em magazine // Spring 2009
Contents // 4
Contents Emerson 7-14
Rebels by the Numbers Street Seen External Programs: Ghana Emerson Dance Company Recruited Athletes
4 looks, 1 tee Vivid Ventures for Spring Style like its 100 BC The Nail Files Be a Hot Somebody at the Beach Healthy Summer Snacks
The Playerâ€™s Guide to Playing the Field A-Z Sex Positions All Talk No Action Why We Hate Your Friends Donâ€™t Let Your Buddy Fly Solo Coming Out Embarrassing Sex Stories
Playlists Musician Profiles Cocktail Lounge Banned Books Musical Festivals Best Burgers of Boston Badass Films Under the Radar Films
On the Cover: photos by Zac Wolf // Stylists, Valerie Molina and Margaux Moses // Models Joahn Anderson and Carolin Denton // Suit provided by Club Monaco www.emmagonline.com
contents // 5
42Hot Shots Emerson Rebels 45
Emerson Alums Ashton Blount and Layne Anderson talk about their lives post-Emerson.
Kristen Berke tries to shead some light on the phenomenon thatâ€™s catching on just about anywhere and everywhere.
Andre the Giant Invades Boston Artist and self-declared rebel Shepard Fariey
comes to the ICA, but just how rebellious is he really?
lious Emersonian models for Spring.
Five Emerson students who do things a bit differntly tell us just what makes them a rebel amongst rebels.
Sex in Public 56
Be Rebellious with Style Club Monaco dresses some rebel-
This Isnâ€™t the Town Flea Market Why buy new, when you can get
Vintage? Four great place to get vintage right here in Boston, just for guys.
Burroughs: 72Boston Davis Square
Break from the pack and find something new to do in Davis Square
em magazine // Spring 2009
entertainment // 38
Movies you won’t admit you’ve seen, but should! text by Maria Montemayor // photo by Ben Austin
he Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings, Titanic...all these movies are well-respected and were incredibly popular at the time of their release. Some movies, like the ones listed below, are fantastic movies, they just didn’t seem to get the response they deserved from the movie-going public. So maybe next time you are hanging out with your friends, ready to watch Donnie Darko for the millionth time, offer up one of these alternatives.
The Assassination of Jesse James The movie runs like a wellacted, narratively-structured Ken Burns documentary. Heightened by the amazing writing by novelist Ron Hansen and director Andrew Dominik, this film tells an incredible story of two very different men. Casey Affleck’s portrayal of Robert Ford is phenomenal and Brad Pitt is the perfect arrogant Jesse James. The story follows the relationship between the two men as their worlds collide. What may seem like one of the greatest betrayals in American history proves to be more complicated than Robert Ford pulling the trigger on his idol. At almost three hours in length this movie may be a little long for some, but stay with it, it’s worth it! Definitely a movie to check out if you have any interest in Westerns or psychological dramas.
Although to most, Fight Club, is David Fincher’s best work, this creepy, obsession-driven thriller about the Zodiac Killer that stalked San Francisco in the 1970s is truly his best film. Fincher creates a world around very different individuals whose lives were affected by the man whose identity still remains a mystery today. A combination of amazing acting (courtesy of Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey, Jr.) and spectacular special effects creates a fantastic movie that, despite its length, captivates and haunts you days after watching it.
This may be one of the most underrated movies of the last ten years. It may not be The Lord of the Rings, but it definitely has an amazing look and an epic story line that make for quite the cinematic adventure. This is really just a wonderful re-telling of a classic story. Guinevere is a badass, and overall this movie is just really cool. Awesome action scenes set against beautiful landscapes make this movie fantastic. When renting, be sure to get the director’s cut– it’s longer and has several action scenes not included in the theatrical release.
If you have hesitated seeing this movie because of its negative reviews, just give it a chance. Perhaps the raunchiest of all of Kevin Smith’s movies, this film is another chapter in his New Jersey saga. Once again, we are brought into the world of Dante and Randal. However, Dante is planning to move to Florida and marry a trophy wife. We are introduced to a host of other characters that could only exist in a Kevin Smith universe. Basically, this movie is hilarious, and only Kevin Smith could add heart to a film involving a donkey show.
We all know movie food prices are a bitch, that’s why 22% of Emerson students stick it to the man and sneak in their own.
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This Isn't The Town Flea-Market This is Boston Vintage for Men Vintage clothing isnâ€™t just for girls anymore. We bring you the best vintage boutiques for men in Boston to create your own truly one-of-a kind wardrobe. Text by Joey Hebert // Photos by Zac Wolf Stylist Valerie Molina // Models Will Sanderock, Adam Nickerson, Branden Smith, Duncan Menaker em magazine // Spring 2009
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Located in The Garage in Harvard Square, Proletariat is a bit hard to find. This boutique is a hole-in-the-wall in the truest sense of the phrase. Most notably, Proletariat houses a truly amazing selection of vintage t-shirts. For the most part, they stick to basic shirts and sweatshirts. Organized by color, the search for a perfectly worn “Rocker-T” is made easy compared to the frustrating searches most people encounter at vintage boutiques. In my opinion, this is great because it can be a one-stop shopping trip when I only need a few comfortable shirts. Don’t head over to this store unless you know what to expect. The selection for t-shirts and sweatshirts is great, but that’s about it. But don’t let that deceive you, while there I bought the coolest gray Kaiser Chiefs t-shirt. Proletariat is definitely a must for any easy-going guy looking for one-of-a-kind, truly vintage t-shirts.
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The Garment District, (200 Broadway, Cambridge MA) is perhaps one of the most infamous and notorious stores in the Greater Boston Area. Ironically, its notoriety isn’t due to its amazing selection of vintage clothing, but rather their huge assortment of Halloween costumes and supplies. However, grossly underestimated is their immense collection of great 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s vintage clothing. Of particular note are the selections of vintage for men. Not only are there an awesome number of plaid flannels, and western shirts, there are great hoodies and bowling shirts, all in a variety of colors and styles. The second floor is entirely devoted to vintage clothing, while the first floor has mostly Halloween supplies. The coolest thing about this store is the “dollar-apound” special. And even though this huge pile of used clothing can be intimidating and, lets face it, a bit gross, if you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, you can find some great pieces. My favorite Bill Blass sweater is evidence enough. em magazine // Spring 2009
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Located at 175 Newbury St., The Closet describes itself as “Boston’s finest consignment clothing store for men and women.” Proximity in itself makes this store ideal; it’s just a quick walk across the Public Gardens. However, once you enter this cramped boutique, the men’s section can be overwhelming. Featuring an awesome selection of designer brands, The Closet is bursting with a great supply of men’s shoes, jackets, and pants. It’s almost ironic how little space is allotted for men’s clothing. Once you get into the racks however, it’s nearly impossible to leave without a bag full of designer shirts, pants, and jackets. While there I found an amazing velvet blazer and coolest pair of leather Prada shoes. However, hardcore vintage shoppers beware, this may be vintage clothing, but some comes at a department store price. This isn’t a place for your average college student. Unless, of course, your parents pay you a visit.
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Bobby’s of Boston in the South End (19 Thayer St) is without a doubt one of those stores you have to see to believe. Compare it to Ralph Lauren Rugby, but with an authentic vintage twist. Bobby’s houses a great selection of legitimate 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s clothing in great condition. What’s even better is that the store focuses primarily on men’s attire, which is almost unheard of in the vintage industry. Besides awesome tweeds and cardigans, there is a great selection of retro sunglasses and other accessories. I bought a rad pair of vintage Ray-Bans that would of cost me double online. The prices range from reasonable to pricey, but given their vast selection and good quality, you’re bound to discover something awesome no matter your price range. While sifting through the racks of clothing, its cool to find not only classically vintage clothing, but also little pieces like bowties, handkerchiefs, and shoes. Complete with hardwood floors, a pool table, and an old shoe shining station, not to mention the collection of antiques scattered throughout, the decor of Bobby’s makes it a unique experience, almost cooler than the clothing. Almost. At Bobby’s, not only will you find an astonishing selection of truly vintage clothing, but also you’ll leave with a new experience under your belt.
em magazine // Spring 2009
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Boston Boroughs: Davis text by Joanna Arpie // photos by John Podhor
hen you need a retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown, Davis Square is the perfect spot to go. Centered around local businesses and eateries, its got a great neighborhood feel to it without the suburban look. Located right next to Tufts, it’s a diverse scene of college students, young professionals, and families. Just take the Red Line outbound to the Davis T-stop (about 20 minutes) and enjoy all the unique character that Davis Square has to offer.
Davis Square was officially named in 1883 after Peter Davis, a grain dealer who built his home at the intersection of Elm, Grove, and Morrison Streets. More people moved into the area as public transportation made it increasingly accessible. The area experienced some commercial success, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that things turned around. In 1982, the Davis Square Action Plan was created in order to spur commercial development while maintaining the unique character of the area. When the Davis Square subway station opened in 1984, the area truly transformed into the hip area driven by local businesses that it is today.
Art is definitely at the center of the Davis Square scene. Throughout the square you can find pieces of local artwork that lend a unique sense of character to the neighborhood. At the center of Davis Square you’ll find statues named after the seven hills of Somerville, each symbolizing an important part of Somerville history. Everywhere you look there are murals and paintings on everything from walls to switchboxes, which emphasize how big a role art plays within Davis Square.
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Col lege Ave
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Where to Eat
17 Holland Street Emerson students looking for nightlife beyond Downtown Boston should check out Johnny D’s Restaurant and Music Club. In business since 1969, Johnny D’s has been home to many of the best acclaimed jazz, blues, folk, and rock artists over the years. Everyone from Badfish to Wilco to the Dixie Chicks have performed here. Although there is a cover charge, finding a hip place to hang out where you can listen to some talented musicians is definitely worth the money. Johnny D’s is also noted for its Jazz Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays when you can experience delicious food and some great tunes for under ten bucks.
tre rS e t s he
spot to pick up some country grub and hang with your friends.
Diesel Cafe 257 Elm Street All the usual coffee drinks are available along with some pretty amazing sandwiches made with the freshest ingredients. Definitely try the ‘alternator:’ baked garlic and herb tofu, humus, red onion, cucumber, sprouts and tomato on seven grain bread—both delicious and healthy, it’s a win-win. You can take a break and play pool for just $5/hour or have some fun with your friends in the photobooth. Unfortunately, the WiFi doesn’t come free, but for $7.95 you can Google and Facebook all day until your heart’s content.
55 Chester Street If, unlike most Emersonians, your ideal meal doesn’t include sprouts or tofu but rather a nice hunk of meat, Redbones is the perfect place to feed your craving. Redbones offers up a real down-home feel with its soulful southern menu and homey atmosphere. The food comes quickly and the people are extremely friendly, making Redbones the perfect
381 Summer Street There’s something so classic about a real oldschool, hole-in-the-wall diner like the Rosebud. It’s a quaint little spot perfect for grabbing a quick cup of coffee, or hanging with your friends when you have the late night munchies. The menu is filled with all the classic diner grub from pancakes to burgers, and all for the unbeatable diner price.
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what to do Somerville Movie Theater & Museum of Bad Art 55 Davis Square The Somerville Movie Theater is a landmark of Davis Square, located at its center. The theater is reminiscent of old Hollywood complete with the classic marquee, elegantly decorated ceilings, and lavish red velvet curtains covering the screens. Catch a matinee Monday through Thursday for a mere $5. After the show, go down into the basement and browse through the hilarious works submitted by wannabe artists in the Museum of Bad Art. And better yet, it’s free with the price of admission!
Poor Little Rich Girl 255 Elm Street For the vintage-obsessed Emerson girl, Poor Little Rich Girl is definitely worth the trip to Davis Square. Poor Little Rich Girl offers cheap prices on everything from designer jeans to retro dresses of the 60s, so whatever style you’re looking for it’s sure to have it. Also worth mentioning, the store has a good shoe selection as well as an array of old jewelry and hats. Whether you’re looking for the next addition to your wardrobe or to have some fun trying on 80s party dresses, Poor Little Rich Girl is a great find.
Davis Squared 409 Highland Ave. Davis Squared is a local treasure, known for its modern gifts and home goods. Whether you’re looking for unique knick-knacks for your apartment or quirky gifts for your friends, this place will definitely not disappoint. It’s the kind of store where you hear girls saying, “Oh this is cute,” every five seconds because literally everything is adorable and, for the most part, affordable.
Magpie 416 Highland Ave. If you’re looking for knitted beer cozies, lamps complete with paper umbrella shades, or bowls made out of melted down records, Magpie is the place for you. Just steps away from the Davis T-stop, Magpie is a small boutique featuring work from local artists. The store also specializes in green products, including mugs made from 100 percent corn plastic and bags made from discarded highway billboards.
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got meat? T h e B e s t B u rge rs i n B o s to n
text by Catie Colliton // photos by Nicole Rosenbaum
Biggest Burger (if you are up for the challenge) Eagle’s Challenge Burger $50 Eagle’s Deli 1918 Beacon St Cleveland Circle If you can finish this monster burger made of 5 pounds of ground beef, 20 pieces of cheese, and 20 pieces of bacon with a side of 5 pounds of fries, you get your money back and the burger named after you. But if you can’t, you get your picture put up on the Wall of Shame, So come when you���re starving, not just hungry. However, if you aren’t up for a major bellybursting pig out, but still want a super burger, try the Godzilla Burger (1 pound of beef with 4 slices of cheese, served with a 1 pound side of fries) for $7.50.
Most Bang for Your Buck
Best Burger When You Are Looking For a Change: The Barack Obama $9 Mr. Bartley’s 1246 Massachusetts Ave Harvard Square Mr. Bartley’s famous burgers have a constantly changing menu since 1960, and have dedicated a burger to President Barack Obama: 7 ounces of fresh ground beef (or substitute a veggie burger) topped with feta cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion and a side of fries. If you’re feeling a little bitter over the outcome of the election, don’t worry. There’s a pizza flavored John McCain burger just for you.
UVeggieBurger Under $5 UBurger 636 Beacon St Kenmore Square Vegetarians, rejoice! A good fast food veggie burger is practically unheard of, but UBurger has made one bangin’ meatless burger. Try it with cheddar cheese and guacamole. The beef burgers are just as mouthwateringly delicious and even cheaper than the veggie burgers. These burgers might not be as cheap as McDonald’s, but the fresh daily ground beef and overall quality (plus savory toppings like banana pepper rings, grilled mushrooms, and tiger sauce) make UBurgers the best bargain high-quality burgers.
Best Burger That Doesn't Taste Like a Burger Organic Vegan Black Bean Burger $7 Four Burgers 704 Massachusetts Ave Central Square This veggie burger literally tastes like a burrito in burger form when you order it with guacamole, salsa, and cheddar cheese. For a little more kick try the black bean burger topped with mango barbeque sauce. It will leave you wondering, “What is this delicious thing I’m eating?”
Best Overall Burger Eating Experience Bleu Cheese Burger $9 Audubon Circle 838 Beacon St Fenway The juicy bleu cheese burger with bacon on a fresh, bakery-style bun is wicked good, especially when dipped in the chipotle ketchup sauce that comes on the side. On top of chowing down on a delicious sandwich with a multitude of flavors, Audubon Circle’s warm and trendy atmosphere is a great place to eat a burger: no florescent lights glaring down at you or order numbers shouted over an intercom.
Best Burger Worth the Price Angus Burger $14 West Side Lounge 1680 Massachusetts Ave Porter Square Burger connoisseurs will revel in this gourmet burger at the classy West Side Lounge. The hefty Angus beef patty comes topped with creamy but sharp manchego cheese, a sofrito of sautéed onions, and a mildly spicy roasted garlic aioli sauce. Try not to drool.
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The Best Summer Music Festivals in the US and abroad text and photos by Stine Osttveit
uring the summer months legendary musicians as well as up-and-coming talents inhabit thousands of stages around the world, determined to give every music enthusiast a life-changing experience. Ah yes, it’s a little thing we like to call the “Music Festival Season”. This is the time to leave your MP3 player at home and experience raw live music at its best, performed under an open sky. Here are some suggestions on the best music festivals at home and abroad.
Europe The Glastonbury Festival (June 24 to 28) // www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk Glastonbury, located in the mythically drenched Vale of Avalon, England, is famous for its high quality lineup. This year, both Bruce Springsteen and Franz Ferdinand have already signed up. Celebs and hobos alike keep coming back to this 900 acre mini society filled with anything you might need from a circus to the theater or a jazz lounge. Just be sure to buy your tickets early, as they sell out really quickly. Don’t forget your rain boots for those muddy fields. Roskilde Festival (July 2 to 5) // http://www.roskilde-festival.dk/uk/ If you’re too late to the box office but still crave that Glasto-vibe, The Roskilde Festival in Denmark is definitely your best choice. Roskilde is known for being five steps ahead in discovering up-and-coming bands without skimping on the big names. The 2009 lineup features Coldplay, Oasis, Slipknot, and many more. To get the full Roskilde experience, be sure not to miss out on the annual nude parade, the chill-out tents, nightly raves, or skate ramps. If you want a decent spot for your tent, be at the gates on the 28th of June for the warm-up party. For first-time goers West camp is your best bet. FIB Benicassim (July 16 to 19) // http://www.fiberfib.com For those a bit more interested in sun and beaches, FIB Benicassim in Spain offers 4 days of rock and pop right on the beach. This year, bands such as Kings of Leon and The Killers will make sure everyone finds a favorite tune to wail along to. And when you want out of the sun, there are tons of unique cafés and restaurants in the small town, or you can cruise the local marketplace.
United States Lollapalooza (August 7-9) // www.lollapalooza.com This Chicago-based festival guarantees an onslaught of awesome music. Last year the lineup included acts like Radiohead and Gnarls Barkley, so expect to see some awesome big name bands. Located in Grant Park, all the excitement of Chicago is close by to explore and enjoy. Outside Lands (August 28 to 30) // http://sfoutsidelands.com San Fransisco’s newly-born Outside Lands Festival will for the second time transform Golden State Park into a raving music orgy with hippies jamming in trees and a one of a kind Frisco vibe. This eco-friendly festival promises not only good music, but also a wine tent, a solar-powered stage, and artworks scattered about to satisfy whatever visual needs hot musicians don’t take care of for you. Bonnaroo (June 11 to 14) // www.bonnaroo.com Looking for a more rural setting? Head to Tennesse for Bonnaroo and join artists such as Wilco, Snoop Dogg, TV On The Radio, and MGMT on this 700 acre farm. Besides the overflow of been-around-the-block musicians, make sure you catch some of the comedy shows and dance parties. If you need a breather, chill at the on-site cinema. Sensation White (Select dates all year) // http://www.sensation.com This crazed trance/house/dance rave embarks on a world tour every year visiting countries in every corner of the world. If it doesn’t stop here this year it will be stopping somewhere close by. The 10 hour event of pure madness hosts some of today’s most famous DJs in enormous multi-floored venues where your only way of getting past the gates is dressing in all white. The mind-blowing music, visual effects, indoor rain, explosions of confetti, and mesmerizing vibe will keep you dancing till sunrise. Leave your sanity at home for this one.
Some final tips for the road Mark the top of your tent so you spot it amongst all the others, which can seem like an impossible scavenger hunt after a few too many. If you’re with a group of people, plan a meet-up spot, and never rely on your phones (charging is a bitch). Bring a flashlight for spotting string-traps scattered throughout the grounds. You can also use it to keep the tent lit during the night to keep tent pillagers away. Don’t be afraid to just wander about, pop into tents and share a beer with random people, that’s what it’s all about. Also, for those of you who simply can’t find the money for the ticket, most of the festivals offer free entry in exchange for different kinds of volunteer work, just check their sites for further info. My final tip: grab your tent, choose your poison, and start planning your festival summer today.
em magazine // Spring 2009
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Recent alums making waves in the real world
Ashton Blount Grad. 2007
text by Victoria Guerrera // photo courtesy of Ashton Blount
he deal breaker that attracted Ashton Blount to Emerson College was not only the people, the city, and the programs, but something that most students do not take into consideration when choosing the perfect school: the architecture. Blount’s passion for architecture was a reason he chose to attend Emerson because he was inspired by one of the new buildings on campus when visiting. Blount, who graduated from Emerson College in May 2007 with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Theatrical Design and Technology and Scenic Design, grew up in the small town of Athens, Georgia before moving to Boston. He grew up in a liberal college town, home to the University of Georgia, and always looked forward to college. Blount has wanted to be a designer since he was five years old, and Emerson was the place for just that. “Emerson was the perfect fit for me…the energy of the city, the theatrical program, the people, and the architecture of the new building are what interested me,” said Blount. Blount, now an independent entertainment and interior designer, has worked on many projects in the past couple years, including being the associate project designer of the pre-show set of the 2008 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards and the Design Engineer of the The Simpson’s Ride at Universal Studio’s Hollywood. Blount has also been the production designer of various films, commercials, and music videos. Blount kept himself busy at Emerson in order to prepare himself for his future career as a designer. Even though Blount’s major was theater design, he branched himself out and took film classes and marketing classes. He worked long
hours with film majors on the set of many films as the production designer. “I owe the film kids a lot. I got to work on so many sets, it was beautiful and appealing. Film had no rules, it was great,” said Blount. Blount also studied abroad in the Netherlands, and spent a semester at the Los Angeles program and interned with Lexington Designs in LA. Blount was also a part of a fraternity on campus. “The fraternity did a lot for me. I learned how to communicate with a variety of people; it was very social,” said Blount. “It’s all about becoming applicable in different environments and networking.” “Working as an independent designer is tough There isn’t always work you want, but sometimes you have to take it. You have to start from the bottom up,” said Blount. In the summer of 2008 Blount designed the “California and Climate” museum exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. “It was cool to collaborate with different architects and putting many ideas together into one exhibit. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve done and seeing it after was amazing,” said Blount. “That’s what I’m most proud of.” Blount’s inspirations come from Renzo Piano, an architect he deeply admires and describes as “perfect,” and his parents. “My parents are the biggest inspirations of all. My father worked so hard for me to go to Emerson, and my mom was with me all the way, even through cab money,” said Blount. “I appreciate them now more than ever and I’m inspired by all the work they do.” Blount now lives in New York, and for more information on Ashton Blount visit his website at www. ablountdesigns.com.
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Layne Anderson Grad. 2008
text by Thomas McKee // photos courtesy of flickr members Enrique Dans and D.B. King
t Emerson College, President Barack Obama is a god. The collective student body’s vehement support of this political rock star is comparable to religious adoration. During the course of the campaign, it was common to hear of students’ pilgrimages to his open-air speeches. The Audacity of Hope attained the same notoriety as the Bible; the young generation read it with the same sense of wonder reserved for theological scripture. Obama-Biden t-shirts, laptop decals, and posters served as indicators of a belief and piety. Not to mention Inauguration Night was like Christmas -- a joyous celebration of the birth of a new prophet. Most students at Emerson College dream of reaching the top, making it big, of hitting the proverbial jackpot. Layne Anderson, Political Communications major of the Class of 2008, is the official “Special Advisor to the President” as an Obama campaign speechwriter. She stands as a testament, a beacon of hope that all the struggle, strife, and stress is not a necessary component to finding success in a world characterized by an oversaturated job market and economic recession. At the tender age of twenty-three, she was the youngest speechwriter on the campaign, one of five staff writers that single-handedly developed the rhetoric style of a presidential candidate that is considered to be one of the most eloquent orators in modern history. For a little over two years, Anderson lived out of a suitcase, traveling the country, occasionally writing speeches in the backseats of cars en route to political rallies and town hall meetings. She had worked alongside the upper echelon of political analysts and campaign managers, schmoozing with the likes of John
em magazine // Spring 2009
McCain, and yes, Sarah Palin. What is her formula? What does she have to say for herself? Take out your pens-- note taking is absolutely advised. “Luck, being in the right place at the right time, put me in a position to reach some pretty amazing heights in my career really early on,” says Anderson. She’s just being modest. I hope. In high school, the Gardner, MA native was on the fast track for a college career in physics. She applied to Emerson on what seems like a whim, claiming that she heard of Emerson from “a kid in her English class.” Upon visiting Emerson, she felt at home in the urban setting, claiming she “didn’t really like the campus atmosphere at other places.” She chose Emerson among a pool of the best academic institutions our country offers. “I didn’t want to wake up and realize that four years had gone by with my head in a book.” She appreciated the under-the-radar, close-knit program Emerson’s Political Communication major offered. Although Anderson was not actively involved in Poli-Comm organizations like Emerson Peace and Social Justice (EPSJ) or Communication, Politics and Law Association (CPLA), she immediately started working for political campaigns offcampus. As an intern for current Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, she started her still-young political career stuffing envelopes. As his ranking in the polls began to drop against Republican opponent Tom Reilly, Anderson was offered a chance as a staff member to bolster Patrick’s appeal to young voters. “He gave me a shot to do some voter outreach in my hometown,” says Anderson. She set up a series of satellite youth outreach offices
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It’s very hard to hide from the secret service. I tried at a bunch of campaign stops to hide in closets. They don’t like it, and they find you very quickly.
around the Western part of the state, which ended up being very effective. With Patrick’s eminent win into the governor’s seat, Anderson gained her first experience writing and eventually an introduction to then-Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. “I was blown away by how regal and presidential-feeling he was, even at that time. And this was 2006,” says Anderson. The day after Patrick’s inauguration she received a call from the Obama camp and was offered a position in the writing department. As a staff speech writer, she was commissioned by both the campaign manager and Senator Obama himself for specific assignments based on her personal writing style. She would then attend a lengthy meeting with the Senator where he would discuss his ideas, either over the phone or in person. “He performs in person,” says Anderson. From there, she would develop a draft which was then edited by the entire speech department, then a second and third draft. “He is a writer himself, and would write his own speeches if he had the time. He makes it very clear what he is looking for,” says Anderson. Anyone else would consider her timeline to complete these tasks monumentally varied. “I had anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes, to two months.” Anderson characterizes her style as “reflective, definitely punctuated cadences. He likes to use me for bigger things, for bigger assignments…I don’t have a knack for jazzing up policy. I could come up with one-liners.” She emphasizes simplicity and concision in her work, claiming that a good speechwriter “needs to convey a point in the simplest possible language in the least possible words.” She also stresses the importance of knowing the speaker and knowing the audience just as well. “People
forget about that a lot. A lot of people get bogged down in using big words -- that’s not necessary.” Her proudest writer’s moment: the last section of Obama’s election night speech. Now that the election has ended, and she has returned to a more “normal” routine, Anderson has trouble articulating her feelings regarding her experience. How does she feel now that he has won? “It’s an amazing feeling. It’s interesting that I get paid to write words and I can’t find the words to describe how it feels.” She describes the Inauguration as “the greatest day of my entire life.” Decked out in a huge movement-hindering ball gown designed by style heavy-hitter Zac Posen, with Office actor John Krasinski on her arm as a date, the “pretty epic” night felt like “a superstar prom.” Now that the history making campaign has concluded and the real implications of the presidency have set in, Anderson’s words characterize her relationship to the president best. “I’m still very protective of him. Everybody around here makes fun of me because I still don’t take Barack jokes very well. He is my friend, and I think that is lost on a lot of people. I went through this twoyear harrowing experience with him. He came out victorious, but either way he would be my friend. I’m incredibly proud of him.” Some words of advice from the alum: “It’s very hard to hide from the secret service. I tried at a bunch of campaign stops to hide in closets. They don’t like it, and they find you very quickly.” “The most common question people have is, do you have the president’s blackberry number?” And? “Yes, I have it.”
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n o s r e Em s l e R eb photos by Zac Wolf and Valentine van der Sloot
students are hardly typical
when compared to college students across
the country, yet sometimes when looking around Boylston street, it is hard to spot the true rebels among us. Leather jackets and graffiti aren’t the only defining qualities in our version of rebels; we’ve realized everyone sticks out, but oddly enough, in a lot of the same ways. We are proud to introduce the Emerson rebels, defying the wives tales everyone grew up ignoring, who have the same enthusiasm and drive for Communication and the Arts, but something a little different that sets them apart from all other hipsters around. While these students aren’t the typical rebels, you’ll find passionate students focused on a variety of areas: a ROTC student (Ying Wang), a morman (Dean Egan), a non-profit film founder (Martin Zaharinov), a transfer student (Sammi Sinsheimer) and even a student bold enough to take a gap year (Josh Anderson).
em magazine // Spring 2009
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Jo s h And e rso n in t ernational bad ass text by Tony D’Ovidio
arents of small children have long debated whether it is best to put them into school as early as possible, or whether to hold them out for a bit. Both options have their benefits: sending kids into schools earlier gets them learning sooner, but students that are held out enter schools more physically and psychologically developed, making them leaders among their classmates. This debate rages on among the teeter-totters and juice boxes in pre-schools across America, but what happens when high school graduates wait for a year? What happens when they hold themselves out? Josh Anderson did just that—and it worked exactly as planned. Confident and secure, he looks at people in the eye when he talks to them. He speaks clearly and slowly. He’s an Alpha male. Now a sophomore at Emerson, Anderson did what so many students wish they were brave enough to do—take a year off after high school to do what he wanted. While many would take this time off and spend it watching Family Guy reruns and eating Lucky Charms, Anderson had a different plan. He was going on an Indiana Jones-style adventure in South America. No, he wasn’t searching for crystal skulls—at least he told me he wasn’t (I still have my suspicions— he spent four months at the National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS. As the name suggests, NOLS stresses leadership, a skill Anderson developed while backpacking through the wilderness of Chile and Argentina. “It was an adventure just getting there,” said Anderson. The “adventure” spanned 36 hours, and included stints on three planes, two buses, and a cab. When he finally arrived at his destination, Anderson found out he was the youngest one on the excursion. This didn’t matter; by the end of his leadership training he took made a name for himself. “I was telling 25- to 30-year-olds what to do, and they were listening.” These well-developed leadership and survival skills have helped Anderson at Emerson, which he describes as “a whole different type of jungle.” Like a six-year-old going into kindergarten, Anderson was more psychologically developed than his peers. Adjusting to college can be stressful for freshmen, but the difficulties of expository writing and figuring out what train goes to Allston pale in comparison to navigating the South American wilderness, finding and preparing food, and performing basic first aid hundreds of miles from civilization. “I think I have more self-reliance and more self-esteem,” said Anderson. “It sounds cliche, but [NOLS] showed me that I can do anything if I persevere.” Anderson is even a trailblazer when it comes to his major—he created his own major, a mix of journalism and multimedia studies that he hopes will help him to reach his goal of running his own news website. Anderson did have some reservations about taking time off before school. He worried that a year off from the sport he loved, lacrosse, might leave him rusty. And it was strange when his friends came back from their first year of college and he couldn’t relate. Looking back, Anderson is happy with his decision. “In the end, [NOLS] teaches you more about yourself than you ever thought was possible.”
em magazine // Spring 2009
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Martin Za harinov Film fro n t Runn e r text by Kimya Kavehkar
he smell of Martin Zaharinov’s cologne wafts delicately over the table. His handshake is firm; it is a handshake that has seen its fair amount of business deals. He wears an immaculate suit with a white flower pinned to the lapel. He leans on the table with both elbows and a crooked, mischievous smile. “Everyone was telling me that I was going to fail,” said Zaharinov, a Film major with the slightest Bulgarian lilt. “I told them, I’m not gonna give up I’m not gonna quit.” It seems like a scene that would come out of any self-respecting mobster movie. But Zaharinov is not a mobster; he is a film producer, he is a business man, he is go-getter with the tenacity to accomplish the impossible. This is quite hard to do when the people who you though had your back don’t believe in you. Zaharinov is the president of Inspiration Spotlight Films Inc., a non-profit organization that fiscally helps students get their films made by providing grants and tax exemptions. He first started when he wanted to make an independent film from a script he had read online for, he says, “selfish reasons,” and the difficulties that he faced trying to make this film (lack of money, lack of resources, lack of faith) spurred him to start this company to help students overcome these difficulties. Zaharinov seems to be a vessel of business and filmmaking knowledge—just don’t ask him to explain the process of getting grants and setting up a company because if the jargon doesn’t go over your head… well, the jargon is sure to go over your head. He spins off into dimensions unknown by the normal college student about insurance policies, IRS paperwork, and tax exemptions. This is all pretty impressive for a person who had no idea what he wanted to do after he graduated high school. “My dad asked me what I wanted to do and I said ‘I don’t know, I like to watch movies,’” said Zaharinov. When he entered Emerson, he was up against some stiff competition against kids who had been shooting films since they were toddlers. He describes his transition into the world of filmmaking as a “sponge dropped in a basin of water.” “I’m very driven and cutthroat,” said Zaharinov. “I hit roadblocks everywhere,” said Zaharinov. “I took every roadblock and incorporated into IS films.” According to Zaharinov, the Emerson Visual and Media Arts faculty has been one of the biggest barriers for students to shoot films. “I love Emerson, but sometimes around the school there’s so much red tape. I did speak to a lot of faculty members and a lot of them discouraged me. There was a lot of negativity,” said Zaharinov. “A lot of the policies are stupid…you can quote me on that.” For now, Zaharinov says he is perfectly content causing earthquakes under the foundation of the rigid and stingy Emerson system. With Inspiration Spotlight Films, he’s sticking it to the faculty that laughed at him by providing advices and financial aid to young filmmakers in the Boston area who are looking for support and just one shot. For now, he’s striving to make things better for his peers and to give them an opportunity to live out their dreams. “The real driving force is the film; I saw how hard it was for students to make a film,” said Zaharinov. “I don’t think that [they] deserve to go through all of this crap.” www.emmagonline.com
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em magazine // Spring 2009
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Yin g Wan g R eal. ov e r tim e. tough . c hick. text by Caitlin Wilson
t five-foot-one-inch tall, Ying Wang admits that she does not strike you as the type of person who thinks about joining the army. But that is exactly what she’s doing. The Marketing Communication major, Class of 2012, is the only student from Emerson participating in a local Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program hosted by Northeastern University. ROTC is an officer commissioning program that prepares college students to enter all branches of the armed forces through leadership development, strategic planning, and physical training. The group that Wang is in, the Liberty Battalion, is made up of over 100 students from Emerson, Suffolk University, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and Berklee College of Music. Since this is Wang’s first year in the program, she is still in a trial stage. After the first year, students can decide to either conclude their participation or continue for the remainder of their time in college. Although Wang is still deciding if she will continue on to her second year in the program, she admits that a military life does have its perks. “The military guarantees you a job for life,” said Wang, adding that her mother is in the military and first brought up the idea of joining the ROTC to Wang. As far as training goes, Wang’s physical regimen is not something that just anyone can keep up with. From obstacle courses to uphill sprints to Charles River runs, Wang doesn’t need to waste any of her free time at the gym. She meets her group at 5:30 a.m. three days a week for training and occasionally attends leadership retreats on weekends. Unlike at Emerson, the ROTC does not provide a lot of room to explore individuality. “You have to make sure everything meets their standards,” said Wang of the strict regulations cadets have to follow, including wearing uniforms every Thursday. “You don’t want to show up not having all your gear. They’ll definitely give you a lot of crap for it.” But the contrast, according to Wang, only makes it more exciting. Even though ROTC can be terribly stern at times, that doesn’t mean the participants don’t have fun. “ROTC people bond together,” said Wang. “It becomes very social and makes the daily challenges they face a little bit easier.” As for an outside social life, Wang still manages to find time to hang out when she’s not with her ROTC pals. Her friends outside of the program worry for her safety if she chooses to pursue a military career, but they still show their support. Some wonder about why a petite young woman at a liberal arts college would consider the path to the military, but many others marvel at her endurance—maybe because they know she could kick their butts.
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D ean Egan th e r e ligiou s r eb e l text by Kimya Kavehkar
ean Egan flits about his room, removes his shoes, and rolls up the sleeves of his white, rain-soaked dress shirt. “I just got back from church,” he smiles. He’s like a nervous moth following the light of duty, constantly in motion, constantly looking for something to accomplish. If there is one thing that Egan has plenty of, it is responsibility. Working three jobs, being a Resident Assistant, training for marathons, working on finishing his senior year next semester, and organizing social activities for his church, he seems to have little room left for a social life—but he somehow manages that too. Egan thrives off of the adrenaline of a full schedule, whereas other not-so-apt people would crumble. To be fair, he has had plenty of training in sacrifice and hard work as a missionary and spiritual leader in Finland for two years. Being a missionary for the Mormon church in another country provided positive learning experiences for Egan and gave him a way to show his dedication to his faith. “It was one of the most fun, hard, grueling, weird things I’ve done,” said Egan. “This was a time I never would get to repeat in my life. I put my heart into it, and I’m not that type of person normally; for those two years that was my job, my calling.” It is common in the Mormon culture for a young man of 19 to serve his church if he is physically and financially able to do so. For females it is less common, and the age usually averages around 21. After one year at Emerson, Egan left for Finland knowing full well what he was expected to give up while he was there. While on his mission, there were some extreme sacrifices that Egan made that seem harsh even in a strict Mormon culture. “You don’t watch TV or movies, listen to popular music, you don’t date, you don’t hang out,” said Egan. “I was allowed to e-mail my family once a week and call them twice a year.” It may sound pretty daunting for a young man in the prime of his years, but he felt that it was necessary for him to accomplish, and all other leisurely things that most people take for granted took a backseat to his higher purpose. “It is a way to give back to my church and share what has shaped the framework for most aspects of my life,” said Egan. Egan spent four hours a day studying the Bible, studying Finnish, teaching both Finnish and English, leading discussion groups about Mormonism to people wanting to learn more about the faith, and playing sports to maintain some sort of normalcy. Adjusting back to the culture of the United States was a difficult task for Egan, but his Emerson peers never treated him differently. According the Princeton Review, Emerson College ranks #6 in the list of “Least Religious Students,” but this fact never fazed him. “It wasn’t an issue,” said Egan. “People here come from such different backgrounds; they have an open mind to things.” Despite this tag that has been placed upon Emerson, Egan says that he has received very little antagonistic behavior from the students and most of the faculty, besides the friendly nickname of “Stormin’ Mormon”, as bestowed upon him by his friends and co-workers. As a native of Draper, Utah, being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as being “Mormon,” is an ordinary thing. The cultural and religious beliefs of Mormons is something that has captivated the nation and pop culture, with the insanely popular “Big Love” on HBO, and the many polygamy scandals that have infiltrated the daily media feed. But to Egan, these things are not the defining aspects of what it means to be Mormon. “A lot of Mormons are incredibly bizarre,” Egan laughs. “Within our own religion we don’t talk about it [polygamy] all that much, but it shouldn’t be this thing that you would sweep under the rug.” It seems like Egan has everything under control and efficiency seems to be his trademark. Finally, he sits down, but not a bit of him looks physically drained. He looks up with a half-smile when asked how he does it all. “One of the things I learned in Finland was time management.” Only one of the many. www.emmagonline.com
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em magazine // Spring 2009
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Sammi Sinsheim er T r an sf e r slu t text by Thomas McKee
crew everything, I’m moving to Boston. It’s gonna be fabulous!” Thus was the attitude of self-assured high school senior Sammi Sinsheimer. An Early Acceptance applicant at Emerson, had you told Sammi that in less than a year she would be compelled to reconsider her dream school, she would have been shocked. Having fallen in love with the innovative, communications-focused culture Emerson boasted on her first tour, like every other college-hungry teen, she was thrilled when she was accepted. A current transfer student sophomore at Emory University in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, after an arduous reapplication process, she reflects back on her Emerson experience with the world-weary wisdom befitting an individual readjusting from a period marked by an indifferent transition. “At seventeen, you don’t know what you want,” said Sinshiemer. There should have been no secret about Emerson’s rigid academic structure. High school seniors lost in the abyss of the Common Application and FAFSA paperwork check off their chosen box of majors on the Emerson Undergraduate Application with a self-assured, youthful conviction that, for some, can only be characterized as naiveté. For the Emerson freshman anomaly that is not a cinematography prodigy or published teen poet-laureate, and is simply seeking new opportunities and personal exploration, Emerson can be a battleground of pigeon-holing academic advisors and unmoving major requirements. In signing the mammoth $38,000 tuition check, some students blindly accept this inconceivable debt as a down payment for the trendy, career-driven, media-focused future they have envisaged for themselves. “Bringing Innovation to Communications and the Arts” is an alluring proposition. But, at the end of the day, when classes have ended, film shoots have wrapped, final drafts have been edited, and SGA meetings have adjourned, uncertain individuals like Sinsheimer may be compelled to wonder: are teenagers and twentysomethings truly prepared to decide the course of this elusive, overly-advertised entity that is their future? “It’s really hard to get a full perspective of a school from a tour…I made a decision about academics too soon,” said Sinsheimer. Sinsheimer still has the utmost respect for Emerson College, and is thankful for the learning experience she had at Emerson and the talented people she came to know. She just made the decision to settle down on a specific career too soon. While touring the school, wrapped up in the whirl of Emerson enthusiasm and school spirit, Sinsheimer was certain that the Writing, Literature, and Publishing program was everything she wanted. She accepted that Emerson did not offer the traditional campus experience, but was enraptured by the career-focused program and the specialized dedication her soon-to-be peers demonstrated toward their self-declared passions. “I wanted something that would set me up for a job, and I wanted to be a part of this group of students that was so focused on their craft,” said Sinsheimer. However, her expectations of Emerson took a “total 180.” Firstly, she was suprised with the lack of diversity among the student body. Describing her culture shock, Sinsheimer said, “I had no idea Emerson was ninety percent white. That surprised me.” She was also underwhelmed by the social scene, or the lack thereof, in her opinion. Attending the occasional “grimy, disgusting” Allston party was not enough for her. Midway into her first semester, she found that she resented the lack of centrality, “and it didn’t help that there was a homeless shelter around the corner.” What really made Sinsheimer think of transferring was the opportunity for a broader liberal arts education, including Middle Eastern studies classes. By the middle of winter break, she accepted that she had made the wrong decision in attending Emerson. Her desire for a more expanded liberal arts education guided her to Emory University. Emory is reputed as an outstanding academic institution, offers a traditional, centralized campus atmosphere, and flexible interdepartmental exploration typical of larger universities. Currently, Sinsheimer majors in Middle Eastern Studies and Political Science. Socially, Emory has offered her a greater opportunity to expand her interests. “It’s a totally different vibe…I think that was the main difference.” Greek life has a much larger presence at Emory, and she has rushed a sorority. “It’s something I never saw myself doing.” In addition to her studies and her sorority, Sinsheimer spends her time working on her radio show, appropriately dubbed “Transfer Sluts.” Initially applying as a joke, she embraced the opportunity to branch out of her usual taste and to relish in pop music and the random, curious, sketchy guys that call in expecting something more…scandalous. The non-competitive atmosphere works to her advantage. “It’s not nearly as legit as Emerson…but it’s something fun, a way to meet people, hang out, and play music.” She is better suited to the atmosphere Emory offers, although she still holds Boston as one of her favorite cities. “I miss bumming around Boston, going to the North End, the Garment District…random Boston things,” said Sinsheimer. “I did a lot of growing up last year, which put me in the place I am in now. I‘m where I need to be. I gained a really great life experience.” A very diplomatic answer, coming from a transfer slut. em magazine // Spring 2009
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c i l b u p n i ...and why everyone’s doing it.
text by Kristen Berke // photos by Zac Wolf and Ben Austin
emember back when you were a teenager, beaming with pride and joy because you were just barely getting over puberty? Now think about how willing you were at such a ripe age to pretty much do anything just as long as it was considered rebellious, unruly, and for those die-hard delinquents out there, downright illegal. Drinking alcohol before you turned twenty-one or smoking a bowl with your friends behind the bleachers was all it took to make you feel like you were getting away with something epic. Well, you weren’t. And now that we’re in college, these things almost seem passé as we’ve come to realize the only rush we’re going to feel from binge drinking is the mad dash we make to the bathroom after that last kamikaze. So what now? Well, sex of course. Not just the kind of sex we have in the privacy of our fluorescently-lit dorm rooms. Not just the sex we regret having in the bed of that guy who was friends with Joe who had a cute hat and kind of a cute butt until he took off his clothes, but you decided to do him anyway because hell, you were horny and wanted a story the next day at the dining hall. Now it’s all about sex in a place where, at any time, someone could potentially peak their head through the bushes and snap a Polaroid of you and your naked significant other. I’m talking about sex in public. Let’s face it, sex in the same place can get dull after a while, and there’s a whole world outside just waiting for us to come along and contaminate it with our filth. But besides the aforementioned rush, why do we do it? Why do we risk being thrown in jail for the mere sake of getting our groove on outside the safety of our walls? One Emerson student said, “That’s part of the thrill of it. It’s sexy, two people that have each other at that moment, and it doesn’t matter if you’re in public, or wherever, it’s a dangerous kind of sexy.” As enlightening as that is, I say we ask someone with a little more clout. Sigmund Freud used the term “scopophilia” to describe the pleasure derived from actively looking at another. According to Freud, much like watching pornography, we all have an innate childlike desire to not only procreate, but to study the naked body in a voyeuristic, surreptitious, borderline-creepy kind of way. So, just like the sexual side of us inherently wants to watch, it’s not hard to understand how we might also want to share. Think of it as a kind of “show and tell,” only it’s X-rated, first come first serve, and in addition to words, we use gestures and moans to really get the point across. Now I know what you’re thinking. Doesn’t all this staring, sharing stuff take away from the intimacy of sex? What ever happened to the idea that sex was a bonding experience? Well besides the fact that if you believe this, you’re a chump, nothing. Sex in public seems to provide the best of both worlds. Another student agrees, and, pretty accurately sums up why sex in public is so popular. “I think it’s a few different things: I think it’s the idea of wanting to be wanted and knowing that people are watching and getting enjoyment out of it, but when people aren’t watching, it’s just the risk. Society places such an emphasis on sex being in private, so when someone knows that it’s not just someone in a room with the door closed, that adds a level of intensity and interest.” Freud also discusses a possible shift away from the overriding touch to a predominance of the visual. Not that touch will ever become a primal aspect of the sexual experience, but by adding a beautiful or strange surrounding to the picture, it’s likely to heighten all your senses and enhance your level of awareness more than any dimly lit bedroom ever will.
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t. it was ho e s u a c e b ’s I did it ecause it b n i a g a could be I’d do it I t a h t e car . hot. Do I guess not I ? l i a j put in
So just where exactly are people prone to having sex in public? “I mean usually it’s out of convenience. I’m horny, and I don’t want to wait until I get home to do the dirty. I don’t think I’m alone here,” explains one Emerson student. Another student continues this thought: “Yeah, I did it in the parking lot of a Daytona 500 car race once. The girl I was with was really hot and of a totally different background, so the risk of getting caught didn’t even cross my mind. She didn’t care and neither did I. And that was the way we both wanted it and that’s what made it work. And damn, was it worth it.” I asked a number of students who all admitted to having sex in public where their most memorable experiences took place. At least half of them replied they’d had sex on, by, or under the esplanade. And if they hadn’t, they wished they had and hope to in the not-so-distant future. My point here is that people still want that bit of beauty to remind them, or if not that at least fool them into thinking, that public sex is not only thrilling but still worthy of a romantic setting by the water, amidst the trees and ducks. And let’s not forget the giant piles of dog shit and slew of sweaty runners passing by. It’s a strange
phenomenon if you really think about it. The potential loss of intimacy aside, what about the fact that there’s few public places that even come close to being as comfortable as a simple couch or mattress? However, according to a couple students, apparently this added level of discomfort is something to thrive off of. When discussing the pros and cons of having sex in public, a fellow student Caitlin brought up some very interesting points that I found surprisingly relatable. “I often start zoning out while I’m hooking up with someone. Unless it’s like really new or hot or loving, my mind kind of drifts. But the public thing makes me stay in the moment because at any minute I could get arrested. I haven’t full-on boned in public. I’ve boned in the library and on a piano in the rehearsal hall, which I guess kind of counts.” I proceeded to assure her that yes, the library and the rehearsal hall do indeed count as public venues. Basically anywhere you’re at risk of being caught, expelled, or hell, maybe even joined, counts as public property. And if you really think about it, people practice heavy PDA in public places such as these all the time: in a restaurant, on the T, in that cab you mistakenly decided to share. What makes sex so much more severe
that our government has to legally forbid us from the act? I propose a revolution. If you suddenly have the urge to rip your clothes off and delve into sexual ecstasy at any given moment during your day, who am I to stop you? Who is anyone to stop you? It’s a free country, and even though sex was taboo once upon a time, movies and media have turned it into something casual. And, thanks to hippies, it’s now also an excuse for personal expression, getting to know oneself on a deeper level through human interaction (in a really naked way). I’ve never encountered a couple having sex in public, but I have a feeling my first thought wouldn’t be “Well that is downright offensive and obscene. They should be arrested.” No, I have a feeling I’d laugh and be glad there are people out there enjoying themselves, holding on to the thrill and that false sense of rebellion that we’re all familiar with from our yesteryears. As Caitlin and I were finishing our discussion, I asked her to sum up in just a few words why she thinks she chose to have sex in public. “I did it because it was hot. I’d do it again because it’s hot. Do I care that I could be put in jail? I guess not.” One thing’s for sure: I know Paris Hilton would agree.
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t n a i G e h n t o t e s r o d B n A s e d a v In Shepard Fariey at the ICA text by Thomas McKee // photos Courtesy of the ICA Boston em magazine // Spring 2009
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NEVER BOW TO THE SYSTEM. CHANGE THE SYSTEM, OR CREATE YOUR OWN.
t is clear that artist Shepard Fairey is unapologetic about his rebellious sentiment. This command, printed on the large-scale screen-print mural, “Two Sides of Capitalism: Good” (2007), characterizes the urgency advertised throughout his first full-scale museum survey, “Supply and Demand”, now on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. After birthing a clothing line and graphic design company, and with fifteen career arrests and a well-publicized pending appropriations lawsuit with the Associated Press, the media-dubbed “artsy prankster” descends on Boston, offering a civilized, surprisingly polite presentation of his body of works. The juxtaposition of material and arrangement is confusing, compelling one to question the legitimacy of Fairey’s notorious rebel icon status, and whether the ironic “OBEY Giant” logos and imagery truly incite questions of the urban landscape and the corporate machine as his press release so eloquently advocates. “Shep, I swiped some enchiladas from work … feel free to take some. — Matt.” This hilarious scribbled note is scrawled on the back of the first original “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” decal. The sticker, now laminated on display in the galleries next to Fairey’s filthy Adidas sneakers, sheds some light on the his punky art school beginnings. A student at Rhode Island School of Design, he developed his iconic sticker in 1989 in the likeness of the gargantuan seven-foot-four, five-hundred-twenty pound 1980’s wrestler, Andre the Giant, the self-proclaimed “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Originating as an inside joke, Fairey mass-produced the ubiquitous image with nothing more than a few stencils and a copy machine. Plastering it all over downtown Providence — illegally, of course — the mysterious image developed an underground subculture appeal that fueled its dissemination around the country. The black-andwhite dull gaze of Andre’s face slowly bled into Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and nearly everywhere in between. Thus is the birth of Fairey’s “OBEY, Giant” street art guerilla campaign.
n: stio e u q d t o t in e c or ee am f h e st r I , ’ B ut re is t rt ? A e t h ee ‘W st r s i h t
His images dominate the public space: plastered on broken billboards, boarded up windows, and anonymous alleyways. If you walk through Downtown Boston, Chinatown and the financial district, Andre’s tenebrous face will creep up on you in many obscure places. Fairey’s style is bold and simple. Referencing multiple art historical movements, he blends Radchenko and the Russian Constructivist’s Bolshevik propaganda, Warhol’s accessible, commercial appeal, Art Nouveau’s delicate intricacies, and Barbara Kruger’s photographic collage to produce politically-charged, blatant, layered works. Most images employ large, contrasting, arbitrary planes of color, amplified subjects that dominate the frame, and subverted, sardonic political messages. Over two hundred fifty pieces are displayed, ranging from large-scale collage murals, metal etchings, screen-print posters, album covers, and a series of skateboards. He unapologetically appropriates an enigmatic cast of characters — an extensive collection of portraiture featuring black panther Angela Davis, anarchist and psychological theorist Noam Chomsky, revolutionaries Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, not to mention villains like Nixon, Mao, Bush, a star-studded grouping of musical greats from Tupac to Iggy Pop, and of course, President Barack Obama. Walking throughout the stark white galleries, it is clear the general public is enthusiastic about the works. Students and geriatrics alike fill the labyrinth-like series of rooms, audibly gasping at the “OBEY Middle East Mural“ (2008) - a monolith of a work that consumes the entirety of the back wall in the far gallery from floor to ceiling. They cackle when the see George W. Bush depicted as a vampire with demon eyes in a colorful, color-blocked screen-print, caption reading “One Hell of a Leader,” (2004). The layered mural collage work, “War by Numbers,” is undeniably impressive. Mounted on a massive plywood frame, the image of a docile little girl clutching a grenade with a rose dominates the right side of the canvas. Rendered mainly in vibrant, Socialist reds and blacks, Fairey layers seemingly torn antique wallpaper with his oeuvre of stock poster images. Repeated images of a stereotypical 1950s couple clutches a military warhead, a horny hand, seemingly the fist of capitalism, hovers over an
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image of the world, menacing, threatening to descend on humanity, caption reading “No Cents.” Hidden newspaper headlines create the work’s backdrop; decoding the subtle layers becomes a game of investigating a pseudo-secret history, exploring subverted subliminal messages. The caption “E Pluribus Venom” poignantly resonates. The makeshift construction of the plywood frame and the hidden layers convey a sense of urgency that pervades the premise of his collective works: Question Everything. For a moment, one wishes to see Fairey, now nearing middle age, swiftly plastering the image in a dark alleyway, avoiding a nearby CCTV security camera. “Supply and Demand,” curator Pedro Alonzo, is too tightly arranged. The neatly arranged posters, hung in symmetrical, streamlined frame constricts the work; to put it simply, it cramps the street art style, like he had a rod up his you-know-what as he hung the works. There needs to have been at least one room where Fairey was allowed to go to town in true guerilla, street art fashion: posters busted out of their frame, plastered right to walls, some rough exposed brick, spray paint, stickers, spontaneously and freely arranged. The exhibition needs a definite infusion of grunge. However, Alonzo has his witty, clever moments; the famed “OBAMA HOPE” (2008) benevolently rests on a far back wall in the galleries, visible from afar through the doorways, giving it a formal, regal appeal. Standing in front of Mr. President, if glance to the right … the far right, from the liberal political figure, the aforementioned demon Bush smiles at you devilishly. It’s a nice touch. But, I am forced to question, “where is the street in this street art?”
one w near ish es t o i plas ng midd see F ai r l t dark ering t e age, s ey, now w h near all eyw e image iftl y a by C i CTV y, avoid n a ing a se c u rity came r a.
In the midst of a collection of work that urges the viewer to question their society, rebel from the system, and be weary of the propaganda and media images that saturate our public space, the “OBAMA HOPE” image feels out of place, and frankly, a little hypocritical. It is a work that is wholly propaganda; no Andre icon or “OBEY” caption reminds you to draw your own conclusions. It elevates the leader, evoking responses from museum-goers that is purely emotional. There is no intellectual engagement involved. In a show that thrives on subliminal thought, and claims to force viewers to “question everything,” the Obama piece makes Fairey look like an opportunist, aligning himself with the historic campaign to increase his reputation. Granted, the work does its job: this “image of a generation” attracts a mixed crowd of people into the museum. Often, grannies, soccer moms, and dads stroll into the ICA, asking for “Shepard Farley,” the “Obama guy,” and other misnomers of the sort. The show is worth seeing. Besides, it is here until August. Although its arrangement is lackluster, and at moments hypocrisy is palpable, the works themselves are aesthetically pleasing and represent a style that is [almost] Fairey’s own. My favorite by far is the series of music portraiture. Debbie Harry, Joan Jett, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Johnny Cash surround an absolutely bad-ass image of Sex Pistols punk icon, Sid Vicious. Roughly spray-painted on cracked plywood, “OBEY Sid Vicious” oozes irony, and embodies the antiestablishment spirit that ideally, would exist in all the works. In a culture where Pepsi Co. sponsors social revolution, and Apple, Inc. markets individuality as if it could be bought, Shepard Fairey’s work represents another encroachment of the marketing machine onto the art world. One cannot help but feel that ideals and rebellion have been commoditized, exploited for the commercial appeal it absolutely attains. Did I mention, the show is brought to you by Levi’s?
em magazine // Spring 2009