V o l u m e I V, N u m b e r V I I I
Celebrating The Precious Human Tapestry
October 16, 2009
UNLOCKING THE VAULT AT THE ROSE The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis catalogue was released by the university Oct. 1 in order to celebrate the museum's 50th anniversary. On Oct. 28, the museum will open an exhibit of its permanent collection heavily organized around the book. The Hoot has provided a sampling of paintings, of different artistic styles, as a preview of both the book, which is available for purchase on Amazon.com, and the exhibit. ARTISTIC ANALYSIS FROM The Rose Art Museum At Brandeis published by Abrams Books
The DE KOONING painting on the cover of the book was purchased thanks to the success of Elvis Presley—the donors were the brothers Joachim Jean and Julian J. Aberbach, who were Presley’s music publishers.
“LOUIS BRANDEIS,” PAINTED BY ANDY WARHOL in 1980, was donated by gallery owner Ronald Feldman to commemorate Justice Brandeis’ 150th birthday in 2005. The portrait was taken from Warhol’s series “Ten Portraits of Jews in the Twentieth Century.” Feldman was a friend of Warhol’s who encouraged the artist to represent both prominent political figures and celebrities in his art.
Behind the Scenes: Stories of Rose Artwork A Marisol sculpture in the Rose Collection called “Ruth” is of Ruth Kligman, Jackson Pollack’s girlfriend and a passenger in the car when he killed himself driving drunk in 1956. The “Portrait of Louis Sachar” by Salvador Dalí found on page 68 is a portrait of the brother of Brandeis’ first president, Abram Sachar. The portrait was commissioned by Louis Sachar in 1960, and was displayed in his Park Avenue home for 20 years until being donated to the museum in 1986.
The painting “Artist and Dealer” by William Gropper was given to the museum in 1964 by Ella Baron. According to the book, Gropper was “known for depicting social injustices,” and this painting “cynically portrayed” the relationship between artists and dealers. “Groper explored the social inequity between an apparently humble artist and an uninterested, perhaps arrogant art dealer as a means of exposing the mechanics of the business aspects of his trade.” The relationship between artist and dealer is one that the university may become increasingly more familiar with should the Suffolk Probate Court rule in their favor that they could sell art from the museum.
A $50,00 seed money donation in the early ‘60’s was used to purchase works by Lichtenstein, Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Oldenburg, Rosenquist, Louis, Marisol, Wesselman, Dine, Kelly and Gottlieb that today are valued in the tens of millions of dollars. (The Lichtenstein was purchased for $1,200.)
The untitled Matisse on page 47 of the book is currently hung inside of a bathroom in the President’s House in Newton, Mass.
Diverse City 9
October 16, 2009
CORN MEAL, BY ALEXANDER CALDER, currently hangs in the atrium of the Shapiro Campus Center. The focus of this painting is mainly color and line, and he achieves a sense of movement by including two spiral forms.
FORGET IT! FORGET ME!, BY ROY LICHTENSTEIN, is inspired by pulp comic books and tells the story of a relationship gone bad. Though Lichtenstein was inspired by the "cheap art" of comic books, his art is now regarded as "high art."
LA FEMME BLEU, BY FERNAND LĂ‰GER, has been exhibited 13 times in the Rose Art Museum. The painting focuses on mechanical imagery and geometric paintings, but also shows many objects that are floating unrestrained, as is characteristic of LĂŠger's work from the late 1920's.
TRAY MEAL, BY CLAES OLDENBURG, may allude to the modern, processed, TV dinner. Oldenberg, like others of his time, used art to comment on consumer culture.
YOU GET MORE SALAMI WITH MODIGLIANI, BY MEL RAMOS, is an example of Ramos' tendancy to portray nude, usually female figures in a Playboy-like set up. This painting is part of a series based on multiple nudes by Modigliani.
LA SOUBRETTE, BY OTTO DIX, has been exhibited on the Brandeis campus multiple times since being accessioned by the Rose Art Museum in 1958. Painting in the post-World War One era, Dix drew nudes in a realistic style. La Soubrette is painted in a more caricature-like style, and the proportions of the maid in the painting are exaggerated.
10 Diverse City
October 16, 2009
CHORUS The good, the bad, and the melodramatic: Musings on this week’s slam session BY SAMANTHA SHOKIN Editor
PHOTO BY Andrew Rauner/The Hoot
There’s poetry, and then there’s slam poetry. It’s easy to cast off the latter as a contemporary subset of a traditional form of expression. But some slam—the kind overwrought with lofty metaphors and melodramatic pretense—is so far from Shakespeare and so borderline hiphop that it becomes an entirely separate entity. Though slam is deeply rooted in poetry, maybe it’s more appropriate to consider it poetry’s distant, flashy, attentionseeking cousin. I think the question at hand is not whether slam is poetry—because undoubtedly, any form of verbal expression is poetic in its own right—but rather, how does one distinguish between good slam and some schmaltzy imitation? This is a loaded question, as is usually the case when justifying any artistic merit, and I don’t know if I’m prepared to open that can of worms. It takes a true spoken word connoisseur to spot talent and originality, whereas an inexperienced audience member can be easily fooled by a bunch of sloppy lyricism dressed up in fancy language. The difference between bad poetry and bad slam poetry is that the latter can still be entertaining, despite a stag-
gering fail-factor. The featured slam performers at the Brandeis Open Mic Series, or B.O.M.S. on Tuesday night were certainly entertaining. The duo consisted of long-time slammers Ian Khadan and Connor Dooley, both hailing from New Jersey. Dooley’s style was heavily satirical. In most of his pieces, however, I either failed to see the humor or always managed to miss the punch line. Two of his pieces were about female celebrities, Tyra Banks and Keira Knightley. In the Tyra poem, I couldn’t tell if he was trying to make a statement about society or if he was just having fun dissing the former model (perhaps both). (Personally, I think cracks on the size of Tyra’s forehead became officially unfunny around the third season of “America’s Next Top Model”). The second poem was an ode to Keira Knightely, praising her as a talented and attractive young actress. Again, if there was satire, I failed to understand it. If you want to profess your love for a female celebrity, I don’t think slam is the best medium to do so. Some things are best left hidden within the pages of one’s middle school diary. The other half of the duo, Ian Khadan, had a style that was quint-
essentially slam; that is to say, it sounded a lot like other stuff I’d heard countless times before. So he’s either doing something right or the exact opposite. I was overwhelmed by his imagery; I never knew there could be such a thing as “overabundance of metaphors,” but his flowery language was so profound that I ended up not having a clue what he was talking about half the time. And when I did, it seemed really cliché and melodramatic. (Now that I think about it, maybe the reason I had trouble understanding so much of the performance was because the content was above me. Beyond comprehension, and all that. Or maybe it was just bad— who's to say?) Together, Khadan and Dooley make a great team. One of their team pieces compared the life of a purple octopus to a brown badger—talk about originality—and was very well-executed and funny (I actually got the humor that time!). Their distinct personalities really shined through, and together the two friends had an enjoyable performance. Their styles balanced out and created an act that was neither overwhelming nor corny, just right. Even in the case of slam poetry, two heads are better than one.
Rockin’ out with your dad at the House of Blues: The Psychedelic Furs and Happy Mondays attract a grateful, gray-haired crowd BY MAXWELL PRICE Staff
It’s always risky business going to see a band that hasn’t released a hit single since before you were born. Yet when I heard that the Psychedelic Furs and Happy Mondays were playing at the House of Blues, I wasn’t bothered in the least by their vintage status. After all, both groups are much less vintage than The Rolling Stones, and their tickets are also far cheaper. Little did I realize when I decided to go that I’d be rocking out with your dad. He was a nice guy, really, and he knows how to party considering his age. In fact, he even got a bit too rowdy at one point and a security guard had to ask him to calm down. But how can you blame him? A groundbreaking band he loves had emerged that night from a time machine. The moment Richard Butler, lead singer of the Psychedelic Furs, wandered on stage, the magic began. The Psychedelic Furs don’t necessarily play the kind of ‘80s synth pop that yanks on your nostalgic heartstrings, and consequently, they stake a very convincing claim to their continued relevance. But it was the mere presence of the two original members, Richard and Tim Butler, that kept the audience enthralled. The new Furs lineup was impressive, especially the irrepressible saxophonist Mars Williams. The musical parts came together in an organic whole, but the charisma exuded by the Butler brothers instantly set them on another plane. The sound was taut and propulsive, with piercing melodies and haunting motifs. The first standout was “Heartbeat,” a saxfueled, quasi-disco, galloping dance number. At this point your dad more or less dispensed with all self-control and busted out some hip shaking moves that weren’t
even cool when the song was released in 1984. The lyrics are pure aural imagery, and Butler incanted them with awe, although whether that was a reaction to the overwhelming audience feedback is anyone’s guess. Some songs, like their biggest hit “Pretty in Pink,” offered sing-along material, while others like “Heaven” were more suited to mellow swaying with lighter in hand. The one constant was the Butlers’ incredible charisma, which suffused their performances with a natural grace. The singer has maintained his vocal prowess through the years, sounding like a post-“Low” David Bowie with a dash of Tom Waits growl. He illustrated his words with motions of his hands, looking like both a painter of air, which makes sense considering that he is also an accomplished visual artist. It might sound excessive to place so much emphasis on stage presence, but if anything, this concert was a lesson in that secret ingredient that makes the difference between a great musical revival act and a forgettable one. The Happy Mondays, a staple band of the ‘80s Manchester rave scene, unfortunately fell into the latter category in this reviewer’s humble opinion. With front man Shaun Ryder as the only true original member, it almost felt like a Happy Mondays cover band. From his profanity-laden Ozzy Ozzbourne-esque mumbling tirades and near static performance, it was clear Ryder was not exactly at the top of his game. Perhaps the Manchesteraccented monologues were quirky in his heyday, but now he just sounded like a wheezy, crotchety dude. That’s not to say that the tunes were entirely bad. “Step On,” one of the band’s trademarks, was a cathartic psychedelic pop freakout, and “Loose Fit” was built on a seductively druggy riff and a chorus that
PHOTO from Internet Source
BLAST FROM THE PAST: The Psychedelic Furs are still performing 25 years later, attracting new fans
inevitably lodged itself in your head. Yet besides Angie Brown, a “backup singer” who became the focal point of the show, most of the musicians looked like they were just going through the motions. Not a terrible performance, but I would have been just as happy listening to their songs through loud speakers at home. Oh yeah, and Canadian indie poppers, Islands, opened. The band clearly didn’t want to be there, so I clearly don’t want to write about it.
Overall, the Furs stole the show, and proved that a so-called “college rock band” from 25 years ago has the power to attract a new generation of student music connoisseurs. Your dad seemed to appreciate this, but he reminded us that he saw them in the ‘80s in the East Village at a venue that no longer exists. Then he accidentally spilled his beer on the floor and the staff asked him to move out the way. We took his place, grinning silently.
Diverse City 11
October 16, 2009
ENDNOTE The cougars have come to town: New sitcom tries hard but falls flat BY SRI KUEHNLENZ Editor
Given the number of May-December romances in Hollywood lately (Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Kim Cattrall and whoever), it was only a matter of time until art imitated life in the form of ABC’s new show on Wednesday nights, "Cougar Town." This sitcom, from "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence and “Scrubs” collaborator Kevin Biegel, focuses on the day-to-day struggles that newly-divorced single mother, Jules Cobb, faces as she tries to gracefully plunge back into the dating pool. However, the show fails to exude the same charm and spunky charisma as “Scrubs.” At times it comes close when there happens to be a fortuitous volley of one-liners between characters. All in all, the viewer spends more time questioning whether they can stand Jules, her nagging friends or her deadbeat husband, than being taken in by this lineup of quirky characters. Even the message of the show is hard to uncover. Jules is portrayed as a successful real estate agent cruising from date, to dropping her son off at school, to another date in a flashy red convertible, while her
dead-beat ex-husband is left standing on her doorstep begging for advances on her alimony payment. Despite Jules’ apparent professional success, the show does not necessarily positively showcase the lives of independent older women. Instead of defiantly insisting there is life after marriage, the show’s message asks rather timidly if there is such a thing as a dignified life after marriage for middle-aged single mother. For instance, in the pilot episode, Jules is caught performing a certain act on a male at least 15 years her junior, by her teenage son and ex-husband. The viewer automatically cringes from embarrassment rather than enjoy the humor of the situation. And who better to play the role of the star cougar than Courteney Cox, who we watched grow up in her twenties on "Friends," and are now reunited with her in her forties. However, while Cox’s "Friends" character, Monica, was a charming neurotic, Jules is too high-strung, blunt and inconsistent to be endearing to the audience. Jules’ sidekicks on the show are married mother of one, Ellie, and party girl, Laurie. Christa Miller, who played Jordan, Dr. Cox’s vindictive on-again, off-again wife on "Scrubs," is Ellie, and essentially plays
Where the sing-a-longs are BY DANIELLE GEWURTZ Editor
Adapting a 10-line Maurice Sendak children’s classic into a Spike Jonze visual epic that's endlessly delayed poses a number of problems, not the least of which involves finding an appropriate soundtrack for the beloved book. Currently, “Where the Wild Things Are” is being aggressively marketed with a gorgeous trailer backed by Arcade Fire’s “Wake Up.” Unfortunately that song, which seems perfect for the movie’s themes, isn’t on the soundtrack. Instead, Karen O, lead singer of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and a group of indie-approved musicians billed as Karen O and the Kids, have recorded a set of new songs and one Daniel Johnston cover, interspersed with occasional introductory clips from the movie’s dialogue and an untrained children’s choir on a few songs. The soundtrack album nonetheless strives to reach the ease and grandeur of “Wake Up,” though it never quite manages that feat. On the whole, the album is somewhat lacking without the accompanying film, but it’s a joyous acoustic-sounding soundtrack, making the sort of non-“Kidz Bop” kids music that adults can enjoy too. The cast of musicians involved includes Yeah Yeah Yeahs members Brian Chase and Nick Zinner; Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound; Liars’ Aaron Hemphill; and the Raconteurs’ Jack Lawrence. The album is hooky, mostly upbeat sing-a-long style, and far from fussy or overworked. Mostly, it sounds like indie rockers going to camp and singing around the fire; a fitting choice for a movie whose forest setting provides much of the source material’s atmosphere. Single “All Is Love” features an untrained and unrestrained children’s choir backing Karen O as she spells out “L. O. V. E./It’s a mystery/Where you’ll find me…all is love.” Spelling, that glorious “Sesame Street” device, is used again in “Capsize”: “C-AP-S-I-Z-E all the way home/I’m gonna tilt awhile/M-I-S-S-M-E all you want/You’re
gonna wait awhile.” At least both those songs remind the listener that no matter how much the movie appeals to twentysomething hipsters, there’s a childlike wonder in Max’s, and the entire book’s, point of view. Karen O and the Kids thankfully reject artifice, stripping down these songs to the bare minimum of instrumentation and building each track out of deceptively simple music, humming, and, of course, full-chorus chanting. It’s direct and immediate, open and accessible—in essence, the epitome of childlike perspective. By contrast, the most mature song on the album is most definitely “Hideaway,” exploring themes of loss and denial over a woozy, sprawling track that features Karen O’s solo vocal talents. Still, the refrain, “Hideaway, where they’ll seat us in the sun/By the way, know you’ve always been the one” is one in which audiences of any age will no doubt find resonance. It’s also wonderful to hear her working outside the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; even though she’s joined by both her bandmates, it’s clear that Karen O feels less bound by structure and sonic expectations in this project. Though she brings the same vocal temerity as usual, far more fun was had with this album than “It’s Blitz!” The two songs that truly feel like extensions of Sendak’s work are “Rumpus” and “Rumpus Reprise.” The latter is a sloweddown, wordless track featuring humming, ending with a calming acoustic guitar and echoing the musical themes present throughout the soundtrack. The former is a chanting, stomping, hollering track that possesses all the immediacy of an overexcited child preparing to get wild. The album serves best to whet your appetite for the film itself, though it’s certainly worth a separate listen for Karen O fans, and probably their children (or younger siblings, as is far more likely) as well. The soundtrack can be streamed for free at imeem.com/karenoandthekids.
PHOTO from Internet Source
COUGARS AND SCANDALS IN SITCOMS, OH MY!: Jules, Laurie and Ellie (from left to right), played by Courteney Cox, Busy Phillips and Christa Miller, engage in riveting cougar-conversation on the new ABC comedy series.
the same character minus the biting sense of humor. While Ellie is bitter and snappy, she does not have that same charm as her previous counterpart on "Scrubs." Without that allure, Ellie just comes off looking insecure and out of place in a show that is trying so hard to be laugh-out-loud funny.
Four episodes in, "Cougar Town" already seems to be betraying all of its plot secrets, such as the inevitable relationship that will occur between Jules and her fellow divorcée neighbor. It might just be safe to say that "Cougar Town" is beyond the help of renovation and ready for retirement.
“Mi Historia: Unificación de Culturas” Hispanic Heritage Month 2009 BY EMILY GATZKE AND ADRIEL OROZCO Special to The Hoot
This year, ¡AHORA! celebrated its 21st anniversary of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), a month dedicated to the great contributions Latinos have made to our nation. This year’s HHM theme, “Mi Historia: Unificacion de Culturas” (My Story: Unification of Cultures), represents the many facets of our culture and commemorates unity of diversity. As such, we found it fitting to be chosen as the first ICC club to write an article for Diverse City. Through events encompassing this year’s theme, we enriched the Brandeis community by celebrating nuestra historia (our history), and also reflecting on nuestra cultura (our culture). Our first event was held on Sept.14. The HHM Opening Ceremony featured Bobby González, a multicultural motivational speaker from New York. Señor Gonzáles traced Latino and Latin American history back through its origins of New World conquests. As he highlighted the key moments in our history, he reminded us of the positive enrichment by both Native American and European cultures, while equally depicting its animosity and misunderstandings. On Sept. 17, we co-sponsored an event showcasing the 2009 Eleanor Roosevelt Speech given by Maria Hinojosa, a journalist ‘activista’ who has worked with news outlets such as NPR and currently has her own show on PBS. Through inspiring words and witty persona accounts, Hinojosa encouraged us to find our own voices, as women, Latinos, or simply young people trying to make a difference or attain success in life. On Sept. 26, ¡AHORA! co-sponsored a party, ABLAZE, with BBSO, that had a great turnout. More than 300 people
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attended to raise more than $700 for charity. The money is going to Montaña de Luz, an organization in Honduras that provides shelter and resources for children living with HIV/AIDS. The Stein became a hub of Latino culture as two of the last official ¡AHORA! events were hosted there. The Latino Comedy Night on Sept. 30 featured Tom E. Morello, a Boston native and famed comedian, who was voted Comedian of the Year by the Latino Pride National Awards. Morello kept the crowd laughing and made everyone feel like a part of rich Latino culture with his witty and insightful cracks at both Latino and American culture. The last event on Oct. 7, was a slam poetry night featuring Ol’ Soul, a Nuyorican Hip Hop Poet. The crowd enjoyed the smooth words and passionate ideas that emerged from his intense prose, and at some points, humor. ¡AHORA! is proud to announce that while Hispanic Heritage Month 2009 may be over, Latino-inspired events on campus are not! From Wednesday, Oct. 21 to Saturday Oct. 24, ¡AHORA! will be cosponsoring, along with Music Unites Us, numerous events with Afro-Cuban artist Obbini Tumbao. Check out www.musicunitesus.info/world.html for more information, and for music clips and a video of the group in action. Or take a look at their official website at www.obbinitumbao. com/Obbini_Tumbao/Home.html. Obbini Tumbao will be having the main concert on Oct. 24, a quick show on Thursday, Oct. 22, and will be holding open class workshops from Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday, Oct. 21, from 5 – 6:30 p.m., the music group will teach the basics of Latin American music to an open class. It is the perfect opportunity for those who want to have some experience before the amazing concert that Saturday.