F RI DAY, DEC EMB ER 7, 2018
A Change of Art Georgetownâ€™s Evolving Visual ArtS Scene
ILLUSTRATION BY: EMILY SHAMBAUGH/THE HOYA
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
Georgetown Expands the Visual Arts Experience SUNA CHA AND MEGAN SHAPIRO Hoya Staff Writers
Just a decade ago, the art and art history department had just three art professors, two art historians, a music professor and a theater professor, according to John Morrell (CAS ’73), director of undergradute studies in art. Today, 350 Georgetown students take a variety of art classes with core faculty members and can access an exciting number of exhibits and programs in the Hilltop’s gallery spaces. In 1967, professor Clifford Chieffo arrived at Georgetown, establishing a coherent visual arts program. By 2017, the department looked markedly different from 50 or even 10 years ago. The demand for visual arts education at Georgetown has even existed since the Vietnam War. Morrell shared one story about the student protests for the arts during the era. The Lauinger Library special collection houses a photograph from that time depicting a student with a sign reading “Give Us the Gallery Now,” showing the degree to which students were fighting for change. Current Georgetown students finally have access to an evolving, comprehensive arts education.
The department of art and art history has been improving its facilities and spaces since 2016 to create more opportunities for exhibitions and programs in the galleries that can be found nearby. Artwork from students, faculty and professional artists is now more accessible to the Georgetown community and wider public. In August 2018, the university finally opened the Maria and Alberto De La Cruz Gallery in the Edmund A. Walsh Building after a yearlong delay with an exhibit featuring Choctaw-Cherokee artist Jeffrey Gibson’s “DON’T MAKE ME OVER.” Moreover, the annual senior art major showcase in April will be held in the De La Cruz Gallery for the first time. The space is also trying to expand its reach to professional and international artists, according to Katie Clausen, curatorial assistant to the gallery. “Now that the De La Cruz Gallery has opened up, we’re really making a push to bring in professional artists and look internationally in scope as well,” Clausen said in an interview with The Hoya. However, the galleries particularly aim to establish a specific connection to Georgetown to distinguish themselves from the plethora of art galleries in Washington, D.C., according to Al Acres, chair of the art and art history department. “We really want it to be a university art gallery,” Acres said. The next exhibit coming up in the fall of 2019 is “Design Transform.” This special exhibit in the De La Cruz Gallery will bring in artists working with toxic, discarded materials, transforming them into design objects as a way of engaging with global warming and the human impact on
the global environment — an effort Clausen believes can appeal to all students even beyond the art department. “You don’t have to be an art student to appreciate that side of things,” Clausen said. In addition to these new exhibits, galleries will host lectures and talks to engage students. These new developments in the galleries represent a notable shift in the state of visual arts on the Hilltop, as the once-small art and art history department has been expanding in scale both through faculty and exhibition spaces, according to Acres. “It really feels like a new era for the visual arts,” Acres said. The growth of visual arts is evident not only in the gallery spaces on the Hilltop but also in the department of art and art history itself and in other art spaces throughout campus.
Opportunities to engage with visual arts on campus have also increased as a consequence of the art department’s expansion. A variety of art classes are offered to students regardless of whether they are art majors, minors or just interested in the subject. Since the early 2000s, a push has been made for more courses focused on digital
MAGGIE CHEN/THE HOYA
With the recent opening of the De La Cruz Gallery on campus, Hoyas can explore more contemporary art pieces from Washington, D.C., and beyond.
ASHLEY CHEN/THE HOYA
While various avenues for Hoyas to express themselves through mediums like painting and sculpture exist at Georgetown, the Maker Hub offers a chance to integrate the arts and the digital world with its 3D printers and other gadgets.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
LEFT: SOPHIA NUNN/THE HOYA, RIGHT: MAGGIE CHEN/THE HOYA
While a high demand for the visual arts exists on campus, the financial burden of studio art classes can pose a barrier. Fortunately, art and art history department Chair Al Acres believes those fees will soon decrease, expanding access to the experience. Moreover, the recently opened De La Cruz Gallery serves as a space for student visual artists to present their art. media, expanding previous offerings in acrylic painting, drawing, oil painting and printmaking. Such efforts have led to the opening of the Napolitano Digital Art Studio in 2000 and classes like “Introduction to Graphic Design,” which was offered in fall 2018 and will be offered again next semester, as well as an advanced graphic design course for those who have already taken the intro class. Students are seeking a diversity of artistic mediums — materials and types of art — and not just concepts in their arts education at Georgetown, according to Acres. “Students explore all kinds of themes and topics and ideas, but there is always an insistence upon knowing how to work with materials, knowing how to work with equipment, which is not always the case these days,” Acres said. However, art courses present their own set of challenges. During a time when university tuition is at an all-time high, studio fees may discourage some students from taking art courses. The fees will likely decrease, however, and the department is actively working on ways to increase financial accessibility, according to Acres. “Beginning next year, we think everything is in place now for us to significantly lower the fee associated with studio art classes,” Acres said. “We’re excited about that and we’ll see how it goes.” Classroom space availability also poses an obstacle to art classes. Given that roughly 25 courses are offered each semester, many of which students take as electives, classes fill up relatively quickly. “So those kind of spaces [classrooms] would be nice to have, but again in
Georgetown, that’s part of the tradeoff of having a small campus in a big city compared to a university that has a lot more real estate to work with,” Morrell said. Students should also not let the commitment discourage them from investing their time in art classes that could become a notably fulfilling part of their Georgetown experience, said Audrey Chambers (COL ’19), an art history and economics major. “Definitely don’t be discouraged by the 2½ hour time commitment that an art class is, because the time always flies, and I wish I had taken more art classes here because it’s been really fantastic this semester,” Chambers said. The Maker Hub, housed in the Gelardin New Media Center, is one of those spaces that students can take advantage of, offering advanced opportunities to get involved in the arts on campus thanks to the efforts of Lauinger Library staff, according to Acres. For 15 years, the Maker Hub has offered specialized, cutting-edge equipment, including a 3D printers and laser cutters. Student-run organizations on campus also allow students to explore the arts. Founded in 2007, the group GU Art Aficionados aims to make Georgetown a more creative place by linking students to artistic opportunities on- and off-campus. The public Facebook group GUCCI, Georgetown University Collective for Creative Individuals, provides a space where all artists can convene and share information about art events in the D.C. area. In the discussion, students can also post their artistic works, hopefully connect with oth-
er creative people within the community and inform others of possible resources, according the group’s mission statement.
EMBRACING THE ARTS While both educational and gallery spaces have amplified the prevalence of visual arts on campus, students can still take simple moves to become a part of the community if they are unsure where to start. Students seeking to engage with visual arts opportunities at Georgetown have a variety of options from which to choose to take that first step toward pursuing a passion or passing interest. First, of course, students should not be afraid to take classes even if art does not fall within their academic focus. Morrell was a psychology major with a philosophy minor at Georgetown, and he took his first studio art class as an elective during his senior year. Now a landscape artist and beloved professor to many, he tells students that it is never too late to take a class. “The best I can say is if they’re interested in developing their talents that they should be persistent and consistent in terms of working at it all the time. Don’t expect it always to be successful, but things grow in surprising ways,” Morrell said. “Discovering those things is actually what makes the art fresh and interesting to future viewers.” One of Morrell’s former students became a part of the department of art and art history this year. Ian Bourland (SFS ’04) is a new tenure-line assistant professor in art history, specializing in modern and
contemporary art. Despite initial career plans to pursue law or foreign service, Bourland found the arts to be crucial for laying the groundwork of his education. “I had a drawing class with professor Morrell in the Walsh building, which is where the department still is, and I never worked harder on a class in my life,” Bourland said. “It really was the most rewarding experience that changed my life.” Students should also be bold and expressive about how they live, feel and think without fear about whether their artistic pursuit will pan out, according to Morrell. “It’s often I find that a number of students are too tentative. They’re afraid to try things. They want to be sort of told in advance, ‘this is what will work,’” Morrell said. “And the other thing I’d suggest is that they think about making art, whether it’s as simple as sketching or drawing, making art that somehow reflects their current existence.” Visual art is a fundamental part of how people relate to each other, both at Georgetown and in the world at large, making its study a potentially vital part of the human experience, according to Acres. “It’s becoming clearer than ever at Georgetown, as it is in so many other universities and colleges, that visual arts are not something on the side in the world,” Acres said. “They have always been a part of how people engage, how people figure things out, how they address each other either individually or as communities. This is in the DNA of humanity, always has been.”
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
‘Fantastic Beasts’ Lacks Substance, Disappoints Fans
Directed by: David Yates
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law, Zoë Kravitz ERIKA GEBHARDT Special to The Hoya
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grin delwald” originally excited “Harry Potter” fans with its promise to bring audiences back to their favorite fictional place: Hog warts. Yet, viewers anticipating an exhila rating return to the magical world of the famed school will be disappointed by the second installation of J.K. Rowling’s spin off series. The excitement surrounding the an nouncement by Warner Bros. was marred by calls of concern that the films would tarnish the beloved franchise’s reputa tion. The first film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” averted this prob lem by providing viewers with new expe riences — separate from the original films — as the movie placed audiences inside of a completely new magical universe in New York City. Moreover, the film was distinct enough from the original “Harry Potter” series for viewers to enjoy a new story rath er than expect the same series. The second film in the series fails to do the same. Instead, “Crimes of Grindel
wald” blurs the lines too much between the two series. No longer set in New York City like the first “Fantastic Beasts” film, the movie, also directed by David Yates, shifts awkwardly between Paris, London and Hogwarts. In the “Crimes of Grindelwald,” Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, brings in Newt Scamander to help fight the grow ing rise of Johnny Depp’s Gellert Grindel wald, who is rapidly gaining a following of pure-blood wizards in his quest to achieve dominion over the magical world after es caping from government custody. Depp’s casting led to backlash among fans be cause of 2016 domestic abuse allegations against Depp. Despite its busy and superficial plot, the film treats viewers to humor along with the action. Eddie Redmayne’s quirky charm shines through as the bashful Sca mander while Dan Fogler’s Jacob Kowal ski maintains an enjoyable naivete as he learns to navigate the wizarding world. Many of the first movie’s essential char acters, however, such as the adorable wiz ard-and-Muggle couple, Jacob and Alison Sudol’s Queenie, spend the second film
tangled in weak subplots that fail to sub stantially contribute to the main story, leav ing viewers confused about their purpose. Furthermore, the film fails to properly introduce several new characters, forc ing audiences to decide whether they missed something or should just dismiss the value of the characters altogether. Zoë Kravitz’s Leta Lestrange stands as the only exception. Kravitz successfully conveys her character’s struggle to balance her love for the two Scamander brothers in the film against the darkness of her past. Finally, the film complicates some of the character narratives as they were written in the original series by introducing new, mishandled takes on them. The movie emphasizes a young Dumbledore and a human Nagini, played by Claudia Kim, previously only known as Voldemort’s snake, instead of staying true to its own namesake, leaving audiences waiting for the titular beasts. While Law’s performance retains the cleverness and well-timed quips audiences have come to expect of Dumbledore, the “Fantastic Beasts” adaption of the famous headmaster feels incongruent with the
rest of his story. Rowling had previously revealed that Dumbledore was gay after all the books had finished being released. Even though the introduction of Grin delwald into the second “Fantastic Beasts” film provided the creators with an oppor tunity to finally expand on Dumbledore’s character through a conversation about his sexuality, they instead opted for a quick, vague cop-out that amounts to little more than a sly, witty line and improperly addresses this subject. Additionally, the filmmakers failed to properly develop Kim’s human version of Nagini. Rather than building a substan tive, active character, they primarily leave her on the sidelines, feeding into the con troversy that originally surrounded this new revelation about the character. For viewers who wish to be enchanted by impressive special effects, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” will prove to be a good time. Audiences con cerned with the quality of the Wizarding World franchise, however, will be disap pointed by the chaos of the film, the lack of character development and the absence of substance in its plot.
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” casts the eccentric Johnny Depp as Gellert Grindelwald, left, a dark and powerful wizard who plots to elevate pure-blood wizards as rulers over nonmagical beings. Newt Scamander, the heroic protagonist played by Eddie Redmayne, right, chases after him on a mission to thwart his evil plan.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
SHAKESPEARE THEATRE COMPANY
Through the juxtaposition of classes in industrial England and the collapse of the Birling family’s facade lifestyle, J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls” provides audiences with a thought-provoking experience. Hoyas can enjoy Stephen Daldry’s interpretation of the show, which will run at the Shakespeare Theatre Company until Dec. 23.
‘An Inspector Calls’ Critiques Society’s Conscience KATHRYN BAKER Hoya Staff Writer
This article discusses depression and suicide. Please refer to the end of the article for resources on campus. As the lights dimmed, bomb sirens roared and fog emerged in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sidney Harman Hall on Nov. 26; the audience was transported to 1912 England. Coupling comedy with death and opulence with impoverishment, director Stephen Daldry’s interpretation of J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls” succeeds in its crippling of classist society and its denunciation of the capitalistic conscience. Given Daldry’s experience in directing the Priestley classic — he first directed it in 1992 and has done so again several times — the U.S. tour of “An Inspector Calls” appears primed for equal success. The play follows the shattering of the wealthy Birling family’s mental framework. At the beginning of the play, the family is celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling, played by Lianne Harvey, to Andrew Macklin’s Gerald Croft, the heir to a prosperous factory. Rather than deliver the dialogue directly onstage, however, the family speaks of self-reliance and wedding garments from their
cushy, Victorian mansion lofted above the stage; the audience is privy to their conversations but prevented from an intimate acquaintance with the Birlings’ home. This acquaintance is only provided when Inspector Goole, played by Scottish actor Liam Brennan, pays the Birlings a visit to question them about Eva Smith, a young pregnant woman who committed suicide earlier that evening. Over the course of the show, the extent of each character’s relationship to Eva comes to light, and each character must confront the effects of their greed and destructive opulence. As the mysterious Goole, Liam Brennan steals the spotlight — as well as the Birlings’ false sense of pride. Although his Scottish accent and the theater’s setup occasionally obscured the audience’s ability to catch his lines, he shined in his inspection of the Birlings’ morality. The inspector conveyed a plausible concern for Eva Smith and the conditions that led her to kill herself. Lianne Harvey and Hamish Riddle, who also shine in their roles as Sheila and Eric Birling, portray two siblings who seem to know little about one another. The duo consistently expresses the most guilt of the bunch, and both ultimately regret their cruel treatment
of Eva. Together, Harvey and Riddle appear convincingly consumed by grief, offering to the audience the hope that perhaps self-reflection can lead to a change in habits. At its core, Priestley’s play criticizes the rigid class divides and frivolous wealth associated with 20th-century capitalism and the British prewar mindset. Set in April 1912, the high society the Birlings enjoy reaps the benefits of capitalism and industrialization, a stark contrast to the poverty that also marked industrial Britain. Ian MacNeil’s set design is essential in portraying this juxtaposition. In relation to the rest of the stage, the house itself is enormous, enforcing the characters’ narrow worldviews. Their bourgeois bubble is ornately decorated with British antiques, green and yellow floral wallpaper, and an elaborate chandelier. Yet the world the Birlings encounter outside their front door paints a drastically different picture. Potholes litter the cobblestone streets, a hazy smog occupies the background, and ghostlike faces and dirty children linger in the corners. The more time the Birlings spend outside their home, the more the unfortunate consequences of their selfishness confront them. As a meticulous stage director, Daldry
cleverly finds openings for symbolism within the text. When Sheila realizes that her husband-to-be is not as saintly as he seems, she stumbles into a pothole and dirties her pristine white ball gown, representing the muddling of her moral compass. Additionally, the explosive and spontaneous destruction of the Birlings’ home onstage embodies Priestley’s detest of capitalism. As the mansion’s supports snap and the walls unfold, the Birlings’ most valuable possessions fall into a giant sinkhole, itself a symbol of the hole Goole left in the characters’ consciences. The success of “An Inspector Calls” lies in its overt disruption of comfortability. The Birlings begin the show contently ignorant and excessively wealthy, but Goole’s interrogation disrupts their comfortable lifestyle. Equal parts hilarious, contemplative and mysterious, this British whodunit was worth the trip across the pond.
To access mental health resources, reach out to Counseling and Psychiatric Services at 202-687-6985, or for afterhours emergencies, call 202-444-7243 and ask to speak to the on-call clinician. You can also reach out to Health Education Services at 202-687-8949. Both of these resources are confidential.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
OUT OF OFFICE
Packing the Essentials: Appreciating Life From Abroad Alexandra Brunjes One of the most stressful parts of study abroad preparation in August was also one of the most routine: packing. I found it surprisingly overwhelming to look at all of my clothing, school supplies and knickknacks and decide what to leave behind for four months. How many pairs of shoes do you actually need? Is there suitcase space for room decorations? Are there any toiletries that you can only find in the United States? What can I live without, and what do I truly need? With limited suitcase space, packing light was essential. Shaving down to the necessities is a characteristic element of the study abroad experience. You are removed from most of the physical things that make home, home and also away from many of the support systems typically provided in college. Without these buffers and safety nets, you’re only really
left with yourself. Realizing this truth made me reassess the value that I sometimes place on objects and spurred a mental shift in my priorities to heavily favor experiences over possessions. After I settled into my time abroad and finally got the hang of my class schedule and daily routine, I started to realize how little I missed the things I didn’t have with me. Somewhat surprisingly, my day-to-day life was minimally different despite the absence of so many of my belongings. This realization led me to ponder what is essential versus what is convenient and reassuring, and to analyze how much joy can truly be derived from “stuff.” As the semester is wrapping up, I’ve started to once more take stock of my physical presence in Copenhagen and how it will come home with me. Many of the items of clothing that I so painstakingly picked out in August have been battered by constant use and mediocre washing machines and will be donated instead of trekking back to the United States. Their space in my suitcase will be taken up by new things — objects that hold meaningful memories: the plastic bag of receipts, ticket stubs and memorabilia that will soon be glued into a scrapbook; the embarrassing amount of parmesan cheese I bought at one
of Copenhagen’s famous julemarkeds, Danish Christmas markets; and small Scandinavian gifts for my family. When I packed to come abroad, I used my physical belongings to help me imagine an existence for myself in Copenhagen. When I got here, though, I realized that everything I packed was just background noise: What I did once I got here, rather, was what held importance. What specific coat I packed didn’t matter besides that it kept me warm while I made memories. When I left New York, I felt as though I were packing light — so light, in fact, that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it through the semester. Now that I’m at T minus two weeks until I fly back, I realize that light was all I needed. I was also surprised to find that being free of my stuff and many of my support systems was liberating rather than an obstacle; I wasn’t obligated to use them or to devote mental energy to them. This freedom allowed me to live much more in the moment and to newly appreciate the way that they can impact my life when I do have them. Now, when I get home, one of the first things on my to-do list is an overhaul of everything I own. Much like I’m starting to do here in my final days, I’m going to try to classify everything as needed, wanted or to be donated. “Enough” is much less than I thought it was, and I’m eager
to apply that understanding to my life back at home. While I’m excited thinking about being reunited with certain things like my books, my framed photos and all the sweatshirts I couldn’t fit into my suitcase and to once more be surrounded by the structural support built into day-to-day life at Georgetown, I’m moreso excited to know that the way I approach these things will be changed because of my experience abroad. I’ve loved my time in Copenhagen. The experience has been an opportunity for me to reassess the way that I lead my life and the things that make me happy. When I packed to come here, I was apprehensive and uncertain. My mind was full of expectations and my suitcase held what I later deemed to be nonessentials. As I get ready to leave, I now arguably find my situation to be the opposite: My suitcase has fewer physical belongings and more memories, and my heart and mind are full of new experiences, love for new friends and hope that the things that I’ve learned about myself will come home with me and help me “pack light” for the rest of my life. Alexandra Brunjes is a junior in the College. This is the final installment of OUT OF
Shouk’s Diverse Cuisine Satisfies Falafel Lovers Prashant Desai No one who knows me would be surprised that I love falafel, but the point is worth restating: I love falafel. Falafel is the perfect midday snack. Falafel is the perfect late-night snack. Falafel is a food without pretensions, without borders and without prejudice. You’d think that the simplicity of the fried chickpea fritters would make botching it a Herculean task, but ill-fated attempts are not hard to find. A few years in Washington, D.C., and a lifetime in the Bay Area have made that truth abundantly clear to me: Falafel that’s too mushy, too chewy or too tough is rarely more than a stone’s throw away. Still, a number of formidable offerings can also be found. If you’re ever in San Jose, Calif., drop by Falafel’s Drive-In, a much-loved fixture of the Bay Area’s vibrant ethnic food scene. D.C. is also home though to a number of respectable falafel shops; local favorite Amsterdam Falafelshop dominates online lists, but Georgetown’s own Falafel Inc. is also an excellent option. However, a new contender
for the D.C. falafel crown has emerged in the last few weeks: Shouk, an Israeli-inspired, plantbased, upstart fast-casual chain that has taken the D.C. metropolitan area by storm since its opening in 2016 and the opening of its second location in Union Market in the spring of 2018. Shouk, located in Mount Vernon Triangle and Union Market, was founded by chefs Dennis Friedman and Ran Nussbacher. Friedman boasts an impressive culinary pedigree, having been trained under food icons Daniel Boulud, a world renowned chef with a two-Michelin star restaurant, and Alan Wong, a leader in Hawaiian cuisine. The Israeliborn entrepreneur Nussbacher manages the business side of the restaurant. Both members of the pair are strict vegans. The restaurant aims to emulate the ethos of Israel’s open air markets — the Hebrew word for market, shouk, inspires the name of the restaurant. Arabic speakers will recognize the name’s similarity to the word souq — both words are plastered across the restaurant’s walls in their native script, a testament to the cross-cultural inspirations behind Shouk’s dishes. The first thing that newcomers to Shouk will notice is the restaurant’s distinctive character. The word “industrial” has been tossed around a number of a times in this column; however, the descriptor is particularly fitting with Shouk. The space still has a cozy, authentic feel, though: The restaurant resembles a cafe
more closely than it does a fast-casual eatery. A lively mix of Arabic and Israeli music plays in the background, board games are available for use, and a few patrons had settled down with laptops and books as I came in. As for the food, I opted for a falafel pita for $10.95 and a cardamom chocolate cookie for $2. Worthy of note, the pita seemed dramatically smaller than the rice bowl and mixed greens option, though all three options were priced similarly. Still, the pita sandwich was definitely larger and more filling than the $3 sandwiches that you’ll find at a place like Falafel Inc. How does Shouk’s falafel compare to that of its competitors? The falafel balls themselves were fantastic: characteristically crisp on the outside, with a soft, almost fluffy interior. They had a pleasant crumble to them, and the chickpea flavor was stronger than the falafel from other shops. The interior of Shouk’s falafel was greener than that of competitors, too, likely on account of more parsley and cilantro in the dough that made for a satisfying bite. Moreover, the rustic and bright flavor is what I’d expect from a homemade falafel. If anything, the crispy coating on the outside was a little thick and was slightly too cooked for my taste. These gripes are minor, though — I’d wager that few customers dissect their falafel the same way that I had to on this particular day — and the falafel was, all things considered, excellent. The toppings were
simple but delicious as well. I asked for their classic falafel sandwich, which was served with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and pickled cabbage. The pita was delicious — rustic and wholesome, like the falafel — and the tahini was flavorful — the perfect thickness, with a subtle heartiness that added dimension. After I finished, I went back for a side of more falafel with tahini for $4.75. Like I said, I love falafel. The cardamom cookie may not have been a standout but was good in its own right. I’ll confess that I’ve made cardamom-spiced chocolate chip cookies myself, and Shouk’s are definitely better — I’m still playing with the recipe, though, so stay tuned. Shouk’s other main advantage is the diversity of food it offers: Most of the “big-name” falafel shops are only falafel shops. Shouk, though, is no one-trick pony; even before it introduced falafel earlier this month, it had been voted D.C.’s best new fast-casual restaurant for entrees like the cauliflower bowl. I’ll refrain from making a final judgment about where Shouk ranks in the falafel pecking order of D.C. — my affection for all of our city’s falafel offerings runs far too deep for me to be able to make an impartial decision. I will, however, say this: Shouk is definitely in the running. Prashant Desai is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. This is the final installment of MEATLESS MENUS.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
‘Becoming Astrid’ Reveals Iconic Writer’s Hidden Struggle Directed by: Pernille Fischer Christensen Starring: Alba August, Henrik Rafaelsen ALEXANDRA BRUNJES Hoya Staff Writer
Presented by Nordisk Film Production and Avanti Film, “Becoming Astrid” acquaints audiences with the personal history of beloved author Astrid Lindgren and provides a window into the life that inspired many of her stories. With a thoughtful performance by Alba August in the titular role and evocative cinematography punctuated by an effective score, “Becoming Astrid” pays a beautiful homage to the iconic author. Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, best known for “Pippi Longstocking,” is famous for her whimsical tales. Despite being the third-most-translated author of a children’s book, Astrid’s own childhood was cut short because of an unplanned pregnancy. This personal experience is explored in depth by director Pernille Fischer Christensen in her latest biopic film, “Becoming Astrid.” Raised in Vimmerby, Sweden, Astrid is an awkward and vibrant teenager at the film’s start. After finishing school, she scores an internship at The Vimmerby Times, where she develops her writing ability and enters
an ill-advised relationship with the editor-inchief, Reinhold Blomberg, played by Henrik Rafaelsen. When Astrid becomes pregnant, she leaves for a secretarial course in Sweden to avoid bringing shame upon her family, who lives off the bounty of church land. Astrid soon gives birth to her child in Denmark, where he can be raised by a foster mother. She then relentlessly maintains her relationship with Blomberg while periodically visiting her son, trying to determine how to craft a future in which she can bring her son home and regain familial acceptance. As the film evolves, Astrid grows increasingly headstrong, and her youthful impulsivity matures into more thoughtful early adulthood. “Becoming Astrid” revolves around August’s captivating but understated performance. August plays with subtle facial expression and awkward demeanor to portray Astrid’s progression from a wild-hearted teen to a tormented young mother of her son Lars. Her performance is intuitive and raw, inviting viewers to revel in her impulsivity and sympathize with her pain. Trine Dyrholm, who plays Lars’ foster mother,
Marie, also offers a strong performance. Dyrholm brings a warm and supportive energy to the film, which juxtaposes the rejection of Astrid by her family. Rafaelsen is charismatic and passionate, and his portrayal of Blomberg’s effusive interest in Astrid is evocative and relatable. “Becoming Astrid” is visually effective. Erik Molberg Hansen’s cinematography features softly composed scenes that swiftly transition between landscape shots and revealing close-ups. While much of the film is underpinned by a soft soundtrack, intense moments are often presented with no background noise, allowing the raw emotions to hit viewers at full force. The film is bookended with shots of an elderly Astrid opening fan mail from children, featuring periodic voiceovers of heartwarming and thought-provoking excerpts from the letters. One child in the film says, “I can tell you like us. You understand us. You’re on the children’s side.” The voiceovers serve to remind viewers of Astrid’s future success, even in the face of her turmoil, and keeps her quirky storytelling abilities alive.
However, viewers may be surprised by how little the film focuses on Astrid’s future writing career. While viewers observe her early professional choices and get glimpses into her penchant for storytelling, the only concrete indications of her future success are the explicit mentions of it through the voiceovers of children’s letters. The film’s open ending, though, does leave the possibility for a sequel, so addressing Astrid as a prolific author may be explored in a later film. The film also provides context for the mental hardships that inspire many of Astrid’s stories: Many of her books deal with death, loss and loneliness. “Becoming Astrid” is a charming heritage film that authentically and masterfully adapts the historical story of Lindgren who would go on to prominence. Its cinematography is impressive, and its plot would be compelling even if it were not reflective of the life of a beloved author. While the biopic may not be the best way to learn about the writing career of Astrid Lindgren, the film does, as the title suggests, inform viewers about all the circumstances that underpinned her “becoming.”
Director Pernille Fischer Christensen explores the complexities behind the personal and professional life of beloved Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, played by Alba August, pictured with her son Lars, right. Her influence has spanned the world with playful works like “Pippi Longstocking,” as this masterful biopic details.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
What to Do in DC
MADDIE FINN Hoya Staff Writer
SARAH CAMMAROTA Hoya Staff Writer
RUSSIAN WINTER FESTIVAL
This weekend, celebrate the coming of winter the traditional Russian way. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Sviatki, hosted by Hillwood Estate on its lovely grounds. Learn about Russian culture through plays, music and dancing, and have your fortune told to see what the new year might bring. The festival is $10 for college students and takes place Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with festivities occurring throughout the entire day.
JLO AND BAD BUNNY
CHANCE THE RAPPER
CHANCE THE RAPPER
CHANCE THE RAPPER ‘MY OWN THING’
CHANCE THE RAPPER ‘THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING’
Chance the Rapper released two surprise singles this week with Joey Purp featuring on “My Own Thing.” In comparison to Chance’s other track, “My Own Thing” is much more upbeat and soulful, calling back to his earlier work.
“The Man Who Has Everything” reflects thoughtfully on the holiday season with the question “What to get for my boy who has everything?” and answers, “Love me forever, that’s all I ask of you.”
A CONVERSATION WITH BOB WOODWARD AT THE LINCOLN THEATRE
Bob Woodward became a Washington, D.C. legend by exposing the Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein. Today, he continues to report on the politics of the nation through nonpartisan investigative journalism. Hear him speak and answer questions about President Donald Trump and current events at the Lincoln Theatre on Friday, Dec. 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $55.
THE LINCOLN THEATRE
CHRISTMAS ILLUSIONS AT MOUNT VERNON
Experience the holiday season as it was in the 1700s. Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, is hosting its annual holiday event. Learn how artisans and blacksmiths practiced their craft, take part in colonial dancing, listen to carols and sip on warm cider while soaking up the ambience of the picturesque plantation. And, of course, enjoy a firework show at the end of the night. There are two opportunities, Dec. 14 and 15, and the event costs $35 for a house tour and firework viewing.
GRIMES ‘WE APPRECIATE POWER’
MEEK MILL ‘TRAUMA’
The dystopian art-pop artist Grimes,whose most recent album was “Art Angel” in 2015, released a single off her upcoming untitled album this week. The single follows with Grimes’ characteristic metal electronica, full of distorted guitar and synth-like loops. Grimes also supposedly found inspiration for the track in a North Korean all-female military band.
Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill released his first album, called “Championships,” since he was released from prison in April after his controversial conviction over a decade-old charge. Having recently taken on a role as a prison reform advocate, the album furthers this message. The song “Trauma” stands out in particular, tying incarceration of black men to the legacy of slavery.
This Friday, be the first to view Ambreen Butt’s new exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Butt taps into her Pakistani-American identity by reinterpreting the traditional Persian miniature painting style. Her works are a social commentary on U.S. relations with the Middle East, as well as a celebration of impressive art. The exhibit is free to view and will be shown from Dec. 7 until April 14, 2019.
AMBREEN BUTT — ‘MARK MY WORDS’
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
Pond Mesmerizes With Theatrical Dreamscape
Travis Scott’s “Wish You Were Here” tour transformed Capital One Arena into the psychedelic “Astroworld” on Nov. 29. Scott’s interactive performances and dynamic stage design enthrall audiences and challenge them to match his energy. “Astroworld” surpasses all expectations and delievers an unparalleled experience.
Travis Scott Brings ‘Astroworld’ to Capital One Arena ALLAN NAVARRO Hoya Staff Writer
Rap superstar Travis Scott put on a show for the ages at Capital One Arena on Nov. 29, as part of his “Astroworld: Wish You Were Here” tour. Arguably hiphop’s most dynamic showman, Scott performed on a stage designed to emulate the now-defunct Houston theme park Six Flags Astroworld. The theme, coupled with Scott’s liveliness, created a riveting experience few would forget. Musically, Travis Scott has had an incredibly successful 2018 with the release of his highly anticipated third album, “Astroworld.” The album’s critical and commercial success secured Scott’s place in the upper echelon of rap superstars. The success of the album was due in part to the merchandise that accompanied its release, which has become some of the most in-demand clothing of the year. Additionally, his celebrity has also grown in the past few years because of his high-profile relationship with model Kylie Jenner, who gave birth to their daughter Stormi in February. As Scott’s celebrity rose, so too did the anticipation for both “Astroworld” and the tour that would accompany its release, as Scott was already well-known for his inventive shows.
The three openers all did their best to keep an excited crowd entertained until Scott’s arrival. Harlem’s Sheck Wes performed first in front of a mostly empty venue, with his hit track “Mo Bamba” being the only saving grace in a somewhat lackluster set. Ohio’s Trippie Redd followed Wes and cut his performance short after performing only a half-dozen tracks, claiming he was sick. Lastly, Atlanta’s Gunna performed hit tracks like “Drip Too Hard” while bringing out one of Washington, D.C.’s own, rapper Shy Glizzy, in an otherwise unremarkable set. Shortly after 9 p.m., the circular LED screen behind the main stage came to life and played a spoof promotional video for the Astroworld theme park, setting the tone for the rest of the show. Scott then burst out onto the auxiliary stage performing the track “Stargazing” with unmatched energy and showmanship. Scott was then strapped into an inverted Ferris wheel at the rear of the auxiliary stage while he performed the Frank Ocean-assisted track “Carousel” while riding the wheel once around. After dismounting the Ferris wheel, Scott continued with his set while a few fans were brought onstage to ride the contraption while Scott performed in front of it. The innovativeness of the stage de-
sign extended far beyond just the Ferris wheel. Toward the end of the show Scott rode a slow-moving roller coaster above the stage along with a fan and performed the Don Tolliver-assisted “Can’t Say” and his 2015 breakout hit “Antidote.” Also, at the tail end of the show, Scott replaced the Ferris wheel with the gold inflatable replica of his head that appears on the album art for “Astroworld,” encouraging fans to take pictures with it. By regularly involving fans in his virtual and theatrical performances, Scott creates a distinctive experience in which concertgoers never know what will happen next. During performances of the tracks “3500” and “Yosemite” with Gunna, Scott pulled fans out of the crowd, briefly singing the main refrain of the track with them before telling them to stage dive and crowd surf, a happy surprise for both the crowd and the person on stage. After a brief intermission, Scott performed the Sheck Wes-assisted “No Bystanders,” a moment in which the energy in the building was at an all-time high. As Scott hollered Wes’ refrain of “F--k the club up,” seemingly every concertgoer was standing and jumping along with him. This moment was easily the most exciting of the show as Scott’s spirited performance re-energized the crowd.
After a few more tracks, Scott then de-escalated the energy in the arena to perform some of the slower tracks in his discography, “Drugs You Should Try It” and his feature on SZA’s “Love Galore.” He used this portion of the show to showcase the psychedelic effects on the LED screen behind him, with flaming butterfly wings and oscillating lines further engrossing the viewer in the world Scott had created. Scott finishes the show with performances of the tracks “Goosebumps” and arguably his biggest single, the Drakeassisted “Sicko Mode,” which Scott encouraged the crowd to stream so it could reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. This final burst of energy, where Scott performed on a lifted stage in front of alternating red, blue and yellow displays, aptly capped off an extraordinary experience that defied all expectations. Travis Scott was lively and boisterous, encouraging the crowd to match his energy. The stage design transported concertgoers into a psychedelic rendition of Astroworld that audiences would never want to leave, while the set list mixed newer hits with older classics, satisfying all of his fans. The “Astroworld” show is among the most energetic concerts one could experience; it is a true catharsis for both Scott and his fans.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
Period Piece ‘The Favourite’ Offers a New Perspective
Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Olivia Colman KYRA DIMARCO Hoya Staff Writer
If you are looking for the stale pomp and majesty that films like “Elizabeth” and “The Young Victoria” bring to the historic British monarchy, you will leave “The Favourite” severely disappointed. Instead, director Yorgos Lanthimos delivers a historical romp that blows up the patriarchy and monarchical grandeur in equal parts, making for a chaotic, hysterical and joyful viewing experience. The film follows the political and sexual power struggle between Sarah Churchill, played by a wonderfully savage Rachel Weisz, and Abigail Masham, played by a charmingly coy Emma Stone, as they seek the favor of Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne. The queen is the opposite of regal: crude, sickly and unaware of the actual politics at play around her. She does understand, however, the social politics of being her designated favorite lady in waiting, pitting Sarah
and Abigail against each other with wicked delight at the struggle. Colman, Weisz and Stone are all brilliant in the film. Watching three fully formed, dynamic women spar verbally and physically feels almost revolutionary in a maledominated industry. Even more subversive is the fact that every male character in the film reads as noticeably less serious than each of the female leads. The male politicians, particularly Nicholas Hoult’s Robert Harley, are dressed in a ridiculous and extravagant manner with wigs that would put Marie Antoinette’s to shame. Monarchical period dramas typically rely on a male love interest. The real relationships of substance — and pleasurable sex — in “The Favourite” are instead between the three women; the men are only there for the women to use for political gain. In reality, Anne was married during the time the film took place, but the film does not address her husband at all.
Beyond the film’s gender play, Lanthimos’ direction is unorthodox as well, which is to be expected based on his previous work, including the avant-garde dramas “The Lobster” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.” He uses wide angle shots generously, disorienting the viewer in massive royal spaces. He prompts his actors to use their physicality in a way rarely seen in a period piece. They leap, shove, roar and dance absurdly. They race ducks and throw oranges at naked men. The freedom of movement feels wild for a historical film, and viewers will find the manic energy joyous to watch. Oddly enough, Lanthimos’ playful interpretation of history humanizes his characters in a way other period pieces often fail to do. No one, not even a great figure of history, is truly glorious. Everyone is flawed, everyone curses, everyone wants sex and power, and everyone is weak. The film takes many departures from history, but the core emotions still hit. Queen
Anne did not actually have 17 rabbits — one for each of her children who died — but she was still a grieving woman who failed at a queen’s main duty: to produce an heir. While humanizing at times, the absurdist nature of the film can be distracting. A long dance sequence between Sarah and Samuel Masham, played by a surprisingly comical Joe Alwyn, tries too hard to be funny and ends up feeling unnecessary. The final shots of the film land oddly, leaving the viewer searching to find a meaning. This viewer was unable to find one. Yet, these critiques are small; the film is wickedly wonderful. Colman, Weisz and Stone have abundant chemistry, making the film a joy to watch as they manipulate and deceive each other. Most intriguingly, these actions are typically reserved for women in films wanting a man. These women, however, want power for themselves above all else. The stale royal biopic is dead in “The Favourite,” replaced instead with feminist farce.
“The Favourite” highlights the struggle between two of Queen Anne’s ladies-in-waiting as they vie for her favor. Though the film’s whimsical tone veers into absurdity, stellar performances by strong actresses — including Olivia Colman, left, and Rachel Weisz, right — carry the movie to success and challenge stereotypes of dry and male-centric period dramas.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2018
Georgetown Dance Company Excites in Fall Showcase NOELLE WHITMAN Hoya Staff Writer
Seventeen dancers emerged from the darkness, wearing simple leotards amid a sparsely illuminated, bare stage. Anticipation reverberated onstage as introductions were made. The applause subsided into silence, and the dancers assumed their positions. The annual Georgetown University Dance Company works-in-progress showcase had begun. “Journey,” the name of this year’s showcase, invited the audience into the choreography process. Fluidity and progress characterized this stage of the choreography cycle. Led by Faculty Artistic Director Mané RebeloPlaut, this cohort of talented undergraduate dancers thoroughly prepared for this fall performance, rehearsing nine to 10 hours per week. In preparation for the showcase, the dancers also attended two courses in dance technique this semester. While developing a repertoire of contemporary ballet, lyrical, modern and jazz, five members of the showcase also choreographed original pieces presented in this performance. Although the February showcase is meant to mark the culmination of the company’s efforts, this fall performance offered a more intimate glimpse into the dance process, without the ornate costumes
or lighting design. The first piece presented in the showcase, “Synapse,” used choreography to visually illustrate how neurons transmit messages. The piece explored the evolving dynamic of an individual within a group, with the interplay of pointe and soft shoe, as well as the juxtaposition of fluid group choreography with sharp movement. The interactions between individual dancers and the unified company remained prevalent in the second piece, choreographed by Tiffany Kassidis (COL ’19). This piece presented a more contemporary performance, with an upbeat melody and vocals, while the swift cohesive movement of the dancers celebrated how the whole arises from the sum of its parts. The following piece, titled “Impossible Year” after the Panic! at the Disco song, from Courtney Smith (COL ’21) explored trauma and pain with the accompaniment of the song. The piece incorporated many lifts and group movement to convey the collective experience of suffering, ending with the dancers lying sprawled on the stage. These movements evoked a powerful message to the audience of the dancers’ endurance of pain. Themes of suffering and despair took on a new form in the fourth piece from a guest choreographer, who recounted the tale of Narcissus from Greek mythology. According
to the legend, Narcissus rejected the love of the nymph Echo, leading the gods to enact vengeance by causing Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection. Narcissus sunk into deep despair when he learned that his reflection could not reciprocate his love. The dancers in this piece all carried mirrors as they follow Narcissus’ journey, a direct parallel to the theme of the showcase as a whole. While themes of misery pervaded the piece, the technical complexity of the choreography offered a rich experience for the audience. The show’s sixth piece, titled “Alegría,” meaning “happiness” in Spanish, provided a change in emotional experience for the audience with its joyful spirit and contemporary choreography. Choreographer Sarah Dieter (COL ’19), who also serves as the production director of the company, celebrated her final year on the Hilltop. Her piece reflected the culmination of her experiences as a Hoya. A more lyrical technique characterized the choreography of Miranda Saunders (MSB ’20) in the seventh piece as dancers performed dynamic movements to utilize the space of the stage. The musical accompaniment of “Streetcar,” the Daniel Caesar song that gave the piece its name, evoked self-reflection and the passage of time, amplified by the stylistic choices of Saunders.
The penultimate piece, called “Scared to Be Lonely,” was choreographed by GUDC Student Director Madison Ferris (COL ’19) and delved into human connection by exploring the joy and pain of relationships. The piece included only four dancers to render a more intimate representation of relationships and love. The choreography stressed the ever-changing dynamic of relationships as dancers ran to and from each other, embracing and resisting one another as the piece progressed. This theme of fluctuation continued in the showcase’s final piece, titled “Ode to Life,” which was led by a guest choreographer. The piece began with a solo and generated a whimsical feel as the choreography progressed through the four seasons of nature, demonstrating the intersectionality of the arts and the cycle of life. This meditation on the passage of time and life felt like a fitting finale, as the showcase itself celebrated the theme of journeying. The fall works-in-progress showcase achieved great success in its pieces, exhibiting stylistically diverse and complex works while teasing what to expect in the February showcase. The upcoming performance will undoubtedly offer a polished display of this year’s season while celebrating the joys and sorrows of the human experience that underscore this fall showcase.
GEORGETOWN DANCE COMPANY
The Georgetown Dance Company blew audiences away with its annual works-in-progress showcase Nov. 30. Many of the pieces were choreographed by the dancers themselves, and they used their talents to tell a plethora of different stories. Whether evoking Greek mythological tales or nostalgically recounting memories on the Hilltop, the pieces did not disappoint.
ILLUSTRATION BY: EMILY SHAMBAUGH/THE HOYA