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NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper















AMY ZHANG Web Managing Editor

HANQING CHEN Deputy Managing Editor

JORDAN MELENDREZ Assistant Managing Editor

NICOLA PRING Creative Director



NEW YORK FLEET WEEK CANCELED Organizers of Fleet Week, an annual event where U.S. Navy personnel from all over the United States visit New York, announced yesterday that the celebration will be canceled this year due to budget cuts. Locally stationed sailors will participate in scaled-back Fleet Week events instead. — DNAINFO

WICY WANG foreign correspondent JULIE DEVITO senior editors GENTRY BROWN, DAN


PETRAEUS JOINS CUNY AS VISITING PROFESSOR The City University of New York announced Tuesday that former CIA director David Petraeus will join its faculty as a visiting professor this fall. — THE NEW YORK TIMES

SUBWAY MAINTENANCE WORKER KILLED ON TRACKS A subway maintenance worker was killed after he fell off the platform and in front of an oncoming E train in Queens. Louis Moore, the victim, is the first maintenance worker to be killed by a subway car since 2010. — THE NEW YORK TIMES MTA DECREASES PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED FARE HIKES After first declaring major fare hikes to be authorized in 2015, the MTA interim chief recently announced that the hikes may not be as large as previously thought. — NEW YORK POST

Editor-in-Chief JONATHON DORNBUSH Managing Editor

It’s a big city and a widespread university. Catch up with our daily updates on university and city/state news headlines other publications are covering.

BOSTON BOMBERS PLANNED TO PARTY IN NYC Police interrogations of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, currently hospitalized, revealed that he and his brother had planned to travel to Manhattan to party after the Boston bombings. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated that there is no evidence to suggest that the two planned to attack New York City. — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL



university KEVIN BURNS, NEELA QADIR city/state EMILY BELL,


SAKURA MATSURI: CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave. Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28 Head to the traditional Japanese Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival for a spectacular two-day fair featuring everything from traditional tea ceremonies and flower arrangements to dance performances, a fashion show and fantastical cosplay. SECOND ANNUAL NEW YORK BOYLESQUE FESTIVAL Public Assembly, 70 N. Sixth St. | Friday, April 26 Gramercy Theatre, 127 E. 23rd St. | Saturday, April 27 Described as “equal parts striptease, circus act and comedy routine,” the Boylesque Festival will certainly spice up an average Saturday.


OPINION PAGE opinion editor

SAMEER JAYWANT deputy opinion editors








NFL DRAFT Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Sixth Ave. Begins April 25, 8:00 p.m. While it’s a safe bet few people at NYU care much about football, those who are interested can buy tickets to see the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall. Round one begins on April 25, and later rounds will take place throughout the weekend. ARBOR FEST Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing April 28, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Head up to Queens this Sunday for a luxurious day in the gardens and enjoy quirky events such as the Flushing High School kung fu demonstration, face painting and even an indoor composting workshop.











Steam rises from the ancient Roman Baths on a cloudy day in Bath, England.



MAXIMILÍANO DURÓN, JAEWON KANG, FRANCIS POON, MERYLL PREPOSI, AMANDA RANDONE, EMILY YANG About WSN: Washington Square News (ISSN 15499389) is the student newspaper of New York University. WSN is published Monday through Thursday during NYU’s academic year, except for university holidays, vacations and exam periods. Corrections: WSN is committed to accurate reporting. When we make errors, we do our best to correct them as quickly as possible. If you believe we have erred, contact managing editor Amy Zhang at or at 212.998.4302.




NYU-Poly to become NYU School of Engineering By NICOLE BROWN

The merging of NYU and the Polytechnic Institute of NYU to transform NYU-Poly into the NYU School of Engineering has been a work in progress since 2008. It is expected to be completed for the 2014-2015 academic year. Newly appointed president of NYU-Poly and dean of the future School of Engineering Katepalli Sreenivasan explained that this union will return engineering to NYU — the university previously had an engineering school for 141 years before it merged with the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1973. That school eventually became Polytechnic University, known as NYU-Poly since 2008. When the merger is complete, the School of Engineering will have the same standing as the other schools within NYU. Undergraduate applicants, starting with the class of 2018, will have the option to apply to this school. In an interview with Sreenivasan, WSN asked about the goals and logistics of the merge: Q: WHAT ARE THE MAIN PURPOSES OF MERGING NYU-POLY AND NYU? A: The merger will benefit both NYU-Poly and NYU by providing opportunities for current students to take advantage of more programs and attract more students and faculty to NYU. “For NYU-Poly, the merger means a connection to a major research university with an extensive basic


The Polytechnic Institute of NYU will be fully integrated into the university as its School of Engineering. science research agenda and great strength in the social sciences, humanities and professions. Broadly speaking, the integration of technological depth with business, medical and social science fields will produce better educated engineers who can engage themselves in devising technical solutions of complex problems with better awareness of their consequences in a larger societal context. For NYU, it means the re-establishment of a capability for applied science, engineering and technology, and all the energizing benefits those disciplines would bring to its existing areas of scholarship.” Q: WILL THE LOCATION OF THE

SCHOOL CHANGE? HOW WILL THIS TRANSITION AFFECT THE NYU 2031 PLAN? A: No, the current centers in Brooklyn will stay where they are, and the merger is not expected to have an effect on NYU 2031. “Engineering will remain at its present location in and around the MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. Brooklyn will be NYU’s primary hub for most of engineering and applied sciences. This does not mean every such activity will move to Brooklyn. As far as I can tell, there will be no major effect on 2031.” Q: WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE STUDENTS WHO ARE CURRENTLY

City introduces program to protect commercial cyclists By TRICIA LIN

A program created by the New York City Department of Transportation and that will enforce new safety regulations on delivery cyclists went into effect on Tuesday. The new law requires restaurants to provide safety information and equipment for their delivery workers, including helmets, identifying apparel, identification numbers and well-equipped bikes with bells and lights. Cyclists must take an online safety course and restaurants are also required to have a Commercial Bicyclist Safety poster on display for their employees. The program, called SaferHood, is an attempt to make delivery men more visible on the streets. “Safety is everyone’s business, so it’s significant when the private sector steps up to the plate in the public interest,” said DOT Commissioner Janette SadikKhan in a press release. The DOT’s Cycling Safety Indicator shows that the number of commuter cyclists has quadrupled in the last decade. The DOT revealed that over the last year, the New York has teamed up with to distribute

1,500 helmets to commercial cyclists with free reflective vests, bells and bike lights. The city has also distributed over 75,000 helmets and 2,000 safety kits to New Yorkers. “In a city where food, groceries and wine can be at your doorstep in moments, we empower the neighborhood economy by equipping our merchant partners with the right tools for making safe and speedy deliveries,” said Jed Kleckner, CEO of Since July, the DOT has visited 3,530 businesses that employ commercial cyclists to inform them of the new safety regulations. These rules distinguish between regular cyclists and those employed by businesses as delivery men. “This program does apply to commercial cyclists only,” said Nicholas Mosquera, press representative for the Department of Transportation. “It’s nice that they care about our safety so much, so doing it is the least I can do,” said Jikr De, a delivery cyclist for Pluck U Wings & Things. The DOT has found that 57 percent of the inspected businesses are already complying with the safety poster requirements.


Over a decade, delivery cyclists have quadrupled. “I feel like there are good intentions with this law, but they might be pushing it a little far,” said Tisch freshman Mona Karrenbach. Businesses that fail to comply after six months may be forced to pay a fine to the DOT, which could range from $100 to $300. Tricia Lin is a contributing writer. Email her at

PURSUING PROGRAMS AT NYUPOLY THAT ARE OFFERED IN THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE OR THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCE? A: There is already some overlap between the two universities, as students are able to cross-register and faculty can teach at both, but the future plans for the overlapping programs are still being developed. “Since [NYU-Poly] has been organized as an independent university for nearly 160 years, there are some courses and degree programs which may overlap with those at NYU. Careful planning is being undertaken to eliminate or alter some of them.”

Q: HOW DOES THE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING PLAN TO COMPETE AGAINST OTHER TOP ENGINEERING SCHOOLS? A: NYU-Poly will define itself through its previous achievements and its ability to progress with the growth of NYU. “[NYU-Poly’s] history is permeated with innovation, invention and entrepreneurship, i2e, for short. Its history is steeped in providing great opportunities for very bright but disadvantaged students. It is connected with several technological firsts. Its future consists in merging these extraordinary features with the breadth and intellectual diversity of NYU, which has numerous strengths in medical areas, social sciences, law, business, education, mathematics and sciences, and so forth. If we take what is best in our past and take advantage of the numerous possibilities afforded by the the merger with NYU, we will be well on our way to greatness. Competition with other engineering schools will take care of itself.” Sreenivasan said his goals as the president of NYU-Poly and dean of the NYU School of Engineering are to complete the merger properly, continue to recruit excellent faculty, build research centers, improve facilities at the school, integrate programs with NYU and help create engineering programs abroad at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. Nicole Brown is investigative editor. Email her at

NYU to lead emission reduction initiative By SU SIE PARK

NYU continues to go green with its newest goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2017. The GHG reduction, which only applies to the Washington Square campus, will be achieved through various campus-wide projects such as energy audits, building methods, retrocommissioning and upgrading lighting to LEDs, said Christopher James, a public affairs officer for NYU Sustainability. Peder Anker, an environmental studies professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, said he is pleased with the reduction plan. “We should all be very excited about NYU’s plans for greenhouse gas reductions, at least I am,” Anker said. “In doing so, NYU will take the lead as a green university.” Anker said academic communities should spearhead environmental issues, and NYU should set an example for other schools. James said the university’s initial commitment to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2007 Carbon Challenge was its goal to reduce GHG emissions by 30 percent by 2017. NYU’s cogeneration plant contributed to the 30 percent goal, as it decreases GHG emissions by

23 percent, according to the website. Energy efficiency projects also contributed to the reduction through low-flow shower, faucet and toilet installation, lighting retrofits — going from incandescent lamping to compact fluorescent lamping or updating existing fluorescent lighting — and room occupancy sensors for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting. In addition to cutting down GHG emissions, NYU’s Climate Action Plan has committed the university to be carbon-neutral — or have a net zero carbon footprint — by 2040. Adam Waks, sustainability liaison for the Committee of Law Sustainability, said he is proud of NYU’s Climate Action Plan and the administration’s stated goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2040. “NYU has many responsibilities, including the responsibility to behave in a way that will leave the student body with a better world as we graduate,” Waks said. “NYU is taking responsible actions to make our campus a greener, healthier, more sustainable place.” Su Sie Park is a staff writer. Email her at



FEATURES Professor promotes moral courage with global broadcasts By DEBORAH LUBANGA

At just 14 years old, NYU Wagner professor Irshad Manji was expelled from her Islamic religious school in Canada for asking too many questions. But a brief expulsion didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion for inquiry and critical thinking. In 2008, she created the Moral Courage Project, a multimedia platform that helps shape students into global citizens. Five years later, Manji is taking her project one step further. In 2011, she began preparations to broadcast Moral Courage around the world. On April 16, she launched Moral Courage TV, a YouTube channel dedicated to sharing the stories of morally courageous individuals. “The intention of this channel is to reach people around the world who wouldn’t necessarily see themselves as university students, who wouldn’t get their news by reading,” Manji said at the event for the channel’s

launch. “But [it is for those] who relate to deeply human stories about people who are making the change within themselves to affect change elsewhere.” The phrase “moral courage,” originally popularized by Robert F. Kennedy, means having the backbone to stand up for things an individual is passionate about. This message has resonated with Manji. Moral Courage episodes are uploaded every 10 days in five different languages. Previous episodes include a profile of a girl named Shelby, who advocates for sex education reform in a conservative town in Texas, and Omnia, who uses music as a means of self-expression while simultaneously advocating for Islamic reform. Manji’s hope is to create an online community of people, like Shelby and Omnia, who question themselves and their roles in society. “You need to stand up when others want you to sit down and

that means transcending your fear of social and community disapproval,” she said. Manji first used the Moral Courage Project with her Wagner students before releasing it onto a television platform. “I have learned, among other things, that to have the kind of impact that I expect the work to have, you can’t confine it to the classroom,” she said. Ismail Butera is the head of the Guidance Team, an organization Manji founded in 2011. Butera sees YouTube as an excellent platform for connecting the morally courageous. “People need to network,” Butera said. “That’s how you bring about change, by [bringing] like minds together with their varied ideas. YouTube and the Internet are a great way to network like that.” Manji’s message of moral courage has also reached her graduate students, like José Martí, a secondyear Wagner graduate student who took a course with Manji last

fall. Like Butera, Martí views the channel as a way for the Moral Courage Project to resonate with the world. “With the creation of the Moral Courage channel, these individuals and stories will finally have a home, where they can be highlighted for viewers everywhere, many of whom are suffering in relative silence and now have a powerful channel for addressing these questions and expressing

themselves,” Martí said. Manji devotes her efforts to building up global viewership and awareness. “This vision of Moral Courage is universal,” Manji said. “Every human community needs its constructive dissonance, its tender radicals, and so we’ve got to go global with this.” Deborah Lubanga is a staff writer. Email her at


Manji encourages students to share their stories and passions.




Foundation seeks to mix curricula with music By JONATHAN KESHISHOGLOU

“Try to imagine a movie without a soundtrack. Even if not totally lifeless, it would never be as engaging as a film where music draws you in. History classes, too often, are like that movie without music,” said Robert Cohen, a Steinhardt professor of social studies education. “Where music is left out, students are left bored, disengaged and drifting.” The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, started by musician and guitarist for the E Street Band Steven Van Zandt, is a new initiative to preserve the study of rock and roll music and its culture in schools. Partnering with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and the Grammy Museum, the foundation is currently looking to introduce music into school curricula as a way to better engage with students who may otherwise be unable to connect with the material or understand how to connect it to their own lives. “I was lucky,” Van Zandt said. “I met an educator, in my case it was a librarian, in my high school who saw my interest in Bob Dylan and encouraged me to make the connections between Dylan’s songs and the world of literature,” he said. “She helped me make the connection between ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ … and Allen Ginsberg and the Beat poets, which was something very foreign to me in New Jersey.” Rock and Roll Forever is currently working on a pilot program for a number of New York schools, mainly in Brooklyn, but they have plans to introduce the reforms in a number of Los Angeles schools next year. Stacie Brensilver, a Steinhardt doctoral student, has been writing music-based lesson plans and helping the foundation

find schools where they can conduct their pilot. “I taught American history [for 10 years], and I’ve always been passionate about music,” Brensilver said. “It’s something I always tried to integrate into classes.” Some examples of the lesson plans include analyzing Elvis Presley’s first single and how it connects to Brown v. Board of Education, as well as exploring punk rock music in the context of economic situations in 1970s England and the United States. Along with revised lesson plans, Rock and Roll Forever is emphasizing the use of media, and Van Zandt is also gaining support from other influential musicians like Graham Nash, Buddy Guy and Bono, all of whom have interviews posted on the foundation’s website. “Show me a teacher who’s asking for a Beach Boys lesson plan. They are not out there,” said Warren Zanes, executive director of Rock and Roll Forever. “But there is a teacher who is studying post-war America and looking at the rise of the suburbs … and how that has affected every aspect of American life.” “Hopefully, you’re going out not just knowing more about the Beach Boys,” he said. “But the music is a way of going deeper into things already being taught.” Jonathan Keshishoglou is a deputy features editor. Email him at


Steinhardt senior builds community through music


When talking with Steinhardt senior Miles Arntzen in his quaint West Village studio, one would barely expect him to be living a hectic life full of band practices and tours while juggling a rigorous course load. With several concerts scheduled in the next month, Arntzen, who believes in bringing people together through music, seems to be enjoying every bit of the rush. Arntzen, a jazz studies major, is back for his last spring semester at NYU after months touring both nationally and overseas. He plays drums in the Brooklyn-based band Antibalas, and he is a member of the afro-beat indie band Superhuman Happiness. He is currently scheduled to play in venues including the Bowery Electric and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. In June 2011 Arntzen launched the Music Frees All Festival, a music festival that aims to bring people together through dance music. He has high hopes for this summer’s festival, which will take place from July 19 to

21 in Manhattan. “So often you go to a venue, [and it’s] like a machine. You do what you are supposed to do, exchange money and then you are out. That kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing,” Arntzen said. “A venue that makes you feel like you are at home, where there is a mutual respect, is really it.” Arntzen, who has been involved with the Antibalas and Stuart Bogie’s project Superhuman Happiness for over three years, has also created his own funk band, EMEFE. “My musical idols are really the people that I play music with on a daily basis,” he said. “Before joining the Antibalas, I looked up to them as the fathers of this Afrobeat genre. Also, the people in EMEFE have stuck with the band for four years … it really is a community between the three bands.” The versatile drummer, who also plays the bass guitar and keyboard, attributes his instrumental fervor to his musical family. His father, Leif Arntzen, a renowned trumpeter, speaks fondly of his son’s musical talent.

“When I first heard him hit with EMEFE and their new songs in those early performances, I knew he was doing something that he truly felt at home with, relaxed and swinging [with] those rock infused Afrobeat,” Leif Arntzen said. “He’s experimenting all the time, seeing what makes his audience tick, what moves the band forward musically.” Lenny Pickett, musical director for “Saturday Night Live” and current Steinhardt saxophone faculty member, is one of Arntzen’s former professors. She sees promise in the musician. “He takes his drumming very seriously and was already an accomplished player before he attended NYU,” Pickett said. Even after he graduates, Arntzen said he will continue to spread the message that music is all about community. “I hope to be someone who facilitates the making of music, who brings people together through it,” Arntzen said. Utpala Menon is a staff writer. Email her at

Activist alum underscores political participation among millenials By BHARGAVI GANESH

While most students were attending classes, writing papers and taking exams, NYU alumnus David Burstein was writing a book and making the final touches to his documentary. “In the three years I was here [at NYU], I never felt like I was a college student,” said Burstein, who graduated from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study last May. “I felt like I was in an incubator for the beginnings of my professional career.” Burstein’s book, “Fast Future,” was released on February 12 and highlights the successes of the millennial generation. He’s also working on an initiative to recruit a group of millennials to run for Congress. As a millennial himself, Burstein views his initiatives as ways for 18 to 29-year-olds to stand up against stereotypes. “The biggest gap is we still don’t have enough young people running for office,” he said. “Increasingly people are saying ‘I want to go into startups and NGOs to have an impact,’ but we also need to bring people back into the political process because that’s how decisions are ultimately going to be made.”

NYU President John Sexton has taken notice of Burstein’s contributions. “In a world that tends to highlight negative trends, David turns his focus, and ours, to the ways in which this millennial generation will interact with technology to propel us into a bright new future,” Sexton said. Burstein’s interest in promoting political awareness in his generation originated in work he started before attending NYU. In 2008, Burstein interviewed millennials all over the country for his film “18 in ’08.” As a part of the get-out-the-vote campaign, the film was a way of getting his peers actively involved in presidential elections. “I wanted to do something about the young people and the election and I thought, ‘What can I do?’ I thought to myself, film seems to be the perfect medium for this,” Burstein said. “If you make a film, it can inspire people to action or inspire people to really think about a big, new idea.” Burstein went on to register over 25,000 voters. While filming “18 in ’08,” Burstein noticed there was a gap between what he saw in the young people he met and

how they continued to be portrayed as disengaged and politically apathetic. “When I went to interview members of Congress for the film, a lot of the people didn’t know that youth voter turnout had increased from 2004,” Burstein said. “That to me was a real wakeup call. It wasn’t just about getting young people to vote — it was making sure that everybody knew that young people had voted.” Burstein attributes a lot of his success to his experience at NYU. Scott Korb, his former professor and independent study adviser at Gallatin, speaks as a student with experience beyond his years. “David was already plugged into the world around him before he got here,” Korb said. Like Korb, Sexton has also noted Burstein’s uniquely ambitious spirit. “Many of my students have heard me talk about my mentor, Charlie, who always encouraged us to play another octave, in other words, to always reach for a new experience,” Sexton said. “David embraces that philosophy.” Bhargavi Ganesh is a staff writer. Email her at



TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL WHEN I WAS A FRESHMAN, I HAD THE INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY OF WORKING AS A CREW MEMBER AT THE 2011 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL. AT MY FIRST ORIENTATION MEETING, I LEARNED ABOUT HOW TRIBECA WAS MORE THAN JUST A FILM FESTIVAL — IT WAS FOUNDED AS AN ACT OF RECOVERY FROM THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE SEPT. 11 ATTACKS. Now I have the privilege of covering the festival as part of the press. My writers and I have seen dozens of films and thrust ourselves into this great festival. With such a diverse selection of movies, from comedies to dramas to documentaries, there’s something for everybody here. – Jeremy Grossman Film Editor

TOP 5: BEST FILMS “FARAH GOES BANG” Of the many films at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Farah Goes Bang” stands out as one of the best. From fresh talent like directorwriter Meera Menon and writer Laura Goode, the film is just that — fresh. Touting clever dialogue and a complex intertwining of themes, “Farah” is somewhat akin to — although slightly less cynical than — HBO’s “Girls.” – Isabel Jones

“PRINCE AVALANCHE” Critics of Paul Rudd will argue that he plays the same role in every movie, but with “Prince Avalanche,” he brings a completely captivating performance. His chemistry with co-star Emile Hirsch lightens up a film that would’ve been a bore, and director David Gordon Green proves he knows how to get the most out of his actors. – Jeremy Grossman

“THE ROCKET” Honest and surprisingly touching, “The Rocket” is a wonderfully executed film. With a gripping story driven by colorful, lovable characters, the film takes the audience into rural Laos where residents are still recovering from the horrors of the Vietnam War. Through a young boy’s journey to prove his worth, a tale of human perseverance and strength unfolds. – Bob Teoh

“WHITEWASH” It’s likely that anyone who has seen the 2004 movie “Sideways” is a fan of Oscar-nominated actor Thomas Haden Church, and if that’s the case for you, “Whitewash” is a film not to be missed. Church puts on a thrilling one-man show that is a funny, sympathetic and ultimately grim look at what guilt can do to a person. – Ife Olujobi

“WILL YOU STILL LOVE ME TOMORROW?” Taiwanese director Arwin Chen’s second feature film is a surprisingly hilarious — though emotional and insightful — look into the modern stages of relationships. Almost anyone can relate to Chen’s perfectly astute film, which depicts the struggles and hardships of two couples as they find themselves drifting away from each other. – Jeremy Grossman

Email the WSN Film staff at | Courtesy of Farah Goes Bang | Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures | Courtesy of Curious Films | Courtesy of Entertainment One | Courtesy of Entertainment One


LOODSUCKING ‘BYZANTIUM’ REVIVES VAMPIRE GENRE By BOB TEOH One of the most exciting narrative features at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival is Neil Jordan’s fantasy thriller film “Byzantium.” The film’s seductive tale follows two women, Clara (Gemma Arterton) and Eleanor (Saoirse Ronan), who are haunted by a terrible secret that has governed their nomadic, violent lives — they are vampires. Tormented by her identity, Eleanor longs to tell her story to somebody, but the protective Clara forbids her from telling their secret. When their past quickly catches up with them, the two find shelter at the dilapidated Byzantium Hotel in a small seaside town, where Eleanor soon falls for a local boy. This relationship puts Clara and Eleanor’s secret in jeopardy, resulting in bloody, violent consequences. Jordan is no stranger to the genre. He first explored the alluring world of vampires in 1994 with his Oscar-nominated “Interview with the Vampire.” His unique style is perhaps what sets his films apart from other vampire films. In “Byzantium,” Jordan builds a stylish fairy tale from scratch with his meticulous use of imagery. A small, seaside town where a strange mist constantly hangs in the sky sets the backdrop and contributes to the film’s stunning scenery, which works wonders in setting the story’s gothic mood. With a foreboding atmosphere already in place, the two leading actresses shine brightly in their blood-red costumes. Credit should be given to Moira Buffini, who adapted her own play into a very charming script for the screen. She takes a nearly clichéd genre and reinvigorates it in her own thrilling tale. On the surface, the story follows two vampires running away from their past. But this is merely a device Buffini uses to explore concepts of love, sacrifice and, most importantly, time.

She clearly put in the effort to develop each role, for the complexities of every character play a significant role in the story’s allure. The outstanding cast must also be lauded for their performances. Ronan excels as the quiet, conflicted Eleanor with an eerie beauty and grace. She demonstrates a supernatural maturity in the way she carries herself and the way she interacts with people. Arterton is wonderful as the seductive Clara, who seems to embody the image of the lustful vampire perfectly. With an air of confidence and power, she radiates charisma the moment she steps into a scene. However, beneath this outer shell lies a genuine concern for Eleanor’s well-being, and the duo exhibit spectacular on-screen chemistry. With master director Jordan and playwright Buffini teaming up with an impeccable cast, “Byzantium” is a stunning sight to behold. The film is a flawless combination of thriller, drama and romance and will make anybody’s heart beat wildly. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at


Saoirse Ronan co-stars as the love-struck Eleanor in Neil Jordan’s “Byzantium.”




By JEREMY GROSSMAN “You know what’s really fascinating in a weird way?” actor and musician Jason Schwartzman asked in an interview with WSN. “When you go to your high school reunion, the ones that were the tough or the popular ones … now they’re kind of weird.” This idea of being weird and different is one of the major themes driving the experimental documentary “Teenage,” directed by NYU alumnus Matt Wolf and premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Executive produced by Schwartzman and adapted from the 2007 book “Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture” by Jon Savage, “Teenage” rebels against what audiences expect from the genre, just as a teenager might rebel against authority. Traveling back to the early 20th century — before being a teenager, in today’s colloquial sense, “was a thing” — the documentary is comprised of archival footage and voice-over narrations that take the viewer into the heads of flappers, swing kids and the revolutionary young people who battled societal norms. They unintentionally shaped and changed their entire generation in the process. “Teenagers live in the moment,” Wolf said. “They are


Production trio brings own experience to film. not self-conscious about doing bold things. They invent new styles and new modes of expression. In their rebellion, I think they’re acting out a kind of will to reimagine the future. And I think that’s powerful.” “Obviously, I’m not a teenager. I’m old,” Savage added. “But I’m still in touch with my inner teenager ... because it’s such a formative period. It’s a crucial time of development and growth, when you separate from your parents, and then you join the world with your peers, and then maybe individuate from your peers.” Wolf had always been a fan of Savage’s writing, but after stumbling upon this particular book, he reached out through a mutual friend. The collaboration piqued Schwartzman’s interest, and he soon joined the project. “I think most historical documentaries would be regarded as academic,” Wolf said about the film. “And

there’s nothing wrong with academic things, except I wanted the film to be an intellectual history that has a strong emotional and artistic impact.” And “Teenage” is certainly in touch with its artistic side. Described as a “living collage,” the film is reassembled with images, clips, voices and stories from teenagers of the past, with voice-over narrations from actors like Jena Malone and Ben Whishaw. As for their experiences as teenagers, all three men agreed they spent a lot of time feeling alone. Wolf was a teenage gay activist and published his school’s underground newspaper. Savage felt isolated until he discovered artists like The Velvet Underground. As for Schwartzman, he described his teenage years spent as the “clown ... the person who will fall and make an idiot of himself.” The actor said he also spent plenty of time liking girls who didn’t like him back. “If I could make that one event, like how Vietnam was one very, very long war, and we call it Vietnam … or how the ’80s are 10 individual years, but we use one word … my one word would be ignored,” Schwartzman said. “That would ... define 10 years.” Jeremy Grossman is film editor. Email him at

OBERTS, PETERS DISCUSS ‘ADULT WORLD,’ OFF-SCREEN RELATIONSHIP By IFE OLUJOBI The latest film from director-actor Scott Coffey takes place in a sex shop, but that isn’t the only reason why it is titled “Adult World.” The film stars Emma Roberts as Amy, a college graduate struggling to make it as a poet, who begins working at a sex shop where she meets a cast of interesting characters. In a roundtable interview, Roberts, Coffey and co-star Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) discussed making the film. Amy is naive, neurotic and high-strung — traits that Roberts was fully capable of bringing to the character. “I was going through a lot of the crises Amy was going through,” Roberts said. “Like, ‘Where is my life going?’ kind

of thing, so it was kind of cool to have that moment captured on film. In a sense … you feel like an adult your whole life, and then you’re actually in the real world and you’re like, ‘Where’s my mom? What am I going to do? Oh, I have to go buy my own paper towel rolls, this sucks.’ It’s like when you first become an adult you start regressing a little bit before you really make it over the hump into becoming an adult.” Peters plays the role of Alex, a fellow sex shop employee who helps Amy transition into adulthood. “I thought it was cool that it was a love interest that worked in a porn shop, and he was a little different and odd,” Peter said when asked why he was attracted to the role. “And obviously working with Emma was a huge plus, too. I was like, ‘Man, she’s super hot, I want to

work with her.’” Peters and Roberts developed more than just on-screen chemistry, and the two are now dating. “Emma and Evan fell in love, and they’re together now, and I saw that start,” Coffey said. “I saw that happen before they did. I knew it was going to happen.” “[Working with Peters] was awesome,” Roberts said. “I was such a fan of him in ‘American Horror Story.’ I’m obsessed with that show, so I was really excited to get to work with him. He’s so good in the movie and so cute. It was really fun.” Coffey said he hopes people who see the film “recognize themselves in the characters and can relate to them.” Roberts, who is a fan of HBO’s “Girls,” acknowledged the film conveys a similar theme. “I feel like I come from a

generation of girls and boys where everybody wants to be doing creative things, and no one thinks that they’re not the best, and I think it’s kind of that awakening that even if you are [the best], things still can go wrong,” she said. “This generation of kids all want the same things, and it either goes really well or really bad or somewhere in the middle.” Roberts said the experience of working on “Adult World” has left a lasting impact on her. “It’s definitely one of those movies that’s really close to me,” Roberts said. “A lot of times you work on projects where you just do it and it’s done and you never think about it again, and this movie stayed with me. I love it.” Ife Olujobi is a staff writer. Email her at


“Adult World” star Emma Roberts related to her onscreen role.




By ISABEL JONES “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Will Forte takes a stab at drama in “Run & Jump,” a standout at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Forte, director and co-writer Steph Green and costars Edward MacLiam and Maxine Peake sat down with WSN to discuss the film. In “Run & Jump,” Forte plays a documentary filmmaker recording a family as they learn to adjust to their father who recently awoke from a coma. Although there is a dangerous tension between the characters, the cast and their director display a more genial relationship in person, with an electric rapport that showcases them as professionals who admire one another. Despite this welcoming environment, Forte admitted he initially doubted his ability to play a dramatic role. With a career built upon his 10-year run at “SNL,” embodying a subdued character seemed overwhelming to him. “It was scary. I loved the script but had no idea if I’d be able to do a good job at it,” Forte said. “[Green] was confident in me and that made me be confident in myself. I’m so used to playing these big, broad characters, I don’t have the internal mechanism for figuring out the levels of reality. Sometimes I’ll either be playing it too big, or go the other way, playing it too small. So Steph was wonderful at helping find the right level of a real person. That’s what it’s all about, just acting like a normal person.” Green countered Forte’s perceived challenges. “He tells a story like he struggled a lot,” Green said. “But actually what he was giving me was always either exactly what I was looking for or so close.” Met by protest from Forte, Peake simply


turned to him and said, “You’re brilliant.” “I was watching you in scenes thinking, ‘Ah, Will’s really natural. He’s keeping it really grounded and calm,’” she said. Peake then addressed the often blurred divide between actor and character. “Sometimes there’s little bits of residue,” she said. “I think the beauty of it was that it wasn’t indulgent. I didn’t come away feeling traumatized, because in a way, I don’t think [my character] is traumatized … this is a woman who’s been through a lot and is grieving but she’s going to carry on. It was a positive within lots of negative. It’s life-affirming.” When asked about any tips they had for the aspiring actors of NYU, each actor had a different answer. “Work very hard,” Forte said. “It seems like such a stupid thing to say, you go, ‘oh, obviously.’” MacLiam fittingly contributed, “Be like a duck: cool, calm, collected on top. Underneath, paddle like fuck.” Isabel Jones is a staff writer. Email her at


The “Run & Jump” cast came from an eclectic mix of comedy and drama roles.

ARK TOUCH’ EXPLORES PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR By BOB TEOH Experimental, intellectual and brutally honest, French filmmaker Marina de Van’s works have always been lauded for their straightforward flair and refusal to shy away from uncomfortable subject matter. The latest feature to come out of de Van’s searing imagination is “Dark Touch,” a supernatural thriller that unapologetically deals with child abuse. The film tells the story of 11-year-old Neve, who becomes the sole survivor of an inexplicable, bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Although Neve firmly believes that the house and its furniture are the culprits, nobody is willing to believe her. To help ease her trauma, neighbors Nat and Lucas take Neve into their loving family.

But Neve, who has a creeping suspicion that whatever murdered her family is still looming, cannot find peace. The premise of the film might seem a little silly at first, but de Van’s script features several twists and turns that make it a very effective psychological thriller. De Van excels at building suspense and teasing the audience with hints about the true nature of the mysterious force. At the turn of every corner, viewers learn more about Neve and the events of that fateful night. Throughout the film, de Van subtly foreshadows the presence of something powerful and sinister but never addresses its source until the very end, when the characters’ choices result in horrific consequences. “Dark Touch” is not for everybody. Adhering to de Van’s style, the film includes disturbing,

graphic depictions of violence with horrific imagery that might offend some viewers. Add that to the film’s ominous and eerily beautiful soundtrack, and “Dark Touch”


Horrifyingly graphic images pervade ‘Dark Touch.’

could prove to be a very uncomfortable viewing experience. Viewers are thrust into a reclusive town in Ireland where a heavy mist and a general sense of despair are present. The film constantly bombards the audience with brutal depictions of blood and gore. However, de Van did not create this film for the shock factor alone. She wishes to address a subject the mainstream has always been hesitant to explore — child abuse. Through the gory scenes and the general sense of hopelessness her thriller invokes, de Van attempts to emulate an abused child’s perspective. Although some might question her methods and disapprove of using the supernatural to explore something as sensitive as child abuse, de Van’s method is definitely effective, albeit slightly troubling.

The supernatural translates well to the abused child’s inability to grasp and control her situation. The cast also plays an indispensable role in the film’s success. Marie Missy Keating impeccably conveys Neve’s character’s transformation from an introverted, frightened girl to a menacing figure of power. Since Neve is a quiet character, Keating has to rely largely on subtle body language, and she manages to embody her transformation completely. While “Dark Touch” might not be one for the family, it will certainly raise many interesting questions at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. Whether viewers enjoy the film or not, they will certainly come to the consensus that it is thought-provoking. Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at



AVID GORDON GREEN RETURNS TO FORM WITH 'PRINCE' By IFE OLUJOBI After spending the last four years on stoner comedy “Pineapple Express” and comedic flops “Your Highness” and “The Sitter,” writer-director David Gordon Green’s latest effort, “Prince Avalanche,” could be called a return to form. The man behind critically acclaimed dramas “All the Real Girls” and “Snow Angels” takes cues both from his earlier dramatic work and his more recent comedic indulgences to craft his new film — an American remake of the Icelandic film “Either Way.” The film stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch as two road workers whose job it is to nail in road markers and paint the yellow stripes that separate the lanes of the road in an area destroyed by wildfire. Alvin (Rudd) usually does this work alone, but agrees to hire his girlfriend’s brother Lance (Hirsch) for the summer as a favor. The straight-laced Alvin and the young, rebellious Lance naturally butt heads as Alvin tries to teach Lance the value of work, how to fend for himself in na-


ture and, most importantly, how to be alone. Lance, on the other hand, just wants to have sex and rock out with his friends. While Alvin and Lance could come off as one-dimensional caricatures, Rudd and Hirsch play them with a sensitivity that makes them feel authentic. Even though Green lends a cartoonish quality to these characters, dressing them in clothes that make them look like Mario and Luigi, right down to Rudd’s mustache, the actors inhabit the minds and hearts of these characters with total honesty and without irony. There are only three other characters in the film: a friendly truck driver with booze to share, Alvin’s girlfriend Madison — who is never seen, only voiced — and a mysterious woman in a red hat who provides one of the most poignant moments in the film. One could also argue that nature itself is as much of a character in “Prince Avalanche” as any of these people, and Green captures it and its interaction with the roadwork beautifully. Every shot in the film is carefully and


Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd offer surprisingly powerful performances as two road workers. gorgeously composed, with special attention to a color palette of forest greens and browns highlighted with vibrant reds, yellows and blues. Green also takes certain risks in style and visuals, such as a sequence of overlapping phone arguments between Alvin and Madison that plays over a black-and-white


By JEREMY GROSSMAN The new documentary “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” will leave you convinced that Elaine Stritch is the greatest person in the world. Best known to today’s generation as Alec Baldwin’s mouthy mother on “30 Rock,” Stritch reminds you that she’s done a lot more in this film, thank you very much. One of the most renowned stage actresses of all time, Stritch is 88 years old and still working steadily. As she shows off her extreme confidence, wit and snark to the camera, doing and saying anything she pleases, Stritch will make you ashamed of your own life. She’ll make you wish you had even an ounce of the courage that runs through the bones of this “old lady.” What Chiemi Karasawa conveys in her directorial debut is the belief that being old is something to be excited about, not something to be afraid of. Stritch seems to have stumbled upon some shocking secret — when you’re old, you can be who you want to be and do what you want to do, and nobody will judge you for it. In one scene, Stritch stresses over whether she’ll remember her lines in an upcoming show. She comforts herself with this optimistic piece of advice: “If I forget my lines … fuck it.” Still, as entertaining as Stritch may be, she is human. The documentary follows Stritch as she prepares for a four-week engagement of her show, “At Home at the Carlyle: Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sond-

heim … One Song at a Time,” at the Carlyle Hotel in New York. As Stritch prepares for the show, she also struggles with diabetes and alcoholism, along with, yes, the fear of forgetting her lines. Stritch lost her husband John Bay in 1982, and in the film it is clear that she has developed a bittersweet sense of independence. She is surrounded by friends and loved ones — like longtime musical director Rob Bowman — but the viewer can feel the hole left by her late husband. Regardless, Stritch takes on the world like a lion, embracing the stage as a lover and making friends wherever she goes. We watch as she messes around with the cast of “30 Rock,” teasing Tracy Morgan about the fact that they both have diabetes. The film contains interviews with Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey, and Baldwin even serves as executive producer. Karasawa proves to be the perfect director for “Shoot Me.” Her film matches the boldness of her subject, maintaining a fast-paced, energetic vibe. Karasawa actually developed the idea for her documentary after encountering Stritch at a hair salon, and that perfect, beautiful spontaneity also runs through Stritch’s veins and the film itself. “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” introduces you to a star that has already been around for decades, and is one of the funniest films you will see at Tribeca. Jeremy Grossman is film editor. Email him at

moving shot of road stripes. Another interesting choice is having the band Explosions in the Sky score the film’s soundtrack. Even though the band’s music has been used in countless TV shows and films before, the soundtrack truly stands out here. Heartfelt performances from Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch,

as well as daring and beautiful work behind the camera from David Gordon Green, help make “Prince Avalanche” not just an adaptation but a modern, unique and personal update of the Icelandic original. Ife Olujobi is a staff writer. Email her at

ENN BADGLEY TALKS BECOMING BUCKLEY By ISABEL JONES Penn Badgley, perhaps best known for his role as Dan Humphrey on “Gossip Girl,” spoke with WSN at a roundtable interview about his upcoming film, “Greetings from Tim Buckley.” An unconventional biopic, the film chronicles guitarist Jeff Buckley’s life leading up to his father’s tribute concert. After playing “Gossip Girl’s” tortured artist Dan Humphrey for six years, Badgley was able to combine his passions for music and acting in his role. “I was playing my own music and writing my music more than I ever had, while also kind of taking the role on,” he said. “It’s influenced me in a lot of ways. Even ways that are non-musical, as an actor, creatively. It was a really wonderful thing.” For Badgley, the music never stopped. “Music has always been, first and foremost, my creative passion,” he said. Badgley said he might release an album at some point in the future. “Maybe when I’m like 35, or maybe tomorrow, but I just can’t tell you,” he said.

The action of “Buckley” flashes between the lives of father and son. Badgley had to familiarize himself with Jeff’s father as well, and found him in some ways more compelling than his own character. “I felt like I sort of understood Jeff in a way, I intuited,” he said. “But when I read about Tim, that really gave me the kind of sympathy that Jeff needed to develop for his father, that he is developing for his father. It’s a father-son story, and the relationship between any father and son is a potent one.” Badgley went on to explain his creative process in bringing back to life the iconic character of Jeff Buckley. “I was aware of the qualities he had. I had this mental list — he was sort of feral, and feline, and feminine and kind of agile in a strange way even though he wasn’t athletic,” he said. “I just took those qualities and tried to endow myself with them and evoke them.” Playing a well-established character also had its challenges. Badgley cited the complexities of Buckley’s personality as a significant roadblock. “He could melt into the wall

and people would hardly notice he was there, but he also had the ability to shock a room with a single utterance,” Badgley said. “Sometimes I feel like he was just a kid, this ratty kid. Other times I feel like he had no idea what he was doing … and so I would always battle with that.” Isabel Jones is a staff writer. Email her at


Badgley discussed his lifelong love of music.



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US must abandon hypocritical notion of exceptionalism By IAN MARK

Every year, the U.S. State Department releases a report on the status of human rights in countries around the world. Every year, one country is notably missing from this report — the United States. This year, China fired back by releasing its own report on the status of human rights in America, just two days after the U.S. report was released. China found that the United States has infringed on human rights around the world, particularly in its military operations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, as well as at home. The report cited gun violence and discrimination on the basis of race, sex and religion as instances of human rights violations within the United States. It also alleged that America is not a true democracy, as political contributions have made it so “Americans do not enjoy a genuinely equal right to vote.” There has been no response from the American government concerning these allegations. And why should there be? A foreign government has no right to criticize how our country is run, to impose its own standards on us and expect us to change. It’s completely understandable if we are upset by this report and feel some hostility toward China, isn’t it? Whatever feelings this report evokes in Americans surely reflects the response of other citizens in other countries to the annual State Department report. The sheer arrogance involved in releasing a report that judges every other country is amaz-

ing. Since its inception, the idea of American exceptionalism has infused itself into everything we have done as a nation, and it’s time for that to stop. America has never been superior in anything but military might. The fact is, all of the allegations China made are true. Despite the human rights progress our society has made — from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage — racism, sexism and intolerance still run rampant. Our government must remember that it governs America, not the world. How can we expect to maintain positive relations with other countries while our noses are still in the air? We are not the greatest country in the world. We are one of many countries struggling to provide for all of our citizens. Perhaps if we ranked number one in income equality, standard of living and education, we could release a report about what every other country is doing wrong. But we don’t, and we aren’t even close. China’s report illustrates the hypocrisy that has plagued U.S. foreign policy for generations. If we continue to view ourselves as better than everyone else — even though there are mountains of evidence suggesting otherwise — it will be increasingly difficult to find allies in this changing world. Our role as an international police force has rubbed other countries the wrong way since the Monroe Doctrine, and it’s time for us to give it up. Ian Mark is a staff columnist. Email him at

Gay marriage legalization in France signals need for change stateside

When France legalized marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples on Tuesday, it became the 14th nation in the world to make marriage equality official. The 331-to-225 vote was largely split between the parliamentary left and right, and the final decision roused violent street protests and strong conservative backlash. Since the bill’s passage, several gays and lesbians have been targets of acts of violence. In one case, Wilfred de Bruijn, a Dutch citizen, was badly beaten up while walking with his partner in Paris. He posted a photograph of his swollen and bloodied face that went viral. It was captioned, “The face of homophobia.” The backlash seems somewhat misplaced, as France has historically been at the forefront of implementing social reform. Yet, even in a country as progressive as France, homophobia is prevalent, and there are strong, conservative born Catholic groups that continue to oppose reforms. These voices echo a long-standing belief that marriage between a man and a woman is an institution that should remain untouched. But just because something is a deeply rooted tradition does not mean it is right. If we believe in the idea of progress, we must retreat from tradition sometimes. Moreover, it is important to note that France is not dis-

posing of the institution of marriage, but rather amending and extending it. The United States should take note of the public backlash in France as we await the Supreme Court decision. Like France, the United States also has a strong conservative base. Just as France did this week, the United States should officially recognize same-sex couples’ right to marry as an unalienable right. Marriage is a legal liberty that cannot be compromised by someone else’s religion or moral imperatives. For too long same-sex couples have been discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation and excluded from the social and legal benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. France’s sweeping social reform should be a wake-up call for the United States. We’ve been stuck alongside the United Kingdom as the western world’s Anglo-Saxon, socially conservative nation. Although we are visibly moving toward marriage equality, as Rhode Island is on its way to becoming the 10th state to legalize gay marriage, we still have a Supreme Court that is hesitant to make a broad ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry. We’ll get our answer in June, but for many gay rights activists in the United States, it is a long time coming. Email the WSN Editorial board at


Knicks, Celtics series to pick up pace in Boston showdown By NISHAAD RUPAREL

Madison Square Garden was electric on Tuesday night. The seats vibrated to chants for Carmelo Anthony and the bellowing applause for J.R. Smith, who had just been named the NBA’s sixth Man of the Year. The players started the game with a ton of energy, and the fans remained on their feet for the entire game. The New York Knicks won their second game of the postseason, jumping out to a 2-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics, one of basketball’s perennial contend-


ers. The victory marks the first time since 2000 that the Knicks have won more than one game in a playoff series. New York’s recent performance is a reassuring sign of the franchise’s turnaround. Fans have been longing for this playoff success for at least a decade. In the past few seasons, the Knicks’ defense was laughable, and the offense hinged its hopes on open 3-pointers and streaky shooting. This year, gears have shifted within the organization. Excuses have become apologies, coupled with admissions of

failure and guarantees for future improvement. Defense has become a priority, and the potent offense is balanced with multiple scoring threats and selfless facilitators. While the Knicks are fueled by a desire to meet their hometown’s lofty expectations, the Celtics have been struggling. Their big three — Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce — were broken up when Allen left to play for the title-defending Miami Heat. Rajon Rondo has been sidelined with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The Celtics

limped into the playoffs as the seventh seed. Then something terrible happened. The Boston Marathon bombing left the entire city in shambles. In an instant, one of America’s most powerful metropolises had its identity maimed by a horrific act of terror. In their recovery, Bostonians have turned to their enduring sports teams for solace and stability. The Celtics, who had been struggling to find a sense of purpose until recently, are now playing for something greater than a championship. The Celtics are playing for ev-

ery person in Boston, knowing full well what success on a national stage could do for their city at a time like this. The next two games of the series will be played in Boston, and while the Knicks will look to continue their success and win their first playoff series in 13 years, the Celtics will be feeding off a different motivation. Whatever the results of the series, expect the next two games to be far more intense. Nishaad Ruparel is a staff writer. Email him at

Send mail to: 838 Broadway, Fifth Floor New York, N.Y. 10003 or email: WSN welcomes letters to the editor, opinion pieces and articles relevant to the NYU community, or in response to articles. Letters should be less than 450 words. All submissions must be typed or emailed and must include the author’s name, address and phone number. Members of the NYU community must include a year and school or job title.

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Washington Square News April 25, 2013

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