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Volume 14 Issue 1

Spoke

The Wheeler School

Fix Your Gaze to the West...

In This Issue -

by Ian Steller

“The next level of student housing,” as Gilbane Inc. dubs it, is going to turn into College Hill’s newest low rise. The College Hill Neighborhood Association, however, a long-time spectator of Brown’s development in the community, sees this student housing instead as being the next level of “institutional creep.” From Wheeler, though, most community members have likely noticed not only our own expanse of construction, but also the across-the-street demolition between Euclid, Brook, Meeting, and Thayer Streets. Even the beloved Ben & Jerry’s, a community fixture for several years, was forced to relocate next to Starbucks. Notwithstanding, the new development is no monstrosity, but instead a unique circumstance that we as side-court neighbors ought to be wellinformed of. With regard to the construction, some folks are mad, some are happy, others indifferent, and/or confused. The reality is that most are going to go along with the transformation.

Fundamentally, Brown University, in conjunction with Gilbane Inc., a Rhode Island-based construction firm in its 140th year, correlated an addition to Brown’s student housing system that would cost $28 million

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Brown Construction p. 1 Senior Presidents p. 1 PARL p. 2 New Faculty p. 2 The Conjuring p. 3 #PrepSchoolProbz p. 3 18 Wheelers p. 4 YouTube & VidCon p. 4

EATING Jacob: Recently I’ve been going to the Crêperie a lot. At Duck and Bunny, I love the lemonade with lavender extract and mint. Also: one of the habits my mom has is having whipped cream straight out of bottle. You see us two going around the house spraying whipped cream into our mouths. It’s a family thing.

Rye: Humans of New York is a website I love. This guy goes around taking pictures of people he meets in New York and writes some quick interviews about them. They’re really raw and real but I think that that’s what makes them so beautiful. I also love to go on YouTube and look at all the music videos—I don’t really have a lot of Apps except Temple Run. I’m a Temple Run champion.

Rye: When I work at the restaurant [The Bayside] I eat dinner at like midnight. It’s usually a Greek salad with lettuce, goat cheese, strawberries and walnuts. It’s so good—I sometimes eat it twice a day. I always have ice cream no matter what time of the day it is. I once had ice cream for breakfast…of course my mom wasn’t too happy about that.

C E L E B R A T I N G Jacob: For New Year’s Eve, there’s this tradition where everything’s symbolic. We dip lettuce in honey, take off all jewelry and put it in a sardine can, and drink pomegranate juice. I don’t get the symbols. My mom always tells me but I forget. Fish is for prosperity or something.

FOLLOWING Jacob: RFI (Radio France Internationale) because of Madame Greenberg. I get my news from New York Times. I also like reading the editorials. I like to go on Collegehumor (comedy website) and watch the funny videos and pictures. Drew Zwetchkenbaum is there, by the way! There’s this video of him and his friends—they go around asking girls their numbers (but actually just asking what a number is). I also like the website Stuck in Customs, which is about this guy who travels the world and takes these amazing pictures every day. They’re really cool, you should check them out.

Rye: We never get a Christmas tree until a couple days before Christmas. Last year we got it at seven o’ clock on Christmas Eve and I almost had a panic attack. My birthday’s in October so we always do a Halloween party, which is always fun. I also love celebrating Easter. All of my cousins and family friends come over and we do a massive egg hunt. Since I’m old now, I get to hide the eggs and then help little Will (my two-year-old cousin) find them.

at 257 Thayer Street. In the end you’ll find 102 apartments into the fourstory, 50 by 50 yard lot with room for 277 residents, predominantly Brown students. There will be, for college

Stop & Chat: Jacob Mukand & Rye Carroll by Rebecca Greenberg

Stop & Chat: Featuring Rye and Jacob, Senior Class Presidents READING Jacob: I’m reading a lot of Clarice Listor, a Brazilian writer. She once said: “writing is the act of blessing a life that was never blessed”. Her characters are usually women who have had difficulties in life or who have had bad relationships. She gets into their minds, explores their lives. One of her characters, Macadeas, is a migrant worker who goes to the fortuneteller who tells her she will meet a tall blond man. Macadeas later gets run over by a truck driven by a blond man. Listor has tragic characters, bringing their lives to a higher level. Their lives become blessed through her writing. I’m also reading Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen. One of the main themes: love is reserved for the beautiful (Karenina-esque love), but the beautiful have to live with the fact that their love is based only on beauty and that it fades. For example Anna’s love for Vronsky weighs two milligrams, the weight of his two front teeth. Love, which is everything for those who don’t have it, is worthless for those who do have it because it is contingent on appearance. Rye: I just read Goddess, a Greek mythology love story. I love Greek mythology so it was perfect. I’m also really getting into Hamlet with Ms. Bruno’s English class. This weekend, I read this other book about World War II. The author has you follow different

people and experience the war through their eyes. I picked it up and decided to read it because it had great reviews and was apparently “beautifully written”, but all of the affairs and secrets inside really made me feel slimy afterwards. LISTENING Jacob: Jazz. I’ve gotten back to Coltrane. I love a lot of Latin music, like Debo Valdez and this Argentinian saxophonist Gato Babieri. I listen to Serge Gainsbourg’s—Je t’aime moi non plus and Je suis venu te dire que je m’en vais. I like reggae and this Venezuelan-American contemporary folk/ psychedelic singer, Devendra Banhart. Oh yeah—and also John Legend. Rye: I recently discovered Pandora when I got my iPhone. I love Norah Jones and the Red-Hot Chili Peppers. My favorite song is Tell Me Baby. I also love the The Main band. WATCHING Jacob: I’ve been going back to cutesy old romantic movies. I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s—also old classics like Casablanca, Pete Teller’s Being There, and Dr. Strangelove. I like to let my favorite actors and actresses revisit my home for the weekend. Rye: TV shows! I love to go on Netflix binges. My favorites are Once Upon a Time, Friday Night Lights, and Revolutions. I am obsessed with Bones (Vampire Diaries) and the movie Cinderella Story—the one with Hillary Duff, not Selena Gomez.

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The Providence Animal Rescue League (PARL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing and providing for homeless animals. To aid in its efforts, PARL has various fundraising events to support the animals. On September 21st, the 25th annual Pet Walk took place. PARL raised an impressive $50,000!

I began working at the shelter this summer and quickly got into the routine of arriving early in the morning, cleaning cages, socializing with the animals, assisting prospective owners, and doing a great deal of laundry. Every time I volunteered, I fell in love with at least five or six adorable animals, and frequently begged my parents

to adopt them. I fondly recall a warm, squirming puddle of kittens, rolling around and swatting at me playfully as I attempted to tidy up their cage. Then there was Butter, a big baby pit-bull, who jumped up and slobbered all over me lovingly every time I passed her. Let’s not forget the fluffy little bunnies that lazily graze on hay all day.

So if you would like to fulfill your CAP requirement, foster an animal in need, adopt a new pet, or just help out the animals in our community, swing by the Providence Animal Rescue League at 34 Elbow Street, Providence RI. We’ll be pawsitively delighted to see you!

watched two or three times a day when the coup in Liberia prevented them from going to school. The person who comes closest to being her role model is her maternal grandmother, whom she remembers for her strength and kindness. When asked what advice she would give to a new Upper Schooler, Mrs. Bomba encourages students to “recognize how special Wheeler is and then allow your own special gifts, talents and abilities to become a part of that specialness of Wheeler.” She advises members of the senior class to re-read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Mrs. Bomba feels “blessed to be a part of Wheeler,” and is excited to get to know students this year!

for you.” He advises seniors to “take the college process seriously, but don’t get so caught up in it that you don’t enjoy your final year of high school. College will happen; in the meantime, high school’s pretty great, too.” When asked what else he would like to share with the Wheeler community, Mr. Boyd says, “I feel like I’ve already told you too much,” and retreats further into the history office lair. It’s on the second floor of Morgan, if your interest has been piqued.

most people, it changes dramatically.” Mr. Foster says he is happy to be here, and excited to be a part of the Wheeler community.

Wheeler Welcomes New Faculty to the Upper School by Grace Evans

It’s only the end of the first quarter, and yet quite a few students already cannot imagine Wheeler without the presence of some of our new Upper School faculty members. This semester, Wheeler welcomes our new director of Unity and Diversity, Mrs. Bomba, and three new teachers in the History Department: Mr. Boyd, Mr. Foster, and Ms. Palomo. Interested in learning more about these new members of our community? Read on.

Princess Bomba Princess Bomba was born in Monrovia, Liberia, where she lived until a military coup d’etat prompted her family to move to Rhode Island. At the age of fourteen, Mrs. Bomba was enrolled in an all-white Catholic high school where, identifying as both African and Protestant, she became “the minority, the outsider and the ‘only’ under so many categories.” Says Mrs. Bomba of her high school experience, “I believe that my presence served as a valuable education to the girls at my school, as much as their lack of knowledge and views about non-Western culture was to me.” This, in addition to witnessing the inequity of the Liberian social structure throughout her childhood, inspired Mrs. Bomba to enter her field of education: The Americo-Liberians who founded modern Liberia denied the indigenous majority population access to education, economic opportunity, and other privileges that Mrs. Bomba “took for granted every day.” This exposed Mrs. Bomba from a young age to “the disconnect between people based on superficial differences,” and gave her “a sensitivity to anyone who is treated unfairly and disenfranchised.” Mrs. Bomba is the new Director of Unity and Diversity at Wheeler. Before this position, she worked in higher education for many years and was involved in diversity recruitment and retention. She was certified as a mentor for students with physical disabilities, and participated in Safe Space training to provide support for LGBT members of the community. Mrs. Bomba has also been a member of the Wheeler community for twelve years, as a parent and a trustee. Mrs. Bomba would describe herself as positive, kind, and empathetic. Her favorite subject in school was French, and Michael Jackson “was and always will be” her favorite singer. Mrs. Bomba can still recite most of the dialogue from The Sound of Music, which she and her siblings sometimes

Matthew Boyd Matthew Boyd is from Boston, Massachusetts, but has spent the last several years in Washington, D.C. He moved to Barrington, Rhode Island, at the beginning of this summer in order to be closer to family. Mr. Boyd describes himself as diplomatic, and having a dry sense of humor. He also finds himself increasingly patient. This last acquisition can perhaps be attributed to Mr. Boyd’s two year-old son, whom Mr. Boyd plans to enroll in Wheeler next year. At Wheeler, Mr. Boyd teaches 20th century history to tenth graders, United States Survey to eleventh graders, and the Contemporary World Issues history elective. His elective includes discussions of what an “Obama doctrine” would look like, a unit on “secrecy,” and discussion of the conflict in Afghanistan and the use of drones. Mr. Boyd’s favorite historical period is the transition of power from monarchy to communist dictatorship during and after the Russian Revolution. His favorite book is Milton’s Paradise Lost, and one of his many favorite movies is Stepbrothers. He is fascinated by United States presidents Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton. In addition to Mrs. Lau, Mr. Boyd’s idol is former soccer star Zinedine Zidane. “As a general rule, I don’t condone head butting,” says Mr. Boyd of the player who was infamously red-carded after assaulting a member of the opposing team at the 2006 World Cup. “But all-in-all, he was an upstanding citizen of the game and had a great professional career.” According to Mr. Boyd, it is important for a new Upper Schooler to “focus on staying organized. Good organization can prevent academic troubles; figure out a system that works

Spoke

December 6, 2013

The Conjuring: Not James Wan’s Best Horror Movie

Love is Adoptable at 34 Elbow Street by Nikki Bansal

The

December 6, 2013

Justin Foster Justin Foster was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He first ventured to New England as a high school student while enrolled in the Taft Summer School in Watertown, Connecticut. Mr. Foster attended Bowdoin College, and taught at a school in Pennsylvania before happening upon the Wheeler School. “I really enjoyed how integrated the community was,” says Mr. Foster of his first impressions of Wheeler. “I admire how students’ needs are met, in a very specific and intentional way.” Mr. Foster teaches early modern era history to ninth graders, and 20th century history to sophomores. He describes himself as optimistic, and “firm but fair.” In addition to teaching history, Mr. Foster is a vocalist and has a great passion for music. His current favorite book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. His favorite American president is George Washington because “he was a president of prudence and vision,” and “had the wisdom to warn his citizens about partisanship in future generations.” When asked why he decided to enter his field, Mr. Foster replies that he didn’t always know he wanted to become a teacher. He considered law and anthropology before realizing he “liked to study people more broadly,” through the lens of history. Mr. Foster went into education because, “as a history teacher, I get to talk about society with the people who will be shaping it.” In addition to Mrs. Lau, Mr. Foster’s idols are crisis manager Olivia Pope of Scandal and press secretary C.J. Cregg of The West Wing. His favorite historical genre is political philosophy; he especially enjoys studying liberalism and English philosopher John Stuart Mill. Mr. Foster encourages new Upper Schoolers to “stay enthusiastic.” He advises seniors to “stay open-minded about who you are, who you can be, and what you can do, because it can change dramatically. For

Sarah Palomo Sarah Palomo was raised in Northampton, Massachusetts. She attended Brown University, and while studying in Providence walked by the Wheeler School nearly every day. Ms. Palomo subsequently taught United States history at the Groton School in Massachusetts, and happened upon Wheeler while looking for a position at a non-boarding school. “Everyone was so interesting and welcoming,” says Ms. Palomo of her first impressions of Wheeler. “I was sold!” At Wheeler, Ms. Palomo teaches 20th century history to tenth graders and United States Survey to eleventh graders. She is currently on the tenth grade team, and coadvises Mrs. Lau’s advisor group. Ms. Palomo describes herself as sarcastic, tall, and one who laughs easily. Her favorite historical periods are the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era of the nineteenth century. In addition to her mentor, Mrs. Lau, Ms. Palomo considers her number one idol to be primatologist Jane Goodall. However, Ms. Palomo has regrettably, “spent a lot less time looking at gorillas and chimpanzees” since becoming a history teacher. Ms. Palomo has recently read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, in addition to The Glass Room by Simon Mawer. Her favorite U.S. president is Theodore Roosevelt. When asked what advice she would give to a new Upper Schooler, Ms. Palomo responds: “Being new always takes so much more mental and physical energy than you realize, whether it’s figuring out what’s on your schedule, or finding the building you’re supposed to be in. Give yourself a break, and don’t let the little mistakes bother you.” She advises members of the senior class to “remember to enjoy the now of senior year, and make the most of the time you have with classmates you won’t see every day for the next four years.” Ms. Palomo says she is excited to be here, and looks forward to meeting more members of the Wheeler community this year!

by Lilian Kong

At the start of July, I came across the trailer of The Conjuring. It completely scared the guts out of me. Once I found out from Rotten Tomatoes that it was supposed to be 2013’s best horror film and that it was directed by James Wan, famous for the Saw series as well as Insidious, I made up my mind to watch this beautiful moment in film history before the summer ended. At the end of August, I finally saw the full movie online. When I pressed that play button, my heart was fluttering out of control as I prepared to be blown away. The movie is about the Perron family, who move into a Rhode Island (gives me chills) farm house. Soon, strange things start happening and the Perrons call upon paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to examine the house. What the Warrens discover is a whole area steeped in “a satanic haunting”, one that is now targeting the Perrons everywhere they go. (IMDB) Alas, I was extremely disappointed. First of all, horror movies cannot rely on poorly edited repetition, yet scary basement and ghost scenes were reduced to such a repetitive tone until every single pop-up managed to bore

even me, a girl who at times screams in terror at shadows. I guess my expectations for a James Wan film were too high. I was anticipating a movie that was not only terrifying but confrontational, or revolutionary. I don’t just want jump scares but deep, long-term shock that goes beyond the confines of the film. Saw, for example, led me to nihilistically question all of humanity and morality, while Insidious incorporated very interesting notions of religion, especially how the Devil figure manifests itself in people. I was eagerly waiting for a new concept of what a ghost may be in our society, perhaps a new mode of fear extending beyond the physical or psychological, penetrating into my deepest nightmares; what I actually got was a circus show of hackneyed pop-ups. And this is the film that was crowned 2013’s best horror film? In addition to those trite banalities, as Simon Abrams from the Roger Ebert Review Site concurs, what I found most disturbing about The Conjuring was the incessant, desperate need for explanation. In the beginning, the cursed doll’s past is intricately explained through voice-over. The explanation that the movie is based on a true

story is repeated over and over just in case the audience did not get the memo. The genuinely fascinating, creepy visuals of the ghosts and setting of the house are, alas, offset by this bland, direct plot-narration. Imagine watching Saw with its detailed sound effects, grotesque visuals, but also a scene-byscene voiceover: “And the two men realize they are trapped. The TV in the room tells them how to play a game. If they lose, they die. If they win, they are free.” All the mystery would dissipate and die (as it does in The Conjuring). We learned this in middle school – show, don’t tell. And, I would add, if you must tell, tell just once. Nevertheless, I do have to say that the film’s quality of visual detail is wonderful. The doll, the toy with the swirling mirror, and other objects seemed eerie and dark, and therefore do not need any explanation. Surprisingly, I am fine with the rather unoriginal plot that revolves around exorcisms (possessions and the Devil), investigators, and haunted houses – sometimes repeating themes can create a forceful message on the roles that certain concepts such as Christianity play in Western civilization. What this movie

Providence Preservation Society into the discussion. The PPS suggested that Gilbane choose an architectural firm with, “a demonstrated record of design excellence within the context of this type of historical and residential residences build environment.” Gilbane hired Donald Powers, a revered planner with experience in historical projects. The great mediator here is the City Plan Commission of Providence. Bob Azar, husband of the upper-school’s Environmental Science teacher Ms. Azar, recently replaced Thom Deller, who took a job in Hartford as Director of Current Planning. Azar and his staff have viewed the Gilbane project favorably, voting to move it to the City Council level. This means things like neighborhood council meetings, educational programs, etc., are in the offing. Councilman Sam Zurier, Ward 2 Democrat, has done his part on that front, having held neighborhood meetings and sent reports updat-

ing the progress of the council. The recipient and addressee of those reports is unbeknownst to yours truly. As a College Hill resident, I would have liked to attend those meetings, but somehow was informed after the fact. The good news is that the space will be developed, thanks to a completion bond striven for by the Providence Historic District Commission; there will be no dysfunctional Detroit-like underdeveloped slab to grimace at, but, critically for College Hill citizens, this type of development could still occur in the right set of circumstances. Meanwhile, Brown students themselves have questioned the Gilbane project. Are they really charging a hefty $1000-$1400/month for college students? The Brown Daily Herald suggested that such a sum would result in the social stratification of Brown students. The Herald’s argument runs akin to this: There will be the handsome First Estate representing 5%

of the student body, living in these high-end units. Below them will be the majority Third Estate representing 95%, the rest of the people, doing the typical student housing thing. There won’t really be a Second Estate, and the entire idea of that unified, utopian student population is threatened. The good news is that there will probably not be a full-scale revolution. Then there is our perspective, outsiders but next door neighbors, who have a good relationship with Brown University, and want to maintain it. If you now walk by the Brook Street -side of the Gilbane site, you’ll read the same sign as in the image shown, and you’ll see some graffiti next to it. Read the sign and maybe you, like me, will think about what you can do to make the Gilbane project a success, what you can’t, and foremost, how you’ll be able to gain access to one of those barbecue pits.

will smell rank if you don’t wear socks or use Odor Eaters regularly, but you’ll lose the classy look of the shoe if you throw on a pair of cotton Elites. If you dig going sockless, look into a pair of Mocc Socks or no-show socks. Otherwise, join your friends and try a pair of mid-calf socks. The only condition is that they must be white.

Sincerely, Perplexed By Pink

lacked was not total plot originality but plot expansion or exploration. As British horror novelist Clive Barker once said, “horror [fiction] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.” Honestly, that was what I expected out of James Wan’s The Conjuring, and that was exactly what I didn’t get.

Brown cont’d. from Page 1 students, stupendous amenities including private bathrooms connected to living rooms with 42-inch plasma-screen televisions. That is just the appetizer – there will also be access to yoga studios, fitness clubs, study areas, subterrestrial parking, bike-storage, and a central courtyard, with… barbeque pits. Wheeler, are you listening? Are you reading? One thing is for sure; we will be salivating from the aroma of the barbeque pits in a few short months. The rent will be high. These top-notch luxury compounds will go for $1,000$1400 per month, per unit. The claim is that the students who live in these apartments will bolster the Thayer Street commerce scene. So Gilbane, though local sticks have shown some distaste. There is a reason College Hill is a destination, apart from Brown itself: nice housing stock. The housing stock that has been recently demolished was not as nice, but it was historic, and thus, managed to lure the

Presidents continued from page 1 PLANNING Jacob: This year, Rye and I have a lot of trips planned. We’d like to do iceskating again. Expect to have a lot of spirit days, purple and gold competitions during morning assemblies. We’re also here to be the support the senior class needs—and be its best advocate. Rye: I want to make sure we have a spirit day. Jacob and I have brainstormed a bunch of different options—but I don’t want to say too much and give it away. I’d also love to do more advisor group games and do a class field trip. If we run out of ideas, we could raffle off a dance with Jacob or something.

#PrepSchoolProbz by Cliff Lezark & Rye Carroll

Dear Cliff, I never wear socks with my Sperrys but all the other guys in my grade do. Should I start wearing socks with my Sperrys and, if so, should I wear black socks or white socks? Sincerely, Sockly Confused Dear Sockly Confused, The question of whether to go sockless or not is a polarizing one; although Sperrys are supposed to be worn without socks, their loafer-style gives off a vintage-prep vibe that a pair of calf-high socks suits well. The reality of the situation is that your shoes

Best of luck, Cliff Dear Rye, Help! I want to pose as a girl at Wheeler, but I don’t own a pink Camelbak water bottle. What should I do?

Dear Perplexed, Hey! For the record, not every girl has a pink Camelbak bottle. For example, mine is blue. Taking a look around the Senior room, I see girls with bottles that are green, blue, and purple as well as pink. It takes all different kinds here at Wheeler, so don’t be afraid to pick a color that’s out of the norm. Good Luck! Rye


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18 Wheelers to Release New Album by Jess Pitocco

After a year of hard work in the recording studio, the 18 Wheelers have produced a stellar new album, to be released in late October. The entire group put their hearts and souls into every song on this album; it is a timeless representation of Wheeler’s a cappella program and its approach to music production. Over half of the songs on the album were arranged by members of the 18 Wheelers, a testament to the extreme talent of the group. Recording this album for the past two years has been no easy task. Sessions are held at Wheeler according to voice part and are recorded for later use in the editing, mixing and mastering stages. Being prepared is extremely important when going into a recording session. Warming up and hydrating are common practices outside the studio beforehand. Students work with sound engineer Dave Soson, a music major and former member of the Midnight Ramblers from the University of Rochester, during the recording process to ensure that each note sounds clear and correct for the editing process. As Jackie Chan (’13), puts it, “The recording process requires 110%

of your attention and precision, but has become one of my favorite things to do.” Alex Graff (’13), says that he loves the recording process because it gives the listener a way to hear every “subtle nuance of the arrangement.” After all the recording sessions, the tracks are sent out to Liquid 5th, the recording company that mixes and masters the tracks for the album. Carl Taylor, owner of the company, processes the recordings of each track and mixes individual takes together to get the best sound for each song. If there are mistakes or imbalances in the mix, Ms. Sprague and interested group members send edits to Liquid 5th, Mr. Taylor makes the changes, and thecollaboration goes back and forth until the song is exactly the way it was intended to be. Alex explains that when editing a song “we listen closely to the individual parts of each arrangement, the balance and blend of the group, the dynamics of the song, and the overall sound.” Of the fourteen songs on the album, Jackie says her favorite song to produce was “Locked Up” because she recorded both the alto and the tenor parts. Alex loved “It’s A Beautiful

December 6, 2013

Day” because of its energy and “how all the parts interweave to create something beautiful.” N o t only does this process take large amounts of time, but Ms. Sprague, Dave, the singers, and the student arrangers get to pour their energy and expertise into this project. A Album artwork by Peggy Lo huge thank you goes out to them for relationships with group members, Ms. their commitment and genius in proSprague, and Mr. Soson.” Nobody can ducing this impressive body of work. doubt the support, love, and unbelievHaving gone through Wheeler with the able energy of the group; it’s reflected production process, Jackie mentioned through every fantastic song on the that, “With each passing year, I feel album, each showing the unparalleled that the process has remained the same creativity and talent here at Wheeler. but the intensity and excitement have heightened, most likely due to closer

A Two Way Street By Arianna Bauer

“Broadcast Yourself” is the motto of YouTube, a video-sharing website created in 2005 and currently owned by Google. YouTube, while a search engine, allows users to not only view videos but also upload their own, rendering the site not just a resourceful video encyclopedia, but a community. YouTube and similar sites are drastically different from conventional broadcasting in that they can turn “regular people” into celebrities. Online video fame is not a one way street, which makes it a unique industry. Individuals become popular as more viewers “like” and share their videos. This means that fame is based almost entirely on the individual and their content, not marketing. Successful YouTube users, known as content creators, aren’t simply admired and put

upon a pedestal in people’s minds as untouchable, larger-than-life-entities. YouTube breaks down the “us” and “them” mindset that’s attached to so much of traditional media. The site’s features and capabilities allow content creators and the audience to interact, resulting in a level playing field for all parties. This makes the celebrity less idolized and more relatable. Creators often speak directly to viewers in their videos, and the audience is then able to freely comment on whatever they’ve just seen, thus creating an ongoing critique that goes directly back to whomever produced the video. From this unusual set of circumstances springs a diverse community of over a billion YouTube users each month. This distinct YouTube population has in turn spawned the creation

of events such as VidCon, an annual four day convention held in Anaheim, California. During this event, subscribers, creators, and industry technicians come together to celebrate and explore the “new medium of online video,” as described on the VidCon website. I was fortunate enough to attend VidCon this past August. Standing beneath the shade of a dozen queen palms, I bided my time outside the colossal Anaheim convention center. The line encircled the entirety of the building as about 11,000 people waited to receive their VidCon credentials required for entry to meetups and performances. It was then that I was struck by the collective friendliness and sense of commonality that permeated the crowd. I watched people begin animated conversations with

strangers, engaging as if they’d known one another their whole lives. This was because everyone had a common interest and experience in regards to online video, through this advanced form of media. It’s one thing to look at a computer screen and recognize that ten thousand other people like something you enjoy, but seeing a packed auditorium expectantly awaiting the performance of a popular YouTuber changed how I separate the virtual and physical worlds as two different realities. In this time of constant technological advancement, the entertainment industry is continually evolving, and as the internet realm collides with “the real world”, it is becoming increasingly easy to identify the online video world for the vibrantly growing community that it is.

Spoke Staff Editors-in-Chief

Assistant Editors Lilian Kong ‘14

Rebecca Greenberg ‘14 Simon Balukonis ‘15

This Issue’s Contributors Jess Pitocco ‘14 Arianna Bauer ‘16 Rye Carroll ‘14 Grace Evans ‘15 Sami Feldman ‘15 Clifford Lezark ‘14 Ian Steller ‘15 Nikki Bansal ‘15

Faculty Advisor Richard Gilder

Spoke online edition V. 14 Issue 1  

The Wheeler School student newspaper.

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