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Bringing the sister — or brother — act to Sheridan Road


Debaucherous guide to Game Day


Supreme Court sound bytes


An NU grad and Will Ferrell



the weekly


While in the throes of the NU grind, do you ever stop to ponder what ties bond and endear you, or, perhaps more accurately, keep you sane and afloat? Given the descending storm cloud that is midterms, we thought it apropos to remind ourselves of with whom we develop our deepest connections and share our most ridiculous moments. Relationships bound in shared genes (and sometimes jeans) take the spotlight in this week’s issue as Paulina Lopez explores sibling relationships on campus. For a more theoretical take on the concept of being at NU with someone who shares your last name, I implore you to read Emmy Blotnick’s latest column. During a visit from her non-NU brothers, she accidentally discovers the loving quirks and indispensable friends underlying her Wildcat experience, with the poignancy and wit we (and hopefully you, too) eagerly anticipate each week. In Head First, Alyssa Meza shares the adventure that is transferring and finding one’s own footing at a new school. On a slightly fluffier note — literally — check out the lowdown on owning a pet on- and off-campus. At least you won’t be alarmed if you encounter a live parrot mimicking partygoers’ drunken babblings or a snake shimmying toward you during this Saturday’s keg-stand. Speaking of football, we’ve got you covered from pre-tailgate face painting to post-game refueling in Getting Graphic. At the risk of being a preemptively sentimental senior, I urge you to spend a moment taking stock of what keeps you rallying on through all that makes NU what it is. I always thought it was my copious caffeine consumption, but turns out it’s a whole lot more. ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV




Familial Love

Anyone with siblings relatively close in age has given it some thought: After living with your bro or sis for 18 years, could you ever imagine attending the same university? We asked 100 people in Norris whether or not they would suffocate, and an overwhelming 67 percent say they’d actually love extra face time with their siblings. (Some gave the condition that the school must be “a big one.”) Those who would refuse to attend their siblings’ universities were in the minority, but they were much more sure of their decisions. “I’m not letting my sister apply here. I told her to go to Penn State for business school,” one says. But then there’s that small group of NU students who love their siblings, but whose siblings don’t return the favor. “I wanted my sister to come, but she wouldn’t because I’m here!” Maybe you shouldn’t have popped all the heads off her Barbie dolls in fifth grade.

Would you ever want to attend the same university as your sibling?


EDITOR IN CHIEF alexandra ilyashov

MANAGING EDITOR karina martinez-carter

ASSISTANT EDITORS tara kalmanson olya leptoukh

ART DIRECTOR paulina lopez

ASSISTANT ART DIRECTOR jaimie vaillancourt

s e Y o

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contact the weekly at: 847.491.4901 send confirmed and denied tips to the managing editor want to join our staff? e-mail our editor in chief A weekly supplement to THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN.

confirmed SEX RULES Forget freedom of speech. Tufts is banning sex! After about a dozen complaints from disgruntled roommates at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., the Residential Life and Learning Office revised its rules and regulations booklet. Not only must students restrain themselves while roomies are around, but they also cannot have a guest stay over more than three nights in a row in any given week, and no more than nine nights in any 30-day period. (All these rules are listed after the office director’s enthusiastic letter advocating “Putting the Unity in the CommUNITY!”) So, dreading that we might be nearing that dozencomplaint mark (really, that was all it took?), we asked Northwestern’s ResLife office and the Undergraduate Housing Office how many unhappy, sexiled roommates have called. Good news: Neither office has any idea, nor does anyone plan on starting a tally. Administrators, we think we speak for the entire student body when we say, thank you for ignoring us this time. PARTY POLICE It’s not just in our heads. The Evanston residents — you know, the “real people” who live among us off campus — have taken to calling the cluster of student-leased houses near the intersection of Maple Avenue and Gaffield Place “Ground Zero.” Most of the student houses falling within the scorned area are male and fraternity-affiliated, and the college guys can’t seem to throw an uninterrupted party. But is it really bad enough

& denied

to warrant a moniker reminiscent of a national tragedy? While neighbors only called in four noise complaints in 2008, already in 2009 the Evanston Police Department has counted seven within the 900 block of Gaffield and the 2000 and 2100 blocks of Maple. Looks like the theme for the rest of this year’s parties will have to be... silence. UNDERGRADS GET THE SHAFT Girlfriend coming to visit this weekend? Don’t get your hopes up for post-Legend nookie. Rumors that A&O would open up ticket sales to non-Northwestern students are false — but that doesn’t mean you won’t see townies inside. While each undergraduate student can buy up to four tickets and give them to fellow students, each grad student and faculty member is permitted two tickets, one of which can go to anyone they’re willing to hand it to. Why the discrimination? A&O works closely with NU police to determine security ground rules for each show produced, so they ran the idea past them first. A&O was optimistic because of the greater-thanusual venue capacity (Welsh-Ryan Arena), but no cigar. “The NUPD wasn’t enthused about letting undergrads bring guests from outside Northwestern,” says Adam Pumm, the chairman of A&O Productions. “We reached a compromise on this.” Nearly 3,500 tickets have already been sold, and Pumm says tickets might be sold at the door to NU students. Long-distance significant others will have to sit this one out. WEEKLY EDITORS

WHAT IF... Fido followed you to campus? Puppies may be babe magnets, but some NU students can’t even manage to water a plant But sorority houses are exceptions, where liveFor most students, feeding crackers and Vitamin Water to a hungover roommate is the closest in house directors have their own apartments. they’ll come to taking care of a pet. Assuming re- Judy Burns, the house director at Delta Delta sponsibility for another living thing when it’s hard Delta sorority, says she spent several years trying enough to care for yourself can be overwhelming, to obtain permission from the sorority’s national especially because you can’t — or shouldn’t — office to have a puppy. Members of Delta Delta feed your pet the leftover Ramen and stale beer Delta voted unanimously to allow Burns to adopt an eight-week-old West Highland white terrier, in your fridge. Many Northwestern students consider buying a Maggie, this summer. “The girls aren’t responsible low-maintenance pet after they move off campus. for Maggie.” Burns describes Maggie as her “baby,” Senior Max Shaul was inspired by his girlfriend’s as opposed to a sorority mascot. Her “baby” cost dad, who owns a bird, and found his Quaker a security deposit against possible damages to the house, and the dog parrot through Petcan’t leave Burns’s Both the Snakes are cost-effective. apartment to wanbird and its cage were It eats once a week and der. a pricey initial investSusan Parmentier ment, but he says mice are cheap. had already owned upkeep is only $30 a Evan Maass, Weinberg senior her cat for almost month. three years before Shaul says he feeds the bird once a day and because it likes to be she became Chi Omega’s house director in 2007. alone, he doesn’t feel bad taking on a 25-hour-a- She says that she mentioned the pet during her week work schedule in addition to classes. His initial job interview, but since the previous dithree roommates love the bird, too. “It’s a great rector owned a dog, they told her the cat could conversation starter,” Shaul says. “You can have stay. No specific rules for the cat were imposed, him out if people are over and try to make him but Parmentier says she defines them herself. He stays in her apartment, though girls can visit. talk.” After Weinberg senior Evan Maass and his Like Burns, her biggest challenge is finding ample roommates decided they couldn’t commit to a space for him to explore. “He used to sleep in the pet as high-maintenance as a dog, he picked up bathtub, but one day I filled it up and he didn’t a California kingsnake at a reptile convention his know. He jumped in and panicked,” she says. “He sophomore year. “We wanted something easy to hasn’t gone back in since.” The house directors’ problem with space is take care of,” he says. “Snakes are cost-effective. one they share with off-campus pet owners, who It eats once a week and mice are cheap.” The novelty factor is also a plus. “It’s a unique chose caged animals, like snakes and birds, that pet,” he says. “People like to hold him and he don’t eat frequently and can be left alone for long periods of time. Those who follow these basic doesn’t really bite.” Students in university housing, however, rules are happy with the decision. Despite space issues and busy schedules, both should think twice before drooling at the pet store window. The Undergraduate Housing Web house directors and off-campus students say havsite has three words for animal lovers: “Sorry, no ing a pet is worth the trouble. “I love it,” Shaul pets.” After all, most pets are messy, often smelly says of his parrot. “I would definitely recommend and can cause serious health problems for stu- getting a pet.” dents with allergies. JENNIFER TEMPLE







the weekly


With most games kicking off at 11 a.m., chances are you’ll be waking up to tailgate earlier than you would for class. But it’s not a weekday. It’s GAME DAY Game Day, the most sacred day in the college experience, and you’ll have From purple paint to open bars to rouse enough excitement to withstand hours of growling and key janand hot dogs, here’s your guide gling in temps dipping below, oh, 30 degrees. To make this year’s Game to the perfect football Saturday Days everything they should be, the weekly has compiled the perfect itinerary, with tips on what to buy for a breakfast tailgate, how to score free beer and where to go afterward to celebrate‌ or mourn. Disclaimer: Legally, you must be 21 to drink.


Game Day Statistics 10/24 Homecoming game vs. Indiana 1995

Yes, it’s cold, but somebody’s got to bare a bit of skin. Water-based tempera violet or white paint is best for body art ($5/pint). Blick restocks on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Kegs of Keystone Light go for $74 at EV1. While you’re there, pick up some Peppermint Schnapps ($15.99) for spiked hot chocolate.

Ryan Field reopened with


When the 20-minute shuttle line kills your buzz, head for the tailgates in the stadium parking lot, where your soon-to-be-friends are still grilling hamburgers and stray Kellogg grad students are playing flip-cup. Still don’t feel like busing back to campus? Central Street is home to a bunch of eateries with game-day grub. Mustard’s Last Stand (1613 Central, 847-864-2700), just west of the stadium, dishes classic Chicago dogs. Walk three blocks farther to Bluestone (1932 Central, 847-424-0420) for a hefty beer menu and comfort foods like Deep-Fried Mac-n-Cheese Bites with bacon, green onion and ranch dipping sauce ($8.99). Or, since breakfast this morning was most likely less than appetizing, stumble 15 minutes north to Walker Brothers Pancake House (153 Green Bay, 847-251-6000) for an apple pancake that tastes like pie and feeds two.

Club (1800 Sherman, 847-733-7900), Bat 17 (1709 Benson, 847-733-7117) or Tommy Nevin’s Pub (1454 Sherman, 847-869-0450) and rally through your still-semi-drunk state of mind.

04 07 08

GAME DAY need an easy-to9:00 AM You’ll assemble breakfast: Two


6:00 PM Time for the “frat nap.� Set your alarm for 8 p.m. your beer-stained shirt — but leave the 8:00 PM Change purple face paint — and join friends at 1800


Hit an open bar downtown, like McGee’s (950 W. Webster, 773-549-8200) or O’Malley’s West (2249 N. Lincoln, 773-935-2719) so the hangover won’t hit yet when the school fight song wakes you up at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Order a pair of spiritedly tacky purple-and-white-striped overalls ($44.95) from Game Bibs. With plenty of pockets for stashing cash, snacks and cans, a pair of Bibs are perfectly ridiculous yet undeniably practical for the occasion. Call 773-540-7470.


Looking to snack? Seven bucks will get you a hot dog and chips ’n’ cheese at the cash-only stadium concession stand.

The clock started turning purple to denote NU wins

and a better name 1997 renovations (formerly Dyche Stadium)




Wildcat Alley was founded by the Northwestern Alumni Association Home conference games each year Home games, 5 away games this year Number of times NU has won or shared the Big Ten title

attended home game this 22,091 Most season, against Minnesota

dozen eggs, 10-pack of Eggo waffles, a handle of Smirnoff and a gallon of orange juice at Jewel: $30. 10:00 AM Head to the field! Scream “Game Day� every block or so to keep your group excited. Stop at Let’s Tailgate! (1805 Central, 847-570-0105) on the way for a last-minute purple wig. chance to get free beer 10:40 AM Last at the Goose Island Beer Garden in Wildcat Alley, located adjacent to the north end of Ryan Field. Once you’re in the stadium, head over to the Alley and show your WildCARD and (valid) driver’s license to score a ticket for two free beers.


Capacity of Ryan Field

25-25 Big ten record since 2003 Football Shuttle Stops Sherman/University Emerson/Sheridan Foster/Sheridan Noyes/Sheridan Lincoln/Sheridan Southern Entrance to NU, near Sheridan Road bend North Side of Elgin, at the end of Orrington Photos by Ray Whitehouse

social diary [seven nights out with a communication sophomore casting his ďŹ rst show and chowing down on ethnic food] 29 tuesday

30 wednesday

01 thursday

I’m directing a show right now, and I just ďŹ nished the auditioning process. Today was our break day between casting and going to conferrals on Wednesday morning, so I enjoyed having a chill day, ďŹ nally.

At 8 a.m., I found out my cast for the show, which was really exciting. Later on, I celebrated with my producer and writer. Then I sent a lot of e-mails to various people about production team and casting stu for the show. I was extremely happy with the outcome of the casting.

I headed to Norris Student Center to meet a friend for coee. Then I stuck around Norris for a meeting. My whole life revolves around this show right now. This whole week, my voice had been gone so I was ďŹ nally getting over that today. I’d been looking forward to a really chill day.

03 saturday

02 friday I met a friend for lunch who I’d wanted to catch up with. We hadn’t talked in a while. Then I went to a show on campus. My friends had a small party get-together at night. It was literally the most random people, all in a room drinking together. I’d say it was a good end to the week.

I went into the city to see a show somewhere in the Loop. Then I met my friends in Belmont. They were having a late dinner, so I stopped by for a second on my trip back to campus on the El. Later on, I went to a party on Chicago and Lake which was a lot of fun. Finally, I seemed to be getting over a week of being sick.

04 sunday

05 monday

I worked on homework for most of the day, and I also worked at the audition table for the winter shows. I’d say that was the most fun I had all day... Then I went to bed early.

Today, I ďŹ nally ate at a restaurant o the Howard El stop that my friend and I have been wanting to try since last year. Then I had a readthrough for my show. It was awesome. DeďŹ nitely the highlight of my week.

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the weekly

SIBLING (UN)RIVALRY From diapers to donning the same cap and gown: When the road doesn’t split after high school



lmost every accomplishment, activity and decision to Weinberg junior Catherine Arney’s name has already been accomplished by her older sister, Northwestern ’08 graduate Alex Arney. From her Gamma Phi Beta chairmanship to her dreams of becoming a lawyer, Catherine and Alex are practically the same person on paper. “We always end up doing the same thing,” Catherine says. “I don’t love basing my decisions on my sister but I never regretted (following her to Northwestern). I knew since my sister fit in so well, I would love it too.” The similarities carry over to their appearances, too, as is the case with many genesharing siblings. People will greet Catherine from across the street or ask her to dance at formals thinking she is Alex. Though Cath-

erine assures that their personalities are very different, she certainly does not take offense to the comparisons. “If I’m going to be mistaken for anyone, I’d want it to be her. She is kind of intimidatingly beautiful and brilliant,” Catherine says of her sister, who is currently attending Harvard Law School. “She set the bar so high.” According to Dr. Wei-Jen Huang, a clinical psychologist at NU Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), when two people who are undeniably similar, such as siblings, are singled out of a larger group they will be evaluated as competitors. Whether it is two minorities in a group of majorities, two women in a group of men or two (or three) siblings in a group of their NU peers, they are analyzed by comparison. Weinberg senior Elyssa Katz, whose sister Andrea graduated from NU last

year found this to be true. “I wanted to make my own name for myself,” she says. “Until she graduated I wasn’t able to.” When NU grants admission to sets of siblings, they are deemed legacies and are thus placed in the same category as Wildcats who don their alum parents’ vintage purple threads, according to Daily archives. Within the last five years, legacies of any configuration (mother-daughter, sister-brother) have been numerous. For example, in 2004, University Admissions reported 24 percent of students in the class of 2007 were legacy admissions, according to Daily archives. Having almost a quarter of an entering undergraduate class classified as a legacy isn’t the norm in comparable institutions. During the same time period, Ivy league school legacy rates hovered around 10 to 15 percent of undergrads, according to The

Economist. Although the definition of a legacy can vary, even between peer institutions, the decision to seek a similar collegiate path — or at least the same co-ed setting — as a family member is alive and well at NU. Not only do many siblings follow each other to the North Shore, many siblings find themselves in similar social circles or Greek houses once arriving at NU. If the unique bond that siblings share is also a means of singling them out, how difficult is it to keep your sanity when constantly being compared to your younger brother?

Follow the leader… Or your sibling

Eldest brothers and sisters who opt for the Wildcat experience are often the college process trailblazers of their broods. They were the ones who chose to attend this first-rate


college and were the first to successfully navigate NU’s student life. Younger siblings admit to being influenced by the decisions of their older siblings through advice, recommendations and frequent visits to campus. When Weinberg sophomore Christine Hazday was in high school, she visited older sister Lauren, then Weinberg senior in the throes of an NU finals week, Christine was inspired by what she saw. “Lauren was studying for her exams and there was this sense of focus and intelligence on NU’s campus,” Christine says. Though Northwestern’s idyllic lakefront setting and academic cache entices many younger siblings to consider the school, there are hangups that might dissuade someone from applying. Weinberg senior Stephen Woldenberg was an advocate for NU, despite his younger brother Ben’s reluctance to attend school near their hometown of Highland Park. “He looked at different schools than I did. His greatest fear was that (NU) would be too close to home,” Stephen says. “That fear is unjustified. It’s more of a convenience than a disadvantage. It’s not like your parents are going to come down and pop in on you.” Medill junior James Walsh and his younger sister Lauren, an RTVF freshman, would never expect their parents to pop in on them. The ordeal would involve an eight-hour flight from their London home. Left to their own devices, the Walsh duo shares a common purpose for attending NU besides the academic rigor: It’s all about the campus. “When I first saw the campus I was blown away. You don’t get this kind of campus in London or anywhere else in the world,” Lauren says. James and Lauren take as much advantage of the close-knit party scene NU and Evanston as possible, paying careful attention not to inadvertently humiliate each other. Lauren is still apologizing for her enthused tabletop dancing last week. “Fortunately, I wasn’t there for that one,” James laughs. “I would have died. I’m used to the ritual humiliation of being Lauren’s brother.” Aside from reputable academics, other siblings chose to attend NU because it was costeffective, which might seem absurd given NU’s exorbitant tuition rates but makes sense if a parent is employed by the University. Sisters Andrea and Elyssa Katz both receive a tuition discount thanks to their father’s professorship at the Feinberg School of Medicine. But both say in the end, they chose NU based on its strengths. “I fell in love with NU, the social life and campus in general. I was drawn here,” Elyssa says. The Katz duo may soon become a trifecta, as the youngest Katz sister is considering her collegiate options. “She’ll probably just end up here,” Elyssa predicts. “Education is a big deal in my family. You shouldn’t try to break the mold so much and forsake education.” In certain cases, a younger sibling’s awareness of NU sparks the elder’s interest. “Our family didn’t know too much about Northwestern. I wanted to go since I was 14,” says Christine Hazday, whose violin teacher attended NU and recommended the University to her students. “She was an inspiring teacher to me; I was really happy Lauren decided to go here.” Weinberg senior Katherine Warga’s memories are painted in purple. Warga’s parents and her older brother, ‘08 Weinberg graduate Michael Warga, can all claim Wildcat alum status.

the weekly


LEFT: Lauren Hazday, Weinberg senior, and sister Christine Hazday, Weinberg sophomore ABOVE: Twin sisters Monique and Melissa Brown, Weinberg freshmen OPPOSITE PAGE: James Walsh, Medill junior, and sister Lauren Walsh, RTVF freshman Photos by Ray Whitehouse

“At home, we have all this NU paraphernalia. My dad is the one with the most,” Catherine says. “He has anything from purple pants to sweatshirts to blankets to this stupid leather helmet. Everyone made fun of him.” Falling in love with NU a bit precociously was also the case for Catherine, who knew NU would be the perfect fit since middle school. Yet her sister’s presence at the University almost deterred her from attending. “We both came to visit (before Alex applied) and I fell in love with the campus before she did,” Catherine says. “When she decided to come here I really didn’t want to pick NU. I was on the verge of choosing another school. I ended up here, thank God.”

From family dinner dynamics to dining halls and dorms

There are few relationships that can provide the same amount of unreserved love as the rapport between siblings. Though friendships can be made quickly in college, family ties can be the solid ground in a time of collegiate turmoil. “Sibling relationships are the longest relationships on Earth. The number of years living with a parent or spouse is not as long as the years with a sibling,” Dr. Huang says. “(Sibling relationships) can be very supportive because they share the same Northwestern experience.” “We’ve always been close. I consider her one of my best friends,” says Lauren of her younger sister Christine. As with a non-familial BFF set up, sometimes the intimacy and dependency of a tight sisterly relationship crosses a line. “I might unload too much on her… vent too much stress on her that I wouldn’t with people I don’t know as well.” While some siblings try to give each other room to breathe, Weinberg freshmen Monique and Melissa Brown dress alike, finish each others’ sentences, are both in the process of transferring into the School of Education and Social Policy and are roommates in Slivka. They’re also identical twins who could not imagine a college experience without each other. “The power went out (one of the first nights on campus). (Monique) was scared

from the thunderstorm and she jumped in my bed,” Melissa says. Having two children attend the same college is often a welcome relief for their parents. For starters, they can call out a sibling search party if one goes completely MIA and neglects to return phone calls. Parents of NU siblings also know their similar collegiate experiences will help them support each other. And for students hailing from hometowns far from Evanston, having a family member in the vicinity helps alleviate homesickness and loneliness. “I’m grateful to have Lauren on campus. It can be stressful sometimes and we are really far away from our family,” says Christine, whose family lives in Orlando, Florida. “We’re responsible for watching out for each other.”

“If I’m going to be mistaken for anyone, I’d want it to be her. She is kind of intimidatingly beautiful and brilliant.” -CATHERINE ARNEY

Bonded through genes and Greek letters

For younger siblings, having an ally on campus can be a social and academic blessing. “We have very similar goals and values, and that leads us to want to do the same things,” says Catherine, who works for Professor Emeritus Robert Lerner as a research assistant, is Panhellenic Affairs Vice President chair in Gamma Phi Beta as well as an assistant student adviser in history and aspires to be a lawyer — all posts and pursuits that uncannily describe her sister, Alex. “There is a lot of crossover; she sort of helps me get my feet wet before diving into anything.” Catherine received detailed academic advice, especially considering their identical career goals, from her sister without ever having to make an appointment. Quite literally, in fact, considering Alex helped her navigate the snafus and poor registration times on CAESAR each quarter of her freshman year. “It was like having your own personal adviser,” Catherine says.

Younger siblings also have a leg-up socially. They get to know a social circle of upperclassmen and many of them choose to join the same sorority or fraternity. “It was fun to see (Andrea) during recruitment and just see a friendly face,” says Elyssa, who ended up joining Gamma Phi, just like her sister. “We joke that we are sisters squared.” Even though Stephen was studying abroad Winter Quarter of his brother’s freshman year, Ben was still welcomed into ZBT. “He made all the connections on his own. (ZBT members) reached out to him,” Stephen says. “It was an easy transition.”

Caveats of on-campus sibling competition

But sharing so many personal characteristics can be difficult at times. “There are a lot of ugly human sides,” Dr. Huang says. Jealousy certainly constitutes as an unsavory emotion. Thus, if comparing two siblings is inevitable, then the success of one has the potential to stir uncertainty from the other. Living in a sibling’s shadow, especially when they share common interests, can be an added difficulty. According to Dr. Huang, being recognized only as someone’s younger sibling can be “as if their identity means nothing.” Within her family, Elyssa wasn’t alone in her vested interest in NU and aspirations in the field of psychology. “I was hesistant to do the same things because (Andrea) did them,” says Elyssa, who would ultimately become a Wildcat majoring in psychology. “That’s just middle child’s syndrome.” Having an older sibling hit campus first often results in being referred to as the “minime” with the same last name — which can get old pretty quickly. “Ben wants to establish himself as his own person,” Stephen says. “I can see how that can be irritating.” Competition can certainly be an advantage, if used to motivate instead of discourage. “If we have too much competition and pressure we don’t do well. When we don’t have enough challenges then we don’t reach our true potential,” Dr. Huang says. “If they can use this opportunity to nurture and support each other, cherish every moment, they can use (attending NU) to strengthen their lifelong relationship.” Catherine and Alex took Statistical Research Methods for Political Science class together in 2008. They competed furiously for the better grade. “By no means is there any resentment, but there is annoyance when she does set the bar so high,” Catherine says. “In the end, we both like the same things. It would be silly if I chose something I didn’t appreciate as much just to do what my sister hasn’t done.” In the end, they both received an A in the class.



the weekly

CULTURE BLOTTER Seeing my brothers and the kids I’ve been friends with the longest at NU getting along made me feel like a proud mama

Exactly one year ago, my older brothers Greg and Michael decided to take their first trip to Chicago to visit me. After two decades of letting me revel in little sisterhood, they turned the tables on me and the pressure was on; I had to prove myself as EMMY BLOTNICK a consummate host and magically bring the movie Old School to life all around them. It was up to me to trot out everything impressive about my college experience, providing access to rowdy parties and, I don’t know, babes handing out beef jerky and tequila shots. I panicked a little. How do you show guests your life at NU (or a cooler version of it) in a weekend? My first instinct was to issue them a warning. I began to plan out how I’d break the news that we’re sort of the Michael Cera of the Big Ten, and that I’m more knowledgeable about the granola bar options in the bin under my desk than the Chicago restaurant scene. That actually, I had a Legal Studies paper due Monday morning and a student play I wanted to see Friday night, and I don’t really do deep-dish pizza. “I hate to disappoint,” I rehearsed. I guess I’ve just gotten a bit lamer (or calmer, however you want to arrange those letters) since freshman year. Instead I kicked off the weekend in true Northwestern fashion: Awkwardly, giving a slightly misinformed campus tour. “This is the life and sciences building,” I stammered, gesturing toward a sprawling and almost totally incomplete construction site. “Wow, you should like, go work in the Admissions Office or something,” Greg said. “No, you should,” I shot back. Good one, right? Really zinged him there. I was relieved just to see the Lakefill – beautiful and self-explanatory. And then there was football. And hot dogs, and deep-dish pizzas, and a serving of onion strings generous enough to mistake for the talking trash heap from Fraggle Rock. There were beer towers and cigarettes and a downright miserable crawl to the pharmacy for Pepto Bismol, the only substance I could then fathom funneling. The amount of heartburn the three of us suffered that weekend could have dissolved a complete set of dinosaur fossils, but what can you do? Chicago! Inside Hundo, they nodded approvingly. “This is a pretty good college bar,” Michael said, before suggesting he and Greg play a game of “Guess Who’s A DBag In Here?” with me as referee. Thirty-four years old and cognizant of his adult appearance, Michael approached a designated D-bag wearing an Escobar soccer jersey and proceeded to spin a gigantic web of random lies. “You watch Entourage? I’m actually an investor in the (fictional) movie Medellin, the one about Pablo Escobar. We’re making it happen, man,” he crowed. “No way!” the kid exclaimed, eyes widened in awe. “Can I invest, too? I’ll call my dad right now!” See? Hoarse and exhausted, I failed to get extraordinary plans together for their last night in town. I gave up on conjuring a crazy exaggeration out of the precious NU life, and as we all sat around the living room at my friends’ house, I realized it was the closest we’d come to actually living it. Seeing my brothers and the kids I’ve been friends with the longest at NU getting along made me feel like a proud mama. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but if that’s my family portrait, consider me very lucky.


Clueless to con f ident: The f irst few weeks of a transfer It was the first day of class and the Teaching Assistant at the front of the room invited us all, in standard practice, to introduce ourselves: name, year, major, hometown. “My name is Alyssa Meza. I am a sophomore transfer student to Medill, so I guess I’m weird.” That is how I introduce myself at Northwestern University. It became standard practice during Wildcat Welcome Week as I milled about campus with hordes of freshmen and the handful of other transfer students. But then Welcome Week ended, classes started and I still introduce myself as a transfer student. Somehow being a transfer student, without me realizing, had become an intrinsic part of my identity at this school. It was like some tick or compulsion. If I were not a transfer student, then who was I? Keri Disch, the Medill’s director of student life, told me I was one of four transfer students to the school, though sometimes I have serious doubts the others actually exist. Okay, they probably do exist; I just haven’t seen them. Since there were too few Medill transfers for our own peer advising group during Welcome Week, we were in groups with freshmen. Freshmen are great, but they’re not me. I’ve already been one. I didn’t want to be confused as one again, so I began tagging along with a Weinberg sophomore transfer student and became an unofficial part of her peer advising group. I went to their dinners, activities and rarely mentioned the fact that I was actually in Medill. One afternoon, I joined my adopted advising group and other Weinberg transfers on a trip to Chicago. After spending some time in the city, one of the peer advisors asked me, “Wait, do you even go to Northwestern?” Good question. Was I really a Northwestern student? Maybe this was all just an elaborate dream. Maybe I would wake up tomorrow in a dorm at the University of Missouri, my freshman-year school, wondering how long it would take me to hitchhike back to Chicago. I was in limbo. Neither freshman nor sophomore, I began to brand myself as the sophomore transfer. “Oh, I am the sophomore transfer,” I would say to faculty in the journalism school. “Oh, I am a transfer student,” I would say to other Medill freshmen. “That’s why you never see me at the EssentialNU’s.” In case you were wondering, transfer students, lucky us, are deemed to have enough prior college experience to bypass learning about sex, drugs and

Photo by Timi Chu

alcohol during the first week of school. Most of us have endured similar orientation programs before, or at least have spent enough nights spooning the bathroom toilet to have learned. Nevertheless, a lot felt like an extended episode of déjà vu from my freshman year at Missouri. It was the same endless choruses of “Welcome to the university!” and the little voice in your head that yells, “Must make friends NOW.” I was anxious about the first day of classes. I had been around the block before. Except that block was the University of Missouri. This block was different, and I felt as though it was judging me. As hard as I tried to not be pegged as a freshman, I found myself doing all those obnoxious freshman things seasoned students make fun of. I asked what Quartet was. I asked people on campus where Swift and University halls were. I walked into the wrong Political Science discussion. I only recently found out you could use points at Starbucks. Labeling myself as a transfer student seemed like the best way to explain this kind of behavior. “No worries, guys. I’m not dumb; I’m a transfer.” I hope I get past this instinct to point out that I am different and just be another Northwestern student. The quarter system will no longer seem overwhelming. I will know the campus like the back of my hand. I’ll finally figure out how to navigate Plex. Actually, maybe that last one will never happen. But on Friday someone asked me where the entrance to the Plex dining hall was. It felt good to finally respond, confidently, with directions I knew were correct. I think it’s time to introduce myself as just Alyssa. ALYSSA MEZA

this weekend in music


OCT. 9 - 11, 2009



Stephen Lusmann, Baritone and Logan Skelton, Piano Lutkin Hall, 7:30 p.m. $9/7/5

Baritone Stephen Lusmann has sung leading roles with such major opera houses as the Oper der Stadt Bonn, Opéra de Monte Carlo, Stadttheater Luzern, Opera Company of Philadelphia, Boston Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Carolina, Connecticut Grand Opera, and Artpark. Lusmann is Associate Professor of Voice at the University of Michigan. Pianist Logan Skelton is a much sought-after pianist, teacher, and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. He has concertized widely in the United States, Europe, and Asia and has been featured as both pianist and composer on many public radio and TV stations including NPR’s “Audiophile Audition,” “Performance Today,” “All Things Considered,” and “Morning Edition.” He is currently Professor of Piano and Director of Doctoral Studies in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan. See the full program at

Logan Skelton Stephen Lusmann



the weekly


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. THIS WEEK: Monty Python, markets and Mango Street







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The Evanston Before 7AM-1PM 7PM Farmers’ Market SNL and 1750 N Clark St 830 N Michigan Ave is nice and all, but he Whitest Lincoln Park Magnifi cent Mile if you’ve been every Kids U’Know, weekend the markets might look a little greener there was Monty Python — one of the most in Chicago. Head over to Chicago’s Green City famous comedy troupes to ever grace both Market, which celebrates sustainable local The House on Mango Street the television and silver screen. On Monfarmers at this year-round market in Linday, don’t miss your chance to meet Eric Revisit a beloved street of Oct 13-Nov 8 coln Park. See chefs’ demonstrations and Idle, one of the original cast members, yesteryear with the October Steppenwolf Theatre shop locally farmed and organic meats, at the signing for “Monty Python 13 premiere of Steppenwolf for Tickets $15 fruits, vegetables, cheeses and more. We Live!,” his book chronicling the cast’s Young Adults’ theatrical adaptasuggest the winter squash. Just live tours in the 70s. tion of “The House on Mango Street,” the coming-of-age short story because. collection by Sandra Cisneros. The play follows a year in the life of 12-yearold Esperanza Cordero as she recounts her dreams, thoughts and episodes of her life after she moves to Chicago. The performance hits, if not close to Brazilian Music Festival You! The Experience! home, at least close to campus. The Steppenwolf Theatre production, a mere 10 miles from Northwestern, features three NU alums: understudy Carly Ciar1PM-5PM Your Now 9:30AM-4PM birthday that Rio 1490 Chicage Ave rocchi (Communication ’08), sound designer Kevin O’Donnell (Music ’94) and Museum of Science set designer Collette Pollard (Communication MFA ’07). Even the choreograand your won Evanston and Industry pher, Joel Valentin-Martinez, is a senior lecturer at NU. Steppenwolf’s adaptaBat/Bar the 2016 tion of the book distinguishes itself from other interpretations of the text Mitzvah Hyde Park Olympic bid, it’s about time you with to its original score, O’Donnell says. “It’s very much an urban setting used to be the only days that were allearned a little about Brazilian culture. at a very specific time period.” What is perhaps most impressive is that lowed to be just about you… until now. Maybe you can’t make it as far as each member of the tiny cast of eight takes on four or five separate The Museum of Science and Industry Carnival, but there’s no doubt you can roles. Ciarrocchi, who is an understudy to three actors in six roles, launches “You! The Experience!” this make it to Chicago Ave. for the Evanston attributes her years studying at NU to helping her prepare for Thursday, an interactive exhibition showEscola de Samba’s first ever Brazilian this seemingly overwhelming task. “My acting classes casing the connection between the mind, Music Festival. The festival features taught me how to be a hard worker,” she says. body and spirit in the 21st century. performances from local BrazilTake a spin in a human-sized ian artists and discussions COLLEEN PARK hamster wheel, train in Tai about the origins of Chi and remember: Brazilian music. Chicago A Cappella: It’s all about Viva Brazil! John Legend Baroque and Beatles “You!” If you don’t have the For the first time since 7PM 8PM dough to shell out for BeatKanye West in 2005, Welsh-Ryan Arena 38 S Peoria St les Rock Band and that Northwestern opens Evanston kid you sort of know is West Loop up Welsh-Ryan Arena sick of you coming over to play his, find a new way for John Legend and his to enjoy your favorite British foursome. Chicago younger brother, fellow R&B singer Vaughn AnthoA Capella will do the job with Baroque ny. With 3,500 tickets sold and the whole show works from the 16th and 17th centuries part of President Schapiro’s inauguration, alongside a cappella arrangements the concert will be truly legendary of famous Beatles pop (you knew that was coming). songs.

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JERRY GOLDMAN, Founder of the Oyez Project

Professor of political science Jerry Goldman has been teaching at Northwestern for 34 years and is a technological visionary. Goldman is founder of the Oyez Project, a multimedia archive of the Supreme Court, complete with all the audio ever recorded in the Court since it was first possible in 1955. Here, Goldman discusses the relation between baseball and the judicial system as well as the future of technology at Northwestern. Why “Oyez?” It’s the French word for “hear.” French was used in English courts for several hundred years, and the tradition carried over when the colonies broke free of their British masters. Oyez is recognition of that tradition.

What prompted you to start Oyez? Oyez has been part of my bag of tricks since 1990. I was in Wrigley Field watching a Cubs game and I got to thinking, is there a way to merge my interest in baseball with the Supreme Court? A light bulb went on, and I realized a baseball card would be an interesting metaphor. After all, there are nine players and nine justices. So, I started building a series of HyperCard stacks — electronic baseball cards with images of every justice — and links to all their cases. We added audio and video, creating this multimedia database. After receiving financial support from the National Endowment for Humanities, it grew to be a pretty big enterprise.

Photo by Timi Chu skill set fits well with my own. But I think the University in many respects is slow to leverage information technology. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford and Harvard put their courses online; they experimented with podcasting. And Northwestern, well, what’s Northwestern doing? It’s late to the game.

What would you say is the most interesting feature of Oyez? I’m just amazed at the amount of traffic that it attracts. We get about 25,000 user sessions a day... If I selectively chose a few arguments here and there, it probably would’ve been a good project. But what made it into a really exceptional project was creating an archive, making it authoritative for all the audio in the Supreme Court; about 9,000 hours, going back to 1955. And now, we have a way to search the audio. If you said, “I want every instance where Antonin Scalia uses the expression ‘strict scrutiny,’ you can find it without having to listen to hours of audio… Oyez to me is a way to bring a remote institution alive, to make it vibrant.

So you’re doing a little bit of leading by example? Well, following by example might be a better way to say it. MIT, Harvard and Stanford do some pretty good stuff. Why aren’t we doing it? I think NU needs to act in the area of online courses. The real value in your education will come from close engagement with fellow students and instructors. Why not transform gateway courses into online experiences? I’m trying to put myself out of business! Students pay a lot of money to sit here. A class that runs 80 minutes, like mine, is $160. That’s probably worth a three-day pass at Lollapalooza. You get a lot of entertainment of Lollapalooza, and that’s three days. I’m doing this in 80 minutes.

When you first started Oyez, did you envision it growing to become what it is today? No, I couldn’t dream of that. I did step off the safety of the analog world, entering this miasma of information technology. I wasn’t sure where it was leading me, but I actually felt compelled to do it.

Any future projects? I always thought Oyez was my last project, but I keep thinking there’s so much more information in the human voice. If we reduce everything to text, we lose the sense of commitment or hesitancy that comes with the way people speak. Imagine if you could train machines to accurately identify the emotional state when you speak. That’d be a pretty cool thing. Emotion bears on our political beliefs, we just need a good way to capture it. And I really am interested in exploring that.

Do you think being at Northwestern affects the projects you’re working on? There are more students to invite and collaborate. I’m fortunate enough to work with a few of them whose




the weekly


critical reviews on the week’s new releases

Low Brow Whip It! PG-13 111 minutes

Any film that revolves around a roller derby is questionable. There’s something about spandex, violence and roller skates that doesn’t scream “SEE THIS MOVIE!” even if it’s one with an intriguing cast, which Whip It! does boast. In Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays a small-town Texas native named Bliss Cavender who ditches the beauty pageants and phooey her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) pushes on her to join the all-women’s Austin Roller Derby. Here she becomes part of the rough-rolling gang of women misfits that includes Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Zoe Bell and rapper Eve. Viewers watch Bliss’s metamorphosis from her confining, conformity-filled life to one where she can prosper, grow and gain a newfound sense of self-awareness. Yawn. Without the cast or the director’s clout, Whip It! would fly under (if not off) the radar. EMILY MITCHELL

Mid Brow The Invention of Lying PG-13 100 minutes

High Brow Capitalism: A Love Story R 120 minutes

- Big Bite Nite, 4:45 p.m., outside of Lulu’s

’04 alum goes from NSTV funny guy to Funny or Die Will Ferrell and Adam McKay might have not anticipated such overwhelming success when they first launched their comedy video Web site, Funny or Die. But as scores of viewers tirelessly watched “The Landlord” and clamored to upload their own material, the site was so overrun its staff had to stop accepting submissions from users. Luckily, Jake Szymanski, a Communication ‘04 former Wildcat, managed to upload literally the last video to the site, catching the attention of the site’s creative team and thus scoring himself a gig where constant wisecracks might as well be part of the job description. Szymanski joined the ranks of NSTV as an actor his freshman year. As the production process developed, the directors also took him on as a writer. “The coolest thing about NSTV was seeing my writing go through the whole process. They literally spent all their time on it and I just loved being a part of all that,” he says. The RTVF major became NSTV’s head writer his sophomore year and enrolled in the Creative Writing for the Media program. “I knew I wanted to do writing and I really stuck to that for the rest of college.”


He set out to L.A. after graduation full of optimism, but realized it might be harder to find the same feeling of success he had at NU. “I got pretty spoiled by NSTV,” he says. “I told myself I would give myself two years of fully devoting myself to sketch comedy. From there, I would see where I was at.” Szymanski continued to write and earned a living with odd jobs, including chauffeuring the family of a Broadway writer. “It was just too weird,” he recalls. He took a break from the city of Angels to focus again on sketch writing. “It sounds funny now, but I was mad at myself for not working hard enough,” he says.

By now you’ve probably seen a Michael Moore documentary or two, so you should have a good idea of what to expect from his latest offering, Capitalism: A Love Story. Unrepentant left-wing bias? Yup. A goofylooking dude in a baseball cap messing with security guards? Uh huh. Plenty of sticking it to the man? You bet. Moore’s latest documentary is an eye-opening, timely and well-executed attempt at cataloging American capitalist history. His antics in the film, while certainly amusing (e.g., plastering Wall Street buildings with “crime scene” tape), somewhat detract from the film’s powerful message. But given the subject matter he tackles, this sin is easy enough to forgive. Moore’s strength lies in his ability to bring together a wide range of issues — from the housing bubble to the sad states of the automobile and airlines industries to the bank bailouts — with remarkable coherence. The end result is a stirring film that persuades both the viewer’s gut and mind to answer its culminating call to action. JARED SALISBURY

I see you all the time. I see you naked in the hallways.


In an alternate universe where there is no such thing as lying, a struggling writer discovers the art of stretching the truth, and his discovery wreaks havoc on all those around him. Am I the only one who thinks this sounds like the worst movie plot ever? It is beyond disappointing, especially since its writer and director is none other than Ricky Gervais, British genius and star of the original BBC series “The Office.” Alongside Gervais is Jennifer Garner, whose last film, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, also was a possible Razzie nominee. Rob Lowe, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill are also thrown into the mix, serving as a comedic goldmine of a cast and giving this film an extra audience-grabbing lure. Gervais plays Mark Bellison, the founder of fibbing, who abuses his evil discovery to get what he wants: money, fame and the girl (played by Garner). While Gervais’ comedic star shines brightly off the big screen, his plot and performance in The Invention of Lying is lackluster. EMILY MITCHELL




For now, Szymanski couldn’t be more thrilled with his current gig. And his NU years of cracking up the Wildcat masses undoubtedly provided a laughter-inducing foundation for flexing his wits and writing chops at Funny or Die. “I think just in terms of a creative experience, NSTV just really prepared me for what I’m doing today,” he says.

With the launch of Funny or Die, Szymanski eagerly jumped at the opportunity to share some material he had been working on. “Out of a weird chance occurrence, I was the last video to be uploaded. My video was literally there right next to ‘The Landlord.’” Szymanski now works as one of the site’s top writers and directors. “It’s a blast,” he says of sharing an office with funnymen Ferrell and McKay. “They’re very busy, but when they’re around they’re very involved with all aspects of the site. They’re really the best at what they do.”



The September Issue

There’s one game everyone plays at Condé Nast. Every magazine headquartered in the Times Square skyscraper has a corresponding floor, marked plainly in the elevators. Every rider’s job — indeed, their instinct — is to predict who’s getting off where. Ding: Lucky. Off goes the overaccessorized co-ed. GQ: the only man in the elevator gets off, and he’s dressed better than most of the women. SELF: the only spunky girl leaves. And then there’s Vogue. You can make a safe bet that the most beautiful, cold and statuesque girl in the stilettos clacks away there. You’ll always be right. The September Issue follows her in, past the secretary, past the glass doors and the wall-mounted silver letters. It’s a brief look into the world’s fashion bible, and from what I gathered during my three months as a Condé Nast intern, it’s pretty dead-on. The film flits from cubicle to cubicle, snatching bits of insight about how the magazine is made, from the brainstorming meetings through the endless page proofs to the newsstand product. The excesses that characterized Condé Nast until just recently are duly noted and especially fascinating now that the Golden Age of journalistic decadence is decidedly over. But the one thing you can still say about Condé Nast is that it’s ripe with characters — the brand demands it. (At one point, you see the Editor at Large bumble around a tennis court in full Louis Vuitton garb.) Editor in Chief Anna Wintour is the implied star, on whom the hellish boss from The Devil Wears Prada is based. The real-life version is, not surprisingly, every bit as venerated and feared. But The September Issue’s spotlight takes an unexpected turn with Grace Coddington, Vogue’s fiery veteran creative director. She and Wintour started working at Vogue on the same day, and even now, she’s the only one tough enough to stand up to her superior. She’s the whimsical artistic genius — even Wintour admits it — scrabbling to save the art of Vogue from her axe-wielding boss determined to keep the magazine moving forward at any cost. On her cherished photo shoots, Coddington accessorizes the models herself, encourages them to eat the desserts she brings and even uses one of the film’s cameramen in a shoot as a last-minute solution. And as an extra jab to Wintour, Coddington demands the cameraman’s belly fat remain digitally unaltered. The personality dichotomy is what drives the highly entertaining movie — and presumably what drives the entire magazine.



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