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LOVE LETTERS Based on a book by Nicholas Sparks, romance fans will be disappointed with ‘Dear John.’ SCENE page 5

American University's independent student voice since 1925


NEWS ON THE AIR CAS professor is a ‘Global Guru’ in her recently launched radio show page 4


WHO’S THE NUT? The debate over ACORN’s legitmacy rages on as Isaac Stone weighs in page 3

SCENE ACADEMY IS... Nominees for Best Picture show tastes are changing at the Oscars. page 5

SPORTS POSITIVE PRESS Positive athletic exposure helps AU’s public perception page 8

PEYTON OR BREES? The debate over who will win the big game this Sunday page 8


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Senator, prez reach CERF deal By ALLIE MOONEY Eagle Contributing Writer Student Government President Andy MacCracken and Class of 2010 Senator Steve Dalton reached a compromise over recent legislation regarding the Clean Energy Revolving Fund, The Eagle learned Wednesday night. The new bill, to be debated Sunday, would ban the use of student activities fees to fund the program. However, fundraising done by the SG would be permitted for use. Students would also be able to indicate that they wanted to donate money to the fund. MacCracken said he would not veto the new bill, which will be brought before the Undergraduate Senate on Sunday, he said in an interview with The Eagle. “There’s really no specific reason for writing a new bill other than to ... re-establish support from the Senate’s perspective and establish set policies in how it’s funded through the Student Government,” he said. This comes on the heels of a legislative tug-of-war between some members of the Senate and MacCracken over how CERF will be funded. CERF is a new program under the umbrella of the administration, in the office of the Vice President of Finance and Treasurer. Contributions to the fund would go towards renewable energy generators in an effort to help make AU carbon

neutral. The fund is “revolving” in the sense that money saved from the university producing its own energy would then be used to fund other renewable energy projects. The legislation MacCracken vetoed the last bill regarding the CERF on Saturday. Despite opposition of the veto in the Senate, the measure was allowed to stand since it did not garner the necessary two-thirds of votes needed to override the veto. The vetoed bill, which was passed in the Senate Jan. 26, imposed stricter definitions of whether SG could contribute funds from student activity fees into CERF. MacCracken vetoed the bill because SG should be able to contribute to CERF, he said. “[CERF] is an idea that promotes an industry that is blooming within the United States, and we’re able to become a leader in that field,” MacCracken said. “I feel that there would be benefit to the campus community in general.” MacCracken said he thought the Senate had rushed through the passing of the bill and called for fresh start for the legislation. “We haven’t spent time to answer questions or even ask the right questions,” he said. “I believe we should take the proper steps and make sure every word in there says what we want it to.” As a result, a new bill has been drafted and will be presented to the

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Senate this Sunday, according to Dalton. Some senators thought the Jan. 26 bill, authored by Dalton, was unclear in whether SG had the ability to transfer funds if the body decides to support CERF through running fundraisers. There were worries that the bill would have prevented any money from transferring from the SG to the fund, even if the money was specifically raised for CERF. The vetoed legislation’s main purpose was to articulate exactly where the CERF money would originate. “No money can be transferred by any member of the Student Government from any Student Government account to the Clean Energy Revolving Fund,” the bill stated. This bill sought to close a financial loophole in the system where extra money in the SG budget at the end of the year could potentially be transferred to CERF. “There is this loophole that I want to close,” Dalton said. “By not calling it [transferred funds to CERF] a donation or whatever at the end of the semester, at the end of the year you could essentially get away with it. I don’t think we should be getting away with anything. If it’s not allowable during the whole year, it shouldn’t be able to get away with it at the end of the year.” The new legislation will allow SG to temporarily hold funds for CERF after fundraising, and then transfer the money into the CERF account. n

see CERF on page 2

AUTO hiatus hinders service clubs’ transport By MEG FOWLER Eagle Staff Writer During the weeks following winter break when the AUTO program was shut down, Community Service Center operations were forced to adjust to accommodate for their loss of the usual mode of transportation. DC Reads lost tutors who could not find ways to travel to their sites, and this year’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service spent an extra $2,000 on transportation in the absence of AUTO. DC Reads involves 300 students who travel to six different sites in the District, largely in Columbia Heights and Anacostia, according to Robin Adams, assistant director

of the Community Service Center and coordinator of DC Reads. Usually, 30 DC Reads tutors are transported per day, Adams said, but with just one Community Service Center-owned van, a maximum of 12 students can be transported at a time, Adams said. Instead, DC Reads groups traveled to sites using the Metro and city buses. Madison Pollock, a sophomore in the School of International Service and a volunteer at the Community of Hope site in Columbia Heights, said she formerly used the Community Service Center van free of charge to transport 20 other volunteers to a volunteer site. While AUTO was offline, other sites had to use the Community Service van

Juniors, seniors to be equal in housing lottery

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By ETHAN KLAPPER Eagle Staff Writer Housing and Dining Programs will not differentiate between rising juniors and seniors during this month’s housing lottery, according to the department’s Room Selection Guide, released Monday. Chris Moody, executive director of Housing and Dining, said the decision was made as a result of last year’s Brailsford & Dunlavey facilities study, which urged AU to “rethink campus housing priorities.” “Shifting priorities to first-year students would put us in a place where rising juniors were next,” Moody

said. “Rather than completely alienating the senior class, which is what happened at the University of Maryland-College Park, we didn’t feel like [flipping the priorities] based on our numbers.” UMD’s housing allocation process gives highest priority to the youngest students and explicitly does not guarantee four years of on-campus housing, according to the UMD Department of Residence Life Web site. Currently, 84 percent of seniors live off-campus, Moody said. Courtney Klamar, the president of the Residence Hall Association, said n

see HOUSING on page 4

and Pollock had to substitute city buses for the van. “[The bus] is not free ... Besides the financial aspect, it is really inconvenient and unreliable,” Pollock said in an e-mail. “The bus has been making us late most days to our site.” The necessity to use public transportation made traveling to the volunteer sites more challenging for students in all the programs, Adams said. “Most of our students in our program are freshmen who are new to the city and have a busy academic and social calendar,” she said. During the weeks after winter break, DC Reads lost five members, according to Adams. n

see AUTO on page 2


STRIKE A POSE — The glittering Athena Ducockis struts her stuff on the catwalk at the annual drag show that took place on Monday night in the University Club. The AU Student Government and Queers and Allies put on the show to raise money for Whitman-Walker Clinic.

Drag queens storm MGC with style By ASHLEY DEJEAN Eagle Staff Writer Six drag queens from the D.C. area sit in a small room adjacent to the University Club, most of them shirtless with tights, busily preparing for the show that will take place in half an hour. Queers and Allies along with AU Student Government put on the event in the University Club to raise money for the WhitmanWalker Clinic, the non-profit that specializes in HIV care. Although she usually does it herself, a friend glues on Athena Ducockis’ eyelashes for her debut performance as she explains the getting-ready process. “Usually with eyebrows we get a glue stick and glue our eyebrows down and put powder over it,” Ducockis, an AU alumna who participated in the yearly Drag Queen Race at Dupont Circle where the queens race in high-heels, said. “That way we can draw in our eyebrows later since girls have higher eyebrows than guys. Then we put foundation on, a little pan stick and powder that in together- blending it all in to make sure it’s even.” Next Ducockis moves to the blush. “We go on to the blush just making sure that our face is contoured to give more of an elegant, female look,” she said. Akasha Cassadine, who performed in the group Diva League on “America’s Got Talent” in 2009 and appeared in an episode of “The Maury Povich Show” makes sure to blend her make-up for a smooth, sexy look.

“[You have to do a lot] of blending to make sure you don’t have too many harsh lines, but enough lines to give you some definition and then making sure that everything is smooth and blended,” Cassadine said. “It’s not that easy tonight because I left my contacts at home, so I can’t really see.” Wearing her teddy-velvetshade lipstick, Cassadine’s “diva” came through when asked about the process of getting dressed. “Oh honey, that’s painful,” she said. “It’s hiding things, putting on a pair of spanks, putting my pads in. At least two pairs of tights: one darker, one lighter and then a complimentary of pantyhose to my actual skin tone. One girdle and all-in-one body suit for my breast forms to go into and them I’m ready — other than the lashes of course.” The outfit and makeup are not only the physical part of the transformation, though. “Inner transformation is when you’re sitting around talking to the people around you,” Mercedes Cassadine, Akasha’s drag daughter said. “It helps get you in the mood to do the show.” Mercedes then explains this ritual further. “A weird thing about the drag community is sometimes before they get ready they’ll sit around and they almost seem like they’re insulting one another, but they’re not,” she said. “It’s called reading. It’s not insulting per se, but you just sit there, talk and make fun of each other.” After that, the queens perform. n

see DRAG SHOW on page 4

Student struggles to fill long-vacant ANC seat By MITCH ELLMAUER Eagle Contributing Writer School of Public Affairs sophomore Sami Green is in the process of running for AU’s seat on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D, a position which has remained vacant for seven years due to complications with District zoning laws. Green petitioned to fill the ANC seat for Single Member District 07, which includes the South side residence halls and all buildings west of New Mexico Avenue. “It has been a trying and interesting process,” Green said. Student Government President Andy MacCracken said that Green’s campaign has been fraught with difficulties. “It is very unfortunate that there have been a lot of structural challeng-

es [concerning Green’s campaign],” MacCracken said. “The seat hasn’t been filled in over half of a decade, which is unacceptable.” ANC’s address local issues such as zoning, economic development, parking, police protection and sanitation, according to the D.C. government Web site. AU recently released a new campus plan, which calls for building residence halls, offices and new academic buildings in the Nebraska Avenue Parking Lot. The campus plan must be approved by ANC 3D. However, the commissioners and AU’s neighbors are opposed to new construction, said Tom Smith, the commissioner for District 02. “Some people don’t like the idea of having 1,000 students living in what is now the Nebraska Parking Lot,” Smith said.

Certain laws have been a major obstacle to filling the ANC seat, according to AU’s Community and Local Government Relations Director Penny Pagano. Students who tried to fill the seat in the past were unable to collect enough signatures from AU students who were also D.C. residents in the appropriate single member district, Pagano said. Candidates for the position of commissioner must live in their single member district for at least 60 days prior to the election, and candidates must be registered voters in D.C., according to the D.C. government’s Web site. In addition, voters who sign the petition to name a commissioner and who vote for that commissioner must also be registered to the District, n

see ANC on page 4


FEBRUARY 4, 2010


news 2


For the first time in a long time, The Eagle did something everyone seemed to like. Our top headline for the Feb. 1 issue “Frat faces IFC allegations” struck a chord with the AU community, propelling our online readership to heights not seen since the Handverger impeachment trial of ‘09. Not only that, but by 3 p.m. Monday all copies of The Eagle were gone from the Mary Graydon Center, forcing Eagle staffers to refill the stands with papers from less visited areas. Reports have it that the library ran out sometime Tuesday. The fraternity story was so popular that it beat out both Eagle Rants and Alex Knepper’s latest column for mostread story, garnering nearly 800 unique views in only two days. Rants trailed with 426 views and Knepper rounded out the top three with approximately 400 unique views. So just to review here, a story about a fraternity possibly facing sanctions for vulgar T-shirts was about three times as popular as a story about a possible mustard gas cache on AU property (“Unearthed

jugs might point to larger arms cache” - 234 unique views) and about eight times as popular as a story about the tragic consequences of the earthquake in Haiti on a School of Public Affairs program (“SPA program in Haiti suffers serious loss” - 67 unique views). Just sayin.’ In less self-congratulatory news, Both Mayor Adrian Fenty and D.C. School’s Chancellor Michelle Rhee have seen their approval ratings plummet in the last few years. Forty-nine percent of D.C. residents now disapprove of the mayor, up from 21 percent two years ago. Rhee enjoyed a 59 percent approval rating two years ago. That number has now slipped to 43 percent. Curiously, District residents are happier than they have been in the last 20 years with city services and public schools. Over half say the city is heading in the “right direction.” D.C. Council member and former campaign chairman for Fenty’s campaign may have put it best, albeit a bit Stalinisticly “You’ve got to break eggs to make an omelet.” Ok, so back to Eagle news. We are hoping to roll out some new, improved, revamped and visually appealing blogs. For those in the know, think the Georgetown Voice’s “Vox Populi” blog or The Hoya’s “Saxa-

speaks.” We’re in the process of recruiting writers who would like to take a more, ahem, alternative view on events on campus. If you think you have a good grasp on news at AU e-mail or Liking The Eagle is most definitely NOT a prerequisite. In fact, we’d prefer it if you didn’t.


FRI 27 5 THU



Author Event: Douglas Rogers 7 p.m. WHERE: Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W. METRO: L1 or L2 bus from Van Ness (red line) INFO: Rogers, author of “The Last Resort: A Memoir of Zimbabwe” discusses his birthplace and life under the Mugabe regime. COST: Free CONTACT: For more information, call 202-364-1919.

Iranian Film Festival 7 p.m. WHERE: Freer Gallery of Art, Jefferson Drive and 12th St. N.W. METRO: Smithsonian (yellow and blue lines) INFO: This annual festival showcases new Iranian films. Tickets can be picked up one hour before show time. COST: Free CONTACT: For more information, call 202-633-1000.

Learn to cook a romantic dinner for your girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. WHERE: DC Coast, 1401 K St. N.W. METRO: McPherson Square (orange and blue lines) INFO: Executive chef Brendan Cox and executive pastry chef J.J. Minetola will teach guys how to cook a romantic meal for Valentine’s Day. Guys only. COST: $75 CONTACT: E-mail to make a reservation.

Indulge in Dessert at the Chocolate Lovers’ Festival 12 p.m. - 4 p.m. WHERE: George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Va. METRO: Old Town Fairfax, Main Street and University Drive, Fairfax, Va. INFO: Indulge in chocolate from multiple vendors, and partake in the Chocolate Challenge, the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, a craft show and open houses at historical buildings. COST: Free CONTACT: For more information, call 703-385-1661.

help CERF that is proper.” Veysey, who also spoke at the Jan. 26 meeting, countered Dalton’s argument. The Clean Energy Referendum of 2006 — a vote in which over 1,000 AU students participated to demonstrate AU’s concern with clean energy — was an example of the AU community’s desire for cleaner energy, Veysey said. “Seventy-one percent of AU students voted to raise their own fees to pay for clean energy on campus,” he said. “The student activity fee is the students’ money, and if the students want clean energy, why shouldn’t they be able to put their SG’s money towards clean energy on campus?” Dalton said his bill would not kill CERF. Rather, it would change the way it will be funded. “It doesn’t limit the SG’s ability to fundraise for CERF,” he said. “It just says we shouldn’t make use of an inappropriate way to funnel funds. In fact, I’m sure that we could raise $5,000 for CERF by working with fundraisers, promotions.” MacCracken defended his veto, saying that the original bill was too stringent in its financial constraints. “I believe everyone supports the Clean Energy Revolving Fund,” he said. “But I do believe that this was passed in haste last week and didn’t get the proper second look to make sure that ev-

ery single line in here did what we want it to do. And unfortunately, if the Student Government does a bake sale tomorrow to support CERF we can’t move the proceeds over there if this bill passes.” MacCracken said that SG could have a fundraiser for CERF under the present bill, as long as it acquires the funds before the money moves into CERF. “It’s my understanding, based on what I was told by Student Activities, that we have to have that money first, and as I said, we are unable to transfer that money.” The resulting situation would, according to Veysey, “cut CERF off from Student Government funding.” Over 20 members of the public came in support of MacCracken’s veto on Sunday, all appealing that CERF receive the funding from SG. President of EcoSense Jennifer Jones said she thinks the SG should find a way to provide funding for clean energy. “Students want renewable energy,” she said. “This is something that is important to students, and this bill would inhibit that. The bill prohibits potentially all funding from Student Government, and that’s not a good thing. This isn’t about raising fees for students; it’s about leaving the door open for SG to support clean energy on campus.”

Procedural issues

News that you could have found somewhere else condensed into paragraph form and stripped of all its importance.


from CERF on page 1

The debate The Senate was torn between support and opposition of the Jan. 26 bill, with one side claiming that CERF would impose “green fees” in the form of more bag taxes or otherwise, thus forcing a mandatory charge on students. This rumor is false, according to Drew Veysey, the director of environmental policy for SG and one of the students involved in creating the CERF fund. “The Clean Energy Revolving fund has nothing to do with mandatory fees,” Veysey said. A large amount of the debate last Sunday was devoted to clearing up these rumors and calling for agreeable means for supporting CERF. Dalton, who also heads the Senate’s Budget Committee, said he thought allocating money to CERF was not proper, considering student activity fee money would be the major source of funding. “Everyone who votes on the budget knows we barely have enough money to fund all the SG departments and organizations that we currently have,” Dalton said. “CERF is not one of those, which means that it is outside the bounds of SG funding. I think we should play by the rules and we should do everything we can to

What have you done for me lately? Well ... nothing it seems. Not one group e-mailed The Eagle with things that they have done in the last few weeks. So, AU students, rest assured that all that money you are forced to contribute to the AU Club Council and Student Activities is being wasted on intra-club pizza parties. This means two things: One, you should demand your money back and two, you should join a club so you can get some free pizza. I think Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., was here yesterday for College Dems, but no one told us so we’re going to assume it never happened. For those wondering, the quick take gets around 100 to 150 unique views each Thursday. -CHARLIE SZOLD

Jan. 27 Three students reported their iPods were taken from handbags in the Katzen Arts Center’s recital hall during a rehearsal. The handbags were all left in the same general area. An unattended wallet was taken in Mary Graydon Center. Fraudulent charges may have been made. Jan. 28 The Department of Public Safety executed a search warrant in an Anderson Hall dorm room. The resident was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The D.C. Fire Department responded and released a student from a stuck elevator in Letts Hall. No injuries were reported. Jan. 29 Emergency Medical Services transported a sick student to Sibley Hospital. DCFD transported a sick student to Sibley Hospital.

T-Pain cancels concert at the end of the spring 2009 semester, leaving his $61,000 fee to be reallocated among SG departments.

Dalton sends out e-mail asking for requests for additional money from surplus to be distributed among SG programs.

Veysey sends request for seed funding to get CERF moving.

DCFD and DPS responded to a report of an unconscious, intoxicated individual in Federal Hall on Tenley Campus. DCFD transported her to Sibley Hospital. Jan. 30 A fire extinguisher was discharged in the fourth floor hallway of Anderson. The extinguisher was located in a trash can in a fourth floor laundry room. Aramark responded to clean the area. Jan. 31 DPS observed a student board an AU shuttle bus with alcohol. His information was documented and the beer was discarded. He was sent on his way. Student conduct charges will be filed. At about 3 a.m., DPS heard a loud crowd in the area of the Tunnel shops and observed a fight in progress. Numerous DPS and approximately 15 MPD officers responded to assist with crowd control. The crowd size was estimated at approximately 50 people. Students were treated at the scene and refused further medical attention. DCFD, MPD and DPS left the scene at approximately 4:30 a.m. Student conduct charges will

Staff writer Tamar Hallerman contributed to this report. You can reach this writer at

SG refuses this request, and Dalton re-drafts new CERF bill clarifying “ money can be transferred by any member of Student Government from any Student Government account to the Clean Energy Revolving Fund.”

be filed. The reporting person indicated she was driving through the Tunnel shop area around 4 a.m. During a commotion she saw an unidentified male throw an unknown object at her vehicle. She discovered several scratches along the rear passenger side quarter panel and along the rear wheel’s fender. DPS responded to a fire alarm reported on the first floor at the Mary Graydon Center. No smoke or fire was located. The alarm was reset. Feb. 1 A shuttle bus driver reported his bus being struck as he approached a stop sign at the north tunnel entrance. The striking vehicle fled the scene. The bus sustained a six- to eight-inch scrape on the center left panel. No injuries were reported. Feb. 2 Facilities Management and contractors were sawing pipes in Roper Hall’s basement mechanical room. This caused a smoke detector to activate a fire alarm. The building was evacuated. All floors were checked. Facilities Management disabled the alarms.

MON 8 Polar Obsessions 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. WHERE: National Geographic Museum, 1145 17th St. N.W. METRO: Farragut North (red line) INFO: Photographer Paul Nicklen’s photos of the Arctic and Antarctica depict polar bears, penguins and seals. COST: Free CONTACT: For more information, call 202-857-7588.


Parliamentary procedure was also a factor in MacCracken’s veto. Some senators said they were ill-prepared in voting for the original bill. “We weren’t really doing our jobs as we should have,” said Megan Shea, a senator for the class of 2013. “We were in a hurry to just move on.” After facing a long list of bills on Jan. 26, some senators may have overlooked some of the more contentious stipulations of the bill, according to Brett Atanasio, senator for the class of 2013. “[The Undergraduate Senate was] like ‘OK, we’ve already done a million pieces of legislation already today, we might as well just get this done,’” he said. “And so they missed those two lines on the second page that are the source of all the controversy that has erupted since.” The Senate skipped the first reading of the bill in order to speed the process of passing it. “We waived first reading and went right into voting, and I think that’s where a lot of the confusion has happened, because first reading was meant to help everybody understand the bill,” Shea said.

CERF: The road to compromise

Last meeting of 4th Undergraduate Senate, CERF bill is first passed

An unattended cell phone was taken from a table in the Terrace Dining Room while the victim went to get food.

from AUTO on page 1

“[This] is significant because that’s five children who no longer have someone providing one-on-one attention to them, and that’s five children who we have to figure out what to do with in terms of still getting the services,” Adams said. The AUTO program started offering the use of four vans, available during office hours this Monday; usually there are nine vans available for use. The Student Government suspended the program at the end of last semester to help improve service and repair the vans, The Eagle previously reported. The Community Service Center’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service happened to fall during AUTO’s previous brief time out of commission. As a result, the AU Community Service Center had to factor an extra $2,000 in its budget for the event. This money could have gone toward supplies and food, according to Donald Curtis, the operations coordinator of the Community Service Center who was in charge of the Day of Service. “We could have done a lot of things differently,” Curtis said. “We could have put more money into equipment for sites; we could have put more money to food for sites.” For the day of service, a group of over 210 participants, including AU staff and AU President Neil Kerwin, traveled to five sites throughout the city, including one site on Minnesota Avenue in Southeast D.C. Curtis said he believes the

TUES 9 Black History Month at Mount Vernon 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. WHERE: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. Alexandria, Va. METRO: King Street (yellow and blue lines) INFO: The first president’s estate celebrates Black History Month with a ceremony and portrayals of slave life. COST: $15 CONTACT: For more information, call 703-780-2000.

Community Service Center did a good job of working around the transportation issues. “It’s just expensive without AUTO ... It makes us have to focus a little more on how [to] get people from place to place,” Curtis said. The Community Service Center had only one van to service the five sites, so they hired a bus company to make up for the rest of transportation needs, Curtis said. SG President Andy MacCracken said the changes to AUTO should have been completed over winter break. MacCracken said he was sorry that the extended downtime of the AUTO program had negative ramifications for groups on campus. AUTO was offline for an extended time because its vans had to go through maintenance, a process that was out of the SG’s control and a routine that has not been followed “for some time,” according to MacCracken. The vehicles were dropped off over winter break, and some are still in the shop. “In order to make the longterm changes that needed to be put in place, we [had] to scale back or completely shut down the program for some amount of time, [but] the length of time during which AUTO’s been down unfortunately has taken longer than we’d hoped,” MacCracken said. “I do think that the long-term benefits of that have been substantial.” You can reach this writer at

Megabytes Café Now Introducing….!!

New CERF bill passed the Senate after waiving first reading. Veysey was not present.

MacCracken and Dalton reach compromise that bars any student activity fees from being used for CERF. Students can choose to donate to the program.

Discussion about the new bill commences. Dalton begins drafting a new bill that will allow the transfer of funds to CERF after fundraising.

After Senate vote, MacCracken’s veto is sustained.

SG President Andy MacCracken vetoes CERF bill.

Realization of the implication of the bill trickles in, students and concerned members realize the bill potentially bars any SG support of CERF. Many believe that bill is not clear about the abilities SG has in fundraising for CERF.

Falafel sandwich Comes With: Tzatziki Sauce, Onion, Tomato, Parsley

Next to Chevy Chase Bank (In the Tunnel)



JOE WENNER n Editorial Page Editor

JEN CALANTONE n Editor in Chief

ACORN: A misunderstood organization THE STONE TABLET

ISAAC STONE Last week, a charming fellow named James O’Keefe was arrested for an alleged attempted wiretapping of Democratic Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone lines. As you may recall, O’Keefe was the dashing investigator and impersonator extraordinaire who dressed up as a pimp. Along with his “ho” Hannah Giles, he sought to expose the presumed dirt and corruption beneath the surface of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, or ACORN. In 2008, for those who may not recall, ACORN went from being a relatively small group of social activists to a vile utterance among conservatives upon news breaking of alleged voter fraud. To clarify, this news wasn’t entirely true; the real non-story was that of two incompetent employees submitting fake voter registration forms to get paid without doing any work. But ever since then, Republicans have used ACORN as one of their dirty buzzwords that, somehow, links to President Obama. This is along with “Ayres,” “socialism” and other words that are phrased to sound like they crawled out of a dreary Soviet alleyway where Rod Blagojevich lives in a dumpster. Perhaps the most telling moment was in the 2008 presidential debates, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., insisted that ACORN was “destroying the fabric of democracy.” Really? A bunch of dirt-poor community organizers succeeded in undermining the greatest Democracy in the world? Highly unlikely. Look, ACORN isn’t perfect. I do not condone “aiding and abetting with prostitution” — as conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart put it — or any kind of tampering with voter registration. But what those individuals who have been foaming at the mouth over ACORN do not understand is that the faults of indi-

viduals are not representative of the organization as a whole. The majority of ACORN employees really do — to borrow a phrase from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein — “God’s work.” Employees — whom in many cases select ACORN over a lucrative corporate profession — choose to set themselves up in the poorest of inner cities. They put themselves in danger of violence and financial instability to help provide affordable housing, better schools and more active communities. If corporations truly are the gears that turn America, then would not community organizers and others like them provide the grease in between? Just to point out their hypocrisy, how would the anti-ACORN crusade have reacted to, say, the government’s funding of an organization that killed innocents? Exactly that happened with Blackwater — the group of military contractors with a doctrine of starting a holy war, sent to Iraq by the Bush Administration and paid for with taxes. They recklessly harmed American soldiers and killed Iraqi civilians. Has there been the same furor over these crimes as there has been over ACORN? While there have been talks of cutting their funding since 2007, the bill to defund an organization whose primary purpose is to help people was rushed through Congress thanks to all the generated hysteria. Prostitution and voter fraud are both wrong. But so is trying to provide a roadblock for those who try to help others. I know that in a perfect capitalist society, no private enterprise would need funding from the federal government. But that isn’t the case here. If you really hate ACORN with a passion, consider this: if we all did our part in assuring equal democracy for all, it simply would not be needed. Isaac Stone is a sophomore in the School of International Service and the College of Arts and Sciences and a liberal columnist for The Eagle. You can reach him at


ERIN CADY Location, location, location. AU is far enough from the heart of the city to have the feel of a suburban campus, yet close enough to still be within city limits. However, AU’s location would prove to be an issue for car-less students if not for D.C.’s lifeline — the Metro system. Metro is an extremely useful mode of transportation, at least when it is working properly. We often take for granted that we can use a combination of subways and buses to travel throughout D.C. and the surrounding area to visit friends at colleges as far away as George Mason, University of Maryland-College Park and Howard, to name a few. However, as useful as Metro is, it always seems to be having some kind of delay or outage. Remember parents’ weekend, when it took over half an hour to catch a train that then proceeded to travel at a snail’s pace to its destination? These are inconveniences that we’ve all learned to deal with, if not expect when riding Metro. But wait, there’s more. Metro currently has a $40 million budget gap for this fiscal year, which comes down to $30 million after it receives $10 million from stimulus funds for preventive maintenance, which they admittedly need desperately. In an attempt to combat the budget gap, Metro’s Board of Directors have decided to raise fares by 10 cents from March 1 to June 30, although many doubt that Metro will eliminate the increase in June. The fare increase is expected to generate approximately $10 million. While a fare increase was preferred to reduced service (another option Metro considered to raise revenue) by those who responded

to a Metro survey, this seemingly small fare increase can certainly add up to a huge expense over a week, month, or semester. College students are especially going to be hit hard by this fare increase. Many of us have little change to spare as it is and rely on buses and subways to get us to school, internships or jobs across the city, not to mention to clubs and restaurants on the weekends. Most students could be considered a captive audience since they do not have cars on campus, and must pay whatever price Metro sets in order to travel around D.C. Cities across the country offer reduced fares to grade and high school students, the disabled and senior citizens. In Boston, students pay as low as 85 cents for a subway ride or have the option of purchasing a monthly unlimitedride pass for $20. In D.C., senior citizens age 65 and up pay halffare on the subway and 60 cents currently for a bus ride. So why aren’t college students included in the mix? Because we’re a huge moneymaker. College students tend to travel in large groups, use the Metro often and don’t have the time or inclination to lobby for lower fares. However, it is time that we stop allowing Metro to dictate the costs of our transportation, our vital connection with D.C. and the world outside of the AU bubble. Students across D.C. have organized on Facebook to make our opinion known to Metro authorities. AU students have the reputation for being the instigators of change when they work towards a cause. Together we can lobby Metro to reduce rates for college students across the greater D.C. area. I think it was a famous D.C. resident who once said, “yes, we can!” Erin Cady is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and an AU affairs columnist for the The Eagle. You can reach her at edpage@

Courtesy of MCT CAMPUS

To AU Senate: Pass CERF

Student Government has worked through much contention to reach a compromise on establishing a Clean Energy Revolving Fund. We’re now on the homestretch. U.S. Senate Democrats, take note. In a manner of wheeling and dealing that would make LBJ proud, the AU Undergraduate Senate clashed, debated and eventually compromised with Student Government President Andy MacCracken on contentious legislation that will establish a Clean Energy Revolving Fund (CERF) for AU. The final product only awaits final approval by the Senate during their upcoming Sunday session. Student senators should follow through on their commendable progress and pass the bill. Essentially, this CERF would be managed with the goal of financing renewable energy generators to be used on campus. Money saved through these efforts would be redirected back into CERF, making it a self-sustaining entity. Not only is CERF

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Women’s Initiative thanks Alex Knepper for publicity Women’s Initiative would like to thank Eagle Columnist Alex Knepper for his gracious promotion of the Vagina Monologues in his recent column. The Vagina Monologues are one of AU’s longest running traditions; this year’s performance marks the 10th year it has been performed on campus. Hundreds of AU students have been involved in the productions, and ticket sales have generated thousands of dollars in donations to local non-profits working to end violence against women like the D.C. Rape Crisis Center and the local office of the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, as well as V-Day International, which aids women and girls around the world. The show is truly the embodiment of AU’s Statement of Common


American University’s Independent Student Voice MISSION The Eagle, a student-run newspaper at the American University, serves the student readership by reporting news involving the campus community and surrounding areas. The Eagle strives to be impartial in its reporting and believes firmly in its First Amendment Rights. SUBMISSION AND EDITORIAL POLICIES • Send letters and guest columns to: Editorial Page Editor, The Eagle, 252 Mary Graydon Center, 4400 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20016 or Letters and guest columns must be received by 7 p.m. on the Thursday before the Monday publication, should be typed and must include the writer's name, year, school and telephone number. • All submissions become the property of The Eagle. Unsigned letters will not be published. The Eagle reserves the right to edit letters and guest columns for length and clarity. Letters will be limited to 300 words. • The Staff Editorial represents the majority of the Editorial Board, which is composed of the Editor in Chief, the managing editors for content, a representative from the Campus News, Metro News and National News desks and at

a great idea that helps AU fulfill its pledge to be carbon neutral, but similar programs have also been instituted by the State of Pennsylvania and Macalester University in Minnesota. Clearly, this fund was a relatively well-conceived initiative from the start. However, the initial CERF bill had several wrinkles that needed to be ironed out. Class of 2010 Senator Steve Dalton was rightly concerned that AU students would be forced to automatically contribute to this fund through student activity fees. The Eagle shares Dalton’s belief that students should not be coerced into funding CERF — which is ultimately a political project. Certainly, clean energy is a noble cause, but the means to this end should still benefit AU students, not add on to the

seemingly endless fees we already pay. Accordingly, Dalton’s original bill barred SG from funding CERF through virtually all means — including the student activity fee. Despite passing the Senate, Andy MacCracken vetoed the bill. Without the votes needed to override the veto, Dalton chose his next best option: compromise. The two have hashed out their views and what is left is a great bill, one that should be a satisfactory compromise for all. In an appropriate representation of the middle ground, SG would be allowed to hold fundraisers to raise money to contribute to CERF. More importantly, AU students would not be saddled with additional charges on their activity fees. Dalton is satisfied and MacCracken has pledged

Purpose to turn ideas into action and action into service, and we are proud that so much could be accomplished and so many lives touched on such a small budget. This year, we are also happy to expand our V-Day events to include our “Directors’ Cut” show, which showcases the stories and voices of members of our own community around the issues raised by The Vagina Monologues, and the V-Men Campaign, which will empower and engage men in generating ideas and action to end violence against women and girls for good. The TVM Cast service project to assist the District Alliance for Safe Housing, which places survivors of domestic violence in safe housing, is also open to any volunteers interested in getting involved. Unfortunately, Knepper neglected to mention the dates and times of this year’s show. The Vagina Monologues will be staged on Thursday, February 25 through Saturday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. nightly in the University

Club in Mary Graydon Center. Tickets cost only $8 for students and $10 for community members and will be available starting Feb. 17 each weekday at the tables in MGC. All proceeds from this year’s show will benefit Women Empowered Against Violence, which provides legal, counseling, economic, and educational services to help survivors of domestic violence achieve safety and lead empowered lives, and the Domestic Violence Resource Project, which provides advocacy, awareness, educational, and support resources regarding domestic violence for members of the D.C. metro area’s Asian and Pacific Islander community. Tickets always sell out quickly, so make sure to pick yours up as soon as possible.

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In “Frat faces IFC allegations,” from the Feb. 1 edition of The Eagle, Curtis Burrill was misidentified as the director of greek life. His job title is “coordinator,” not director. In “Undergrad Senate votes to uphold MacCracken veto,” The Eagle stated that the Senate voted 11-7-1, sustaining the veto. At the Feb. 1 meeting of the Undergraduate Senate, there was an 11-7-1 vote in favor of overriding the veto. The votes were not enough of a majority to override the veto, thus sustaining it.

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he will not veto. All that remains is an affirmative vote from the Senate. Of course, this process was not without its flops. Confusion arose in the Senate as to what the bill actually entailed. Claims that many senators went into session without actually reading the bill only coupled the misunderstandings. Still, these regrettable and avoidable mistakes should not overshadow the efficiency of SG in fulfilling its purpose: acting on student input to produce results. Student groups like EcoSense had prompted debate on installing CERF, senators acted on the bill, reconciled differences and are on the brink of producing an impressive program that will benefit AU and its students. With success so close, the next step should be clear. Senators, pass the bill.


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CAS prof. airs global show By BROOKES MAY Eagle Contributing Writer Rachel Louise Snyder may have traded her frequent flyer miles for a tenure track professorial post, but being behind a desk hasn’t diminished her curiosity for the world around her. Snyder, a professor of literature and creative writing in the College of Arts and Sciences has a new weekly radio show called “The Global Guru,” in which she focuses on one small and unique part of a different culture. Snyder’s pieces run a mere 2 minutes, 45 seconds and are broadcast on stations all over the country, including WAMU 88.5. “Each week we ask just one simple question, just one,” Snyder says in the opening of each short piece. From Tasmanian devils to Dutch insults, Snyder takes her listeners on a factoid-filled trip around the world. “We associate specific things with specific cultures,” Snyder said. “England, we think of tea for example. But cultures are so much more complex than that. ‘The Global Guru’ lets me explore these complexities in simple ways.” As a freelance writer and journalist, Snyder traveled widely, publishing articles in publications like Redbook, The New York Times Magazine and The New Republic. Her stories have been heard on popular radio shows like “All Things Considered,” “This American Life” and “Morning Edition.” She was recently interviewed on WAMU 88.5, “The Ani-

mal House,” for her story about tracking Tasmanian devils in the wild. Snyder lived in London and Cambodia and covered the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami. She recently published a book, “Fugitive Denim,” following the elusive trail of textile production, where she proves there is more to the story than “Made in Mexico,” as the tag on your jeans might claim. “The world is complicated,” Snyder said. “And we are so interconnected. Global Guru is great because I’m always finding out these fun little facts but there’s no place to publish them.” She described culture like the adhesive on a sticker, closely connected to people, impossible to separate, and not always obvious. “How do we define ‘American?’” Snyder asked. “We are so much more than McDonald’s or ‘Friends.’ But it’s so hard to explain or define, all cultures are. With Global Guru I can explore something vastly complicated in a really straightforward way.” Plus, the Global Guru is a perfect fit for AU’s campus, Snyder said. “AU is so global,” she said. “It’s why I chose to teach here. It has so much to offer, and is so in touch with the world. Where better to broadcast from?” The Global Guru can be heard by podcast and airs on WAMU 88.5 on Friday nights at 10:58. You can reach this writer at

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according to the site. Green voided her California residency last year, and in a voter registration drive last spring at least 30 other students also registered as D.C. residents, Green said. In the last round of redistricting, AU’s main campus was divided between SMD 07 and SMD 02, making it more difficult to meet the petition requirements. “When [AU’s district] was split up, I don’t think that anyone realized the effect that it would have on the campus,” Smith said. The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics registers voters living on AU’s main campus to 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, an address that is located in District 02. In November, after Green had collected the required 25 signatures, the Board of Elections and Ethics invalidated the petition. The Board could not tell the difference between students living on South side in SMD07 and on North side in SMD02, ac-


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she sees it as logical for upperclassmen to be given lower priority, as they are likely to live off-campus. “Under that logic, if you are going to say that seniors have preference over juniors, it goes against the logic,” she said. “I understand how [rising] seniors feel that they’ve paid their dues and now should have priority in the system, because it’s how this system has worked for a long time.” Next year, housing at the Berkshire Apartments will no longer be all-inclusive, as Housing and Dining will require residents to pay for their own Internet and cable. The reasons for this change were twofold, Moody said. During the fall semester, Housing and Dining had a billing dispute with the company that provides cable service to the complex, leaving some residents without television for weeks, The Eagle previously reported. Students at the Berks also were saying that they either did not want TV or wanted premium channels. The cost of cable and Internet has been subtracted from the housing rates next year, Moody said.

cording to Green and Pagano. In December, the Board of Elections and Ethics agreed to use the residence halls’ unique four-digit numbers at the end of the ZIP code to differentiate D.C. voters living in District 02 and District 07. However, the Board of Elections and Ethics has yet to update their registration system, according to Pagano. Green will not be able to obtain a new petition until this is done, Pagano said. In 2006, the Student Government tried to field a candidate, but no one stepped forward to fill the position, The Eagle previously reported. The ANC 3D commissioners, like Smith, have been very supportive, according to both Green and MacCracken. “Students are a part of our community, and the fact that the seat is empty is a real loss. It is a loss for AU, and it is a loss for the community,” Smith said.

news 4

EAGLE RANTS *@#!3*%! Yes, maybe some people in the greek system are different from the stereotype and decent people, it’s hard for the rest of us not to group you guys together. So many of you are alike. It’s impossible to identify each individual, as terrible as that sounds. I’m still going to stereotype you. I thought AU was supposed to be full of politically active, engaged youth. The Citizens United ruling, the death of the health care bill, the goddamn Tea Party - more than ever, students need to be fighting for the change we believed in. Unless you’re all just AU Dems throwing out talking points, happy with being lied to and the corporate co-opting of the presidential administration we believed cared about students and their futures just a year ago.

You can reach this writer at Once the lottery process is complete and all 400 spots have been assigned to rising juniors and seniors, there will be about 350 spaces left over that were in the lottery inventory but that were not selected. These spaces will be for rising sophomores, in addition to double rooms. Moody predicts that most of those spaces will be in Centennial Hall. “I imagine a bulk of Centennial will still be available for rising sophomores,” he said. For rising sophomores, all spaces will be available at once online on a first-come, first-serve basis, he said. The actual lottery will be computerized and completely random. To be sure, there will be a representative from RHA observing the process as it takes place. Applications to participate in the lottery are due at 5 p.m. Feb. 12. Lottery numbers will be randomly assigned on Feb. 17 and the room selection process will begin Feb. 23 for 11 1/2 month leases at the Berks. The rest of the spaces will be assigned on Feb. 25 and 26.

Dear Eagle: Ten students are MIA in Haiti, you lead with an IFC infraction. Is Katie Couric running your paper lately? EDITOR’S NOTE: Refer to today’s Quick take for our answer. That guy who doesn’t like “The Quick Take” is obviously the mystery man giving blow jobs in the Arboretum. TQT is fun. The new “campus beautification” shirts Phi Sigma Kappa made could be funny ... if those guys were actually hot themselves. To the dork who wrote about cylons: There is no way the library could be cylons, they’ve got to be Klingons with that noble sense of honor and pride. Kaplah! As part of the new Civitas program AU students aren’t supposed to use the word angry, rather “grumpy” nor “stupid.” They’re supposed to say “Moody.”

You can reach this staff writer at

I hate music. It’s got too many notes.

Marriage bill may aid D.C. econ. By ASHLEY DEJEAN Eagle Contributing Writer Legalizing gay marriage in D.C. in 2009 would have boosted the local economy $52 million over the course of three years, according to a Williams Institute estimate. Christopher Ramos, research associate at the Williams Institute, a think tank at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law that focuses on sexual orientation law, explained the number of dollars generated in the economy would be lower now, but the D.C. economy would still receive a boost. “We estimated about $52 million over three years, and about $5.5 million in revenue in local government tax fees,” Ramos said. “Both of those numbers will be less now since the legal landscape of marriage

has changed in our country. Those couples that would have gone to D.C. now have other options.” The D.C. Office of the Chief Financial Officer expects the boost to be between $4.5 and $22 million, according to the DC Agenda, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news Web site. Tonei Glavinic, a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs, volunteers at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Transgender Equality and Trans Youth Family Allies, and she works closely with the National Center for Lesbian Rights. He thinks that the boost in the D.C. economy will most greatly benefit those in the wedding industry, he said. “There’s an increase in the number of people who can get married, so there will be an economic impact be-

cause people spend a lot of money on weddings — everything from event planners, space reservations, florists, bakeries, photographers, invitations,” Glavinic said. “When people get married they will often spend tens of thousands of dollars on their wedding.” However, Ramos explained the Williams Institute study did not factor in the multiplier effect, which would boost other local industries as the money spent is then spent again by the companies hired for weddings. There are 3,678 same-sex unmarried partners living in the same household, according to the 2000 census. Based on estimates from numbers in other states that have legalized gay marriage, such as Massachusetts, half of these couples are expected to marry, according to the

Talon Web site kicks off in era of Facebook By STEFANIE DAZIO Eagle Staff Writer In an effort to “showcase” its work, The Talon, AU’s yearbook, will launch an updated Web site this week, according to Editor-in-Chief Ashley Kemper. The Talon will also continue to publish its $65, 300-page hardcover book this year, unlike other college yearbooks, many of which have recently been discontinued. Purdue University, the University of Virginia and Mississippi State University are a few that have recently given up on funding their yearbooks, according to a recent article in The Washington Post. “Right now, our biggest problem is that people don’t know about us,” Kemper said. “[The Web site] will hopefully peak their interest.” The Web site will include features like posting a Talon picture directly to a Facebook wall with a link back to The Talon Web site. Kemper said she believes this move will “increase our popularity and recognition.” The hope is that a parent will visit the Web site, see his or her child and be more likely to buy a book, said Eric Hian-Cheong, a freshman in the School of Communication. Facebook photo albums are fast outpacing the production of yearbooks, which caused the death of Purdue University’s yearbook, “Debris,” in 2008, according to thensection editor Jon Van Norman, a senior at Purdue.

“People can see pictures pretty much the next day on Facebook,” Van Norman said. “How are we going to be able to get them to remember it?” Students were not willing to shell out the $65 for a yearbook when they could see Facebook photos for free, he said. “We just couldn’t turn a profit from making the books,” Van Norman said. “We had to move on and try to come up with something more modern.” The staff decided instead to publish “On Track,” of which Van Norman is also the editor in chief. “On Track” is a free 80-page, soft-cover, annual publication funded through sponsorships and advertisements, Van Norman said. “We’re still trying to keep the tradition of a year book alive,” he said. “It might not be a traditional one, but we’re trying to keep the concept alive.” Hian-Cheong said a yearbook is about looking back on college 20 years from now. “People don’t realize it, but a yearbook is not something you look at when you graduate,” HianCheong said. “It’s kind of like a time capsule ... in the future you’ll open it up, and it’ll bring back memories.” Down the road, former students won’t remember when President Barack Obama visited AU, Kemper said. People won’t remember “the line that stretched down Massachusetts Ave[nue],” until a yearbook is

opened, she said. will go live by next week and will be developed throughout the semester, according to Kemper. The site will feature photo galleries as well as information about book sales, senior portraits, the history of the Talon and information about how to join the yearbook staff. Kemper and the Talon staff will get the word out about the site in the near future by sending out postcards, fliers and other promotional materials. Kemper noted that the site is in no way meant to replace the yearbook. “By having an exciting, cuttingedge platform to display and share our hard work, students will be able to see the high-quality content we produce and will, hopefully, want to buy a book,” Kemper said. Kemper hopes students will value and appreciate their yearbooks for years to come. “While Facebook and other social networking sites will only last until their popularity fades, a yearbook can forever hold a students’ life at AU right on their bookshelf.” The Talon typically sells 400 copies a year and is published by Taylor Publishing. Yearbooks are mailed directly to students and can be ordered online at You can reach this staff writer at

Williams Institute. In addition, slightly less than 12,550 out-of-state couples are expected to travel to D.C. to get married in the next three years, according to Ramos. Economics Professor Daniel Lin said while he expects the marriage industry to grow, investments in a new home and furnishings for that home, as is sometimes seen when couples get married, will remain fairly stable. “I expect there would be more money spent on wedding ceremonies, but because you don’t have to be married to live together, I would think all the spending you see from living together wouldn’t change,” Lin said. You can reach this writer at

In the really awesome Wikipedia game that is sweeping campus, you can get from Hitler to Neil Kerwin in under four clicks. Just sayin. Yo, old man on the 2nd floor of the


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Ducockis, the host, comes up to the stage, winding the audience up with jokes that promise to please the audience, mentioning AU’s infamous nickname “gay-jew.” One performance that received a lot of laughs came from Akasha Cassadine, who put on a show to the song “If I Can’t Sell It I’ll Sit On It” by Ruth Brown. “It’s a comedy about an old woman who basically says she owns a secondhand furniture store and she’s talking about this chair, but in essence she’s talking about herself and her body,” she said. Ducockis, in a teal, Mardi Gras leotard paired with metallic silver tights, raised the most money

library ... what are you doing here? Why are you having such a loud conversation on your phone? Why do you have an iPhone? STOP TALKING ON THE GODDAMN QUIET FLOOR, IDIOTS! I AM ROBBED OF SERENITY AT THE ONE AREA OF CAMPUS THAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE GUARANTEED. Seriously, I thought I found a place where I could escape the inane dumbassery of my peers. Why have all of the Eagle Rants sucked this semester? And stop hating on the Ginger Kids Alex Knepper: Most hated individual at American University? Fire alarm, twice in one night in MGC? THIS IS AN OUTRAGE. DID anyone else notice the hipster invasion? How did it happen with out anyone stopping them? If you don’t believe in evolution, you should probably go fuck yourself. AU should administer a mandatory IQ test before admitting students. That way all of the idiots can be weeded out before it’s too late. ATV: Bullshit. RE: Letterwearer in philosophy class ... since you’re taking a philosophy class, you will at some point learn that rational beings would never sink so low as to join greek life. Face it, Socrates, a true Greek, is rolling in his grave over people like you. FUCK EVERYONE WHO OWNS A BIKE AT THIS SCHOOL AND NEVER RIDES IT!! Your rusting piece of shit fixed gear is taking up the bike rack space. When I’m rushing to my class after biking to school, I don’t need to try to shove your bike as far away as possible just so I can lock mine up. To all of the upperclassmen currently living on campus: You can’t depend on Housing and Dining forever. Get the fuck over it.

brought in by a single performance with “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, a popular artist in the LGBT community. “I think [Lady Gaga] is someone who just gets it. She is what we all wish we were-totally unapologetic about who we are,” School of International Service freshman Brett Atanasio said. “[She has] raw, unbridled passion. She doesn’t care who you are, you’re still beautiful, and, of course, she’s fabulous.” Other performers include Ba’Naka Schaad, a beloved performer at Town Dance Boutique, Schuyler Whitney and Yoo-mei. You can reach this writer at

FEBRUARY 4, 2010


10 Best Picture nods promise Oscar changes THROUGH THE LENS



ACROSS THE OCEAN — Despite the success of Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook” when it was adapted to film, “Dear John” has not crossed mediums as easily. The film fails to leave any sense of fulfillment in the audience, instead filling them with frustration at the uneventful romance.

‘John’ signs without love By HILARY LEISTER Eagle Contributing Writer



Have you ever gone on a date with someone and just clicked with that person? Then you go on a second date, a third date, a fourth and that hard-to-find chemistry is still there. You’re caught up with that person and anxiously waiting for them to make a move. Everything seems so perfect and you think that tonight might be the night that he or she comes up to your apartment. But just when you think everything is going so well, they kiss your cheek, bid you “good night” and walk away ... again. The new movie “Dear John” is a perfect metaphor for this type of dating situation. The two lead characters, John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfried), are handed a perfect, life-changing romance

on a silver platter and throw it away because of Savannah’s utter stupidity. Not to ruin the entire plot for those planning to see the film, but there is no happily ever after. Author Nicholas Sparks wowed chick flick lovers across the nation in 2004 when his novel “The Notebook” made it to the big screen. The love story between Noah and Allie made every American girl pine for a quiet Southern boy to build them a white house with a special room for painting. But unlike “The Notebook,” “Dear John” lacks a certain quality — a quality that makes tears of both happiness and sorrow stream down your face as the credits roll. Instead, tears of anger and disappointment will spout from your eyes, and the rolling credits will leave you feeling confused and unfulfilled. The film starts out very quickly with the romance between John and Savannah kindling in the first 10 minutes. About 20 minutes in, Savannah has already met John’s

dad and the two characters are completely, head-over-heels for each other. Fast-forward a few more minutes and a uniformed John is headed overseas for his next Army mission (he’s a sergeant in the Special Forces). Letters fly back and forth between the two lovebirds, but drama begins when John feels pressured by fellow soldiers to extend his tour. What he doesn’t realize is that Savannah has her own dilemmas back home in Charleston, S.C. By the end of the movie, and especially during the last third, viewers become very frustrated. The audience keeps waiting for something big to happen between John and Savannah but is never given that relief and satisfaction. Circumstances keep arising that prevent the two from embracing their true love for one another. “Dear John” is like Chinese food without a fortune cookie, airplanes without free snacks or sex without an orgasm — painfully incomplete. Despite the film’s many negatives, there are a handful of

Residents revel in weird

reasons to smile and laugh during “Dear John.” The first and most obvious is the beautiful, irresistible and shirtless Channing Tatum. Good luck peeling your eyes away from the screen when he’s surfing, dressed up in uniform or wearing his adorable navy blue sweater. When he cries during the film (and he cries several times), the audience feels compelled to tear up as well. Another reason to see “Dear John” is for Richard Jenkins, the actor who plays John’s father. He is absolutely remarkable as an autistic and socially anxious adult. His performance was above and beyond that of any other characters (except, of course, the crying Channing Tatum). “Dear John” opens on Feb. 5 in theaters everywhere. But remember, if you do choose to see it, don’t expect “The Notebook” — but do enjoy the eye candy! You can reach this writer at

Oscar nomination day is a holiday for me. I wake up super early (on my day off, mind you) and watch the nomination presentation, this year, streamed live online. It’s a lot like Christmas, except without the tree, gifts and family stuff, although you still complain about who shouldn’t be there and who’s missing. This year the academy expanded its number of Best Picture nominees from five to 10 in perhaps the smartest move they’ve done in years. This expansion not only makes obvious room for more nominees, it effectively enhances the perception of the types of films that can be Best Picture nominees. Take this year’s 10 nominees for example: “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” “District 9,” “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Precious,” “A Serious Man,” “Up” and “Up in the Air.” Just the sheer fact that alien-infested, science-fiction thriller “District 9” is next to the wise British drama “An Education” is terribly exciting. Although some might be turned off by the inclusion of some more mainstream audience favorites like “The Blind Side,” I would wager that viewership of the Academy Awards this year is going to skyrocket. People love to see their favorite movies and performers win big, so as downright giddy as I will be when Katherine Bigelow wins her much warranted Best Director trophy for her smart war drama “The Hurt Locker,” more people across America will be over the moon when Sandra Bullock takes Best Actress for her turn in the critically-divided, yet audience and box office smash, “The Blind Side.” Opening up the playing field to 10 horses yields a much more honest representation of the kind of contemporary films people, critics and audiences alike are seeing and loving. Again, let’s take a look at our nominees. Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air”

secures the quirky indie-sensibility factor; science-fiction geeks will be pleased by the presence of aliens and spaceships with “Avatar” and “District 9.” Auteur lovers have themselves a nice dose of Tarantino and Coen Brothers with “Inglourious Basterds” and “A Single Man” respectively; those seeking emotionally charged tearjerkers have themselves “The Blind Side” and “Precious;” parents forced to confine their cinematic endeavors to animated, kids-friendly films have “Up.” Then there’s “The Hurt Locker” and “An Education” for the existential, art-house theater-goers. It’d be difficult to argue that these 10 aforementioned films don’t represent quite a plethora of film-going demographics, tastes and trends. It will be interesting to see how this more open, inclusive approach to Best Picture will translate in future years, but more so than anything, I really hope to see the academy warm up to some comedy films. As Anne Hathaway read the 10 films up for the big award, I secretly hoped a film like “The Hangover” would sneak in. Sure, it’s no “Hurt Locker,” but I just appreciate the novelty that for quite some time, especially after its surprising Golden Globes victory, the film was in the running for a Best Picture nomination. “The Hangover” chronicles the gross-out-humored blackout night that involved a homosexual ninja thief, a tiger stolen from Mike Tyson and an accidental marriage to a stripper. All tasteless, sure, but how great would it have been to see something so crude in the same line up as “An Education?” Although the latter was leagues better in pretty much every department imaginable (aside from laughs), I can probably count the people I know who saw it on one hand. “The Hangover,” however, I feel was seen and adored by most people I know, from crass uncles and the high school kids I work with to fellow film students. Expanding the field was a brilliant idea and the implications for its new inclusive air for the independent industry is terribly exciting, I just hope the academy loosens up a little and starts taking comedy seriously. You can reach this columnist at



TWO EYES ARE BETTER THAN ONE — Despite their identities remaining anonymous, The Residents are still rocking since they hit the music scene in the late ‘60s. Their odd ways and desire to stay out of the mainstream haven’t stopped well-known names such as Matt Groening and bands like Animal Collective from admiring them.

By MICHAEL W. RICHARDSON Eagle Staff Writer One might consider it difficult to imagine that an influential band, active since the late ‘60s and counting among their fans a number of influential bands, producers and other celebrities could somehow remain obscure. But you probably still haven’t heard of The Residents. And they would likely prefer it that way. The mystique of The Residents is that we don’t know who they are. Fiercely protective of their identities, they have never revealed their names, or even what they look like. Concert-goers are treated to the foursome playing in tuxedos, their

faces often obscured by space helmets painted like giant eyeballs, topped off with a top hat. At one point, they claimed to have broken up due to an unfortunate food fight, but that information is likely a red herring, keeping music journalists and fans on their toes. These small snippets are really all anyone has to follow, considering The Residents have never even given their own interviews. Taking over this job is their management team, whose cryptic answers just bring up more questions. But they’re showing off their extreme blend of anti-music at the 9:30 club this Sunday. Without the drama of keeping their personal lives separate from

the music, The Residents have been able to put together decades worth of experimental music that takes bits from popular music to experimental jazz and mashes them together with their own very anti-pop aesthetic. Their first album, “Meet The Residents,” directly parodied the Beatles’ “Meet the Beatles,” down to the altered cover art that was just a little too similar to the Fab Four’s for their management’s comfort (though rumor has it that it turned both Ringo Starr and George Harrison into instant fans). It sold 40 copies its first year. Their next album, “Not Available,” was recorded among much n

see RESIDENTS on page 6


AU’s Shakespeare theater troupe, the Rude Mechanicals, are putting on a production of “King Lear” in Katzen this week. The show premieres Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. with other performance times through Feb. 6.


FEBRUARY 4, 2010

the scene 6

Building on strengths heightens happiness WHOLISTIC HEALTH

KELLY BARRETT On a scale of one to 10, how happy are you? Ever wonder if maybe you aren’t as happy as you could be? Imagine a happiness number line, with “0” in the center, “-10” on one end and “10” on the other. The happiest place ever is “10,” while “-10” is the unhappiest. And “0” is just fine. Most people, even those who believe they are perfectly content, actually linger around “0” in the center of the number line. People that are depressed or have other psychological conditions typically fall in the negatives. Throughout most of psychology’s history, doctors have focused on these people in the negatives, considering proper mental health to be the absence of aversive states. That is, as long as you didn’t have a diagnosable disorder, you were fine and generally ignored. The psychology community spent little time researching therapies that could help people that are “just fine” to be extremely happy. But what if “just fine” was just not good enough? Lately, some psychologists have been investigating this. I spoke to Dr. Anthony Ahrens, a psychology professor at AU who has taught theories of happiness and an honors colloquium on positive psychology. Ahrens explained that positive psychology focuses not on getting rid of disorders, but on maximizing one’s happiness using the person’s individual strengths, regardless of whether a disorder is present. Positive psychology, or “the

psychology of human strengths,” as it has come to be called, has been extensively developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Seligman is working to develop a system of human strength categorization, which would be an important tool in this psychology, just as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has served as a tool in diagnosing sufferers of mental disorders. Ahrens explained that there are two therapies in this practice that have been clinically shown to increase overall happiness. The first therapy involves identifying your “signature strengths” and then finding ways to use them every day in new ways. Now, maybe you already know what your signature strength is. Maybe you are always the comedian in the room, so perhaps your strength is your humor. If you aren’t sure what your “signature strength” is, as I wasn’t, never fear. There’s a test online, of course. Don’t you just love the Internet? If you go to, you’ll be brought to a huge list of questionnaires. You can register for free, then take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. The survey is long, but whatever — just consider it 15 minutes of your life you would have spent putzing around on Facebook, anyway. I took the survey, and my highest strength was “curiosity and interest in the world.” Therefore, I should focus on actively using my curiosity throughout the day. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been the one always asking questions, but maybe I need to ask more. I love to travel, people-watch and talk to new people, so perhaps it would be helpful for me to find ways to meet and talk to

new people on ordinary days. I love when I find that there’s an interesting person sitting next to me on an airplane, the bus or the Metro; however, I don’t always feel comfortable talking to random people. But maybe I should try it more often anyway. Whenever there are opportunities to satisfy my curiosity, I should go for it, because it could actually be more therapeutic for me than I might have realized. Figure out what your strength is, and then do whatever you can to use it. The second therapy Ahrens discussed involves reflecting on each day and thinking of three good things that happened, and why they happened. This allows you to not only find things to be grateful for, but to assess what made them possible. Maybe you got a good grade back on an exam, and you know it was because you had studied using a certain method. Reflecting on this activity and why it happened will help you to reinforce those behaviors, and the happiness you experienced as a result, in the future. Sure, this psychology is a bit new age-y. But I think it’s important for us as college students to consider trying these kinds of mental exercises as much as we can. It’s not like anyone will know, because it all goes on in your head. I’m a big believer in the mind-body connection. So, if your mind is in a healthy place, it is much more likely that your body will be too. In fact, I personally look at these therapies as forms of preventative medicine. If we can “train” ourselves to be happier early in life, I predict it will be easier for us to avoid illness as we age. Cheers to making ourselves happy. You can reach this columnist at


TWINKLE TOES — ‘Saturday Night Live’ catered to sports fans this past Sunday with their special, ‘SNL Presents: Sports-All Stars.’ The episode lasted two hours and consisted of sketches from every era of the show. Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte hosted as characters Pete Twinkle and Greg Stink.

‘SNL’ special satiates sport-loving spectators By KATY PITKIN Eagle Contributing Writer “SNL Presents: Sports AllStars” certainly became a favorite of anyone who loves sports and likes comedy. The two-hour special aired on Sunday. While Saturday Night Live’s latest Christmas special was hosted by Kristen Wiig’s one-dimensional character Gilly, the hosts of this sports special were much better suited: Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte played their ESPN reporter counterparts, Pete Twinkle and Greg Stink. It was a hilariously refreshing change. Twinkle’s offensive jokes about various sponsors, Stink’s cluelessness about every sport imaginable and the fact that they are both naturals at hosting a show provided an entertaining and seamless segue in and out of every sketch. This “SNL” special came just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. The show brought together some of the best comedic sports sketches throughout the past 30 years. You


from RESIDENTS on page 5

hype from a new-cult fan base that had latched onto their first album and was naturally awaiting the band’s second with fevered anticipation. So The Residents decided to finish recording and then shelve it until everyone had forgotten it existed. In the meantime, they began releasing experimental films, which would eventually lead them to adopt emerging computer technology later in their career to create more and more outlandish visuals. Further albums were revealed, including the relatively infamous “Third Reich & Roll,” which paro-


FRUIT OF THE SEA — During the recent Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week, Jaleo pleased palates with its pre-fixed menu featuring five courses for $30. The tapas restaurant offered plates such as scallops with clementines and a butternut squash purée, pictured above, among their other modern Spanish fare.

don’t have to be a sports fanatic to find these sketches funny. In the opening sketch from 2001, Derek Jeter aloofly pelts baseballs into the audience injuring fans, production assistants and lighting equipment, exclaiming, “I’m giving fans the opportunity that they’ve always wanted: to catch a foul ball.” This special collects sketches from every era of the show. Lorne Michaels created “SNL” in 1975, and while their target demographic might now be a younger crowd, they chose a variety of sketches that have aired since the beginning of the show that appeals to sports fans of all ages. Sports stars’ endorsements provided a springboard for many of the sketches. While mentoring inner-city children, Super Bowlbound quarterback Peyton Manning showed them how to “get ahead” in life — by keying into cars, hitting on beautiful women and successfully running from the police. As for the big game this Sunday, “Saturday Night Live” star

died pop music as a tool of fascistic devotion. It was made up of several long tracks with pop songs mashed up, forgoing melody and what a casual listener would call musical affinity. “Commercial Album” consisted of 40 one-minute songs that savagely tore apart conventional music, using only one verse and one chorus each to send up all the clichés the music industry had to offer. Since then, The Residents have not slowed down. Despite pushing past 40 years, there are no signs that their unique brand of anti-establishment music is losing steam. And though they are not often recognized, several acts have admit-

Eagle Contributing Writer For Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week, trendy tapas restaurant Jaleo whittled its detailed menu down to a five-course meal featuring the best of its traditional and modern Spanish fare. For a mere $30, diners were able to share generous portions of Jaleo’s most popular dishes, served on modern white flatware at a relatively speedy pace. The first course offered a beautifully presented onion soup with a poached egg, and an endive, goat cheese, orange and almond dish that balanced bitterness and sweetness. The standout of the group, however, was the pan con tomate y queso pasamontés, a trio of toasted slices of rustic bread vigorously scrubbed red with tomatoes, topped with a thin slice of Manchego cheese and drizzled with a few drops of olive oil. The Manchego slightly overpowered the tomato, but the crunch

of the bread, the sweetness of the tomatoes and the tartness of the cheese was the perfect little bite, and a great start to the meal. With the second course came the vegetables, featuring an interesting plate of seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese and seared onions with blue cheese and pine nuts. The tangy romesco sauce paired with the grilled asparagus dish was just too good not to mop up with a slice of bread. The third course, Modernas y Clásicas, brought one of the best dishes of the night, the patatas bravas — fried fingerling potatoes topped with a spicy tomato sauce and a thick, rich aioli sauce. The popular tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic and pepper and the chorizo wrapped in a crispy potato chip were also highlights. The fourth course was an overall disappointment with the grilled marinated chicken and parsley purée falling flat in flavor, and the

small, perfectly cooked portion of salmon oddly combined with pomegranate and a thin cauliflower puree. The scallop and butternut squash puree was perfectly seared but served lukewarm, and could have done without the tart clementine sauce. By the time the dishes were cleared, a sweet bite to end the meal was needed. Luckily, the fifth and final course of the night was the best. The stars of the evening were the rich and fluffy chocolate torte and the refreshing homemade chocolate, vanilla and (surprising) goat cheese ice cream. The sloppy service and the overlap of courses was a damper on the meal, but with high-backed, cushy chairs and Spanish-style tiles adorning the walls, Jaleo is a cozy and comfortable dining setting. You can reach this writer at

You can reach this writer at

ted their admiration for the band. They Might Be Giants and Animal Collective both count them as huge influences. Penne Gillette considers them his favorite band, as does Matt Groening. They’ve pierced through the shallow layers of pop culture, but kept their identities secure and their musical philosophy intact. For a show guaranteed to be unique, check out The Residents’ performance at the 9:30 club on Sunday, Feb. 7. Don’t forget your top hat. You can reach this staff writer at

Catch up or get ahead this summer in New York City!

Spanish eatery offers modern tapas menu By KELLY HOLLIDAY

Will Forte said he was slightly partial to the Indianapolis Colts, as many of the sketches chosen were from quarterback Peyton Manning’s hosting episode. “Peyton Manning hosted the show a couple years ago so we love the guy ... but you know, the Saints coming in, they’ve never been to a Super Bowl,” Forte said in an interview with The Eagle. “I want each team to win. I want a tie.” Fellow star Jason Sudeikis said that he had no prediction for Sunday’s game, but had high hopes for what he thinks will be an apocalyptic 2012 Super Bowl. “I hope it’s just one long halftime show ... It’s all the Mayans — just the Mayans with the spectacular fire show,” Sudeikis said. “Mayans will win the 2012 Super Bowl — the Mayans by 3 if they get a last second field goal.” The “SNL Presents: Sports All-Stars” special is available anytime on

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CLASSIFIED Looking for a caregiver Warm, loving family looking for after-school care for 6 year old girl in exchange for a private, comfortable apartment complete with bedroom, kitchenette, bathroom and private entrance in the family’s home. Prefer a grad student (education major a plus) who could start work around 3 pm and finish by 7 pm or earlier most evenings. Duties would include transportation to and from after school activities (car provided during work hours), preparing basic meals for the child, and providing a stimulating environment for a growing mind. The home is located in the Palisades, near Sibley hospital, on the D6 bus line. Contact:


GOLDEN GIRLS — The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards were a night for the ladies with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift sweeping the show. One of the most heartfelt moments of the night was when Michael Jackson’s children took to the stage to accept their father’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

52nd Grammys remember MJ, set new records By YOHANA DESTA Eagle Staff Writer When you put the biggest names in music under one roof, you’re bound to make history. That’s what this year’s 52nd Grammy Awards set out to do. No expenses were spared and the stars came out in their finest. Never one to disappoint the fashion world, Lady Gaga wore a glitzy purple and silver gown covered with rings to give off a planetary effect. Another show-stopping look was Pink in a gray, mermaid-style gown. As far as fashion flops, Rihanna’s allwhite, feather-laden gown was a far

cry from her usual rebel-chic look and failed to impress. Opening the night was comedian Stephen Colbert (who also won later that night for Best Comedy Album) making typical jokes about religion and politics. In a hilarious move, Colbert started the show announcing the “Song of the Year” award. After a few awkward moments looking for the envelope, Colbert then gave a mysterious look to the audience and reached into his coat pocket. “Oh I know, it’s on my iPad,” Colbert said, holding Apple’s new device. He looked smugly at Jay-Z, joking, “Did you not get one of these in

your gift bag?” But the most anticipated part of the award show was the performances. Lady Gaga took the stage in a glittering turquoise outfit, flanked by dancing fame monsters. After singing “Poker Face,” the singer was thrown into a flaming pit, only to reappear moments later seated at a grand piano. On the other side was none other than the tiny dancer himself, Sir Elton John, donning a glitzy pair of oversized silver sunglasses. “Take my picture, Hollywood. I wanna be a star!” Gaga yelled into the mic as the two launched into a duet of Gaga’s ballad, “Speechless,” eventually flowing into Elton’s classic love song, “Your Song.” In a later performance, Beyoncé stormed the stage in a fierce black mini, flanked by a small army of SWAT soldiers. She belted out “If I Were A Boy,” which turned into a cover of Alanis Morisette’s angsty hit song, “You Oughta Know.” It worked in that so-wrong-it’s-right way and set the bar higher for the night. Another performer who absolutely outperformed was pop rocker, Pink. Although she didn’t win that night, the singer looked stunning in a long white robe, singing her slow love song, “Glitter In The Air.” She then stripped down to a glittering nude bodysuit and proceeded to do a breathtaking trapeze act — while wet. In one of the most anticipated performances of the night, Celine Dion, Usher, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Smokey Robinson sang Michael Jackson’s nature ballad, “Earth Song.” The 3-D video in the background featured a little girl walking through a lush green forest. Each singer was better than the next, each imitating Michael Jackson’s screams and lifting falsettos. The song was heartfelt, providing another reminder of why Michael Jackson was the King of Pop; even with all the legendary singers onstage, none could out-sing Jackson, whose voice was played during certain parts of the song. Afterwards, his children Prince Michael and Paris took the stage to thank the fans and accept his Lifetime Achievement Award. In perhaps the second most important award of the night, Taylor Swift won Album of the Year, which brought the total to four Grammys for the singer. Beyoncé won six, setting the record for most awards won in a single night by a female artist. Lady Gaga won two — one for her single “Poker Face” and the other for her debut album “The Fame,” both before the ceremony. Breakout stars MGMT and Kings of Leon also scooped up an award each that night. Countless other awards were won by music vets, such as Judas Priest, while longtime musicians Imogen Heap and Jason Mraz won their first ever Grammys. As usual, there were awkward moments and performance fumbles, but the show went on as smoothly as it could have. Here’s hoping next year will be even better. You can reach this staff writer at

The Week in Fun: Know Your City THURS 4



The Magnetic Fields 8 p.m. WHERE: George Washington University Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. N.W. METRO: Foggy Bottom-GWU (blue and orange lines) INFO: Stephin Merritt’s music manages to perfectly blend abrasive distortion and synthetic sounds with a particular pop sensibility, all of which is on display when the Magnetic Fields play their shows. COST: $35 CONTACT: For more information, call the Lisner Auditorium at 202994-6800.

Todd Barry 9:45 p.m. WHERE: Arlington Cinema ‘N’ Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike, Arlington, Va. METRO: Pentagon City (yellow and blue lines) INFO: Todd Barry’s cynical monotone and distinctive delivery has earned him a number of notable guest roles on television and film, but his stand-up is still the proper showcase for his sarcastic stingers. COST: $20 CONTACT: For more information, visit

Georgia O’Keefe: Abstraction 10 a.m. WHERE: The Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. N.W. METRO: Dupont Circle (red line) INFO: This new exhibit features over 100 paintings from O’Keefe, as well as early watercolors, charcoals and photographs of the artist by Alfred Stieglitz. COST: $12 CONTACT: For more information, visit The Phillips Collection’s Web site at




A Perfect Balance 11:30 a.m. WHERE: National Gallery of Art, 401 Constitution Ave. N.W. METRO: Smithsonian (blue and orange lines) INFO: Actor and artist Kevin Reese put together this one-man show based on the mobiles of Alexander Calder. The show promised to be a fun time for both children and adults. COST: Free CONTACT: For more information, visit the National Gallery of Art’s Web site at

The Big Lebowski 7:30 p.m. WHERE: The State Theater, 220 North Washington St., Falls Church, Va. INFO: Joel and Ethan Coen’s comedic masterpiece about bowling, aging hippies and nihilism is a perfect showcase of their dark humor and deep pathos for leading men who are more schlubs than stars. COST: $3 CONTACT: For more information, visit the State Theater’s Web site at

Shear Madness 8 p.m. WHERE: The Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. N.W. METRO: Foggy Bottom-GWU (blue and orange lines) INFO: In this staged murder-mystery, the comic tone of the piece enters the audience as visitors are asked to help catch the killer from the comfort of their own seats. COST: $42 CONTACT: For more information, visit The Kennedy Center’s Web site at

Courtesy of UCB TOUR CO.

FUNNY PEOPLE — Famed theater comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade brought their off-kilter and absurdist sense of humor from New York and Los Angeles to the D.C. area despite the weekend flurries.

Troupe storms D.C. By MICHAEL W. RICHARDSON Eagle Staff Writer Chances are, when you flip on your favorite sitcom or sketch comedy show, the people you’re watching and the people behind the scenes have some kind of formal comedy training. That doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in college lecture halls deconstructing what makes a joke funny. Often, it means an education from any number of comedy troupes around the country. One of the most famous theaters in this respect is the Upright Citizens Brigade, whose traveling improv artists performed four shows at the Harman Center for the Arts on Friday and Saturday. UCB gained their fame in the ‘90s when they produced some of their most famous names — Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, Horatio Sanz, Rob Corddry and Ed Helms are just a few. Since then, they’ve taught a countless amount of people the skills it takes to write and perform comedy. Their theaters put on popular shows that continue to push the limits of comedy, making it both an established name and the definition of cutting edge. Improv is unpredictable and erratic by definition. A show can be good or bad simply because of an inconvenient audience suggestion. This is what makes the performers such a wonder. The four performers on Saturday were from both UCB theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, but they interacted as if they had been riffing on these topics for years. The four-person squad was made up of Neil Casey, Jonathan Gabrus, Brandon Garner and

Fran Gillepsie, but despite the small group, a huge amount of imagination was packed into the short 80minute show. The show started with a volunteer from the audience offering up his wallet to the crew in order to search through it for clues to his life. While Casey interviewed the subject, the three others went through the wallet piece by piece. In just a few minutes they were able to put together a few mildly interesting facts about the target (he brews his own beer, has a fiancé who just graduated from law school, loves Xbox, etc.). After a bit of teasing about his various hobbies, they let the volunteer go back to his seat and began the first half of their set. Using the bits of information they were able to collect, the team presented a rapid-fire showcase of outrageous and absurd situations, some only tangentially related to their subject while others mirrored his answers very closely. We were presented with an ignored husband, bitter about his wife’s disinterest in his brewing blog. There was a restaurant waiter who uses far too many references to “Anna Karenina” in his day-to-day life. And in a nice nod to the D.C. Metrorail, an extended riff on how dangerous it is to get home no matter what transportation you’re taking (“Didn’t you hear the news? Four trains collided this afternoon! I didn’t even know that was possible!”). After a half-hour taking off from this subject, the troupe broke off into their second half. Asking the audience for a single word to play off of, “penguin” finally won out as the topic for the rest of the show. This was an especially excellent

showcase for the group’s talents. Most people would consider an arctic bird a restriction. Instead, the scenes snowballed into more and more outrageous territory. A man whose cultural references are stuck in the ‘90s, according to his many T-shirts, is later brought back in a long-form joke about Eric Clapton’s baby. (Groans from the audience brought out one of the few fourth-wall breaks — Garner incredulously asked, “Too soon?”). Racism against super villains and pranking polar bears became the new norm, causing a relaxed audience to become completely sucked into the free-flowing ideas. Both parts of the show highlighted all of the small things it takes to make a successful performance. The actors seemed to know exactly when to end each scene, with only a few awkward drops or prolonged silences. The audience lapped it up. The crowd was mostly in their late 20s to late 30s, and even on a snowy night the room was packed. The easy-going nature of the performers put everyone at ease, creating a small space that reflected a lot of warmth for the performers and the fans. For any comedy fan, these few shows were not your only chance to see the group in action. Plans for monthly shows at the Harman have been established, giving anyone who might be interested in dipping their toes into the daunting world of improv a perfect opportunity to do so. You can reach this staff writer at



FEBRUARY 4, 2010

ANDREW TOMLINSON n Sports Editor 202.885.1404

Men’s success helps AU Mets among By KATE GRUEBEL Eagle Staff Writer Each year, 64 teams make it to the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, granting their schools national media exposure. This kind of exposure cannot be bought, only won through sweat, tears and baskets. The benefits of this exposure for budding schools like AU? Priceless, according to Athletic Director Keith Gill. “Being on CBS during Primetime last year for [AU] is probably the exposure that we can’t really buy,” Gill said. “During that entire broadcast they talked about what a great school [AU] is, great academics … all the good things we are doing.” Three areas Gill believes have been positively affected by AU’s exposure in the NCAA Tournament are alumni relations, recruitment and enrollment. Despite a proven positive link between college basketball success and alumni donations, Gill did not mention an increase in alumni donations due to the Eagles’ success in the tournament. Instead, he spoke of the tournament as a chance for alumni to rally behind their alma mater. “It’s wonderful if you walk into work one day and your colleague’s are like, ‘Oh my gosh, I saw your alma mater on TV, and they played Villanova tough.’ Obviously that is going to be appealing to the [alumni].” Knowing this appeal, Gill said AU improved its alumni relations over the last two years and will continue. From a recruiting standpoint, Gill said “success breeds success.” “If you’re a recruit, and you see the people rushing the floor at Bender, and you see the excitement, and just how fun and what a great atmosphere that was, I think it would be hard for you to not to want to come to school here,” Gill said. Exposure from the NCAA

Tournament has also allowed AU to broaden their recruiting horizons. “I think that our recruiting is probably getting looks by prospective students that maybe would not have looked at us in the past, because they know about our success from an NCAA standpoint,” Gill said. AU has not conducted research on the effects of the NCAA Tournament on recruiting. However, Gill said the impact of tournament exposure will be seen over the next few years and he is already pointing to the current talent on the men’s basketball team as evidence. Regarding enrollment and the number of applicants to AU, Gill and Greg Grauman, the director of admissions, agree that there has been no significant connection between the NCAA Tournament and the number of applicants. “It’s difficult to measure the degree to which the success of the men’s basketball team has contributed to an increase in applications,” Grauman said. “However, any time the university receives positive nationwide media exposure, it is a benefit to our recruitment efforts. We proudly promote the successes of all our athletic achievements to our prospective students.” According to application counts from the Department of Admissions, the number of applications received has decreased since a high of 15,849 in 2007. Nevertheless, Grauman said the university received more then 16,800 applications for fall 2010. A final count has yet to be released. Despite no blatant correlation between NCAA exposure and the number of applicants to AU, Gill said the tournament has helped with enrollment. The tournament takes place in March, which is around the same time regular applicants receive their acceptance letters.

losers of MLB offseason



RAISING THE BAR — Nick Hendra goes up for a layup in AU’s loss to Villanova University in the NCAA Tournament last year. It was the Eagles’ second straight bid to the tournament. There is great debate about whether or not AU’s participation in the tournament helped admissions. “The NCAA tournament comes around right when people are making their admissions decisions,” Gill said. “If you’re thinking about going to American or Colby or what have you, and all of a sudden you decide, ‘OK, I’m going to go to American’ because you see all these positive images.” According to Gill, successful men’s basketball seasons have been one of many factors assisting the university in meeting enrollment goals. “I think that men’s basketball success sends positive and powerful messages that have helped the institution meet some of its goals in terms of matriculates,” Gill said. Having become accustomed to the benefits of NCAA Tournament exposure, the Eagles’ current conference standing, 4-2, could jeopardize a third consecutive trip to the tournament. From an admissions standpoint, Grauman does not think prospective students determine whether to enroll solely on the strength of the university’s athletics. “The students who choose to enroll at AU are a diverse group

who bring to our community varied interests and life experiences,” Grauman said. “I don’t believe the win-loss record of any AU athletic team will significantly impact whether or not most admitted students choose to enroll.” On the other hand, Gill said the athletic department believes the team will go to the tournament, a belief that does not change season to season. “We are hopeful and we are preparing in the same ways that we prepared last year so that when the time comes we are really able to take advantage of it,” Gill said. “And be sure that we maximize the opportunity for the institution.” While the two sides, athletics and admissions, differ, both agree that AU’s participation in the NCAA Tournament has had a positive effect on the university. One step in continuing the good media exposure is for AU to make the NCAA Tournament again. To do that though, the Eagles first must beat Lehigh University on Saturday. You can reach this writer at

No parody in NBA season SIDELINE SCHOLAR

ELLIOT JEFFORDS Just over half way through the NBA season, the story lines seem much the same as they were last year at this same time, with Lebron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers favored to play Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers. After falling in the playoffs last season, the Cavaliers went out and signed Shaquille O’Neal. The goal of brining him in was to help LeBron win the elusive championship ring. Despite Shaq’s numerous injury problems and lack of playtime, LeBron has the Cavaliers in firm control of the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Not only do the Cavs look to be in control; they just completed the season sweep of the Lakers. Trailing the Cavs is the group of teams that have been behind them the last few years. The Orlando Magic sit five and a half games back but are struggling with injuries. It looks as if they could fall off the radar at anytime, unless the streaky Vince Carter can pull his act together. Both the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics are a game back of the Magic. Atlanta, after jumping out to the best start in team history, has fallen into a season of mediocrity. As for the Celtics, Boston is starting to look a lot like Florida, as half the team seems to be on the edge of retirement. After making blockbuster deals to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allan several season ago, the Celtics have not made many moves to get younger. The lack of youth is finally catching up with

them. As for the West, it is down to a two-pony race. The Lakers are créme de la créme, but that is no surprise, as they are every year. Kobe continues to lead the charge for the Lakers, while getting support from the likes of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and offseason acquisition Ron Artest. In the second position lies the Denver Nuggets. They trail the Lakers by three and look like they have a good enough team to challenge the Lakers. Add in the fact that the Nuggets are the hottest team in the NBA, winning 10 of their last 12, and things look good in the Rocky Mountains. Not only are they winning, they are doing it without All-Star Carmelo Anthony. After the Nuggets the West drops off a bit with Dallas, Utah, San Antonio, Portland and Phoenix more than six games out of

first place. These teams are some of the most likely teams to make a move to improve at the deadline. There is no bigger player on the market than the Phoenix Suns’ stud center Amare Stoudemire. He will be done with the Suns after this season because of his expiring contract. As a result, the team is looking to move his massive contract off their books in hopes of trading for another big name. As the All-Star break and stretch run are on the horizon, the NBA looks to be setting itself up for another superb final two months. The next months will see teams jockey for a top spot in the playoffs. After that is finished, the only thing left in the season is the battle royal for the title of World Champions. You can reach this writer at

While Yankees fans celebrated in the streets, some fans began hoping their team’s next season was better than last, while others were left scratching their heads following the moves — or lack of moves — made by management. This offseason had two major themes. The first was the rich got richer. Most of the major moves involved playoffs team from last year, starting with the defending champion Yankees. They made a big splash by acquiring All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson in a three-team deal involving the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees signed first baseman Nick Johnson, re-signed starter Andy Pettitte and traded for starting pitcher Javier Vazquez. Despite losing World Series MVP Hideki Matsui to the Los Angeles Angels and failing to sign Johnny Damon yet, the Yankees still appear to be the team to beat. As for their World Series foe, the Philadelphia Phillies shook the baseball world with one move. It was the trade everyone had been waiting for, the one where Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay was finally moved. Despite Cliff Lee’s dominating performance throughout the playoffs, the Phillies refused to be intimidated by the Yankees and brought in arguably the best pitcher in the majors. In a four-way deal, the Phillies brought in Halladay and parted ways with Lee. Another Yankee rival, the Red Sox also made efforts to bolster their squad. The Red Sox went out and signed star pitcher John Lackey to a five-year deal and then gave deals to veteran outfielders Mike Cameron and Adrian Beltre. Other playoff teams from 2009 made moves as well, with the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, the Angels signing Joel Pineiro and the Los Angeles Dodgers exercised the option on Manny Ramirez’s contract. The second theme of the MLB offseason was the economy’s apparent effect on signings. Proven veterans are having to choose between a one-year deal or continuing to remain on the free agent market. Former All-Stars, such as outfielder Vlad Guerrero, pitcher Ben Sheets, outfielder Hideki Matsui, designated hitter Jim Thome and catcher Bengie Molina all accepted one-year offers. Others are still out there waiting, including outfielder Johnny Damon, infielder Orlando Hudson, outfielder Jermaine Dye, first baseman Carlos Delgado and pitcher Pedro Martinez. While all of these players have talent, concerns over age and injuries have prevented some teams from throwing years of investment into these players. With contracts in baseball, unlike the NFL where they are guaranteed, teams cannot afford to

make poor investments. Some terrible teams have taken this opportunity to sign players who would normally not be attracted to play on these teams. The Washington Nationals were able to sign starter Jason Marquis and catcher Pudge Rodriguez, and the Nats are the favorite to sign Hudson. Despite the team possessing a rather pedestrian roster, they understand that money has to be spent to get fans to the ballpark. While not as bad as Washington, the perennial underachieving Kansas City Royals were able to sign outfielder’s Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles obtained pitcher Mike Gonzalez, third baseman Garrett Atkins and infielder Miguel Tejada. Hopefully for the O’s, this will help create more of an even playing field in a league where big markets tend to dominate. After all of the moves, the Seattle Mariners are the team that came out on top. A sure sign of a good team is one that can develop its own players and then make the necessary trades as well as signings to bring around star players. The Mariners appear on the right track. Seattle re-signed stud pitcher Felix Hernandez and brought in playoff star Lee. That one-two top of the rotation is certainly one of the best in the MLB. Throw in the signing of third baseman Chone Figgins for four years, the re-signing of both DH Ken Griffey Jr. and shortstop Jack Wilson and the release of the disaster that is catcher Kenji Johjima, the Mariners are immediately in contention in the American League West. On the other end of the spectrum sit the New York Mets. While half of the New York fans are still celebrating their 27th ring, Mets fans are instead shaking their heads in shock. In an offseason filled with hope and promise, the Mets leave with Jason Bay and a myriad of minor league contracts. Because the team refused to throw money at pitcher Joel Pineiro, the Mets wound up with pitcher Josh Fogg, catcher Chris Coste, pitcher Elmer Dessens and utility player Fernando Tatis. That sounds like a quality Triple-A team, but it will not cut it in a market like New York. General Manager Omar Minaya and owner Jeff Wilpon continue to hold their dollars and as a result the Mets have become an afterthought. As pitchers and catchers prepare to report to camp and the final free agents are signed, only one thing is for certain: it is a long season. It will be 162 games before we know who truly had a good offseason. As of right now however, the fans of orange and blue in New York should brace for a rough season and the teal and gray faithful in Seattle should have lots of optimism. You can reach this writer at

The great debate: who will win the Super Bowl? FACE OFF

BEN LASKY Unfortunately for Indianapolis Colts fans, their elite quarterback, Peyton Manning, will be unable to prevail over the New Orleans Saints and their stud Drew Brees. Drew Brees has thrown for more than 4,300 yards four years in a row. Brees completed 70 percent of his passes in 2009. It was the eighth time in the last nine years that he has completed more than 50 percent of his passes. Early on in Brees’ career, many believed he would never be worth the second round pick that the San Diego Chargers used on him. In the 2002 season, the first year Brees started all 16 games, he had a quarterback rating of 76.9. In 2003 his rating decreased to 67.5.

In 2006, the Chargers let Brees go and the talented QB signed with the Saints. In his time with the Saints, Brees averaged over 4,500 passing yards and has led his team to it first Super Bowl in franchise history. On the other side we have the man who seems to be in every commercial in the last five years, Peyton Manning. The list of Manning’s accomplishments is long. He just won his record fourth MVP award. He is a former Super Bowl MVP and has the record for most seasons with over 4,000 yards passing. In his 12-year career, Manning has thrown for 4,000 yards 10 times. One of these quarterbacks has to win. In reality though, it will come down to which defense can come up with a big stop late in the game. That is why the Saints will take home their first Lombardi Trophy in team history. The Colts’ top defensive player, end Dwight Freeney, injured his ankle in the AFC Championship game against the New York Jets. The severe ligament

tear may sideline the five-time Pro Bowler for the big game and even if he does play, he is expected to be severely limited. Without his presence the defense will be severely weakened. Freeney has been wrecking havoc on opposing quarterbacks since he entered the league in 2002. The man is a freak of nature. Freeney is the best defensive player on the Colts and the team will not be able to replace his productivity. Both of these teams will put on a show. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a showing like we did in week one of the playoffs between the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals. Both teams combined to score 96 points in that game. In the end, the loss of Freeney’s production will be too much for the Colts’ defense to overcome. Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense will run wild and this year’s Fat Tuesday will come a few days early in the big easy. Prediction: Saints 35, Colts 28 You can reach this writer at


TYLER TOMEA The Indianapolis Colts traveled to Miami, Fla., three years ago and won their second Super Bowl. This year, they’ll return to the same stadium and defeat the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. When making an argument for the Colts, two words could suffice: Peyton Manning. Manning capped another stellar season by winning a record-setting fourth NFL Most Valuable Player Award. What separates No. 18 from the rest of the quarterbacks in the league is his meticulous preparation and ability to adjust when things are going badly. The AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets was a perfect example of Manning’s prowess. The Jets’ defense shut down Manning and the Colts in their first two offensive series and led 17-6 late in

the second quarter. Trailing by 11, the Colts final drive of the half was vintage Manning, as he took Indianapolis 80 yards in four plays for a touchdown. Manning would finish with 377 yards and three touchdowns and the Colts would outscore the Jets 17-0 in the second half. The second-half surge punched their Super Bowl ticket. One would assume that Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark were the beneficiaries of Manning’s proficiency. However, it was former sixth-round pick Pierre Garcon who set an AFC Championship game record with 11 receptions to go along with 151 yards and one touchdown. Rookie Austin Collie turned in a great performance of his own with seven catches for 123 yards and one touchdown. The Saints’ defense will try and attack Manning the same way he harassed Brett Favre in the NFC Championship Game. The difference is that Manning will get the ball out quickly to one of his many weapons and not force dangerous throws. With two weeks to prepare, the Colts’ offense has almost an unfair advantage. Expect Indy to light up

the South Florida scoreboard all night long. In the regular season, they ranked eighth in points allowed per game and were in the top half of the league in both sacks and interceptions. No one will confuse the Colts’ defense with the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, but they are no longer a detriment to the team. Another key factor is the team’s attitude heading into the game. Indianapolis is determined to silence the pundits who criticized them for forgoing a chance at an undefeated season by resting their starters. New Orleans, meanwhile, seems to just be happy to be in the Super Bowl. With all the hype surrounding it, the Super Bowl is more of an event than a football game. The Colts veterans from the 2006 team know how to deal with the hectic atmosphere. The same cannot be said for the Saints. The Colts’ imminent victory over the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV will give them their second Lombardi Trophy in the past four years. Prediction: Indianapolis 34, New Orleans 21 You can reach this writer at

The Eagle — thursday, Feb. 4, 2010  
The Eagle — thursday, Feb. 4, 2010  

The Feb. 4 issue of The Eagle