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the VOL. 7, ISSUE 5

virtual life after death As Facebook and MySpace users pass on, what becomes of their online accounts?

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Matzoball Pong

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Year of the tiger

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CRAVING CURRY?


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THE WEEKLY MEMO Week five is a time for staying alive because even though we’re stuck in the muck of midterms and job applications and internship interviews and blah blah blah blah blah, think about this—we’re still in college, where we have six months to three years left of not having to be in the real world with bills and mortgages and TIME-LIFE compilations. Who cares if you get a ‘C’ on a test? In five years, you won’t remember when you’re trying to avoid those eviction notices and denial of service letters because you know none of us are getting jobs. This week Tania Karas gives us a fascinating look at death in the 21st century, and how Facebook is used as a living memorial for our dearly departed. Phil Jacobson gives us a profile of Julia Brook, super SEED representative, Megan Crepeau interviews Jemina Pearl of the recently broken-up punk band Be Your Own Pet, and food columnist Matthew Alfonso takes us on an ethical journey through a Chicago slaughterhouse. Additional columns, reviews and events can be found online at dailynorthwestern.com/the-weekly, where we are still endeavoring to make our Web presence known. Life may be hard, but Northwestern isn’t. Stay warm, stay strong, and we’ll be happier when the midterms of our discontent are over.

SURVEY IN NORRIS NU’s un-public grievance The bewildered looks were response enough from the students milling around Norris, but the numbers are clear: A large majority of Northwestern students seem to find the idea of connecting with a friend post-mortem to be pretty grotesque. Few mentioned they had seen it happen, witnessed others use the Internet as a way to revere and remember a friend who had passed, but most doubted it was something they would ever do. Except, of course, in the case of celebrity. “Does Michael Jackson’s fan page count?” one respondent asked.

Have you ever written on the Facebook wall of a deceased person?

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NO

YES

That’s a bit creepy

it’s a technologyage eulogy

JEREMY GORDON

EDIT OR IN CHIE F

ART DI R E C T O R

MANAGING EDIT OR

ASSI STA N T A RT D I R E C T O R

A S SIS TANT EDIT ORS

COPY E D I T O R

jeremy gordon jeremygordon2007@u.northwestern.edu sara peck sarapeck@u.northwestern.edu coco keevan cocok@u.northwestern.edu margaret rhodes margaret-rhodes@northwestern.edu

brittney wong bwong@u.northwestern.edu jaimie vaillancourt j-vaillancourt@u.northwestern.edu jennifer haderspeck j-haderspeck@u.northwestern.edu

contact the weekly at 847.491.4901 l send confirmed and denied tips to the managing editor want to join our staff? e-mail our editor in chief l A weekly supplement to The Daily Northwestern

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the

HEAD FIRST

Blending Bubbe’s matzo ball soup with good ol’ collegiate pong

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t was with a bit of trepidation that I agreed to attend Hillel’s Soup n’ Solo Cups event. It wasn’t that the idea did not appeal to me. I just never thought these two worlds would collide. Like a good college student, I’ve played my fair share of beer pong. Like a good Jew, I’ve eaten my fair share of matzo ball soup. But combining the two? Never. Frightening scenarios flashed through my head on the walk over to Hillel: Me, trapped as an unprepared contestant in a high-stakes souppong tournament, bringing the whole team down when I fail to make the final crucial point. Or, even worse: I, as the newbie, would be forced to drink everyone’s cups of lukewarm, unappetizing soup as a way of proving my dedication to the team, caught in an endless cycle of pong balls and bottomless soup cups. These fears, however, were assuaged as soon as I walked into Hillel. In the front lounge, kids sat in front of the blaring TV screen, eating from steaming bowls of matzo ball soup while animatedly discussing the broadcasted basketball game. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, and the soup seemed even more appealing after coming from the freezing temperature outside. I was quickly greeted by Rachel Zinn, the girl seated at the front desk and one of the organizers of the event. Maybe she noticed I felt a bit disoriented because, before I knew it, she was helping me find my way to the kitchen to receive my share of matzo ball deliciousness while somehow simultaneously introducing me to other Hillel-ers. Though all the students there seemed to know each other, each made sure I felt included, which seemed to be the whole point of the event. Rachel mentioned Hillel has a social event like this monthly, and the idea for this particular one came about in a brainstorming session. “Everyone likes matzo ball soup,” she said, “especially when it gets cold.” And to have said soup be homemade? A bo-

the weekly

nus. Though I wasn’t expecting to have matzo ball soup just like Bubbe makes it, it came pretty close. After socializing for a bit, I knew I had to confront the real challeng: pong. At first I was comforted by the fact that each pong-table was totally empty, a ghost-town of vacant college drinking games. It seemed the other kids were just as intimidated by the game as I was. It was up to me to get things going. After rallying together a half-hearted partner and opposing team, I suggested we first try the game using cups of water instead of soup. That way, we could have a practice round before taking off the training wheels and entering the big leagues. Sadly, the trial round did nothing to hide the fact that I am a terrible pong player. Even the non-threatening cups of water couldn’t distract from my lack of precision, focus and overall coordination. Normally I’m embarrassed to showcase my skills (or lack thereof), but the other players were supportive, only throwing a few playful jabs. After finally getting some sort of rhythm, I felt ready to tackle the soup cups. The first few plays went fine, meaning that neither side made it in. Eventually, however, my opponents landed a ball into a cup of murky soup, a lukewarm substance that was far more appealing when it had been initially laid out. After carefully examining the pong ball floating in the oily liquid, we all agreed that perhaps water was a more fitting (and sanitary) substitute. This life-decision was only further driven home when I pulled the pong ball out of the soup and traces of the broth clung to it. While other groups might have decided this was a signal to call it a day, not Hillel. Everyone just laughed it off and kept on socializing, showing that perhaps the most important part of this Soup n’ Solo Cups event was neither the soup or the game, but rather the people that gathered around to play it. SARAH SPIELBERGER

confirmed

& denied

PIKE/LODGE 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO Folks, we know we keep writing about Kappa, but darn it, those gals just love to get into the gossip column. We hear their Gone Greek Night at Debonair Social Club with Pike was a typical blast, with dancers allegedly on tables, pledges reportedly passed out and maybe a few fights—you know the business. One birthday girl celebrating her big 21 got a little too much gas in her tank, and on her way out of the club, fell down in the parking lot and left her shoes. “I don’t know all of the details,” she says, “because I sadly, got sent home.” In lighter news (and it’s always light when it comes to this), Pike and Lodge got in another fight. Apparently this fight came about when some Lodges showed up to Debonair looking to whisk a few Kappa girls away to the Underground, another Chicago club, when the Pikes said, “Nuh uh!” and let those fists fly. One Kappa says she heard someone yell that a Lodge guy got hit by a car, but thankfully, that just turned out to be overheard hyperbole. Nothing got bruised but egos, but can we say that Round 2 of the Pike-Lodge Wars goes to Pike? After all they got stepped to and stepped back quite hard. Word? Word.

Greeks were looking for ways to liven up their Friday night, open bar or not. Fortunately South Campus kids had a reason to come out with the semi-quarterly Xanadu party, thrown by a motley crew of ex-CRC kids who have a giant house to make all of our party dreams come true. This time, there was an extra special surprise: Minnesota’s Koo Koo Kanga Roo, a rap duo who makes party music for kids that pretty much anyone can get in on, were playing the event, ready to make NU students have some fun. “It was rad,” says one party-goer. “Koo Koo had a crazy dance floor set up—lasers and fog machines and real nice speakers. Everybody was on the dance floor, leaving the other rooms pleasantly uncrowded.” Koo Koo started their set at midnight, but you know what happens next: Cops showed up, apparently looking to bust one of the only non-GGN parties around, but one of the owners of the house was able to distract them long enough for the band to finish their first set before everyone had to vamoose. On the way out, Koo Koo blasted “I Fought the Law” from their speakers as everyone retreated to other apartments to get even drunker because come on, it was barely midnight! Hey 5-0, can’t the party car be put to better uses than ruining our fun?

THAT XANADU VOODOO YOU DO Who says Greeks get to have all the fun? While frat stars and sorority gals were debauching themselves, the non-

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02.04.10

the weekly

TRUE LOVE WAYS

After the sudden death of her brother, a writer struggles for direction

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t 4 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2003, the world as I had known it for the first 13 years of my life shattered and fell all around me. I woke up to the sounds of my father’s moans of pain and my mother’s sobs downstairs. I heard the urgency in my father’s voice as he pleaded with two men whose voices I couldn’t recognize. “I want to go pick up my son… I need to go get him…” Out of fear and confusion, I stayed in my bed—some part of me knew what had happened, but for the time, I was content with my oblivion. After an hour of restless speculation, I finally knew I could no longer delay what could only be tragic news. I slowly descended the stairs, my heart pounding, and walked into the light of the kitchen. I kept reminding myself what I had heard my father saying an hour earlier. If he wanted to pick up my big brother from college, something must have happened to one of his friends. It couldn’t be my brother was hurt. But then why the two police officers? The Rabbi? The priest? And why was my mother broken in the corner? Why couldn’t my dad look at me? I finally broke the silence. “Daddy? What’s going on?” He looked up at me with anguish in his eyes and said, “Rachel, Scot’s been in an accident.” “But he’s okay, right?” This time, the first I could remember, my father couldn’t give me an answer. My stomach dropped, and my head began to spin. I didn’t feel sadness, I didn’t feel anger—I couldn’t feel anything at all. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry. The night before, around 10 p.m., my brother

SOCIAL DIARY

“I’VE GROWN TO REALIZE THAT THE ONLY WAY I CAN TRULY SHOW RESPECT FOR MY BROTHER’S MEMORY IS TO EXUDE HIS CONFIDENCE, HIS STRENGTH, HIS LOVE OF LIFE.” had been with one of his friends on their way to a party in an area of campus with which they weren’t familiar. They were going to a party to celebrate a teammate’s 21st birthday. The friend he was with was on the phone, getting directions from the birthday boy. They were in the backyard of a fraternity house on the scenic Cornell University campus and heard one of the fraternity brothers in the house yelling, “This is private property. You’re trespassing!” Knowing my brother, he probably made some smart-aleck retort before asking his friend where to go next. They were told to hop a fence into the next yard. My brother jumped a meagerly constructed splitrail fence. Within seconds, the fraternity brother, who moments ago had yelled at my brother and his friend instead of warning them about what lay in the darkness beyond the fence, ran to Scot’s friend and physically restrained him from

following suit. My talented, overprotective, incessantly happy older brother had mistakenly hopped the wrong fence. Instead of landing safely on the other side in the next yard, he had fallen 150 feet into one of the signature gorges of Cornell’s campus. He broke his neck and died instantly. The next years of my life were the most painful, darkest times I have ever lived through. Grief after loss is a hard thing to explain. It’s not just an emotional experience. It feels like your heart, your body, is being constantly torn apart in a million directions. There is a physical pain, an emptiness, in the pit of your stomach you hope will finally leave you, but you can’t imagine it ever will. At the tender age of 13, I was experiencing such complex emotions I didn’t think I could live. In fact, through high school, I didn’t really want to. I couldn’t talk to my parents, and the numerous

grief counselors I met with couldn’t help me. They couldn’t understand how I felt—they saw my grief as normal, but how could it be? They didn’t know Scot, my hero, my friend, my role model. They didn’t care that he was a brilliant man on the way to doing spectacular things, or that he was a member of Cornell’s championship wrestling team, or that when I cried he would distort his face into an unnaturally hilarious face until my tears were from laughter and not sadness. What they didn’t realize was that he wasn’t just anyone—he was MY brother. And I couldn’t comprehend a future that didn’t include him. Why was I left behind when he was the one who was special? Alone as I felt I was, I somehow persevered. Eventually, I made it to college. I grew from a frizzy-haired, awkward, depressed high school student into a happy, fun-loving young adult. It’s hard for me to say exactly how I moved on with my life after feeling so lost and helpless, but I’ve grown to realize the only way I can truly show respect for my brother’s memory, and allow him to live on within myself, is to exude his confidence, his strength, his love of life. That’s not to say I don’t still have nights where I just curl into a ball and cry myself to sleep, or moments where that hollowness inside of me returns, but those times are fewer and farther between. It’s gotten easier to enjoy my life, even with all I know is missing from it, because I’ve finally come to realize the loss of a loved one is not something you ever get over. Rather, it’s something you come to live with because you realize there are other things worth living for. RACHEL ELWOOD

[Flatbread and library theft with a Communication senior]

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01 monday

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Wednesdays, I treat myself to a Subway flatbread sandwich. It makes me feel healthy, though I get three cookies. If the Subway is next to my house, I’m not doing the walking component of the Subway diet, just the eating component. If I’m only doing half the diet, I’ll lose half the weight. Jared lost like 100 pounds, so I’ll probably lose 50 by the end of the quarter. Flawless logic. Math is easy.

I hope no one else is in the house tonight. I want to watch X-Men cartoons alone in my room—no disturbances. Or, maybe there’s a new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. That Charlie has such a funny voice. Too much of my life revolves around TV. Living before TV probably sucked. Or living in that time when only a few shows were on, like I Love Lucy. That probably sucked, too.

I hope the Gone Greek Night songs go well tonight. The first drafts were blatantly vulgar and not clever. The pledges are so incompetent. Why am I so much wittier than everyone else? GGN should be fun. Oh, wait. I don’t drink or hook up. Even if a slobbertunity presented itself, I doubt I’d do anything about it. I shouldn’t have joined a fraternity. But then I’d have no friends.

My mom e-mailed me to tell me it’s my grandfather’s birthday. I wonder how he’s doing but not enough to call him. I’ll sign up for a DM canning shift tomorrow to make myself feel like a better person. My partner will be so proud of me. She’ll probably show her gratitude by breaking up with her boyfriend of three years and offering me sexual gratification. Probably.

This upcoming week is the first time I’ve had three midterms in one week. Also, this is the first quarter I’ve kept up with my reading. What a fortunate coincidence. Does the fact that I’m a senior and doing all my schoolwork make me a loser? Maybe I should hang out more. Shouldn’t pressures at Northwestern prompt me to do more work, not less? What was I talking about? Oh, yeah… cake.

I haven’t eaten lunch at any sororities in a while. Am I becoming less social without realizing it? Documenting my life makes me seem unproductive and anti-social. Life is good, though. I have a great living situation and no reason to complain. Plus, I just got hired as a Saferide driver and an ASB site leader. Plus, I’m a Caucasian in the U.S. with an education and a good family. Yeah, life rocks.

I have so many responsibilities for such a young boy. Thank God I don’t have a girlfriend I have to spend time with. Yeah, it’s my choice to not have a girlfriend ‘cause of my busy schedule. Oh, crap. I forgot to return my library books. I don’t think those detectors actually work. Maybe I’ll test them tonight and try to steal a bunch of library materials in my backpack. I’ll just say I forgot if I get caught.

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the psychology of postmortem facebook by tania karas

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hen Northwestern freshman Trevor Boehm died in November 2008, friends and family members flocked to a common gathering spot to mourn together and share their disbelief: Facebook. It was all many of them could do, since his three older sisters were back home in Monument, Colo., and high school friends were away at colleges all over the United States. Initially reported missing by his parents when they arrived for Parents’ Weekend and couldn’t locate him, 20-year-old Boehm’s body was found several days later in Lake Michigan near Chicago’s Montrose harbor. News of a candlelight vigil and two funerals, one at Northwestern and one at home, were spread through the “Rest in Peace Trevor Jon Boehm” memorial group on Facebook. Many friends posted photos in the group or wrote messages on his personal page, expressing their grief and saying how much they would miss him. But more than a year after his death, Trevor Boehm’s Facebook friends are still writing to him, updating him on Nip/ Tuck episodes he’s missed and Thai dinners he couldn’t attend. “Writing on his Facebook gives me a way to communicate with him because I feel like somehow he knows what’s being written,” says Ali Boehm, his older sister. “I go on there whenever I have a memory or thought of him. It’s a good outlet for just proactively communicating with him.” As Facebook and other social networking Web sites become more important to human interaction, these technologies are changing the way people cope with loss. In a world where our digital lives are as real those offline, a person’s Facebook profile postmortem is a virtual open casket. Loved ones and friends write memories of the person on their wall, post photos and create tribute groups. There are no real estimates on how many Facebook or MySpace users are no longer living, and the Web sites don’t disclose such information. But a search of Facebook groups titled “In Memory of…” turned up more than 55,000 results, and a search for “Rest in Peace…” turned up more than 14,000. For the generation that spent high school on MySpace and college on Facebook, it’s only natural to seek out the Web in times of need. Carla Sofka, professor of social work at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., says this is healthy and normal. “It’s fascinating that this generation has found a new way to cope with death,” says Sofka, who also wrote a chapter in the recently released book “Adolescent Encounters With Death, Bereavement, and Coping.” “They see Facebook as an extension of how they communicate with each other. And when somebody dies, it’s just a place that’s natural to go. It’s an incredibly comforting way for them to feel connected and cope with absence.” Unlike sites such as Legacy.com and CaringBridge.org, where people write their condolences to bereaved family members and close friends, those grieving on Facebook tend to write directly to the deceased. NU senior Serene Chen, a close friend of Trevor’s, frequently visits his Facebook tribute group to view photos of him. She and Trevor met on a CATalyst trip his freshman year and often took walks together around the Lakefill. When Chen reminisces about those times, she logs on Facebook and reads through messages others have written him before leaving her own. “I don’t think when I post on his wall that he’s on the computer in Heaven somewhere reading it,” Chen admits. “But I do believe the thought gets to him somehow, and I don’t care if other people see it.”

Maintaining a connection to someone

after he or she has died is known as a continuing bond, a concept developed in the mid-90s to describe people’s tendency to stay connected with the dead. In the pre-technology days, this meant going to the cemetery and having a conversation with the person, talking to their photo or going into their bedroom. Sites like Facebook and MySpace have created a new proxy for the old-fashioned ways people maintained relationships with the dead. Jocelyn DeGroot, a researcher at Southern Illinois University-

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Edwardsville, who studied group dynamics among 20 Facebook memorial groups, says such communication is therapeutic because it’s natural, especially when this is the way we communicate with living friends. “They’ll write, ‘Oh I just wanted to tell you I just got engaged.’ Or ‘Oh I wanted to tell you your brother looked so good at prom’,” DeGroot says. “If they were still alive, that’s the one person they’d want to tell. So they write it on the wall. They’re well aware that the person is not going to respond to them—it just helps them cope. And sometimes they hope that they might get the messages somehow.” In October 2009, Facebook Head of Security Max Kelly posted a company blog entry reminding users of the profile “memorialization” policy, whereby sensitive information is removed from deceased users’ accounts, including contact information and status updates. Facebook also hides a profile from public search, blocking anyone from locating the profile of a deceased person except those Facebook users who were already their “friends” before the memorialization. This also locks the account from future log-ins. While the intentions behind profile memorialization may be good, the policy creates problems for family members or “next of kin” who wish to maintain the profile themselves. In Trevor Boehm’s case, his family has not requested profile memorialization, nor do they plan to in the future. Though Trevor Boehm did not give them his password, they are still able to access his account by using their home computer, where his username and password are saved on their Web browser. When he initially was reported missing, Ali Boehm posted a status update to his profile asking friends to e-mail her with any information on his whereabouts. “The act of being able to put something on his page that alerted all his friends made it feel like we were doing something proactive all the way from Colorado,” Ali Boehm says, even though the status change turned up no leads.

But taking our grieving online may not

be such a new thing at all, says B.J. Fogg, director of the Persuasive Techonology Lab at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and author of the upcoming book, “The Psychology of Facebook.” It is a modern twist on an old ritual, creating a central space for people to mourn together that wouldn’t otherwise be possible in an increasingly mobile society. “In some ways Facebook is bringing us back to what we used to do,” Fogg says. “It’s like when people congregate in funeral homes after someone dies, and they exchange stories. Before people used to live and die in the same small town. Now people are scattered all over the place. Facebook gives us a place to share our grief.” Though personal messages to the deceased eventually decrease in number over the months and years, people still come back on birthdays, holidays and anniversaries of the death. The surprisingly personal nature of such public messages helps others feel they are not alone. The sociologist Erving Goffman, who used a theater metaphor to explain most human behavior, would have called this “front stage” communication. Goffman says there’s a distinction between how people present themselves—their front stage behavior—and how they truly feel, which is typically kept backstage and hidden from one’s personal audience. Grief and loss are largely backstage emotions, hidden under the mask of our everyday routines. Unlike love, which is apparent to others through hand-holding and affectionate gestures, no one can see grieving. Facebook brings our feelings to the front stage, making it easy for others to see that we, too, are hurting. Typically this display of mutual loss is a kind of support only available right after people die, says Soyka. “(A funeral) brings people together to cry on each others’ shoulders and tell funny stories and laugh together,” Soyka says. “That’s when the support happens, at the funeral. That’s when people help each other deal with sadness. But they don’t have to be in the same physical building for this to happen. They can still be helping each other grieve if it takes place in cyberspace.” Long a taboo in American culture, talking about death and grief is becoming more common in cyberspace. Online support groups have been proven to be beneficial: People who post to these groups, whether using their true identity or remaining anonymous, feel a sense of mutual grief in online communities where they feel the support and con-

cern of others. Facebook and MySpace hold similar benefits, except that they are more personal because all members of a tribute group or those who are “friends” with a deceased person are dealing with the same loss. Soyka says such online grieving has the potential to be equally helpful to face-to-face mourning.

After Trevor’s body was discovered in

Lake Michigan, the Boehms decided as a family they would leave his profile the way

granted deceased users’ families. But the situation raises a crucial question: Who owns the content we post on our social networking accounts? It’s a tricky question, one that digital privacy experts are still struggling to answer. The more often we go online, the more likely we are to claim ownership of the content we post ourselves. But by their terms and conditions, most social networking sites are the owners of any user-generated content. This enables them to remove or change

In a world where our digital lives are just as real as those offline, a person’s Facebook profile postmortem is a virtual open casket. he left it—his default photo, a picture of two light-up engagement rings from Wal-Mart, is the same, and his “About Me” still says, “Thug means never having to say you’re sorry.” Ali Boehm says she and Trevor’s mother have occasionally logged on to his account to accept friend requests from people who had not yet added Trevor on Facebook or childhood friends who had lost contact with him over the years and found out about his death recently. Other than that, they have mainly left the page untouched. But under memorialized profile settings, they would be unable to log in to the account. “It’s kind of sad because if something were to happen to that computer, we no longer have access,” Ali Boehm said. “We try to hold onto all the pieces of him that we can. That’s a piece of him that we still have.” The Boehms have contacted Facebook’s Help Center to try to obtain the password, but Facebook responded that it is against their policy to give out the passwords of deceased users. Facebook’s terms of use, however, say nothing about granting access to the next of kin in the event of a user’s death or incapacitation— only that users may not transfer their accounts to anyone without Facebook’s written permission. Facebook’s public relations chief Brandee Barker declined to comment on whether written permission has ever been

content at their discretion. When it comes to who gets a say in what happens to the accounts of deceased users, most sites’ terms of service are very loose on what happens to content they posted to the site. Facebook points to a privacy clause in its terms and conditions, which states Facebook is the owner of all content. Profiles of deceased users can be taken down or memorialized per the next of kin’s request if proof of death, such as a newspaper obituary, is provided. As part of memorialization, sensitive and personal information is removed, which often means artifacts that made a profile personal to one user, like “25 things About Me” notes they had written or their “What’s your Jersey Shore nickname?” quiz results. Over the past few years, sites like LegacyLocker.com, VitalLock and others have cropped up to provide a means of protecting one’s digital assets after death. In April 2009, Jeremy Toeman launched LegacyLocker.com, where people can store online account passwords and other “digital assets” like domain names to be sent to selected individuals after they die. Toeman says he founded the site in response to a lack of legal means of transferring one’s digital properties to next of kin the way one can give away their house, car and jewelry. “We recognize it’s highly unlikely for social

networking sites to offer post-life service,” Toeman says. “In fact executives at those sites will point to us to provide those services for people. If you take a look at Facebook’s terms of service, Facebook owns my profile, not I. Even for sites like Google and Yahoo, it’s their property that we have a license to use. We don’t foresee any changes in their policies anytime soon.” But third-party sites have no say in the privacy policies of the social networking sites they service. Even if Trevor Boehm had used a site like LegacyLocker.com to transfer his Facebook account password to his family, Facebook’s terms and conditions ultimately dictate what happens to the account. Toeman says it may take a lawsuit or aggressive legal action for such policies to change. The messages people write on a Facebook wall are surprisingly deep and sensitive, much more emotional than they would be had they been written in person. Mario DeCiccio, 34, created a Facebook group for his only sister Sheri Weiss Coleman and her two young sons, who were all murdered in their Columbia, Ill., home in May 2009. The group, “In Memory Of Sheri Ann, Garett and Gavin,” has been a source of comfort for its nearly 4,000 members. In the group’s first weeks online, however, people were using the site to bash the family’s husband and father, who was charged with their murder and is still awaiting trial. “When the group was first created, some people used it to express their anger towards the accused,” Weiss said. “A few of Sheri’s close friends and I made it abundantly clear that we did not want that to occur. We want the group to be used in a positive way out of pure respect for my sister and the kids.” DeCiccio also said the Facebook group has been a place where he can learn stories

about his sister and nephews that he wouldn’t have known otherwise. On the tribute group, he has posted messages asking group members to share memories. He has also posted several photos he retrieved from the Coleman household, asking people if they knew the stories behind the photos. The group provides a central forum where anyone who knew the Colemans can help identify such memories. For Chen, Facebook helped give her a window into what Trevor’s life and childhood was like before the tumultuous college years. “When I go on Facebook to see what other people posted, I got to know Trevor better,” she said. “There are posts from his friends from home and random people he’d met over the years. It was interesting to see how people perceived him and their friendships with him. And just to see how many people remembered him and are affected by one person’s life.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALI BOEHM

this weekend in music

@ P I C K - S TA I G E R FRIDAY RIDAY SATURDAY 5 6 Symphonic Wind Ensemble Pick-Staiger, 7:30 p.m. $7/5/4 Mallory Thompson, conductor Ralph Vaughan Williams, Scherzo alla Marcia from Symphony No. 8 in D Minor Steven Stucky, Funeral Music for Queen Mary (after Purcell) William Bolcom, First Symphony for Band Olivier Messiaen, Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum

FEB. 5 - 7, 2010

7

SUNDAY

Sound, Breathing, and Articulation Techniques for All Woodwinds: A Master Class with Keith Underwood Regenstein Recital Hall, 10:30 a.m. Free Flutist and teacher Keith Underwood is a soloist with the ensembles Parnassus and Ufonia and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, the American Composers’ Orchestra, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He is known for his teaching through breathing methods and the Alexander Technique, and many of his pupils are now members of celebrated orchestras throughout the United States and abroad. In this master class, he will coach accomplished woodwind students from the Bienen School of Music.

Alice Millar Birthday Concert Alice Millar Chapel, 3 p.m. Freewill offering Alice Millar Chapel Choir and soloists Members of the Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra Stephen Alltop, conductor W. A. Mozart, Requiem, Symphony No. 41 in C Major (“Jupiter”), and Intrada and Fugue in C Major for Organ

Northwestern University Guitar Ensemble Lutkin Hall, 7:30 p.m. $7/5/4 Anne Waller, conductor Symphonic Wind Ensemble

Alice Millar Chapel Choir

Enjoy an evening of music by G. F. Handel, Fernando Sor, Igor Stravinsky, and Roland Dyens.

BIENEN SCHOOL OF MUSIC N O R T H WE S T E R N U N I VE R S I T Y TICKETS : 847.467.4000 O R W W W . P I C K S TA I G E R . O R G


6

02.04.10

ABOUT TOWN

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Seeing red: gearing up for Chinese New Year

The sensations of the slaughterhouse

N

eeding pork belly, I awoke early to make a farmer’s market before it closed. At the time, I wasn’t aware of the lack of variety you’ll often find—lots of apples in my case—and zero pork belly. The one pig farmer, whose pork tenderloins I reluctantly bought out of some tacit pay-for-play agreement, suggested Fulton Market. I caught a cab MATTHEW ALFONSO from the famer’s market and ended up underneath an El stop west of the Loop. On the street, two white-coated men pressure-cleaned a sidewalk. One of them peered after me as I hurried past, trying to feign familiarity with the block. Glancing back I saw him motion toward an entrance. Here was an invitation to the source. Some context: Once a “city within a city� of slaughterhouses and wholesalers, Fulton Market is now home to a smattering of contemporary American restaurants like The Publican. Boasting a hip awareness of ingredient sourcing, The Publican lists farms of origin next to all of their dishes. I’m doubtful any of their meat passes through El Cubano Wholesale. I entered the warehouse, prepared to be so moved I would one day script “The Jungle II.� Men, uniformly Hispanic, circulated through the chilled air, the white of their coats stained with brownish smudges of dried blood. In the moment, I wondered what it would be like disassembling animals on an assembly line, all day. Could it be satisfying, like cutting into meat in the kitchen? Or was it just a vaguely sickening drudgery? To be a real “man of the

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knife,� or a cook even, did one need to relish this sort of stuff? My mind flashed to countless chefs extolling the pleasure of rare meat and the importance of knowing where it comes from, specifically Gordon Ramsay. I was siphoned into a side room, where heaps of meat had been sorted and stacked. All together they gave the appearance of scraps. I motioned towards the pile of pork belly. A mustachioed man hurriedly picked up a slab, with its pale, rubbery flesh still very much attached. “Cut?� he asked absentmindedly, with a heavy accent. “Sure.� Apparently, “cut,� meant “just about mince.� He pushed the slab into the table saw and sliced the belly into cubes, rendering the meat almost useless for my purposes. From there, the mustachioed man picked up my pork belly chunks and through them in what looked like a CVS bag. Mildly horrified, I wandered over to a cash register. No one seemed concerned about the unwrapped meat spoiling. Perhaps meat is actually a lot less prone to spoiling than I believed, and I was just being squeamish. Or, perhaps, the spoiling of my pork belly didn’t concern these men at all. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hang out with guys that cut up carcasses in a refrigerated setting all day. I emerged onto the street, jerking my head about to find a cab. I spotted The Publican out of the corner of my eye and wondered about its handling of meat. Did the scene in The Publican’s kitchen ever come close El Cubano Wholesale, just a stone’s throw away? I hailed a cab and took the agonizingly long ride home to Evanston, periodically peering into my shopping bag.

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the weekly

Every year, at the start of the first lunar month, the Chinese New Year begins. Also known as Spring Festival, it’s a 15-day celebration that begins with elders giving little red envelopes filled with money for children and eating uncut noodles for longevity and ends with the traditional Lantern Festival. Join in the tradition and spend Sunday in red clothes to scare off the mythical Nien, a beast that steals food and livestock and attacks children. Or just brave the cold and head downtown for some of the special day’s events. Celebrasia Show Saturday, Feb. 13 Looking for a fun way to celebrate Chinese New Year on campus? Northwestern’s Chinese Student Association and Taiwanese American Students Club join forces for the annual Celebrasia show, bringing performances from our very own ReFresH Dance Crew and special guests including the EMC Monkeys and Team Millenia (from America’s Best Dance Crew). After the show, enjoy delicious Chinese food all included in the price of admission. 7—10 p.m. Tech Auditorium. $5 with WildCARD/$8 general admission. Chinese New Year Dinners Phoenix Restaurant and Lao Sze Chuan Sunday, Feb. 14 Phoenix Restaurant, 2131 S. Archer Ave., is a Chinatown dim sum favorite. On Feb. 14, come and savor the Chinese New Year feast! Bring your appetite and your wallet; Phoenix is offering fixed-price, 10-person dinners at $350 and $450. The first menu consists of 10 courses and lists fried shrimp balls, crispy skin chicken and—for the adventurous—pig and goose feet. The more extravagant $450 menu features 12 courses and delicacies like shark fin soup, a popular item from the Ming Dynasty. If you aren’t feeling that lavish and want some-

PHOTO BY HARLEY LANGBERG

thing on the simpler side, go for Lao Sze Chuan. Try the crispy-skinned Peking duck or the fonduestyle Hot Pot, a dish with boiled raw meats and vegetables in a warm broth. Red line to Cermak-Chinatown. Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade Sunday, Feb. 14 The annual Chinese New Year Parade features marching bands, elaborate floats, lion dance teams and a 100-foot long paper, silk and bamboo dragon. As you watch the parade move down Wentworth, from 24th Street to Cermak Road, you will feel like you have been transported back to ancient China. Red line to Cermak-Chinatown. Activities at 11:30 a.m., parade at 1 p.m. Free. Chinese New Year at Navy Pier’s Crystal Gardens Sunday, Feb. 14 If the long trip south to Chinatown is a bit much for you, head to Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., for a more mid-town celebration. The event kicks off with lion dances and martial arts demonstrations. The day continues with choral singing, traditional Chinese instrument demonstrations and a fashion show. Red line to Grand; Walk east on Grand Avenue. Noon—5:30 p.m. Free. HARLEY LANGBERG


7

02.04.10

the weekly

CULINARY BREAKDOWN Spicing it up with Chicago’s best Thai curry about $13—but the change of scenery and spicy curry is well worth it. We sampled the chicken Panang curry, stewed in coconut milk and topped off with some authentic Thai à la Kefir leaves. The Panang is mildly spicy and on the thin side, so the faint of palate need not fear—this dish won’t mandate pitchers of ice water. An added bonus: Noodle Garden delivers anywhere in Evanston. 1239 Chicago Ave. More tried-and-true favorites:

fiery punch. The lava-red color of the curry offsets the jasmine rice, making for a warm visual—and palatable—experience. Plus, if you’ve gotten sick of having to wear shoes all the time, a floor seating area completely with comfy chair cushions allows you to kick off those Doc Martens and stretch your legs out. You won’t even have to worry about errant children crawling under the table, as small children are explicitly not allowed in this section. You can also cleanse your palate with the heavenly non-dairy strawberry ice cream­­—that’s not an oxymoron—that will have you swearing off Coldstone forever. 3332 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL

Y ER AT IV S M EL RT A D TA :00 S 11

C E AV RT GI A IFI FT IL C A AT BL E E S

pTHAI CLASSIC We loved this authentic Thai restaurant in Lakeview, which offers more traditional curries than the typical pan-Asian fare. The house special is the Eggplant Massaman Curry (also available with chicken or beef), a mild coconut curry that throws together onions, potatoes, carrots, cilantro and a battered tempura-like eggplant in a scrumptiously sweet blend. We know you haven’t had eggplant since your mom wouldn’t let you watch Power Rangers before finishing your dinner but trust us—it’s delicious and affordably priced at $8.95. For a spicier dish, their Panang Curry with basil leaves packs a

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pKING OF THAI NOODLES & RICE This Edgewater joint, nestled between a strip of Asian bakeries and Vietnamese Pho eateries, is a casual, quick stop just off the Argyle Red Line stop. The Panang Curry with beef comes in a big bowl and though you have to order rice separately, it’s well worth having a base to pour the yellow, sweetly tinged blend upon. In spite of the not-so-thick curry sauce, there’s ample amounts of beef in the blend in case you get sick of vegetables. We didn’t try any of the other curries, like the Massaman and Green blends, as the waiter told us that Panang was the specialty, but there’s enough variety to mix-and-match with a friend. 1129 W. Argyle St., Chicago, IL NOODLE GARDEN Keeping it local shouldn’t restrict your curry cravings to the usual Evanston pan-Asian dishes. A flash on the El to Dempster or a jaunt down Chicago Avenue gets you to Noodle Garden, a townie favorite and alleged “hidden gem.” Located next door to the swanky-looking Union Pizzeria, Noodle Garden’s green awning is unsuspecting at first glance. The prices are a few dollars more than what you find at other local Thai places—

THAI SOOKDEE Thai Sookdee’s boasting rights come from their dirt-cheap prices: none of the curry dishes cost more than $10.95, and it’s so close you can walk yourself home. 1016 Church St. COZY NOODLE This kitschy standby is a student favorite, so next time stop by with a few jugs of wine break from tradition and order a curry dish. 1018 Davis St. THAI SPICE The menu here shakes things up a bit; you can get Panang chicken at our other selects, so try the traditional yellow Karee curry for $10.95. 1320 W. Devon Ave. INDIE CAFE Just north of campus lies this Asian-fusion, dimly lit venue. The Panang, served with baby corn, peas and carrots hits a spicy note and goes for $8.25. 5951 Broadway St. Jeremy Gordon and Margaret Rhodes

MAN ON THE BEAT JULIA BROOK, a Jill of all trades

H

er last name is Brook, and her personality bubbles like one. She talks like a river, a steady flow of words that might, if she gets going, move between streams of consciousness. She grew up by one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, and has an affinity for large bodies of water. Considering the ocean of campus activities in which she immerses herself, all of this is fitting. “I’m a person who resists being type-A but manages to hold onto a few type-A qualities,” Julia Brook says. “I try to balance them out by being really laid back and relaxed.” At Norris, Brook sits in front of a large floorto-ceiling windows showing Lake Michigan on a bright, grey day. The senior English major wears a crested navy blue jacket, a florally patterned blouse and a constant smile. She toys with an odd metal wing on a stand, a silver trophy her sorority gave her for saving Gone Greek Night when the original venue cancelled six hours before the event and she had to find another one. She just finished her tenure as Pi Beta Phi’s social chair, and she’s also Senior Week co-chair. Brook’s biggest commitment now, though, is her role in Students for Ecological and Environmental Development. As an Executive Board member and Senator for Associated Student Government, Brook serves as a link between the two organizations, filtering ideas from SEED, writing legislation and presenting it to ASG every Wednesday evening. This Wednesday she presented a bill about bringing reusable mugs to Norbucks. “I’m one of those people in Senate where I ask a lot of questions of other people, so whenever I present something, they grill me,” she says. “Fortunately environmental stuff isn’t highly contested, so we get most things through. It takes a little convincing on occasion, but in general most people don’t want to go against the

Photo by RAY WHITEHOUSE

environment.” Last year Brook helped bring about the Northwestern Sustainability Fund, which raises money for projects that reduce the university’s environmental impact. SEED and ASG members met with University President Morton O. Shapiro and laid out steps they wanted to see realized, which she says they’re taking now. Besides its efforts at Northwestern, SEED also does advocacy and volunteer work with various organizations. Brook participated in a program at the Gale School, 1631 W. Jonquil Terrace, Chicago’s only public school with a greenhouse, teaching kids how to plant herbs and grow flowers as well as tutoring them. Part of the reason Brook transferred from DePaul University after her freshman year was she didn’t like living in the heart of the city, and she attributes her love of the environment to growing up in Wisetta, a Minneapolis suburb, where recycling is big and sustainability education starts at an early age. She plans to combine that love with her other passion, law, into a career as an environmental lawyer. “I’m not one of those people who’s going to wear hemp clothing,” she says. “I’m not a vegan. But I genuinely care about the impact I’m leaving on whatever kind of future is in store for us. I think it’s more about caring what your personal impact is than about what people think of you and how you’re environmentally friendly.” PHIL JACOBSON


8

02.04.10

WHY WE LIKE

Late nights at Kingston Mines

Y

ou walk into Kingston Mines, and before you know it, you’re getting kicked out. This time, though, it’s not because your friend threw up everywhere. (Well, maybe it is for you.) But for us, it’s because once we enter this Chicago Blues landmark, it’s easy to forget to look at your watch. Before you know it, the lights are on, and you’re being told to get the hell out. One of Chicago’s oldest blues bars, Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., knows where to focus its attention. If you hate the blues, don’t bother going, because that’s all they’ve got. But even if you only kind of enjoy blues, you won’t be disappointed. The music is world-class and timeless, and the bands effortlessly rotate their playlist from crowd favorites to blistering 12-bar instrumentals. In fact many of the musicians have been appearing there for decades. We almost feel bad for some of these old guys—they often look like they really ought to be in a nursing home, not singing “I Got My Mojo Working� at 3 a.m. in a crowded bar. But sometimes no matter how old you are, you’ve got to stick to what you do well. And these guys do it very well. It’s hard not to fall for Kingston’s dive barcharm. A well-stocked, greasy kitchen, a functional Ms. Pac-Man machine and beer bucket specials all add to the grungy allure. Catfish burgers, nachos and barbequed ribs lay sprawled across every beer-soaked table. Rowdy yuppies and Chicago old-timers alike crowd the rooms. It’s a strange combination, but the crowds mix together seamlessly, drink heavily and dance shamelessly. The social atmosphere is contagious. The weekend is the time to go, but it’s damn hard to pass on the Sunday through Thursday college special (free admission with a student ID). Things can be quieter during the week, but that makes it easier to sit around and drink while the music plays on. And our favorite part about Kingston is the music never stops. As one band ends a set, the next one picks up on a second stage—back and forth all night as the crowd shuffles drunkenly between rooms. Kingston Mines is located in the heart of Lincoln Park, but it could really be anywhere. In fact the only indicators of what’s waiting inside are a dated sign, a bouncer and a disheveled box office. You have no idea what you’re about to walk into. But windowless and cavernous, Kingston sucks you into its universe, and like a well-run casino, it keeps you there until you’re broke. Sometimes it’s instantaneous, sometimes it takes an hour or two, but almost everyone eventually falls under the charm of the Mines. There’s just something irresistible about it. MIKE WEINBERG

ALMOST FAMOUS Jemina Pearl

Jemina Pearl has hit the road. The former lead singer of poppy, punky, hipster darling Be Your Own Pet went from messing around with high school bands in Nashville to seeing her band become a breakout star at South by Southwest music festival, sign with Thurston Moore’s record label and tour the world. Be Your Own Pet put out two records before breaking up in August 2008. Since then Pearl has been hanging out in Brooklyn and working on solo material. Last October saw the release of her first solo album, “Break It Up,â€? which featured guest appearances by Iggy Pop and Dave Sitek. Jemina Pearl will hit Chicago on Feb. 6 at Beat Kitchen. the weekly talked to Pearl on her tour bus, somewhere north of San Francisco and south of Sacramento, about the shift to solo work, the sudden success and abrupt breakup of her first band, and the trials of nascent rock stardom at the ripe old age of 22. ď ľ We all went to an arts magnet high school in Nashville. Me and Jamin (Orrall) and Jonas (Stein) had known each other awhile, and I was always bugging them to let me be in their bands. Then we just sort of played shows around Nashville, and Jamin’s dad thought we should take it further, we should get a manager,

LOW BROW

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JAY-Z “On to the Next One�

THE XX “VCR�

At the end of the song, Krist Novoselic, Nirvana’s bassist, throws his bass up in the air while Kurt Cobain staggers into the amplifiers and drowns himself in feedback. It’s stuff like that you don’t really notice when you listen to their songs on the radio. But what makes this video exceptional is that it shows a darker, more complicated side to Nirvana. Pay attention to Kurt’s face, and you’ll see he looks awkwardly unexcited. He’s playing to a huge crowd, and yet, his face would make you think he was about to cry. This video not only shows Nirvana putting on a great show, but also flashes warning signs of Cobain’s psychological instability. It’s a fascinating but heartbreaking video.

Jay-Z’s latest music video, “On to the Next One,� is one of the best videos I’ve ever seen: it’s artsy, it’s sexy, it’s ridiculously cool. Shot completely in black and white, the video effortlessly sums up everything undeniably awesome about Jay-Z, from his suave fashion style to his effortless braggadocio. A nifty thing is the way the lyrics sync up to the imagery Hov uses in the video—for example, when Jay-Z says “Cojones,� notice how the video shows a shot of glass balls. It’s funny, but it holds that vein of style that has made him such an icon. Oh, and did I mention Beyonce dances in the video—solo? Folks, ignore the haters—Jigga brings it full force, and this is another winner in a long list of video classics.

This music video is very hipster but very cute. Like “On to the Next One,� this video is also shot in black and white. However, it does have a vague plot: two scrawny, disheveled indie kids doing random stuff like ripping off wallpaper and throwing Molotov cocktails. Color finally fades into the music video right when they start making out, which looks pretty darn cool. This video reminds me of another fantastic video, M83’s “Graveyard Girl,� which also captures teen angst with honesty and artistry. While “Graveyard Girl� has a retro ’80’s feel, “VCR� feels like it’s set in a not-so-distant past. It’s as if the nostalgia of their relationship was solidified last week or yesterday—and made all the more special because of it.

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ANDREW CHO

CIERA Inaugural Lecture February 5, 2010 - 3:30 PM - Ryan Auditorium

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The Race for Habitable Worlds and Life in the Universe

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University of California, Berkeley

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COURTESY OF 2:30 PUBLICITY

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Music videos

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and then this really just all blew up in our faces. I don’t know. We went to SXSW in 2005 and everyone was like, “You’re the big breakout band,â€? and I was like, “What is this, this beast that got created?â€? We were kind of in the eye of the storm, with everything swirling around us. I always thought it was kind of ridiculous at the time. It was kind of like we were this little rabbit in the middle of the desert. ď ľ I didn’t break out, the band broke up! I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. I was the last to know. ď ľ It’s definitely strange to go to a gig and see your name be the headliner on the marquee. People will walk up to me and be like “So what’s your band called again?â€? And I’m like, “Uh ... it’s just my name.â€? ď ľ We were like 15, 16 when we started. When I was younger, I was like, “That’s not punk,â€? and as your tastes change, you get less closedminded as you get older. To stay and do the same thing over and over again, my brain would get very bored. ď ľ I watched my father struggle for years in the music industry. Both my parents are artists, they’re both kind of self-employed, but they did what they love, and that kind of encouraged me not to settle.

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the weekly

4711 W. Golf Rd., Ste. 403 Skokie, IL 60076

205 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 301 Chicago, IL 60601

Professor Geoffrey Marcy

Science Fiction has deluged us with images of our Milky Way Galaxy teeming with habitable planets and populated by advanced civilizations engaged in interstellar communication, commerce, and conflicts. Back in our real universe, Earth-like planets and extraterrestrial life have proved elusive. None has been found. This year, 2010, astronomers are launching the first searches for Earth-like worlds around other stars, using extraordinary telescopes on the ground and in space. A worldwide race for the first habitable worlds and extraterrestrial life has begun.

02_04_10 Weekly  

02_04_10 Weekly