VOL.6, ISSUE 8
ASSESSING OUR STYLE QUO VOL.6, ISSUE 8
READY TO FROCK ‘N ROLL TAKING TO THE WILDCATWALK
TASTIEST ACCESSORIES IN EVANSTON
THE WEEKLY MEMO It’s always irked me that we have such a humdrum style rap. The college guidebooks my younger sister is wading through have the same bleak style forecast as the tomes I read four years ago. According to the 2010 edition of Yale’s Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, the typical Wildcat is an “upper middle class prep, complete with Uggs and North Face-clad exteriors.” I’ll leave the socioeconomic part of that pigeonholing for another conversation or Memo, but have we truly been stuck in a style rut since 2006? For the weekly’s ﬁrst-ever fashion extravaganza issue, we’re trying to make sense of our school’s fashion landscape. Many of us seem to have transitioned, or at least rotated, from Uggs to Hunter rain boots since last fall (check out our breakdown of the unofﬁcial NU uniform in our cover spread). For full disclosure’s sake, I own both of the aforementioned items, as do many of the chicest students I spot on this campus. They (and I, as I’d like to hope) just try to integrate these functional staples with zanier vintage ﬁnds and thoughtful takes on experimental trends. Also for our cover, Dana Farber took some of those experimental trends for a test-run on the catwalk that is our campus — maybe you spotted her wearing lace bunny ears or serious shoulder padding by the Rock the other day. Whether our latest issue leaves you damning the proliferation of plaid, (re) considering a foray into the fashion industry after reading our What If or trying on a denim shirt just for kicks (more on that in Why We Like), I’d say we’ve done our job.
SURVEY IN NORRIS
NU: No runway
This might be one of our most surprising poll results yet. Of 100 students asked, 61 said “yes” to “Do you think Northwestern students are fashionable?” Two girls surveyed say they “struggle to keep up” with the fashion scene at NU, but others more appropriately voiced that “NU students are fashionable in their own way” and “there’s a crowd of fashionable people but a lot of others bring down the average.” Maybe those 61 only hang out in the fashionable circles, or more likely they suﬀer from some sort of color blindness making them incapable of seeing the shades of faux suede on all the boots tramping around campus. But for the majority of students surveyed, any objective observer would probably agree when we say it’s time to invest in an issue of Vogue.
Do you think Northwestern students are fashionable?
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A weekly supplement to THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN.
conﬁrmed THE ROCK GOES GREEN After one of our editors got herself on the unoﬃcial listserv of all the middle-aged graﬃti artists who shaped the Chicago graﬃtI scene in the ’80s, she’s learned lots of useless gossip but ﬁnally something useful: eco-friendly spray paint. Chicago graﬃti artists are going green. (Maybe they were inspired by last week’s issue?) The buzz is over a new eco-friendly spray paint made with organic pigmentation and natural resins, rather than lead, and packaged and labeled with recycled materials. American graﬃti artist Caleb Aero founded the ecofriendly spray paint company Blubber Colors and has already painted the Berlin wall with the new paint to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its fall. To all those who plan on painting The Rock: Consider Blubber Colors. The environment (and your brain cells) do not appreciate the extra lead. LUPE VISITS… BUT DOESN’T SING First of all, Lupe Fiasco was here? Secondly, why was Lupe here? The back story: Wednesday night, the Center for Student Involvement sponsored “The History Channel: The People Speak College Tour” to promote a new documentary airing on the History Channel in December. To promote the documentary based on Howard Zinn’s books, Michael Ealy, an actor in the TV show “Sleeper Cell,” and hip hop artist Lupe Fiasco both performed a reading in Leverone on Wednesday. Lupe read from “Muhammad Ali on the Vietnam War.” Mr. Fiasco, we just wish you’d used your vocal chops for “Superstar” or “Daydreamin’” in addition to
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the reading. The Center for Student Involvement not only called NUIT and Edge Audio, but also the designer of Leverone to make sure your acoustics were up to par. Sounds concertready to us. SECURITY CAMERA HIDE-AND-SEEK Since the sexual abuse incident that happened at the Technological Institute earlier this week caught us all oﬀ guard, we investigated video surveillance on campus. We all know there’s a “Rock Cam,” but what else? Turns out all residential buildings — plus Ryan Field — have cameras, but especially inside academic buildings, cameras are scarce, says Merrill Silverman, director of university security systems. Of the 250 security cameras on the Evanston campus, every single one feeds into the “campus-wide video network” run by University Police. UP did not choose locations for every single one of those cameras, though. Some of the individual schools have installed them, but we’re guessing that might be more to protect pricey equipment rather than students. “There are some cameras that monitor many places at once,” Silverman says. “There are two cameras on the roof of Tech that monitor many of the surrounding buildings.” All these cameras are “state of the art,” he says, and do well in “lowlight situations.” And they’re all fewer than three years old — some only months old. Too bad they don’t have the time or enough staﬀ to watch the screens live, even though they’re all trained to do it. Generally, the only time they watch is after something’s already happened. Does this calm your nerves? WEEKLY EDITORS
You were headed into the fashion industry? Three students discuss what it takes to get into the industry and stay there Kathryn Coggins’ plunge into the fashion kind of forecasting style,” she says. “We have creworld began at summer camp in Martha’s Vine- ative consultants that give us the theme of the seayard. When Coggins adeptly calmed a sobbing son and we go from there. We get a lot of inspiracamper, his mother was impressed and followed tion from vintage.” Stacy Congdon, a Weinberg senior, is a brand her around the rest of the week. Lucky for Coggins, her new fan was the design director of Marc ambassador for American Rag. Her job focuses on by Marc Jacobs Accessories. She was impressed event planning and creating buzz about the Amerwith Coggins’ style and leadership ability and ican Rag brand, especially among students on campus. She’s planned fashion shows and concerts wanted to give her an internship. It’s a dream come true for many. As the line in an eﬀort to draw attention. She takes advantage goes in The Devil Wears Prada, a job in the fash- of her self-described “girlie” style by representing ion industry is one “a million girls would die for.” American Rag when she gets dressed every day. An economics major interested in fashion, But getting into such a competitive, multi-billion dollar industry — and then surviving once you’ve Sarah ﬁgured she could merge the best of both gotten a foot in the door — takes dedication and worlds with a focus on the business end of fashion at Diane von Furstenberg. Her job included keeppassion. As Coggins learned, getting that stellar intern- ing track of DVF clothing sales to boutiques as well as factory and wareship requires having house inventories. connections. Weinberg When you’re designing But jobs in fashion senior Sarah, who asked aren’t the best ﬁt for for her name to be these things you’re kind everyone. changed due to concern of forecasting style. “It also was not as over jeopardizing future analytical as I would job prospects, interned have liked,” Sarah says. at Diane von Fursten- -Kathryn Coggins, Weinberg senior “I got the impression burg over the summer. Sarah also reaped the beneﬁts of having a fashion from some of my co-workers that there wasn’t a world “in,” albeit through a more common scenar- really strong formal training. There wasn’t strong io than Coggins’ camp counselor fairytale story. feedback.” But now that Sarah has learned the industry The tangled web of who’s who among fashion professionals is yet another reason Sarah wanted doesn’t oﬀer the dream job she thought it would, to remain anonymous. “I knew someone who she has had to cope with ﬁnding a non-fashion job kind of knew someone who worked there,” she with only fashion experience on her resumé. “It was deﬁnitely a diﬃcult realization,” she says. “If you just blindly send your resumé they’re says. “Sophomore year was like, ‘Oh, this is what I pretty much going to throw it out.” Internship experiences diﬀer for everyone, want to do for the rest of my life’ and I guess I’ve but intern tasks in the fashion industry generally realized over time that it wasn’t what I wanted to entail completing whatever will boost the brand’s do.” But others are still planning to pursue fashion cache. Coggins, a Weinberg senior who studies art his- careers. Congdon will follow in this mindset next tory, researched the Fall 2009 line and helped de- year as a merchandiser for Abercrombie Headvelop the Spring 2010 line during her time at Marc quarters, and Coggins will spend ﬁve weeks trainby Marc Jacobs Accessories, but her individual ing to be an assistant merchant at Abercrombie & responsibilities varied from day to day. She kept Fitch. (Although their names and jobs are similar, track of samples, updated the design board and we promise they’re two diﬀerent people!) “I always want to be involved in fashion,” Cogmet regularly with production and production development for discussion. She even sketched gins says. “Not necessarily in the design end, but some days and worked backstage at a Marc By the analytical with the creative. It’s wearable art.” Marc Jacobs fashion show. “When you’re designing these things you’re JULIA HASKINS
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Forget the handbag â€” match your shoes to your frosting.
aked goods seem to go in and out faster than shoulder pads and plaid. Looking for the most recent pastry craze or just craving a sweet treat when hot cookie bar night is far away? the weekly tracked down all the trendy morsels near campus so no outfit is left without a little sugar. LYNNE FORT
Blind Faith Cafe
1000 Davis St., 847-328-9434
525 Dempster St., 847-328-6875
Youâ€™ll find Sacher tortes, croissants and chocolate donuts under Bennisonâ€™s loud neon sign at the corner of Davis and Maple. â€œWe use very high quality ingredients,â€? says owner Jory Downer. Bennisonâ€™s is the unofficial NU go-to for anything red velvet.
This small, upscale cafĂŠ is known for its vegan bakery but also offers gluten-free options. â€œProbably 75 percent of our bakery products are vegan,â€? staff member Eddie Herrejon says. The vegan peanut butter and chocolate cake and assortment of vegan cupcakes are the crowdpleasers.
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This cafe has moved into Kimâ€™s Kitchenâ€™s former spot. Itâ€™s small and bright â€” plus its Whoopie Pies have been featured in The New York Times food section. Scones and Cinnamon Bomb Muffins are also popular, but donâ€™t leave without trying the Sâ€™mores Bar.
For those with allergies to gluten, wheat and corn syrup, Roseâ€™s is as good as it gets. â€œWhen people with celiac allergies come in and say, â€˜I can have anything in here?â€™ I call it the â€˜Aha!â€™ moment,â€? employee Chris Mealey says. The bread and cookies are the most popular baked treats.
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Despite being a franchise, Great Harvest comes off like a mom-and-pop shop dedicated to homemade fresh breads and baked goods. â€œWe mill everything fresh,â€? an employee says. The bakery is famous for their breads, made fresh daily, but the cookies and muffins are worth the trip, too.
Cookies are the only baked goods at this tiny lunch counter, but hundreds are sold every day. Forbes Traveler named Alâ€™s one of the top 10 chocolate chip cookies in the U.S., and Chicago Magazine ranked the butter cream frosted cookies (the most popular) the best in Chicagoland.
Photos by Ece Turner, Courtesy of Creative Commons
social diary [seven days of building forts and ďŹ‚ying kites with a stoned Weinberg junior] 04 wednesday
Morning. Hungover. Cute girl not in class today. Boring walk to Tech. Class until 6 p.m. Homework gets the ďŹ nger tonight. At home, I join the 6:20 hookah circle and crack a beer. Somethingâ€™s missing... purchase weed. Poor but high and happy. Friend comes over with CoolJewish-Friend. Hours of ďŹ‚ip cup. Made a ski trip LSD pact with roommates and CJF. Many girls tonight, no biddies.
I guess my â€œweekâ€? ended on Tuesday. Drinking tonight as well, and Thursday, naturally, which brings us to Friday. â€œYouâ€™re drinking... on Wednesday?â€? Why is drinking on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so taboo? Youâ€™ll drink your face oďŹ€ Monday or Thursday! Come on Northwestern, step it up. No people to drink with, but many games of Chandeliers. Found a forgotten 30-rack in refrigerator. Much joy.
Good start! 95% on midterm, so Iâ€™m never going to class again. Smoked a joint on the roof of my friendâ€™s frat. Have you noticed everyone looks down when they walk? Depressing. Student group drinking party night. LOTS OF BEER. Northwestern is funny... a school where theater and other groups are just as â€œproblematicâ€? as frats. Organized social life is bizarre. Oh yeah, everyone got naked.
Getting out of bed sucks. No 1 p.m. class. Smoke and go to 2 p.m. class. This is awesome! New rule: Smoke before every class. Didnâ€™t care that I made a mess of the GoldďŹ sh I was eating. Went to roommateâ€™s sorority party. So many Latina girls! Cops, Latinas know how to evacuate a house. More Skol and Everclear punch. Cool girls stick around till 5. Walk them home, avoiding rapists.
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Not hungover? Wow. Bong. 70 degrees? Bong. Canâ€™t stay inside today. Head to the beach to ďŹ‚y a power kite. And smoke. You can really smoke anywhere here. People are too busy to bother. Home. Bong. Build fort. Bong. Drink leftover Everclear. Gross. Tired, but itâ€™s Saturday, so I have to push through. On my sixth night of drinking, itâ€™s hard to get drunk. This could bite me later.
3 p.m. wake up. The fort is blocking the view of the clock. Hungry. Move to futon to smoke. Hungry. Move to the porch for hookah. Still hungry, and substances are not helping. Chipotle is the answer. Followed by bong in fort. Donâ€™t feel like working, so watch both Oceans 11 and 12 to procrastinate. Work successfully avoided. Smoking too much, not getting high. Another standard Sunday gone.
Headed for class but remember Fridayâ€™s smoking rule. Convinced to play Skol-cranberry pong instead. Smoke. Made a drunk pact. To the library for redemption (ďŹ rst time this year!). Home, dinner, drink for The Keg. Drinking isnâ€™t easy, so I use the funnel. At The Keg, too sober. Shots, better. Bar closes, grilled cheese. I can eat a ton of grilled cheese. Thanks, DG. What? 5:30 a.m.? Already? College!
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Inevitably, wearable trends tend to spread as swiftly as the flu and good gossip — and sometimes with as much bodily or emotional harm, depending on how henious the look du jour is in hindsight. the weekly unravels a handful of ubiquitous campus wearables of past and present. Wear or loathe these staples at your discretion!
Fora yint ofas h DOWNS N O T T U B
OES H S T BOA
KS C E N V
FLA NN EL S HIRT S
Northwestern Style I.Q.
The Northwestern uniform: The end result of too little sleep, freezing temps and weekday late nights. But fashion incompetence? “It’s interesting, isn’t it? ‘North Face University.’ Some people call it that,” says Steven Fischer, associate director of the Master of Management and Manufacturing Program at Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Fischer, who has taught at Northwestern for the past 12 years, had a realization while attending an on-campus lecture by the president of Vera Wang in November 2004: Northwestern students had a genuine interest in the fashion industry. The next year, he introduced a fashion Business Institutions Program (BIP) undergraduate course and instituted the Kellogg Fashion, Lifestyle & Design fashion speaker series. The class was designed to transcend commentary on brand names and big-label style, Fischer says, and instead address “deep underpinnings” of the sociology and psychology of fashion. “We all have to get dressed every day — in fact, that’s legally required — but what’s the signiﬁcance of our choices?” Now, ﬁve years later, Fischer teaches another class for Kellogg students on fashion and products that he introduced two years ago, with plans to spearhead more fashion initiatives at NU for students. Over the past decade or so, Fischer has noticed a shift in the student body’s fashion consciousness. Factors for the change include the advent of aﬀordable chains such as H&M, Forever 21 and Zara, a greater emphasis on individuality rather than labels and creative expression. “Really what’s going on is a dramatic shift from the ‘Sex and the City’ fashion era to more of an independent expression era,” Fischer says. But increased fashion consciousness isn’t synonymous with a fashion-focused campus. “We are not a fashion design school. Never will be,” Fischer says. “So in that respect, are we going to be like students at Parsons? No. But nor should we be.” Fischer says he hopes to see Northwestern embrace the idea of fashion in a much larger context, and take it upon itself to create a home for fashion-focused initiatives. “Students are instrumental in making this happen,” Fischer says. This movement can be seen with the makings of STITCH magazine. Started in 2006 by then-freshman Joyce Lee, who got the idea when she and two other friends attended a campus event
featuring Jeremy Piven. “Conversation fell on what his outﬁt would be,” Lee, now a Medill senior and former DAILY staﬀer who’s studying in Qatar, wrote in an e-mail. “All three of us were somewhat tied to journalism (and) communications, so we instantly thought of a fashion magazine, and how there wasn’t one.” Lee set out to change that, recruiting photographers and writers to work for the fashion mag. And it seems only to be gaining momentum: Today, STITCH has around 30 staﬀers, a circulation of 3,000 and a daily blog as it gears up for its sixth issue. Emma Roberts, SESP junior and assistant editor of the blog who has worked for STITCH since her freshman year, says STITCH’s purpose is not to provide a superﬁcial rendering of the campus fashion scene, nor an arbiter of style. “STITCH’s goal is not to be a public shopping list,” Roberts says. “It touches on other things that inspire fashion… art, history. It’s supposed to be something interesting and fun.” Roberts sees the fashion sensibilities of NU’s student body inﬂuencing STITCH, but not in a directly correlated way: “The magazine is supposed to get people thinking. And I think it brings together fashion elements, both from the runway and other places, in a really organic way.” It is this campus climate that has allowed students to become involved with fashion in myriad ways, including campus rep gigs for companies like Marshall’s and American Rag. Rent the Runway, a new company launched two weeks ago, has set out to bring high-priced frocks to cash-strapped students. The premise? Love, wear, return. “I don’t need to stuﬀ my closet with things that are overpriced and that I’m never going to wear again,” says Weinberg sophomore Rachel Eisenpress, the NU representative for the start-up. Eisenpress is one of about 30 RTR campus reps nationally. As an English major, she sees the role as a way to understand the fashion industry better while bringing au courant pieces to NU’s campus. “It’s the best of both worlds,” Eisenpress says.
Even students who didn’t have plans to go into a fashion-related industry have discovered their NU experiences have prepared them for jobs in that very ﬁeld. Lauren Berg, an ’08 Weinberg graduate who majored in history, found herself venturing into public relations for Skirt PR, which focuses on fashion, beauty and lifestyle public relations. “I obviously had little fashion or public relations experience, but all the NU work habits deﬁnitely have helped me in my career,” Berg says. “But the fashion element… that was more cultural than academic.” Berg’s fellow Skirt PR coworker and former coed cohort Katelyn Koepke, an ’08 Medill grad, notes the stigma often attached to the industry. “I would have loved the chance to look more into fashion and fashion journalism without it being looked down upon in some sense,” Koepke says. For some current students, the recent ﬂourish of fashion development doesn’t yet cover all the niches of the industry. “I am completely interested in fashion journalism, but you’re not going to get that here,” says Emily Mitchell, a Medill sophomore. (Mitchell is a former weekly contributor.) “There are classes here on fashion, but they focus on design and more about the business model.” Mitchell says she would rather explore the industry holistically and from a journalistic perspective. And a piqued but unfulﬁlled interest in fashion isn’t conﬁned to aspiring Anna
From runway to Sheridan: Lost in translation DANA FARBER I can sum up my Tuesday morning with two words — bunny ears. With no memorable post-Keg gossip to get me through the long hours between class and dollar burgers, I took on a social experiment for the weekly focusing on two of my favorite things: fashion and making people vaguely uncomfortable. Taking inspiration from the Fall/Winter collections of Louis Vuitton and Balmain, and also from the avant-garde looks seen on such celebrities as Rihanna and the Olsen twins, I walked around campus in three less-than-normal class outfits, and the results ranged from hilarious to slightly insulting. As a disclaimer, my education is not falling into disrepair — each ensemble taught me something new about the Northwestern campus and student body. I garnered both positive and negative responses to my outlandish class attire, most in the form of unabashedly confused stares. However, I reaffirmed that in order to be unique in fashion, you have to walk proud and own whatever look you choose to rock. For this reason, I will be wearing bunny ears to the Mark II on Thursday night with my head held high.
LOOK #1: FEATHERS 9:14 a.m.— The ﬁrst of many “Why are you so dressed up?” exclamations from friends, ranging from amused and complimentary to skeptical about where I had slept the night before. Since swapping boots for sneakers constitutes as dressing up for class on this campus, my attire of a feathered halter and skirt and fringed stilettos was quite surprising on a Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. 9:26 a.m.— On my way to the Rock, a friend asks sarcastically if she can pet me, to which I respond “Sure!” An awkward couple of minutes ensues. 9:47 a.m.— While crossing the street, a boy I have never seen before stares so intently at my shoes that he drops his keys and proceeds to trip over them. I, in turn, laugh at this. Lesson Learned: The decrepit cobblestones and half-torn ﬂyers near the Rock are no friend of four-inch stilettos. I have the bruises to prove it.
LOOK #2: BIG SHOULDERS & LIQUID LEGGINGS 11:10 a.m.— While eating breakfast in my sorority house, Derek, Kappa’s culinary artiste, tells me all I need is one white glove. Too soon, Derek, too soon. 11:17 a.m.— In the bathroom in University Hall, the girl next to me washes her hands for far too long while staring at my ensemble.
11:33 a.m.— A friend from class innocently asks if I am in a play. Haven’t you ever heard all the world’s a stage? 11:54 a.m.— One of my guy friends, while looking me up and down, tells me I remind him of those magazine pages about “What NOT to Wear.” Thank you very much. Lesson Learned: The tighter the pants, the harder the stares. You can quote me.
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Wintours, Mitchell points out. “It’s diﬀerent because I don’t want to be a designer or a buyer, and I think if Northwestern oﬀered classes on diﬀerent aspects of the industry, a lot of people would respond positively,” she says. While NU continues to foster the aspirations of style-striving NU students, it is those students who are a key component of the chic equation, according to Fischer. “Fashion of course is a social phenomenon that does not happen in a vacuum,” says Fischer. “It would only change if students expected it to and made it a point to.”
Photos by Ray Whitehouse
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LOOK #3: BUNNY EARS 12:26 p.m.— “Nice ears!”, a friendly professor exclaims in passing. I just look at her appreciatively, quickly realizing the impossibility of blending in while wearing a headband with attached lace triangles. 12:29 p.m.— My weekly run-in with my ex is far less awkward than normal, beginning with “Nice ears?” and ending with amused laughter at my odd sense of humor. 12:30 p.m.— Upon entering my class, nearly everyone has to do a double take
and many point to their heads with looks of puzzlement or, not surprisingly, judgment. 12:44 p.m.— My professor, while asking a question to the class, loses his train of thought while staring approximately three inches above my head. In the interest of learning, I must stash my bunny ears for the rest of the hour, taking them off with exaggerated ﬂourish that draws even more amused and sympathetic stares. Lesson Learned: Bunny ears are not for the shy or easily embarrassed, but isn’t that something we should all know by now?
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Not good with any other coupon or offer.
CULTURE BLOTTER I don’t remember buying a season pass to The Greatest Blah on Earth.
Oh, “Project Runway,” we’ve been through so much together over the last six years. Remember the time Santino made up that story about Tim Gunn and Andrae going to Red Lobster together, or the time Michael Kors said an outﬁt looked like “barefoot Appalachian Lil’ Abner Barbie”? I EMMY BLOTNICK reminisce about Austin Scarlett’s ﬂowing multitonal Emmys gown as it ﬂoated down my mental runway again yesterday. But wait, where has all that greatness been this year? I don’t remember buying a season pass to The Greatest Blah on Earth. At the risk of sounding like a Meat Loaf song, I want to keep loving this show, but I’m not sure how to anymore. Let’s start with the cast. In past years, “Project Runway” managed to reﬂect a wide range of aspiring designers within the “egomaniac” category — everyone from the prim, patrician Laura to the hammer-headed, neck-tatted Jeﬀrey — and it’s been our job as viewers to reconcile their sometimes charming, sometimes cruel personalities with the undeniable freshness of their work. There was special gratiﬁcation in deciding if someone as bat-crap insane as Jeﬀrey deserved to win after he’d verbally berated Angela’s mom mid-challenge. This season, we got neither the personalities nor the raw talent, but a bunch of shallowly histrionic crybabies with a loose grasp on the meaning of the word “inspiration.” The only thing that has truly impressed me is how often the contestants burst into tears. I haven’t seen an episode this year where a designer hasn’t wept, perhaps because so little of his or her work speaks for itself. Take the last episode for instance: Set free in the Getty Museum for their ﬁnal challenge, the remaining contestants chose pieces of art on which to base their designs. Chris didn’t even go inside; he chose (wait for it) a rock covered in algae, and the resulting dress looked like the Halloween costume you might choose if you’re going for “slutty butter knife.” He lost his composure before the judges, but the theatrics were beside the point: sobbing didn’t make his dress any more attractive than, oh, a rock covered in algae. Similarly, a Monet painting moved Gordana to tears, but all that emotion didn’t stop her gown from looking like one of Georgia O’Keeﬀe’s vulva ﬂowers. When it came time to choose a winner, I found myself yearning to check the “none of the above” box. I don’t know whom we’re supposed to like out of this cast. Maybe my ambivalence about the contestants is due in part to the fact that our trusty judges took random leaves of absence throughout the season. Without King Kors there to emanate radioactive self-tanner and pithy wisdom, the judges’ commentary amounts to a series of shrugs and yawns. Bringing in former contestants as guest judges is a ﬂaccid substitution (What makes them any more qualiﬁed to judge than the current contestants?) and Heidi Klum isn’t exactly doing any heavy lifting. We get it, Heidi, you look good in everything; auf, auf, auf. It’s not surprising ratings dropped given this much suck, but still, I’m not ready to throw away my relationship with “Project Runway.” Somehow I’m optimistic Kors will return next season refreshed and ready to regale us with sweet and salty zingers. Until then, we’ll call it a break.
HEAD FIRST Medill senior learns how to pronounce ‘Qatar’
Courtesy of Joyce Lee
As much as I would love to bring readers intrepid tales of enchanted dhows and harrowing camel rides to work, I’m afraid I lead a fairly ordinary (read: camel-less) life in Doha, Qatar. Regardless, read on for a quick impression. While my Medill comrades-in-arms started their Journalism Residencies this fall in the skyscrapers of downtown Chicago or New York City with its myriad bodegas — I was at home waiting for Ramadan to end. Only then does work resume in the Middle East, signaling my cue to travel for almost 24 hours from Toronto, Canada to Doha, Qatar. It was mostly timing and a teensy measure of passive-aggressive pursuit that landed me a three-month stint at a magazine house in the Gulf. Here I spend my days writing stories for a handful of monthlies (the desperation to score an article in print is eliminated by a dearth of local Web publications) and nursing an unhealthy biryani (a colorful rice dish) addiction. First, the basics on Qatar: Gulf emirate the size of Connecticut; 1.5 million residents, of whom around 80 percent are expatriates; third-largest natural gas reserves in the world; pronunciation debatable, imperceptibly falling between “Cutter” and “Cat-Are.” Some see Doha as one behemoth construction site, and I don’t blame them. My housing compound, which encompasses rings of dusty, beige buildings eerily reminiscent of the Dharma Initiative (“Lost” nerd alert), is surrounded by an expanse of sand and improvised truck lanes. Every 10 minutes is marked by a series of vehicles passing alongside the stone walls, some carting rubble and others migrant workers, depending on the time of day. With virtually non-existent public transportation and a grid of highways outnumbering sidewalks, it hasn’t
been easy to wander neighborhoods and explore at whim. Many streets don’t display signs, souks are girdled by sixlane roads and one is always wary of impatient drivers going oﬀ-road to zoom madly on the sand. At night, a lattice of streetlamps and cranes light up the city like a mythical airplane hangar. In addition to universities and condominiums, underway are a 250-meter-long Sidra tree made of steel and a 12-kilometer undersea tunnel traversing Corniche Bay. The sheer metallization against a backdrop of dunes and dust clouds is unsettling: one part whimsy and two parts awe. Still others view the city as a transit hub, a sort of Grand Central of the Gulf. A staﬀer at Northwestern University Qatar says it’s diﬃcult to get close to anyone because conventional stays are brief, marked by the end of a two or three-year visa. The only veteran of Doha’s Stone Age (think 15 years back) I’ve met is a Nepali taxi driver named Man Sing, a self-described villain who sports a wiry beard protruding at a 90-degree angle. You get used to characters in Doha. I’m more than 7,100 miles away from Evanston. I live alone in one of thousands of apartments in a cosmopolis rising out of the sand. At work, I attempt to divine what’s on the forefront of a nation I just arrived in, and most of the time, I only have faint ideas of where I am. There is always a diﬀerent response when people ask me why I’m here, perhaps because I haven’t completely ﬁgured out Doha or calculated the way it ﬁts into my grand plans. For now, it feels good to wonder. JOYCE LEE Joyce Lee wrote for THE DAILY her freshman year. She is founder and editor of STITCH, NU’s fashion magazine.
this weekend in music
@ P I C K - S TA I G E R FRIDAY AY AY 13
NOV. 13 - 15, 2009
Symphonic Wind Ensemble Pick-Staiger, 7:30 p.m. $7/5/4
JACK Quartet Regenstein Recital Hall, 7:30 p.m. $7/5/4
Mallory Thompson, conductor Michael Mulcahy, trombone
Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violin John Pickford Richards, viola Kevin McFarland, cello
Northwestern faculty member Michael Mulcahy has been a member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra since 1989. David Maslanka, Concerto for Trombone Karel Husa, Concerto for Wind Ensemble
Symphonic Wind Ensemble
Praised for its “extraordinary precision” by the Boston Globe, the JACK Quartet has established a reputation for high-energy performances of today’s most demanding works for string quartet. The New York Times called the quartet’s performance of Xenakis’s complete string quartets one of the “most memorable classical music presentations of 2008,” and in 2009 the quartet received an ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. The group has performed at Carnegie Hall, La Biennale di Venezia, the Lucerne Festival, the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, and the Festival Internacional Chihuahua.
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
Week by Weekly We’ve sifted through every gala and gallery opening, festival and free event, sample sale and soiree to prepare a weekly schedule worthy of even the most culturally discerning. Drawing from Chicago, Evanston and our very own NU, the weekly gives you seven days of firstrate diversion.
Block Out: Pilsen 2nd Fridays
Ice Skating at Millennium Park
Winter Buses leave from Arts Circle 12PM-8PM is marked Pilsen 55 N Michigan Ave. not by the Millennium Park ﬁrst snowﬂake Art pallet at NU looking a little stale? Escape to fall, but by the ﬁrst outdoor ice rink to the local art scene with the Block Museum’s open. And there’s no better outdoor rink “Block Out Fridays.” NU will provide free Hopera: A Fallen Hero than at Millennium Park in downtown buses to Pilsen’s art district for a gallery Chicago. The Millennium Park ice crawl sponsored by by the NorthwestCaught between opera and 7:30 PM rink oﬃcially opens Wednesday, so ern Art Review, the Block Museum and hip-hop? Here’s your answer. 740 56th Pl. grab your skates (or rent them there) STITCH Magazine. HoperaWorld presents: A Fallen Chicago and go! Hero, featuring Northwestern senior Keith Miller as a dancer and part of the acting ensemble. The full-length production modeled on Shakespeare’s “Othello” is set in Chicago’s South Side and follows the life of the ﬁctional Obadiah King. The show explores the young Framed: African American’s internal struggles with family, loss, race and environment. Aqua Teen The hip-hop opera features original music by Adrian Dunn, fusing elements of The World of Comics Hunger Force: Live the Grand Opera and the Bel Canto style with more modern hip-hop melodies. Columbia 9:30AM-4PM Every The most interesting feature of the Hopera is the amalgamation of a variety of 7:30PM & 10:30PM College’s 623 S Wabash Ave. child both dance and music styles, ranging from classical opera to R&B and modern student 3175 N Broadway wishes Printer’s Row hip-hop, Miller says. Be prepared for an amazingly breathtaking display and to set Lakeview his or her identify with many elements of the plot. Everyone has known at least one designers take comic books from favorite person in the story, whether it’s the overwhelmed student or the pregnant the page to the frame with their cartoon would come to life. And apbest friend — there’s something everyone in the audience will recogone-of-a-kind collection “Framed: parently, so does every adult. Watch nize and feel. “It’s really interesting how such a touching story could The World of Comics” at the Hokin this dream come true at the Lakeshore be put through so many diﬀerent forms of dance, music and Gallery. These innovative artists show Theater with the live presentation of performance,” Miller says. us what comics mean to them with the Adult Swim television show “Aqua comic-inspired murals and KATHERINE ZHU Teen Hunger Force.” The show installations. features music, script readings, Q&A’s and much more raunchy Devendra Banhart fun.
THIS WEEK: Banhart, Block Out and battle of the bands
Devendra Banhart will 7:30PM satisfy any music taste 3145 N Shefﬁeld Ave. at the Vic this Monday. Lakeview This quirky musician and artist performs psych-folk, mixed with pop, reggae, lounge music and just about anything else you can think of. Oh yeah, and he also dated Natalie Portman, if that’s a draw for you.
Evanston Teen Battle of the Bands
Channel your inner teen 6PM-9PM angst and go to Evan1245 Chicago Ave. ston’s Second Annual Teen Battle of the Bands, sponsored by Evanston SPACE and boocoo. Whether it’s to discover the next teen star or just make fun of teeny boppers showing oﬀ the three guitar chords they kind of know, this is sure to be a good show.
MAN ON THE BEAT
JOSH FINK, member of The Gentlemen of NUCO with Krista Tippett
CHICAGO PUBLIC RADIO PRESENTS
Evolving Faith: Meaning, Ethics and Ideas Join Krista Tippett, host of Peabody Award-winning Speaking of Faith and Eboo Patel, of Interfaith Youth Core, for a fascinating discussion about Krista’s own journey of meaning, ethics and ideas.
NOVEMBER 16, 7 P.M. Catered reception beginning at 6 P.M. FOURTH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 126 E. Chestnut St., downtown Chicago
Tickets available at CHICAGOPUBLICRADIO.ORG/EVENTS
$15 general admission ($12 Chicago Public Radio members/ $10 students with valid ID)
LISTEN TO SPEAKING OF FAITH ON SUNDAYS AT 7 A.M. ON 91.5 FM CHICAGO PUBLIC RADIO
Known to his friends simply as The Jewish Cowboy, Bienen School of Music student Josh Fink’s trademarks are both his rebellious hair and uncanny original songs. Beside being a self-proclaimed cowboy of sorts, Fink studies bass as a graduate student at Northwestern, is a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and plays with the NU-based ensemble, The Gentlemen of NUCO. (NUCO stands for Northwestern University Chamber Orchestra.) The Gentlemen of NUCO is a seven-part band that arranges its own versions of rock classics to play on classical instruments. the weekly spoke to Fink about the Gentlemen’s rebellious style and soaring sound, their audition for the hit show “America’s Got Talent” and how infectious diseases just may be the new pink. What kind of music do The Gentlemen of NUCO play? How’d you guys get started? The Gentlemen of NUCO is a high-brow cover band. Every member of the band is classically trained, so when we cover music like Radiohead, Bjork, The Beatles, Sigur Ros, The Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire, our goal is to fuse rock music with a classically inﬂuenced arrangement. We got started four years ago when I brought an arrangement of “Since U Been Gone” to orchestra rehearsal and asked a few of my friends — actually the only other guys in the orchestra — to play it with me. Since then, we’ve branched out from Kelly Clarkson and have started playing our own arrangements of rock music around Chicago. Why listen to The Gentlemen over the real thing? Rock songs tend to have one volume — loud. Because we play on acoustic instruments, the options are endless; we vary the color, dynamics, tempo and sounds to achieve something completely diﬀerent. This way people can experience and connect to these great songs in a new, intimate way. We heard The Gentlemen recently auditioned for “America’s Got Talent.” How did that happen? Can you explain the experience?
Photo Courtesy of Josh Fink
On a whim, we submitted some of our covers to the producers — and a few weeks later, we were asked to come audition as a designated “Q” act. We got to pass the huge line of people waiting to audition and play directly for the executive producer. They shot some tape of us playing, took us into the crowd to do a 30-minute interview and ﬁlmed us doing really boring stuﬀ like walking in and out of the convention center. Do you know if you will be on the show? We haven’t heard anything yet but we are hopeful. After the interview, I was talking to one of the producers who asked, “So what does NUCO stand for?” After I told her she responded, “Well we will have to get that in the round two interview.” We’re crossing our ﬁngers. So, I hear you’re also known as The Jewish Cowboy. What’s that about? The Jewish Cowboy started as an alter-ego of sorts; it’s the name I write original songs under. So far, I’ve put out four albums and have recently added a band for live performances. I tend to write songs on the spot pulling inspiration directly from people and events in my life. A good number of my friends now have songs about them — and I’ve also written a bunch of drinking songs. My latest project, Infectious Diseases Are The New Pink, was the most concrete concept for an album I have done. But even Infectious Diseases can be romantic — there are a few love songs on the album. ALEXANDRA LA MANNA
Go online for another musical Man on the Beat. the weekly interviews Tom Evans, half of the mashup duo The White Panda.
critical reviews on the week’s new releases
- Insufferable girl on phone discussing winter break plans, Emerson St., 3:30 p.m.
The Box PG-13 116 mins.
POST-GRAD PURSUIT ’07 alum takes the stage in Amsterdam
Jessica Lowe was the only freshman girl when she joined Griffin’s Tale and NSTV. But according to the Communication ’07 grad, says those experiences have only made her more confident as a comedic performer. Today, Lowe is living in Amsterdam, performing with Boom Chicago, a group with its fair share of “SNL” stars as notable alums. the weekly caught up with Lowe between shows via email.
Mid Brow A Christmas Carol 3-D PG 96 mins.
Right, you know this one: Charles Dickens, some ghosts, holiday cheer, crippled kids and everyone’s favorite libertarian, Ebenezer Scrooge. Director Robert Zemeckis chose to do this one in 3-D like he did with The Polar Express and Beowulf, making those ghosts really come at you. Even though 3-D smells of gimmick in other movies and throws every image way, way oﬀ, Zemeckis removes the total “in your face” element of the technique and instead creates subtly deﬁned backgrounds that draw you in. Jim Carrey voices Scrooge as well as some other guys, but what’s more impressive is that the star-studded cast, featuring Gary Oldman and Cary Elwes, voice not just their own main characters but plenty of minor ones as well — check Elwes pulling duty as “Guest #2”; now that’s voice work. A Christmas Carol is a fun retread of a story you probably hate by now. But hey, don’t be a Scrooge about it. JEREMY GORDON
High Brow The Men Who Stare at Goats
AT NU Building off the momentum of co-directing Mee-ow, Lowe set her sights on Los Angeles. When she had trouble ﬁnding jobs in comedy and voice over, Lowe took on a host of part-time jobs ranging from an SAT tutor to a Red Bull girl. Surprisingly, tossing out energy drinks at frat parties and so-called “extreme events” didn’t bring much professional gratiﬁcation for the NU alum. “It was awful. I went to Northwestern,” Lowe writes. Living in LA. gave Lowe some perspective on how things work in the City of Angels. “It is all about luck,” she writes.
R 93 mins.
Maybe God told “Dubya” to go to war, but it is an entirely diﬀerent religion that is mucking up our army in the new ﬁlm The Men Who Stare at Goats. An experimental New Age program to train psychic super-soldiers yields a predictably kooky movie role for George Clooney and a story hook for Ewan McGregor, who plays an unhappy newspaper reporter (aren’t they all?). However, the movie’s focus on spirituality during war is often distracted by another popular faith. Clooney, once a member of the army’s psychic and ironically-titled “Jedi warriors,” now a mystical old hermit, teaches McGregor about “the force” while on a secret mission in the desert. The Star Wars metaphor is not perfect — Jeﬀ Bridges always makes a better Chewbacca than Yoda — but it doesn’t require much effort to imagine who/what the movie’s evil empire represents. SCOTT OLSTAD Go online for a closer look at The Box.
For now, Lowe is enjoying the Dutch life, biking and partying when she’s not building upon her comedic experience. But, in the long term, Lowe still wants to break into TV. “Tiny recurring role, whole bunch of guest stars, it doesn’t matter. Ideally, I’d love Paul Rudd’s career, or Tina Fey’s or Julia Louis-Dreyfus’,” she writes. Lowe also hopes to pursue a career in voiceover work, and writes her voice is perfect for cartoons. “I sound like a Powerpuff girl. It’s a waste of my squeaky pipes to not voice cartoons,” she writes.
Lowe took her time entering NU’s acting community. She entertained the notion of pursuing an advanced math track, but eventually settled on declaring a Communication Studies major. By fall of her freshman year, Lowe had found her place in the NU theater scene, joining NSTV and Grifﬁn’s Tale, and later becoming a part of (and co-directing) Mee-Ow and NU Radio Drama. “College — from my point of view — wasn’t necessarily about classes or Reading Week, but about forming cohesive bonds with talented, creative kids that I could continue to work with and be inspired by for the rest of my life,” Lowe writes.
GRADUATION Things changed for Lowe earlier this year after an audition for Boom Chicago, a comedy group started by two NU alums 16 years ago. “I knew I rocked my audition and callback. I hadn’t felt that strong on stage since Mee-ow,” writes Lowe, the youngest actor in the group and the only new cast member selected from that audition process. Today, Lowe is living in Amsterdam, performing with Boom Chicago ﬁve nights a week. “I’m working with some of the most talented people I’ve ever met, learning so much about myself and comedy,” she writes.
FUTURE JONATHAN SIMRIN
WHY WE LIKE
I ﬁrst fell for the denim shirt last fall in Paris, while perusing the mega-stores on Rue de Rennes. Parisian girls have the peculiar ability to make nearly any article of clothing look chic and eﬀortless, but one girl was extraordinary. She tucked the blue button down into cut-oﬀ Levi’s jean shorts, worn over black tights and with black leather lace-up ankle boots. The outﬁt, paired with her retro, fringe-like bangs, exuded French rockstar at its foxiest. My own denim shirt is something I swiped from the men’s section of the Gap. I’ve come to think of it as less shirt and more light jacket, a departure from the cardigans and hoodies littering my wardrobe. It’s a satisfying surprise when worn atop a dapper sweater, or underneath a sharp blazer. However, my denim shirt’s most remarkable quality has little to do with fashion merit; rather, it has a bizarre knack for eliciting commentary. Early in my relationship with the shirt, one roommate eyebrow-ed me and asked about my “Canadian tuxedo,” while another recently christened it my “lucky shirt.” J.Crew’s recent introduction of the Selvedge chambray shirt (haute-speak for “denim shirt”) inspired another friend to send me an e-mail with the subject line, “this outﬁt reminded me of you…” and a link to the J.Crew model sporting the garment. Perhaps the most obscure comment thus far was the tailgate-induced compliment, “Hey, I like your d.” My perennial favorite is the alarmingly clever “Hey cowgirl.” The shirt has garnered attention usually reserved for the likes of leopard print jeans, but for me, it’s the simplicity that makes it attractive. Historically, it’s work wear. My father wore his — a Wrangler brand shirt with pearl snap buttons — on hunting trips in the early ’80s when I imagine he also had a toothbrush mustache. But, in 1965 Ingrid Bergman was also caught on camera sporting a denim shirt in a photo titled “Ready For Work;” and therein lies the shirt’s charm: rugged androgyny. Day-to-day fashion has settled into a pattern of one androgynous look after another. Take plaid shirts; traditionally worn by lumberjacks, they now bear a certain sexiness when donned by women. It’s the “just grabbed it from my boyfriend’s closet” appeal. Or, as J.Crew so aptly describes the Selvedge chambray: “Boyfriend ﬁt — casually chic with a longer shirttail hem and a slightly oversize ﬁt (it’s just like his, only you don’t have to give it back).” Sure. But even better than the “boyfriend” shirt is my denim shirt, and the simple pleasure that comes with being a woman who can wear it. MARGARET RHODES
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Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly takes us back to the 1970s in his native Virginia suburbs, where Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) watch their middle class life unravel. The cause of their problems is a mysterious box that shows up on their doorstep, accompanied by the even more mysterious Arlington Steward (Frank Langella), who promises the couple $1 million in exchange for pushing a red button, an action that will cause a stranger to die. Kelly’s ﬁlm is an ambitious, if not always completely successful, attempt at taking its short story source material into new territories. Moral dilemmas, parental sacriﬁce, government intrigue and the apocalypse are just some of the issues broached by the director. Kelly’s genre mix of sci-ﬁ, government conspiracy and domestic melodrama ﬂows especially well in the beginning, but in all is too uneven and feels strained. Steven Poster’s camerawork, however, makes The Box a pleasure to watch and adds a Stanley Kubrick feel. JONATHAN SIMRIN
OVERHEARD AT NU
What do we always do, Mom? We’ll stay home, shop a lot, we’ll eat and we’ll pretend like we’re on vacation.
ONLY 2 1/ 2 BLOCKS FROM CAMPUS! JUST WALK WEST ON NOYES STREET. 828 Noyes Street Evanston 847-475-8683
The Weekly 11/12/09