C E L E B R A T I N G T H E P R E C I O U S H U M A N TA P E S T R Y
V O L . I I I , N O. V I
OCTOBER 3, 2008
Spanish artist's newest album transcends language barriers BY DANIELLE GEWURZ Editor
There’s something odd about listening to music in languages you don’t speak, and you listen intently to the syllables in search of familiar English, even though you know it’s not there. Obviously, throughout the world billions of people are making and listening to music not in English, but unfortunately, it’s not music we’re typically exposed to through standard media channels. Recently, I discovered El Guincho, an artist who uses samples and simple, repetitive choruses and sings in Spanish. Even though I completed my university language requirement with 3 semesters of French and have almost no exposure to Spanish, I have been listening to El Guincho’s latest on repeat. El Guincho is the nom de plume of Pablo Diaz-Reixa, a Spanish, Barcelona-based artist who grew up in the Canary Islands and is releasing his second album, Alegranza! in the U.S. on October 21, though it’s already been released internationally on Discoteca Océano. Diaz-Reixa has produced absolutely gorgeous songs on Alegranza!, where he has created a form of music that feels unbelievably new while featuring catchy hooks and choral singing that provoke a niggling sense of deja vu. Structurally, the album is quite
reminiscent of Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, in that it has a similar hazy, sample-heavy, woozy feel, but perhaps Diaz-Reixa’s own description of his music as “space-age exotica” is best. It certainly has an otherworldly feel. The first single, “Palmitos Park” is named after a zoo in the Canary Islands, and the song has a fitting video (which is an odd mixture of childlike paper cutouts and bright colors with coffin imagery). “Palmitos Park” serves as a perfect introduction to the sample-heavy mixture of tropicalia and African tribal rhythms that characterize the album. The album really hits its stride midway through, starting with “Kalise,” which sounds like El Guincho singing to a girl named Alana, though that interpretation could be entirely wrong. Nonetheless, “Kalise” once again brings in the repetition-heavy hooks that permeate this album, but they never get old in this track. The song is unbelievably uplifting, oddly danceable, and fast-paced, with clear African and Portuguese influences in the backing tracks. The transition to the next track, “Cuando Maravilla Fui,” builds on this momentum, and Diaz-Reixa is clearly at his best on this track. A percussion heavy track topped with a catchy sample of a two line sung chant that opens the track and reappears throughout, the song ramps
up the energy to gradually descend into a slow, deep croon and echoing drumbeats at its close. The final standout track of Alegranza! is “Buenos Matrimonios Ahi Afuera” which features a gorgeous repeating chorus sample with Diaz-Reixa’s voice tracked underneath, lower in the mix and oddly compelling in its fight for your attention. Midway through, the sample drops out, the beat changes, and the song takes on a sort of submerged quality, with heavy bass beats and room for the vocals to breathe. On the whole, Alegranza! is an album both familiar and wholly unlike anything else I’ve listened to recently. Sunniness permeates an album that is clearly heavily influenced by Diaz-Reixa’s upbringing in the Canary Islands and reflects the weather and sounds heard on the Iberian Peninsula through a prism of electronica and psychedelia. As fall begins to take hold, this album is a reminder of the brightest days of summer. It will definitely remain one of this year’s most unique releases. Hopefully the lyrical content matches the brilliance of the music, but either way, the album is solid and well worth multiple listens. Diaz-Reixa will be touring the U.S. in November but is unfortunately not coming to Boston. Five of the songs from Alegranza! can be streamed on myspace.com/elguincho.
Move over, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants- skinny jeans are here BY ALISON CHANNON Editor
I normally wouldn’t do this. I’m a news writer, an editor no less. I write about serious issues, you know, UJ cases, Union elections, guns on campus, Waltham City Council, Mamoon Darwish. But I had a revelation the other night. This is serious. I never thought this would happen. My whole-world view got turned upside down. I put on a pair of skinny jeans. And they looked good. Not just good, they looked hot. I know this sounds conceited, but you didn’t see me in those jeans. I was sitting on my housemate’s bed, and we were reminiscing about the good old days. I’d be lying if I said a beautiful rendition of ‘Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)’ was not sung. It was and it was amazing. I thought about going to bed because that would’ve been the smart thing to do but instead I decided to rifle through her closet. Standing there, before a mass of fabric, I had a thought. “Hey Danielle,” I said, “would it be ok if I tried on your H&M jeans?” “Sure,” she responded.
So I took the jeans off the hanger and “Oh, they’re totally cute,” she said. “Do decided to take a risk. Before I go forward, you wear flats a lot?” a brief bit of history would be helpful. “No,” I responded. My red Birkenstock I’m a fan of the TLC show What Not to sandals were sitting in the corner next to Wear. I take seriously what they say about my well-worn bootleg jeans. seaming and tailoring and skirt length. “Converse?” I’m conscious of creating an hourglass “No.” I didn’t tell her that I tossed my figure and elongating the leg. For the first pink Chucks in the ninth grade after I few seasons of the show, the decided I wasn’t tapered leg pant was maligned. to be a Good I came to the conclusion going I’d even say it was demonized. Charlotte groupie It exaggerates the hip. It makes that skinny jeans and my after all. the body appear less propor- hip-thigh ratio were as in“Well, they’re tioned, larger etc. And Clinton compatible as Sarah Palin really versatile.” and Stacy were right. A wideI bought them. leg pant balances out the hip and feminism. Stupid choice. I and elongates the leg. took them home So when skinny pants became and the next day all the rage, I thought, “WTF? Unless you I tried them on. I stood in front of the have the body of Audrey Hepburn, there is mirror totally disgusted. Those pants were very unflattering. They were doing my hips no way those pants can work.” Fast-forward to last May. I was stand- and thighs no favors. They were doing all ing before shelves upon shelves of jeans sorts of disfavors actually. I returned the pants and decided to offiat Express. I thought, “what the hell, I’ll try a pair of skinny jeans.” I took them to cially swear off skinny jeans. I came to the the dressing room, put them on, and stood conclusion that skinny jeans and my hipbefore the mirror perplexed. I couldn’t tell thigh ratio were as incompatible as Sarah if they looked good or not. I opened the Palin and feminism. door and asked the nearest saleswoman. Fast-forward again to a few nights ago.
IN THIS EDITION:
I took Danielle’s pants off the hanger and proceeded to put them on, one leg at a time. This was a somewhat arduous task. Danielle wears a smaller size than I. After a bit of struggle, the jeans were on and fastened. I couldn’t bend my legs but I stood in the mirror in disbelief. I finally understood what The Beatles were singing about in “Got to Get You into my Life” – my ass. “Look at yourself,” Danielle instructed, “you can so wear skinny jeans!!!” “Holy crap,” I said, “these look really fly. Like, seriously, fly.” “We’re going to H&M to buy you some jeans,” Danielle responded. We haven’t had the chance yet to go shopping but I look forward to our excursion to Newbury Street. Whether or not I find the perfect pair of skinny jeans at the perfect price point, I learned something about life in front of the mirror in the C room of my Grad. When the economy is failing and millions are starving around the globe, I can take comfort in the fact that somewhere, in some third world country, a small child is working hard to make sure my ass looks super fly in dem apple-bottomed jeans.
DID YOU KNOW?
Worst Week ever! New CBS sitcom p. 10
Meet the new viral video kings Jake and Amir p. 10
ABC became the most-watched TV network during premiere week for the second year running.
October 3, 2008
Photographers: (clockwise) Stop war: Ariel Wittenberg Brandeis fall: Ariel Wittenberg Sunflowers: Natasha Rubin White flower in cricket vase: Max Shay Roots and his pumpkin: Max Shay North Quad ultimate: Alan Tran Patriotism: Ariel Wittenberg
CHORUS Mixing business with laughter
Established 2006 "Celebrating the precious human tapestry" Maxwell Price Editor
BY SYDNEY REUBEN Editor
If you have ever found yourself asking questions such as, “I wonder what the CollegeHumor guys do on the weekends?” or “Are the people who work at CollegeHumor funny all the time?” then you should really go to JakeAndAmir.com. Two of the CollegeHumor employees, Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, have created a completely hilarious online sketch comedy site featuring themselves as straight and funny men. In the sketch, Jake, a normal guy, sits across from Amir – a very socially awkward person who has a stalker-like obsession with Jake. They put up two-to-three minute long episodes on the site every few days. The episodes generally focus on the relationship between the two at the CollegeHumor offices, but episodes have been located all over the country, including California. Several episodes of the sketch involve a show that Amir is trying to create called “Ace and Jocelyn: Astronaut Accountants from Outer Space.” During these episodes, Amir (Jocelyn) attempts to get Jake (Ace) to play along so he can record this show. The show essentially involves either Amir annoying Jake in various ways or Jake messing with Amir (which is a surprisingly easy thing to do). The show loves to call back to various jokes, like when Jake taught Amir fake slang to see if he would use it (words like “gullies” and “ace”), Amir’s bizarre pen-
October 3, 2008
FOUNDED By Esther Joo, Stephen Sukumaran and Rishun Fukazawa We are open to considering submissions from members of the Brandeis community relating to cultural events. Telephone: (781) 736.4755, E-mail: DC.firstname.lastname@example.org A D V E RTI SE M E N T
Showtimes for Embassy Cinema 16 Pine Street, Waltham, MA Telephone: (781) 891-0911
COLLEGE HUMOR: Jake Hurwitz (left) and Amir Blumenfeld (right) work at CollegeHumor and started their own online sketch comedy.
guin suit, or Amir asking Jake if they would get “dinner tonight?” Also, Amir quickly says “Jake” a lot, sometimes for no reason at all. Jake and Amir work across from each other in reality, and decided to create the website after many of their friends and co-workers liked what they had seen. The website has taken off in popularity and is somewhat well known. The site has also been covered in the media. Besides being covered in more internet-related sites and magazines, Jake and Amir was also mentioned in the July 2008 issues of Cosmopolitan and US Weekly. Jake and Amir is truly comedic genius. Every episode is funnier than the last and new motifs show
up all the time. Also, the character development is fantastic. Sometimes Jake and Amir switch characters, like in the “Date” episodes where Amir goes out with Jake’s ex which drives Jake to the same point of stalkerness that Amir usually exhibits. From the website, there are hyperlinks to Amir and Jake’s real life blogs, which are also incredibly entertaining. I would easily recommend the sketch to anyone who likes humor. If you like to laugh, you’ll love Jake and Amir. Some good episodes to start with are “Math,” “Proverbs,” and “Phone Call.” Jake and Amir is also an excellent option if you should be studying, but are looking for a distraction.
Sat. & Sun.
Mon. to Thurs.
Choke (R, 108 min.)
(1:50) (4:30) 7:20 9:35
(1:50) 4:30 7:20 9:35
(2:40) (5:10) 8:10
Miracle at St. Anna (R, 175 min.)
(1:10) (4:40) 8:10
(1:10) 4:40 8:10
Towelhead (R, 131 min.)
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (PG-13, 107 min.) (4:20) (4:20) 7:00 7:00 9:25 9:25 Man On Wire (PG-13, 104 min.)
Ghost Town (PG-13, 118 min.) (4:00) (4:00) 6:50 6:50 9:20 9:20
(5:00) 7:50 (2:30)
(2:10) (4:50) 7:40
Religulous (R, 116 min.)
(1:30) (4:10) 7:10 9:40
(1:30) (2:20) (4:10) (5:00) 7:10 (8:00) 9:40
Blindness (R, 137 min.)
(1:00) (3:50) 6:40 9:30
(1:00) 3:50 6:40 9:30
(2:00) (4:50) 7:30
Worst Week brings the new and the old to sitcom format BY SRI KUEHNLENZ Editor
From the In-Laws to Meet the Parents to Monster-in-Law, Hollywood has dedicated whole films to the dreaded experience of navigating interactions with the in-laws. Now TV is partaking in the trend with the new CBS sitcom, Worst Week. Premiering on September 22, Worst Week follows Sam Briggs, who agrees to a week-long visit at the home of his fiancée’s parents with the aim of announcing their engagement and pregnancy. However, before he even makes it to their house, Sam’s endemic bad luck is apparent. After an office party and a few unfortunate misunderstandings, Sam’s inebriated colleague mistakes his actions for a come-on and kicks him into the street with nothing to wear but a garbage bag fashioned into a diaper. This is the dignified outfit that Sam shows up at the Clayton residence wearing. Set so that each episode covers one day of their visit, the show documents each of Sam’s well-intentioned, but miserably failing attempts to impress his soon-to-be in-laws. Each situation is hilarious and
outrageous. Worst Week is the broadcast TV version of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Though it’s hard to compare a sitcom stuck in the Tuesday 9:30pm timeslot to the genius of the Larry David, Worst Week provokes the same sort of forehead-slapping (or equivalent) reaction that one gets when observing a socially awkward train wreck. Although some of the plot can be a bit predictable, Kyle Bornheimer
as Sam ensures that the show has entertainment value: impressive for an actor who up until now has had only bit parts on various TV shows. Bornheimer plays Sam in such a way that you cannot help but forgive--and maybe even love--his ineptitude. He’s the ultimate nice guy who finishes last, at least in his in-laws’ eyes. His somewhat excessive impulse to bend over backwards for his in-laws just leads him into
a spiral of embarrassment and mishaps. However two episodes in, the rest of the show’s cast is forgettable, or replaceable at the very least. Sam’s fiancée, Melanie, is played by Erinn Hayes, another constant TV guest star, but unfortunately her role is much less entertaining. It seems that all of the characters that compose Melanie’s family were written to be two-dimen-
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Kyle Bornheimer (left), Erinn Hayes (center) and Nancy Lenehan star in CBS's new sitcom, Worst Week.
sional stand-ins who are so typical it’s hard for the audience to feel anything more than ambivalence towards them. Kurtwood Smith, who played the patriarch on That 70’s Show for all eight seasons, seems to have cornered television’s market for grumpy old fathers. However, he’s traded in his blue collar uniform of a plaid shirt and jeans for the more upper crust look of Judge Dick Clayton. With much of the show’s success riding on Kyle Bornheimer’s shoulders, it’s hard to judge how long this show will continue to entertain. The show’s day-by-day episodic set-up makes it feel a bit disjointed with a week between each episode. Since the show only focuses on what happens in one day without much of a re-cap of what happened in the last episode, it will be a challenge for writers to keep viewers interested. The style does not exactly lend itself to the development of an intriguing plot that motivates the viewer to watch weekly. However, for the viewer looking for a quick laugh without getting invested in a show, it would be hard for them to do better than Worst Week.
October 3, 2008
The Hoot 11
NEWS Union to conduct water bottle poll BY ALISON CHANNON Editor
The Student Union will conduct a poll beginning today to gauge student opinion regarding the use of plastic water bottles on campus, Union Vice President Adam Hughes ’11 said. “I’m doing a poll because I’ve been asked what students think so I’m going to ask students,” Union President Jason Gray ’10 commented. “We’ll take the results and bring them in front of the water bottle committee,” Hughes added. The committee, chaired by Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Jean Eddy, was charged by President Jehuda Reinharz to make a recommendation regarding a possible reduction of bottled water usage on campus by mid-October. Reinharz, who informed the university community of the committee creation in an e-mail at the end of August, has expressed support for a reduction in bottled water usage. “We’ve been advocating for a quite a while to look into the feasibility of reducing bottled water consumption,” Students for Environment Action president Matt Schmidt ’11 said. Last semester, SEA conducted an awareness campaign about the environmental impacts of bottled water waste. This semester, SEA distributed a free reusable water bottle to undergraduate students.
The Brandeis Brief PCE raises money for diabetes
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot
“We want to reduce bottled water consumption. I don’t think anyone is advocating for complete elimination,” Schmidt remarked. However, “before any final decision [is made],” he continued, “people want to make sure this is what students really want.” Committee member and former SEA president Stephanie Sofer ’09 stressed the importance of student votes. Thus far, “we haven’t been able to fully gauge student opinion on the water bottle issue.”
Reinharz, French explain $10 million budget shortfall BUDGET (from p. 1)
budget, French and his staff were forced to up the endowment draw to 5.4% and increase their use of donations to the university. Despite the shortfall, Reinharz assured the faculty that he would “strive to minimize the effects on faculty, students, and staff.” In making budget cuts, “we are trying to preserve as best we can the integrity of the academic enterprise and student life,” he said. He added that while some staff cuts will be made, no programs will be closed and no full-time professors will be laid off. Where possible, staff cuts will be “implemented immediately,” he said. French then urged expediency. “The longer we wait,” he said, “the more we have to cut.” He added, “I have to re-emphasize the uncertainty of all of this. We don’t know where this is going to go.” When asked if the $10 million shortfall estimate reflected a best or worse case scenario, he responded, “I don’t think it’s too optimistic and I don’t think it’s too pessimistic.” “I am asking the faculty and staff to behave as citizens of the university,” Reinharz said at the close of his presentation. “I do believe we can pull through this particular downturn in the economy.”
She continued, “a poll would provide the committee with information about how to best proceed.” “For SEA,” Schmidt said, “we’re looking for a big turnout and a big yes vote.” He added, “we’re just going to push really hard to let people know about the vote.” “The better the turnout, the better able the committee is to report on how to best and most appropriately proceed,” Sofer commented.
Members of Partners for Civic Engagement, Brandeis’ first living community for first-year students dedicated to community service, are participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes this weekend. The 5K walk is scheduled for this Saturday at 10 a.m. at the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell in Boston. Students in PCE spent the beginning of the semester working with the Prospect Hill Community Learning Center and helping promote Citizenship Week. The Walk to Cure Diabetes, a fundraising event to support research for a cure for Type 1 diabetes and its complications, is the first project they have planned and organized as a group. Leanne Ortbals ’12, who has been participating in the walk for eight years, and Sarah Michael ’12 are spearheading the project with the support of the hall’s Community Advisor Paul Balik ’10. “Organizing the walk has been a lot of fun,” said Michael. “It’s the first time we’ve organized something all together and I’m really excited to see how it turns out.” PCE students have been raising money for the event through dorm storming, tabling in Usdan,
and holding a fundraising competition between North Quad and Massell Quad. They have also created a web account for online donations. So far, PCE has raised over $3,000 for the walk. “Raising money and planning the walk has been really fun and rewarding,” said Ortbals. “It feels really good to work on a good cause with the people you live with.”
Donation establishes new IBS program Louis and Barbara Perlmutter ’56 have donated $5 million to the International Business School to establish the Perlmutter Institute for Global Business Leadership. The institute will focus on sharpening analytical decisionmaking skills. “The institute will act as a bridge between the theoretical and technical knowledge that the student masters in the class room, and the pragmatick skills needed for success in the rapidly changing world of business and finance,” Director of Communications Mathew Parillo wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot.
Union creates Office of Student Rights and Advocacy ORSA (from p. 1)
is looking for four students to serve alongside OSRA Director Laura Cohen ’09 as peer advisors in the areas of “Student Safety, Residence Issues, Academic Integrity and Speech and Protest.” Applications are due Oct. 7. Cohen could not be reached by time of print. “We’ve tried this in the past but it’s never been effective,” Gray said in an interview. Gray cited limited scope and not enough staff as problems the peer advisor model has faced in the past. “I’m not sure if [OSRA] is necessary,” said Director of Student Development and Conduct Erika Lamarre, “but I look forward to meeting the students and hopefully working with them.” “Students have questions all the time about their rights,” Gray countered. “Last year, [former Director of Student Conduct Advisors] Laura [Cohen] used to have so many people coming to her with questions without us even publicizing it.” He added, “I think that [the Office of] Student Life does a fine job in the conduct process. We’re just filling the gap for legitimate peer to peer advisory services.” “The peer engagement is huge,” Lamarre commented, “and I have been working with the [student members of the University Board of Student Conduct] to be more public about their role and to be educators.” She continued, “perhaps this Union group can work together with the UBSC to be a resource for students.” For students going through the process with the University Board of Student Con-
duct, OSRA “will provide…people with expertise to give them advice and assistance,” Gray said. OSRA members will also act as “policy advocates,” Gray explained. Throughout the course of the year, OSRA might make recommendations to Lamarre. “We’ve added capability,” said Gray. “We’ve also taken a step back to look at other rights issues as well.” While OSRA members are charged with advocacy for student rights, they will not serve as advocates or student lawyers in the conduct process. “My concern about the word advocacy [in the OSRA title] is that in the conduct process, students are their own advocates, but they can make use of advisors,” Lamarre stated. Gray explained that OSRA students will act as “passive advisor[s]” in UBSC conduct hearings. Along with answering specific student questions, OSRA will distribute ‘know your rights’ information cards to students in an effort to increase student knowledge about their basic rights on campus. Last year, concern about student rights was on the upswing with the release of the Student Bill of Rights and the controversy surrounding the conduct hearings of TYP student Mamoon Darwish, who was charged with participation in a fistfight and another undisclosed charge. Darwish, who was suspended and barred from campus for nearly two months, alleged that his right to due process and procedural fairness was denied in his initial hearing before the UBSC.
Darwish later appealed his sanctions and was allowed back on campus in April. Current OSRA Director Laura Cohen served as advisor to Darwish during his UBSC and University Board of Appeals hearings process last semester. Darwish’s case, and its alleged mismanagement, became a cause celebre for the issue of student rights. A demonstration protesting his treatment was held in April. “It’s all intertwined,” Gray said, but the creation of OSRA “isn’t intended to be a response [to the Darwish case].” However, he added, “both the Student Bill of Rights and Mamoon primed in students’ minds questions of rights.” While Gray would not call OSRA a “response or a follow up to either” the Student Bill of Rights or the Mamoon Darwish case, when asked if the existence of OSRA might prevent the occurrence of another case similar to Darwish’s, Gray responded, “absolutely. The more knowledge students have about their rights, the better chances the system works fairly.” In reference to the Darwish case, Lamarre remarked, “there was a lot of misinformation and mythology about the conduct process that came out of certain events last year.” “If this group can do something to clear up misunderstandings and mythology, I’m all for it,” she said. “Oftentimes students are misinformed about their rights,” Gray commented, “if you’d had a ‘know your rights’ info card, it’s possible some problems wouldn’t have occurred.”
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