Charles before watching that girl you sit next to in Gov 20. In terms of colleges, Harvard may face off with the likes of Brown, Boston University, Boston College, Clemson, Holy Cross, Dartmouth, Ithaca, among others. When are the races? Men’s collegiate fours are on the 19th at 4:00 p.m., with women’s following them at 4:14. Men’s collegiate eights are the 20th at 3:41 p.m., with women’s eights following right after at 3:59. But all day both Saturday and Sunday, races of all shapes and sizes will be crowding the rivers and surrounding the houses with hoopla and excitement. So there you have it. A complete guide to everything Head of the Charles (with the exception of the plentiful swag along the River, which shouldn’t be missed). The event is a Cambridge and Harvard tradition. Even if you’ve never heard of crew, never watched a group of men or women row down the Charles, or never worn a silk shirt and Isaia tie, the Head of the Charles could be for you. If this quick summary of the event leaves you craving for more locations and news, more information on this event can be found at http:// www.hocr.org/the-regatta/, or by asking anybody in a Brooks Brothers jacket, Vineyard Vines tie, and a nice clean pair of Sperry’s. Sean Frazzette ’16 (sfrazzette@college) wants to bring back the boat fights of ancient Rome.
Photo by Angela Song
The Harvard Independent • 10.17.13
From Backyard to Big Time
The Indy sits down with Ultimate Frisbee Captain William Dean. By ANGELA SONG
ngela Song: Tell me about ultimate Frisbee. How long are the games, are there different positions, any quirky rules, do you make plays, etc. How physical is the game? William Dean: Ultimate was started by some high school kids at Columbia H.S. in Maplewood, NJ. Many people understand it as a combination of basketball, soccer and football — it’s an incredibly fastpaced, high-energy and competitive sport. The game is governed by the “Spirit of the Game,” which means that players in our community value sportsmanship above all else. The spirit is integrated into the philosophy of the sport. The spirit, even at the highest level, revolves around selfofficiating. Players call fouls and discuss them to come to a conclusion. At high-level games there will be observers who can moderate these discussions and occasionally make a call. In general, the defense for one team will “pull” (like kickoff in football) the disc to the offense of the other team. The offense will work the disc down the field in order to catch it in the opposing end zone for a point. Typically a player plays for the “O-line” or the “D-line.” Positions are split into “handlers” (like quarterbacks in football and point-guards in basketball, these guys are in charge of the movement of the disc forward, backward and side to side), and “cutters” (these guys are like wide-receivers and midfielders/ strikers in soccer). There are a couple of different offensive and defensive frameworks that teams will cycle through, but mostly the movement of the disc depends on the flow of cutters attacking the space on the field, catching the disc for a gain in yards, and then continuing that flow to another cutter or to a handler. Rinse repeat. The advantage is to the offense, as defense is very challenging. If the D-line causes a turnover, they quickly transition into offense, and if they score it’s called a “break.” They’ve broken the expected pattern of O-lines just trading points—this is how you win games. Most teams, at least those among the college elite, have set plays to start off many possessions. This will get an offense through the first 2-3 cuts, after which the cutters and handlers flow back into the initial, overall framework. Games are played to a point target — usually 15, occasionally 13. Games will typically take a little under 2 hours, with a time cap and a system that prevents ties. I think I’ve covered some of the quirks to the sport. Another one is 12 harvardindependent.com
called the “greatest,” which is when a player leaps from in-bounds catches a disc soaring out of bounds and throws it back onto the field all before hitting the ground. The game, when played at a high level, is very physical. There is a lot of contact between cutters and defenders. Fouls are a tool which can be used to lower the contact, but most players tolerate a certain level of physical roughness in playing. AS: Are alligator jaws the most effective way to catch a Frisbee? Also, any tips on throwing the Frisbee as well as you guys do? WD: The “alligator catch” is the safest way to catch the disc — this is what we encourage the most. When catching with one hand, it’s important to think about which way the disc is spinning, so that when you grab at the disc it spins in toward your body, as opposed to out of your grip. Tips on throwing: grip the disc tighter, snap your wrist more, keep the plane of the disc parallel to the plane of the earth at all times especially upon release, and PRACTICE! AS: How long has the team been around, and have you always had the awesome name? Any fun alums? WD: This is the team’s 40th year of existence. It was started by a graduate of Columbia H.S. (see above), who still works at Harvard. Notable alums: George Stubbs ‘11 was a three-time captain and winner of the Callahan Award, which is the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy in college football. He now captains Boston’s club team Ironside. Ironside features two other Red Line alumni, Misha Herscu and Piers MacNaughton, both ‘13. Red Line alumni are all over the ultimate world, across the country, playing for some of the top club and professional teams in the nation. A few are Andrew Fleming (played for Sockeye, won 3 national titles and was one of the first guys in the game to make ESPN, Jack Marsh (captain of PoNY), and legend tells of a Mark Zuckerberg showing up to a few events during his freshman year. We have a photo! AS: Why do you love the sport? WD: I love the sport for two major reasons: the people and the learning. The community of people who play this sport is unlike any other I have experienced. The camaraderie, enthusiasm and sportsmanship is unrivaled across the world of athletes. There aren’t many sports where you can go out to a civil dinner with a team who just beat you, or party with a team you just beat. As a relatively
new student of the game, I find myself learning constantly. The game is played out through hundreds of hypothetical scenarios, the players combining their movements to elect just one route — it’s a puzzle that keeps changing, and the strategy for the game continues to evolve.
how do you feel about how fast the sport is growing? WD: Like you say, the sport is growing incredibly fast. Last year at College Nationals in a speech to the team captains the CEO of USAU (the governing body of the sport domestically) said that other sports as well as athleticAS: For potential newcomers, what wear manufacturing companies are is the time commitment and how often looking at ultimate to see how and do you compete and travel? Did a lot of why it is growing so fast. From my new rookies play a particular sport in perspective, ultimate recruits for high school or have prior experience? itself. It’s an unprecedented balance W D : H a r v a r d of a positive, thoughtful experience Men’s Ultimate Frisbee (HMF) is and intense, competitive athleticism. open to anyone who’s interested in It’s fun, hard, demanding, exciting, an incredible community of dedicated, and the Spirit of the Game makes fun-loving and all-around neat it meaningful in our development brothers. We have two teams, the as individuals. Our recruiting was A-Team (Red Line) and the B-Team limited to word of mouth and a ruckus (BRed Line). Through the early fall table at the activities fair — we had we have mixed practices with all of 80 people show up to our first practice. I am happy that the sport is our rookies to get everyone up to snuff on how to play college ultimate. While growing quickly. I think that with some players may come with ultimate that growth come some growing experience, the vast majority of pains. Our community is still trying our rookies show up without any to navigate the murky waters of the knowledge and are just looking to have professional ultimate leagues that fun and work hard — which they get are popping up (AUDL and MLU so — and no one comes with any college- far). With mainstream-ification we level experience (it’s a different speed have to be wary of losing some of our of game at this level). We get soccer principles of spirit and sportsmanship. players, football players, basketball Some people want to change the game players, and just regular players too! to make it more digestible for an We are in the midst of tryouts audience. I think that is something now, and will have the A-Team set to be careful of. Nevertheless, seeing by next week. The B-Team remains growing excitement about something open all year to all who are interested. that I love has been pretty incredible. Practices in the fall are Monday AS: What’s it like to be a nationally and Wednesday 8:30-11 PM in the stadium. We also have a Sunday renowned team? WD: Honestly, not much. While practice slot but we’re traveling most weekends so we haven’t used we’re seeing the growth of the sport it much. So far this fall we’ve hosted and the program continue, it’s still one fall scrimmage, gone to Maine a relatively low-profile sport. We for a tournament, and competed in still get laughs when we say we the Fall Ivy League Invite. Coming play ultimate, although fewer than up we will be traveling Oct. 26- before. Our program went to nationals 27 for the premier invite tournament for the first time in 1998, and has in New England for the fall, and been 5 times out of the past 8 years, hosting UCONN on campus Nov. finishing as high as 5th in the country. 2 from 4-6 PM. In the spring the Not a lot of people know that but, A-Team practices three times a week, speaking for myself, I kind of like it. supplemented by an agility/lifting I don’t need to be lauded through my session and a track workout. We communities—I don’t need everyone travel to two national tournaments to know that we just won Regionals during the spring (usually Texas, or made Nationals. We work hard, North Carolina, sometimes Stanford), dedicated friends striving to become and play at the New England Open in the best team that we can become, and Massachusetts. This is all before the we do it largely in the dark (literally, National Series, which is a set of three our practice times are quite late). tournaments starting with Conference Many of us like the off-the-beaten path Championships (formerly Sectionals), feel that our sport has. We are happy then Regionals, then Nationals. The when our friends come to watch and B-Team practices almost as much but cheer, and even more excited when we attendance is less mandatory. Both play in front of a full crowd—we just don’t expect it. teams travel for spring break. AS: How do you recruit new people given that it is a less well known? And 10.17.13 • The Harvard Independent
Published on Oct 17, 2013
All the way to the Charles we go, with frisbees, slumping sophomores, and poetics: Ho! Palimpsests and productions, skyscrapers and hippies...