Page 1

B6,7

EPICURUS

B9

ALL OF THE FOOD

MUSES AND MUSINGS

WEEKEND reviewers venture out for New Haven Restaurant Week.

Yuval Ben-David talks the fall—and rise—of Yale’s Philosophy Department.

FO R

David Whipple explores Yale’s independent music scene.

G RA D

R

O R

EATS

Even in the midst of a national controversy, Yale students are drawn to Teach for America. RISHABH BHANDARI and WESLEY YIIN report on the reality behind the program's appeal. // Page 3

!! "! ½Ê "# ó ! " $ # $ %& ' ( )

PINEAPPLE ROCK?

B5

AC H

ENSEMBLE

TH E

$% T L EA TE "& JU ' C A S () FO T C H I H #* F C R O F

E

// FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013

" A FO $ # $ % C & % FO R & H ' %& ! S $ A R & O ( N ' ! ( C G # "# $ TE I E A

C H

EX PE SC R H IE O

WEEKEND


PAGE B2

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

FROM BUSCH TO BEINECKE

KOENIG

ROUNER

WEEKEND VIEWS

// BY HELEN ROUNER

PRESTON

On Wednesday evening my beat reporting brought me to a lecture at the Beinecke in which Professor David Kastan, a renowned scholar and my Shakespeare professor this semester, introduced a guest lecturer in book history. Kastan joked about to what titan of another field he might compare the distinguished guest, suggesting that we might dub him the David Ortiz of literary analysis. The tweed-clad members of the audience laughed — how preposterous to compare a prominent scholar in the distinguished field of book history to the lumbering slugger at whose brute force they cheered from barstools last week. I laughed, too, but for a different reason. Ortiz is a powerful player, preferring homers to the meticulous turning of a double play. The joke thus insinuated that the visiting lecturer is not a fastidious scholar but perhaps a manufacturer of popular essays on book history — it’s like calling the lecturer the Dan Brown of literary analysis. Having spent eight of my childhood summers learning to play baseball, the game of symmetries, I see little methodological difference between crafting a sonnet and crafting a proper swing. During weeklong hitting intensives in a kids’ baseball program in rural New Hampshire, the few dozen players — of whom nearly all were boys, mostly locals and under the age of thirteen — spent hours practicing just the stride a batter executes before he swings. I remember standing with my feet in a wooden frame marked with metrics, meticulously lifting up one foot and placing it down an inch further to the left before replacing it and repeating the careful motion again and again. A hitter’s stride has to be short, soft, slow and straight — a careful alliteration that my coach, a retired college English professor,

had us recite in unison. During hitting intensives, dozens of wooden frames lined the baseball diamond, each occupied by a sedulous young ballplayer practicing his stride without a pitch coming, without a swing, without so much as a hint at a hip rotation: simply by moving his striding toe back and forth to the correct inch markers on the wooden frame. The stride practice was only a small component of hitting week, only a subchapter in the 80-page manual our coach wrote for us and had us dissect. I imagine it was the same kind of work he assigned as a professor, asking for a careful reading of canonical texts in preparation for a senior thesis. As I sat through the lecture at the Beinecke, surrounded in white marble and with a Gutenberg Bible in my line of vision, I wondered: must a practice be shrouded in erudition for us to recognize the craft in it? Are the ballfield and the Beinecke really so different? In a way, it’s the same question that arises in these inane national debates on why studying the humanities matters. Careful, analytical thinking is the impetus of human progress, valuable independent of the content to which it is applied. Just as Chaucer executes symmetries and surprises us with his masterful manipulation of form, so does Mariano Rivera — albeit on a different kind of field. I’ll forgive my professor for mocking David Ortiz as unworthy of comparison to a distinguished scholar, but that’s only because Ortiz’s footwork at first base is questionable at best; if the comparison were to the technically exquisite Rivera, we’d have a problem. Contact HELEN ROUNER at helen.rouner@yale.edu .

Kelly Nell Does Not Exist // BY ANDREW KOENIG

I don’t know much about Kelly Nell or how she found me. I don’t even know whether the girl in the pictures is the same person as “Kelly Nell.” The name sounds suspicious. The internal rhyme suggests a stage name, and it has that oily and unmistakable smell of falsehood. Girls like her sometimes add you on Facebook: They’re called Amber Rose or Emma Kaye. They’ve put up half a dozen or so pictures, all taken in dim lighting with disposable cameras. Kelly Nell is blonde, maybe dirty blonde, though it’s hard to tell from the black-and-white photographs. She has a slim physique and ample breasts. She demurely covers them with her hands in one photo. She doesn’t wear much clothing in general — just lingerie. In one photo, she alluringly thumbs the string of her thong, looking away. There is a mirror behind her. It shows her buttocks and the rest of the room — unfurnished, unadorned, the size of a closet. I’ve culled a few more personal details about Kelly. Here, she says a little about herself: “Is this week over yet for me. stupid thursday I didnt get the gig This girl is in desperate need of a cocktail and a job.. maybe any combination of the two lol . If you got anythign to keep my mind busy plz Txt me lol (415) 429---- #selfshot #selfie #notop #drunk[.]” Kelly wants to be in entertainment, though what kind is unclear. She says she likes to drink, but she doesn’t even look tipsy in any of her photos. Her face lacks the relaxed vacuity of drunkenness. Kelly’s is a skeletal identity. She lives in black and white, without clothes. She never leaves

the house. You could only find her equivalent in Abercrombie and Fitch catalogues — cinematic shots of languorous, soulless bodies. She has only a few facial expressions — flirtatious, abashed, tempting. She’s every woman and no woman, living in the corners of windowless rooms, caught between mirrors and camera lenses. Her life lasts as long as the photo shoot someone took of her. She’s been purged of all qualities, save your desire for her. Before and after do not exist for Kelly — instead, she’s suspended in those fleeting moments between camera flashes. She’s “in desperate need” and asks for “anythign [sic] to keep [her] mind busy.” Kelly hovers on the border of personhood, waxed, undressed, made-up, pushed up against a corner, waiting for you. She can hardly move; you’re very close. You could almost touch her, pin her against the wall and thumb the strings of her thong. She slips away every time. Kelly Nell’s profile could just as easily be mine. It doesn’t seem so as first, since my online identity is more fully fleshed out, less blatantly pornographic. But the person known online as “Andrew Joseph Koenig” does not exist, as surely as Kelly Nell and Emma Kaye and Amber Rose don’t exist. Andrew Joseph Koenig puts up intriguing, self-deprecating statuses and quotations from Chekhov. Sometimes he posts articles he’s written and makes bad jokes about self-promotion. If you visit his profile, you will gather the following information about him: He’s religious; he loves books (!); he stole his autobiography — “I am a strange and extraordinary

person” — from Liza Minnelli in “Cabaret.” The person known online as “Andrew Joseph Koenig” is an ugly amalgam of clichés, a perfectly packaged caricature of myself. When I crafted Andrew Joseph Koenig, I did what the unseen director of Kelly Nell’s photo shoot did. I turned “I” into a hunk of photographed flesh — smiling at a party, thanking friends for their birthday wishes, summing myself up, backing into the corner of a black-and-white room. Parts of me had to be pruned away — my enthusiasm for middlebrow movies, the moments I spend making grotesque faces in the bathroom mirror. I watered down my personality and believed I was distilling it, finally making it consumable, tangible, appealing. I thought documenting my every stray thought and musical taste would make me appear ripe for friendship outside of the confines of cyberspace. Yet for every picture I put up, there are the thousands of unseen, less flattering negatives. Each smile is earned with an unseen grimace. Between every bit of text, there is a lacuna of myself, a blank space that my every Facebook friend will color in with his own perceptions. Kelly Nell and I both play the ventriloquist — composing narratives for one another that may correspond to reality but almost certainly do not, stories strewn with red herrings, false impressions and second guesses. Ultimately, Kelly Nell is the perfect fraud in her careful façade of intrigue and plasticity. But then again, so am I. Contact ANDREW KOENIG at andrew.koenig@yale.edu .

Alphabet Soup // BY OLIVER PRESTON

I was in the JE library the other night, trudging through Spenser’s “Mutabilitie Cantos,” when a girl sitting at the table across from me decided it was a good time for a phone conversation. From the sound of it, the person on the other end of the line was hard of hearing. The girl had to repeat everything she said three or four times. She was asking about soup. “Do they have soup?” “Do they have soup?” “Do they have soup?” Something strange happens when a sentence is repeated more than, say, three times. The phonemes blend together and begin to sound alien, the words lose their meaning, the sentence becomes just a series of sounds. When “Do they have soup?” inevitably became “DoothayavSOOP?” I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. It was if I were staring at the dank, muddy underbelly of existence: Language was artificial; meaning, a construction. It was not unlike the feeling I had had just a week before when, while taking a quiz on “The Library of Babel” in my class on Borges, I was asked to translate the phrase “hlör u fang axaxaxas mlö” into Spanish. I have always been terrified by lapses in meaning. I remember the first time I had alphabet soup. I must have been about seven. I was at a friend’s house, and it was getting to be lunchtime. My friend asked me if I was hungry. I told him sure. He scampered off to the kitchen, where his mom was watching a soap opera on a tiny TV set. “Oliver says he wants you to make us lunch!” he yawped. Letting out a terrific sigh, his mom slid down from her stool, pulled a can of Chef Boyardee alphabet soup from the shelf and dumped it into a pot. I was ecstatic. My mother had all but banished canned foods from our household, fearing that we’d all die of

botulism or something. I, being a kid, mythologized what I couldn’t have — alphabet soup in particular. After blatantly misreading a scene in “A Goofy Movie,” I had come to believe that the little pasta letters actually formed words on their own, that secret messages from Chef Boyardee or God or the wind or the ghost of a Cockney street urchin would bubble up from the broth as I ate. So, when my friend’s mom slung the lukewarm bowl of red slop in front of me, I was a bit disappointed. “What the hell?” I thought. “This doesn’t say anything! This doesn’t say anything at all!” I suspect that I’m not the only Yalie who has peered into a bowl of alphabet soup expecting to find a message. Maybe I just tell myself that so I can feel better about how much of an idiot I was at age seven, but I think it’s probably true. As chronic, incurable thinkers, we are constantly churning the soup that is existence, probing it with our spoons in search of meaning. Everything has to say something. It can be exhausting. It can cause a crippling fear of gibberish and Jorge Luis Borges. It can also be dishonest. It’s easy to forget that a large, perhaps overwhelming portion of existence consists of tedium, of white noise. Plato may have said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but he, like everyone else who has ever existed, spent about three years of his life on the toilet. Confronting this fact is essential for the intellectual’s survival, but it can be hard. It can take courage to just exist. To watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” without irony. To stand in the absurdly long

line at Durfee’s and let the crackle of “Billy Jean” wash over you. To see that falling yellow leaf not as a symbol for the ruin that lurks within all things (as Shakespeare notes in “Sonnet 73”) but as just that, a yellow leaf, a yellow leaf with some flecks of green, drifting slowly down — a stated fact. Back at the library, the girl had finally hung up. After a few minutes of silence, a boy came in bearing a bowl of soup from the dining hall. He sat down next to the girl, who thanked him and began to slurp the soup happily. I kept my eyes fixed on Spenser, absorbing none of it. I sat there for a while, not moving, not thinking, just listening to the human sounds: the girl slurping, the boy shifting in his chair and flipping pages. I then

decided to put down “The Faerie Queene” in favor of a nap. I walked back through the cold and stubbed my toe on my desk and flopped onto my bed and let myself sink into the inky senselessness of sleep. Contact OLIVER PRESTON at oliver.preston@yale.edu .

// ANNELISA LEINBACH

F R I D AY NOVEMBER 8

ROSHNI

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS:

Woolsey Hall // 7:30 p.m. From Bhangra to Bollywood, it’s the largest cultural show on campus!

The Bechdel Test

Two women, one sixty-second conversation. At least the YDN passes.


YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8 , 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B3

WEEKEND COVER

BEYOND THE SPIEL // BY WESLEY YIIN AND RISHABH BHANDARI

It was almost impossible to make out what Zachary Groff ’13 was trying to say on the other end of the line. All you could hear were the sounds of children: shouting and shrieking. Eventually, Groff decided to leave his classroom in search of a quieter space. A brief silence, and then his voice reappeared. We resumed our conversation. It was just after 4 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. Groff was only halfway through his week. Groff is currently teaching first grade at Jumoke Academy Honors at Dunbar School in Bridgeport, Conn. Every weekday, Groff is at the school from around 7:30 in the morning until 6:00 p.m. He doesn’t get back to New Haven, where he lives, until after 7:00 p.m. More than one thousand miles away, Groff’s former suitemate and best friend Bradley Cho ’13 goes through a similar routine — in rural Mississippi. “If you told me a year ago that I was going to be teaching or in Mississippi, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Cho said, chuckling on the other side of our phone call. While at Yale he majored in history and always thought he was going to go to law school. Groff also hadn’t planned to go into education during his Yale years. And both he and Cho are unsure whether they’ll continue to teach. After two years of teaching, they will decide whether to stay at their respective schools, move to one somewhere else or pursue something else entirely. These are not unusual choices for corps members in Teach for America. In 1989, Wendy Kopp was a senior at Princeton. In her senior thesis she proposed the idea that more top college students wanted to give back to society. But at the time, there were few well-organized, or well-publicized, programs that allowed them to do so. She developed Teach for America, which has since sent tens of thousands of high-achieving college graduates to participate in two-year teaching programs in some of the poorest pockets of America, many of which suffer from a shortage of qualified teachers. Last year, over 57,000 college grad-

tigious program has received a myriad of criticism recently, ranging from its alleged failure to prepare teachers adequately for the classroom to the claim that TFA actively seeks to dismantle America’s public school system. Despite these critiques, Yale students are still drawn to TFA. From the Class of 2013, 30 Yalies joined the corps, making the non-profit the second-largest employer of Yale graduates, behind only the University itself, and ahead of prestigious consulting and finance firms such as J.P. Morgan, McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs. Yale students who have enrolled in TFA readily admit to the existence of flaws in the program, but most believe that they profit from their experience. At times the program fails to live up to its lofty ideals, but Yalies in the program continue to find meaning in this work.

Graduating Seniors to Teach

For America’s 2013 Teaching

Corps

BOARDING THE SCHOOL BUS

Students interested in Teach for America must first submit an application by one of five deadlines that fall between August and February. In the next round, applicants are given a phone interview and are asked to fill out yet another set of short answer questions. In the final interview process, candidates spend a day answering face-to-face questions and mimicking classroom duties, such as designing and teaching a five-minute lesson. “I’ve heard that sometimes the interviewers will ask very antagonistic questions and pretend to be short of understanding,” said Meredith Redick ’14, who has recently been accepted to TFA and has committed to teaching at a school in Chicago. Though she didn’t receive any of these hardball questions, she said the final interview process was nerve wracking nonetheless. Redick also called this grueling twocmonth process a “major time commitment,” and it’s one that doesn’t always pay off. Only 14 percent of all applicants are accepted. Despite the many hoops one must jump through to apply, many Yalies persist, citing their affinity for TFA’s

A LOT OF PEOPLE [AT YALE] SEE TFA AS AN ETHICAL ALTERNATIVE OR OBLIGATION TO REPAY YOUR PRIVILEGE. CHRIS CLARK ’13

uates, many hailing from some of America’s most revered universities, applied for TFA’s 4,000 teaching positions. The program has an acceptance rate that rivals Yale’s own in terms of selectivity. Yet successful applicants from Yale to the program are not always greeted with the praise and even envy that they might receive if they had instead gotten a job offer from Google or a place at Harvard Med School in their senior year. If they accept TFA’s offer, these seniors will find themselves in the midst of a heated national debate instead. From education experts to opinion columnists on-campus, the pres-

Universities Contributing

mission. Cho, whose family immigrated to Los Angeles when he was very young, said that the opportunity to give back to underprivileged communities like the one he grew up in was his number one reason for taking on the job. “I believe that service to your community and country is one of the best things you can do,” he said, asserting that you need a certain idealism to do this job. Many other former Yalies cited this desire to give back among their primary reasons for joining TFA, and some said the pressure weighs harder on those from more privileged backgrounds.

26%

of the members of Teach for America are the first in their family

to attend college

University of Texas at Austin

Harvard University

Chris Clarke ’13, a first year TFA core member who teaches 11th grade history in Chicago, pointed out that time in the program can be seen as a way to atone in advance more cutthroat career choices later. “A lot of people [at Yale] see TFA as an ethical alternative or obligation to repay your privilege before getting your ‘real’ career started,” he lamented. Clarke hasn’t decided whether he wants to pursue teaching full-time but said he plans to spend at least another two years in the field after he completes his obligations to TFA. Coming from an immigrant household with a special-needs sibling, Cathy Huang ’14 came to college with a desire to become a teacher. However, working for TFA wasn’t in her initial plan. Huang cited the elimination of Yale’s Teacher Preparation program during her sophomore year as a prominent reason why she turned to TFA. Even in her first years of college, Huang knew she wanted to be a teacher, but, once that program was cut, she had no way to obtain a teaching certification without going outside the University. Huang laid out her options: she could take night courses at a different university, pay for “emergency certification” through state-specific certification programs or become a corps member of the TFA with a guarantee of a stable, salaried job for at least two years. With TFA, she could be financially independent and work in a highneed community. For Huang, there really was no better alternative. Elizabeth Carroll, director of Yale’s new Education Studies program, said that without the prospect of obtaining teacher certification at Yale, Yalies aspiring to be teachers have three options: TFA and similar programs (Carroll herself was certified through the New York City Teaching Fellows), three-to-five-year residency programs that train teachers over one year before allowing them to teach in their classrooms independently, or a traditional yearlong Master’s degree program that provides certification without a job guarantee. Therefore, Yalies like Huang who want to pursue a career in teaching find themselves with limited set of options. “Yale unexpectedly forced my hand in some ways,” she said.

REPORT CARDS

But as students are funneled into TFA, they also find themselves entering a national debate about whom the

F R I D AY NOVEMBER 8

program actually benefits, and if it really lives up to its high-minded ideals. The most recent, most discussed criticism comes from Olivia Blanchard, who wrote an immensely popular cover story for The Atlantic Magazine this September. In it, she explained why she quit TFA after just one year. She took her complaints to the press in September of this year when she wrote an article for The Atlantic titled “I Quit Teach for America.” In the article she decried the contrast between the promise of the program and what she actually experienced. Blanchard’s critique of TFA began with how the program markets itself: as a morally good alternative to other post-college options. Blanchard entered TFA after graduating from the University of North Carolina ChapelHill. She chose the program because she believed that as a TFA Corps Member, she would be an important leader in a community that would lack such role models. “Although I was thinking of working in Washington or going to law school, I decided to do TFA in part because I wanted to contribute something to society and I was really interested in social justice,” Blanchard said. But Blanchard didn’t believe that she got the training that she needed to be the role model she imagined.

more than

80%

of Teach for America members leave after

three years

24-HOUR THEATER FESTIVAL

Princeton University

Assigned to teach 5th grade math and science in Atlanta, Ga., she found herself at a loss. Like all TFA Corps Members, Blanchard underwent an intensive five-week training program in the June and July before her first year at TFA, but she said that she found this training insufficient. “The training program is ineffective in part because it’s just not specialized,” she said, adding that it was “disconcerting” that she, as a fifth-grade math teacher, was going through the exact same training schedule as someone who may have to teach twelfth-grade American history. All seven other current or former TFA Corps members interviewed agreed with Blanchard in saying that the training program was insufficient. “Are you ready to be thrown into a classroom of loud and bored kids after five weeks of training? No, not at all,” said Clarke of his experience in Chicago. But proponents of TFA push back on the notion that it doesn’t prepare teachers well enough. Aisha Turner ’02, the managing director of Corporate and Foundation Relations for Teach for America in New York argued that, while traditionally teachers come into their first jobs after years of graduate school in SEE TEACH PAGE 8

more than

50%

of Teach for America members leave after

two years

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS:

Jonathan Edwards College Theater // 8 p.m. Participants write, direct and perform plays in marathon time.

Yale University

Spellcheck

Your best friend during resume season.


PAGE B4

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

WEEKEND ARTS

PORTER, PORTER, BOW WOW WOW // BY EDDY WANG This year marks the 100th anniversary of Cole Porter’s graduation from Yale. In tribute, the Memorabilia Room of Sterling Memorial Library features “From Peru to Paree: A Cole Porter Jubilee,” an exhibit showcasing manuscripts, newspaper clippings, family photo albums and other artifacts from both the public and private life of the celebrated composer. The mixed-media show, which includes a touchscreen monitor-headphones complex, spans his childhood, his Yale years and his professional life. Porter is recognized as one of Broadway’s greatest composers, having penned perennial hits such as “Anything Goes,” “You’re the Top!” and “Night and Day.” But he is also the composer of “Bull Dog,” which I belted out for the first time as a freshman at last year’s Harvard-Yale game, packed among thousands of other Yalies in Harvard Stadium. I heard “Bull Dog” again in the Memorabilia Room through a pair of headphones in the exhibit’s audio installation. This version was a track off a 1991 EMI CD, sang by world-renowned American baritone Thomas Hampson and the Ambrosian Chorus, accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, and while the song conjured images of the pomp and circumstance of another time, it was impossible not

to identify with the unmistakable and unshakable Yale pride that Porter wrote into the score. Also up for sampling is “Down in the Depths of the 90th Floor,” a piece composed by Porter for the musical “Red, Hot, and Blue!” — the namesake of Yale’s oldest co-ed acapella group.

IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO IDENTIFY WITH THE... UNSHAKABLE YALE PRIDE THAT PORTER WROTE INTO THE SCORE. The exhibit progresses chronologically along the Memorabilia Room’s rectangular perimeter, giving the viewer a sense of journey and ultimately returning him to where he began, at the room’s entrance. A long exhibit case stands at the center, containing various scrapbooks and postcards that illustrate Porter’s frequent travels to Europe and other countries across the Atlantic. I paused before one postcard in particular, from Paris. On the front is a picture of Porter and two buddies, sitting on a barrel and raising their tall mugs (of

// CARLY LOVEJOY

Harvard’s team may fight to the end, but Cole will win.

what, I wonder?) to the camera. On the back, the postcard is addressed to Mme. Cole Porter, with only the simple inscription, “Just before having breakfast.” I marveled at it because I realized Porter had sent a pre-Snapchat Snapchat, and had he lived in 2013, I could easily imagine him navigating Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and turning those antique scrapbooks into Picasa Web Albums. Near the front of the exhibit are a few of Porter’s childhood pictures. In one class photo, a primary schoolage Porter wears a stylish, goldbraided coat, while others around him are attired in mundane, solid colors. According to Suzanne Lovejoy, the show’s lead curator, Porter’s mother liked to dress him up. There are less than three weeks remaining between us and The Game. Exploring an exhibit on one of Yale’s most renowned musical alumni is well worth the study break — even if you’re just there to listen to “Bull Dog.” Contact EDDY WANG at chen-eddy.wang@yale.edu .

Ask What An Exhibit Can Do For You // BY LEAH MOTZKIN

While the crowd wasn’t too large in the Yale University Art Gallery’s new exhibit “A Great Crowd Had Gathered: JFK in the 1960s,” it probably should have been. Although the exhibition itself is small — just one room with fewer than two dozen photographs — it succeeds in telling the story of John F. Kennedy as a cultural icon, both alive and in his memory. Tucked away in a corner on the gallery’s fourth floor, the exhibit space is characterized by different shades of blue — the Democratic Party color — and sleek, gray writing. A timeline runs above the photographs, listing important events that occurred in relation to Kennedy’s impact across the ’60s. The timeline serves as a guide to how the exhibit should be viewed, and following my natural inclination, I began by viewing the image below the “1960” label. The first work may have been the most powerful. Garry Winogrand’s “John F. Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles” focuses on Kennedy’s broad back as he is televised. Though the image does not directly capture the audience — all of America on TV — the vast presence, and power, of the unseen multitudes is clearly felt. In the foreground of the image, a television behind Kennedy’s legs presents his face so that the viewer sees the man in the same way as a supporter of the time would have seen him. We thus become a part of the unseen, yet implied, audience. A modern viewer with knowledge of the violence that awaits Kennedy,

F R I D AY NOVEMBER 8

however, would describe the work as having a foreboding undertone, but I believe that at the time it would have been received as a hopeful image. The bright light of the television camera could be seen as illuminating a path for change. Continuing through 1961 and 1962, images of Kennedy’s supporters hang under announcements of the major events that characterized his presidency — the Bay of Pigs, the announcement of his plan to put a man on the moon, the Cuban Missile Crisis.

A CROWD IS GATHERED WITH THEIR EYES TOWARD THE SKY, THEIR ARMS WAVNG AT SOMETHING OUTSIDE THE FRAME. The images of 1963 range from the expected — photographs from the fatal assassination in Dallas and of Lyndon Johnson’s taking the oath next to Jackie Kennedy — to more intimate, poignant pictures of the constituents he left behind. One particularly striking photograph by Diane Arbus depicts Marguerite Oswald, the assassin’s mother. The image, which ran in Esquire Magazine, presents a woman dressed in every way to appear put together and

// IHNA MANGUNDAYAO

A trip back to the “Mad Men” era.

refined, but to me the effort seemed contrived and as a result, lacks believability. Juxtaposed with Jackie Kennedy’s elegance, the portrait is jarring. In a style typical of Arbus, Marguerite’s vulnerability shines through. The inclusion of this piece in an exhibit devoted to Kennedy may seem counterintuitive — even potentially insulting — but in examining the multiple dimensions of Kennedy’s role as a cultural icon, the image captures the mystique surrounding his complicated narrative as one extending beyond the individual. Interestingly, Kennedy’s involvement with Vietnam is absent from the exhibit. But given the limited size of the space, perhaps depictions of his involvement with and the fallout from the war throughout the decade would have been too overwhelming. The final image leaves the viewer with a sense of hope. At the John F. Kennedy Space Center, a crowd is gathered with their eyes toward the sky, their arms waving at something outside the frame. With the 1969 moon landing, one of Kennedy’s longreaching goals is accomplished. In the foreground, a woman who is turned away from the crowd is taking a photograph of her own. Contact LEAH MOTZKIN at leah.motzkin@yale.edu .

ROY HAYNES FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH BAND

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS:

Sprague Hall // 8 p.m.

Listen to the Grammy award winner spin some tunes.

Binging on Borgen

It’s the West Wing, set in Denmark and available online. #teambirgitte


YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B5

WEEKEND FEATURE

TO A DIFFERENT TUNE // BY DAVID WHIPPLE

The lights in Woolsey Hall are hot as we break into our third song. A sea of faces, many masked or painted, gazes up at us with some interest. Woolsey’s notoriously poor acoustics mean I can’t hear myself singing, or the bassist playing, or really anything except my guitar and the drummer. Somehow, we hold it together anyways, and walk off after four songs to a smattering of applause. Maybe the best thing about opening for the Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween Show is that, for as long as our band stays together, we will be able to say that our first show sold out a 2,700-person auditorium in eight minutes. So maybe we weren’t the main cause of that demand. And so what if no one was paying attention. When you’re in a band at Yale, you count your victories where you can. It has become a Halloween tradition for independent student bands to open for the YSO’s vaunted performance alongside a silent film. This year students trickled in dressed as Red Sox players and University administrators, finding their seats as we began our set. For undergraduate bands The Teaspoons, Low Strung and Rain Brigade — and for my own fledgling band — the WYBC Yale Radio-organized Halloween pre-show was an unusual moment near the spotlight. The narrative of Yale’s meager student band scene is a welldocumented one — each year, campus publications report on the dearth of venues and lack of interest. While musical groups with historical precedence on campus, such as the Whiffenpoofs and Tangled Up in Blue, boast a strong alumni community and attract crowds with ease, it is more difficult for independent bands who form and break up in four-year cycles. And without a pre-established fan base, many of these groups graduate without ever fully getting on their feet. Sitting at a table in the Trumbull basement, The Teaspoons’ Tommy Bazarian ’15 spoke about the struggles of being an independent band on a campus where so many other musical groups have established themselves within the Yale tradition. “There’s a lot of amazing music, which I really love, but it often crowds out the thing that we like to do,” he said. “We basically make it happen for ourselves.” According to Max Weinreich ’16, assistant director of records for WYBC Yale Radio, the “obvious problem” is the absence of suitable venues available for groups like The Teaspoons to perform in. But the simple explanation that there’s nowhere to play is unsatisfactory. On Thursday night, we certainly had a venue — we had the biggest and best hall at Yale. But if the stage in Woolsey gave us a platform, it also gave us perspective: the crowd was more focused on their phones and their friends than on Pineapple Rock (our band).

F R I D AY NOVEMBER 8

Maybe we weren’t good enough. But I got the sense that we could have been U2 in disguise and people still would have texted until the YSO came on. It’s just not in people’s minds to listen. Rock ’n’ roll needs more than a home on campus. It needs a hand. What kind of boost does the music scene need? According to Colin Groundwater ’15, “It’s a big question.” He is someone who spends a lot of time pondering that very dilemma. “I certainly think a greater diversity of venues would be helpful,” he said. “The other thing that’s hard, too, is that the campus music scene is rooted in a DIY ethic.” Groundwater was echoing Bazarian: we’re on our own. It’s not just a question of having venues, Groundwater continued. People are not aware of the scene, nor does it make itself known. My limited experience on the Yale band scene would lead me to agree. Pineapple Rock only earned the opportunity to open for the YSO show by winning a poll on Facebook. The poll, YSO President Claire Xue ’14 said, was meant as a way to select bands popular with the student body. At the time of the poll, our band had never practiced together, let alone played a show. And as if that shouldn’t have adequately disqualified us, we called ourselves Pineapple fucking Rock. But thanks to a Facebook/ email get-out-the-vote operation on par with that of the Ward 1 campaigns, we canvassed our way onto the program for one of the year’s most highly anticipated events. When a group like ours wins a contest aimed at choosing Yale’s most popular student bands, you begin to wonder where the bar for ‘popular’ is set for independent bands at Yale.

WATCHING NATHAN CAMPBELL

WYBC’s Colin Groundwater ’14, who organized the Halloween pre-show along with Max Weinreich, said he hoped the exposure it offered might help student groups expand the scope of their limited audiences. “Did I expect screaming fans? No. You’re opening the Halloween show,” Groundwater explained. “My expectation was a large room full of open ears, and I think that’s what we got.” The chance to play for a new and fresh audience wasn’t lost on Bazarian,who appreciated the chance to perform a “more anonymous” show. The Teaspoons don’t often do covers live; in front of such an unfamiliar audience, though, they added a cover of the Beatles’ “I Want You/ She’s So Heavy” to make their brand of folk more accessible. But winning the crowd over doesn’t require changing your sound, and for the most part, Bazarian’s group didn’t. He and Groundwater agreed that live music from an enthusiastic and talented group can appeal to an audience broader than those who might consider themselves fans of a certain genre. “The cool thing about live

music is you can really get into something that you wouldn’t necessarily buy on iTunes,” Bazarian said. A strong campus scene isn’t simply a function of the overlap in taste between those making the music and those listening to it. The YSO show gave bands the chance to convince students skeptical of bluegrass or garage rock that a bluegrass or garage rock show can still be fun. Groundwater believes that passionate performances, rather than simply songs with broad appeal, are key to developing the campus scene. W h e n e ve r G ro u n d wa ter brought up showmanship, he cited Nathan Campbell ’14 with near-reverence. Campbell’s band, Sister Helen, plays on campus a few times a year. While Groundwater acknowledged that Sister Helen’s style of music — “scary prog rock” — may not attract the average Yale student, the band has achieved quasi-fame through its captivating live performances, the power of which Groundwater can attest to.

BUT I GOT THE SENSE THAT WE COULD HAVE BEEN U2 IN DISGUISE AND PEOPLE WOULD HAVE TEXTED UNTIL THE YSO CAME ON. “I will never forget my first 216 show,” he recalled. “I will never forget watching Nathan Campbell rip his jacket off, and then fight it, and howl into a microphone. Did it scare me? Yes. Will I always remember it? Absolutely.” Halfway through our interview, someone started practicing piano in the Jonathan Edwards College common room. With the sound overwhelming Groundwater’s voice, we were forced to move. It was the Yale band scene in miniature: two self-professed rock snobs struggling to make themselves heard over a virtuosic, but thunderous, piano.

ODD ONES OUT

“Team effort: let’s not sound

like assholes this time,” Jake Backer ’14 said to his bandmates at a table in Bass Café, where I had sat down with the members of Rain Brigade. Backer, in a sweatshirt, jeans and a weekend’s worth of scruff, was referencing an interview they had done last week. According to a laughing Ethan Schneider ES ’14 (also a member of The Teaspoons), the piece “didn’t make [them] sound awesome.” But despite all that, Rain Brigade exuded the character of a quintessential Yale band: resigned or even content to play bars and distant basements, they survey their own situation with a cutting but lighthearted wit — all the while speaking in hushed tones about the independent music scene at Wesleyan, where “If you aren’t in a band, you’re the odd one out.” I’m a neophyte of the Yale band crowd, and while Groundwater is one of its champions, the four seniors who make up Rain Brigade have been a part of it for four years. At the Halloween show, Rain Brigade found themselves playing first at the SSS simulcast despite being the most senior band of the four selected to play. They discussed their show’s reception with characteristic humor. “If Facebook likes are any indication …,” Gelernter began, “— we got three,” Backer interjected. The organizers and musicians I interviewed all agreed: it’s the quality of the shows rather than the popularity of the genre that makes for a great rock scene. Some people who love rock will show up no matter how far off campus you put the radio station’s house; others wouldn’t show up to Woodstock if you gave them a free ticket. It’s those in the middle, of which there are many, that define a scene’s success. Those are the people that the YSO show, that great performances, are supposed to appeal to — the Taylor Swift fans who Nathan Campbell manages to enchant with his “scary prog rock.” But no matter how insistently you pursue that section of the student body, there’s no guarantee that you will be successful. “The thinking sophomore year was, ‘We’re gonna do the YSO show, and then people will start knowing who we are,’” Gelernter says. “And that didn’t happen.”

ADVANCED FINAL CUT PRO X WORKSHOP

Half an hour before Pineapple Rock’s first public performance, there was no functioning PA system in Woolsey Hall. The microphones and the speakers, both provided by the Undergraduate Organizations Committee, had incompatible input jacks. “Thank god Tim Follo [’16] thought to just stick the wrong kind of cable in the speaker,” Groundwater recalled, explaining the eventual improvised solution for the equipment problems that nearly derailed the entire preshow — which every band interviewed made a point of noting. Follo, who was managing sound for the SSS simulcast, said the equipment had been borrowed from five different places. By all accounts, running this year’s show felt like flying blind, even though the pre-show has been a tradition for years. But it’s always been chaotic. Last year, the stage in SSS was managed by WYBC, the stage in Woolsey by 1701 Records. This year, bands who opened were forced to pay for tickets to a show they were playing in. These issues all point to a larger one, a deeper campus unfamiliarity with the very notion of an indie rock scene. We aren’t used to making rock music at Yale, and we aren’t used to listening to it. That unfamiliarity itself is the result of multiple factors undermining the development of the Yale indie scene. When I asked Rain Brigade if they thought more places to play were necessary, Schneider responded, “Can you just put in a laugh for that question?” But to stop at that misses the larger point. The lack of venues is a symptom as much as a component of a cycle in which student apathy, physical space and a lack of new bands combine to keep the scene quiet. Backer, who’s seen this play out firsthand, explained the situation. “There aren’t enough spaces for the bands who want to play, but there aren’t enough bands to justify more spaces,” he said. And when you have neither bands nor spaces, as the students interviewed demonstrated, it’s hard to attract a potential audience. Without an audience, bands don’t form, and the cycle perpetuates itself. It’s not simply that the lack of physical space stifles the formation of bands on

// BRIANNA LOO

Pineapple Rock

campus, and this is a decidedly different explanation from those that have been offered in the past. It seems likelier that the cycle would be broken with the formation of more bands as opposed to the construction of new venues — there is more motivation to carve out spaces when there are groups to fill them. But Yale students don’t form bands like students at other schools. We’re busy. When I sent my bandmates a Doodle poll to find available rehearsal times in the weeks before the show, it took only a few seconds of looking at the results to determine that there was not a single hour for the entire week of October 7th when all three of us were free. Rain Brigade’s Sam Gelernter sympathized. “In order to play music and to play in a band, you have to be ready to devote a lot of time,” he said. “There’s not a lot of people, especially in that typeA environment, who are willing to spend that much time on music.” Backer interjected: “On rock music.” Yalies are willing to devote time to classical or jazz or a capella, but not to rock. Being in an independent student band is seen by many as an “opportunity cost,” Schneider said. “I think that Yale students have this complex where they really need to feel that they’re accomplishing things,” Weinreich said. “Starting a band even if you don’t think you’re going to have much of an audience just doesn’t really strike me as a very common thing to happen here.” As a veteran of Yale’s independent music scene, Backer has reason to be discouraged. “Honestly, after four years of wishing it would grow, I have no hope,” he said. Some of Yale’s more prominent bands — like Sister Helen and Rain Brigade — will dissolve when their senior members graduate this year. While Groundwater said he doesn’t yet see new bands taking the place of those that have left, he is “excited to see what the abyss spits back at us.” Contact DAVID WHIPPLE at david.whipple@yale.edu .

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS:

149 York St. // 2-4 p.m.

WEEKEND wants to advance beyond Vines, y’all.

OPPORTUNITY COSTS

Gravity

The film is great, but WKND thinks it feels a little (2nd) derivative.


PAGE B6

WEEKEND EATS

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B7

OUT

A MEAL BUILT BRIQ BY BRIQ

AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE

// BY RUOXI YU

// BY HAYLEY BYRNES

// MINSUN CHA // ROUXI YU

It is an understatement to say that my dinner at Briq was a culinary marathon. We had a slow start. I arrived a little after my reservation time, only to discover that our table was not yet ready. About 40 minutes later, we finally relocated from our refuge at the bar to a small table near the front of the restaurant. With flickering candles and brick walls, the space, long and narrow, reminded me of a more pleasant (and lively) interpretation of the “Cask of Amontillado,” except this cavern had food, drink and company. Glancing at the menu, we rejoiced to discover that Briq’s unique “table-style” dining encouraged us to share plates among ourselves. Although less

than enthused by another 20 minute wait, we quickly placed an order for several table plates (appetizer courses), a main plate, and dessert to finish it all off. First came the skinny fries ($7), which seemed like a hollaback to Miya’s Sushi’s Tokyo Fro. This crispy mass of perhaps too skinny potato sticks came drizzled with secret sauce that made for a messy but savory dish. The caramelized butternut squash ($6) followed, a collection of cubes sautéed over maple ginger soy sauce and topped with panko crumbs and pomegranate seeds. I was perplexed by the addition of pomegranate seeds, which added a powerful, sour punch to an otherwise

balanced dish. The butternut squash, however, was too firm and this particular take on the fall vegetable favorite was off from the comfort I expected. Next, the shrimp salsa ($9.50) presented a playful take on the average taco. A crunchy, corn tortilla complemented airy, whipped avocado with fresh shrimp, followed by a delightful peek of spice in the aftertaste. The lobster mashed potatoes ($12), a dish I initially ordered with skepticism because of its description of “simply, ‘amazing!’” turned out to be the winner of the night. While I’m uncertain who was actually quoted in the menu description, it might as well have been me because this table plate sin-

gle handedly won over my heart. This dish managed to preserve the subtle, sweet taste of lobster amidst a rich and creamy sea of mash. The next courses, however, began to suggest a downhill trend. Mike’s Italian beef tartare ($12) fell short on presentation and taste. It was as if the beef tartare was so shamefully salty that it had to hide under a thick layer of shaved grana padano cheese. The tartare also arrived with two measly slices of slightly burned garlic bread. But their merits (nonexistent) I will not delve into here. While generous in portion, the burrata pasta pillow ($18), our main dish, offered no redemption. Although I don’t

know what a “pasta pillow” should look like, this dish had none of the characteristic fluffiness that its name might suggest. The overdone pasta to sauce and cheese ratio left me confounded. At the outer edges, it was a poorly made thin crust pizza; at its center, a ravioli lacking filling. After being left sorely disappointed after an incredible high, I looked forward to dessert. Despite being informed that they had run out of the Adult Birthday Cake we had ordered earlier (what), we compromised and ordered the Nutella and Banana Crepes ($7). The sliced bananas came under-caramelized, and missing that extra crunch, but the crepes them-

selves were traditional and homey, ending the night on a pleasantly cozy note. While Briq might have its fair share of service and supply issues to iron out, its repertoire remains competitive among the set of contemporary American restaurants around campus. Despite the unpredictable sizes of their table plates, Briq can prove to be a worthy culinary venture for those willing to share. Just make sure you’re ready for the wait and, no matter what you do, order those “amazing!” potatoes. Contact RUOXI YU at ruoxi.yu@yale.edu .

Given its obvious nod to gangster cinema, there’s something redundant in deeming Goodfellas an Italian restaurant – a bit like clarifying that “Major English Poets,” is, shockingly, an English class. Plasma televisions splash Robert DeNiro’s face across the restaurant’s walls, silently looping “The Godfather” and other genre classics (a bit Orwellian for my taste, but harmless enough). The result: an innocent Atlantic City atmosphere, buzzing but businesslike. Equipped with a newly minted upper patio level, the architecture betrays an American sensibility. Comfortably spread out, the tables favor intimate twoperson settings, not quite enough for the entire Corleone dynasty.

It’s spacious and swanky, with an admirable rooftop view of the city. Goodfellas is perched just outside the Yale Bubble, hidden on State Street. When I stumbled in on Wednesday afternoon, couples and businessmen populated its tables. Not a backpack in sight (except mine). At Yale, Italian is synonymous with pizza, a noted absence in Goodfellas’ offerings. Perhaps for that reason, the choices felt more mature, but still familiar. Gnocchi. Chicken Parmigiana. Nothing, it seemed, that required a badly imitated Italian accent. I knew exactly what I would get when I ordered, despite my inexperience with Italian food. Still, this experience with American Italian was an improvement on those I’ve had

before. At age four, I sat next to my mother at a Midwestern Italian restaurant (read: American restaurant with meatballs). Within five minutes, candle in hand, I had lit the red gingham tablecloth on fire. We never got our meatballs. My mom – allergic to garlic, vaguely vegetarian and prone to takeout – once bought Spaghetti-O’s a few years later. With that, my Italian culinary education came to a close. And given that lack of experience, anything would surprise me. In atmosphere, Goodfellas felt like a beautiful, if sanitized, hotel lobby, but in its offerings, the restaurant struck a more homespun note. Creativity was sacrificed for simplicity, but with success. Unsurprising, then, that we began with the

infallible bread-and-olive-oil combination. The breadbasket is my culinary equivalent to elevator music: done well, it is left unnoticed. If our breadbasket struck a pleasant — if forgettable — note, my garden salad crooned a more melodic tune. With a solid base of fresh greens, the garnishes were sparse: four succulent tomatoes, a sprinkling of balsamic. Unlike my usual hurried gulping of semifrozen packaged spinach in the dining hall, I cherished each bite here. Unannounced, our server surprised us with complimentary bruschetta — just as simple, just as fresh. As I swallowed my final leaf of lettuce, I glanced up at the subtitled scenes. Cops and gangsters faced off in smoky black alleys. But as sensationalized as

During Restaurant Week, New Haven opens it arms to foodies of all sorts. Local restaurants, often too expensive for undergrads, offer cheap lunches and dinners for relative bargains. Is this just an attempt to lure patrons? Are these meals worth it outside of restaurant week? Did you know you can buy food somewhere other than Durfee’s? WEEKEND sent a group of reporters into the field—their mouths watering and their pens ready.

it is in décor, Goodfellas’s menu avoided any culinary overindulgence. Each course successfully resisted the temptation of over-seasoning — my breath never reached un-kissable levels, despite garlic’s near-holiness in Italy. By the entrée, I felt full. But with the arrival of a supersized serving of pasta bathed in vodka cream sauce, my will returned. I felt the same heavy, rich satisfaction of a Thanksgiving meal. The portions were generous, with a liberal heaping of the vodka dressing. The tiny bite of gnocchi that I stole from my friend was just as comforting. There was something nostalgic about the meal, so easy was it to imagine a grandmother crafting the sauce from a time- and family-honored recipe passed down

from the shores of Sicily. Tiramisu and a cappuccino ended the meal on a creative note. The cappuccino, sprinkled with cinnamon, had an appropriately seasonal flair. The tiramisu, house-made, lingered with a subtlety, avoiding the sticky sugarcoated excess of poorly executed desserts. At 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, Yale is not a calm place. Yearning for time, we jog to class and skip lunch and glance at iCals for guidance. At Goodfellas, I found refuge — tranquilized by carbs, mesmerized by plasmas. New Haven’s high-end Italian theme park is an indulgence, I think, worth taking. Contact HAYLEY BYRNES at hayley.byrnes@yale.edu .

I Think “Nuevo” Means “New” // BY LUCAS SIN

Thick, Goopy and Awesome // BY SCOTT STERN

Walking into Heirloom, all my fears are confirmed: The jeans and flannel shirt weren’t sufficient. Hey, it has a collar! Heirloom, a large, dimly lit restaurant with massive windows, exudes refinement and a polite, appropriate amount of warmth. I am nervous. “Reservation?” the maître d’ asks cheerfully. “It should be under Stern?” “Very good,” she replies, with all the pomp of a person twice her years and three times my classiness. “I hope this table in the corner will be OK.” Actually, it was wonderful! As out of place as I feel in any restaurant other than Subway, the meal was absolutely delightful. The service was fast; the waiter (who didn’t give us his name; weird) was polite and efficient; and the food was delectable. My first foray into Heirloom’s famous fare was its bread — excellent — served with a horseradish dip — a nice touch. The bread was so good, in fact, that it was hard not to fill up on it. The sophistication of the bread and dip was diminished, somewhat, by the appetizer menu that rested at the bottom of the bread bowl, positively staring into your soul and ordering you to order more just as your hunger is piqued. Thankfully, my stinginess kicked in; crisis averted.

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

For appetizers, I started with the oddly named “No Cream of Sweet Potato Soup,” a thick, delicious mixture topped with lime, honey, cilantro and spiced peanuts (at a slightly overpriced $10). My roommate, Gordon, who had never tasted kale before, tried the Starlight Farms kale salad, which he described as crisp yet smooth: “A lot like a fine wine, but it’s kale!” It was also a little on the expensive side ($11) — perhaps this was a trend — but it was a sizable salad, complete with hazelnuts, breadcrumbs and ricotta salata. An appropriate amount of time later, the entrees arrived. My hand-rolled penne ($24) came in a large and nearly overflowing bowl, while Gordon’s woodroasted salmon ($24; I know, right?) appeared puny and pathetic on its oversized plate. The penne came stuffed with milled tomatoes, garlic, chilies, thyme and quite a lot of walnuts. A frothy, crunchy, garlicy, herby mixture, it was as pleasurable for the palate as it was for the vocabulary. The salmon, too, was quite good, though I can’t reiterate enough how lonely it looked, beached on its small island of quinoa. Nevertheless, the few bites present were remarkably tasty, garnished with radish, Winesap apple (the oddest kind of apple), sugar snaps, pumpkin seeds (ooh,

YSO PRESENTS: A WORLD PREMIERE AND THE FIREBIRD Woolsey Hall // 8-10 p.m.

Harness your inner Pocahontas in pieces like Professor Kathryn Alexander’s “Become the Wind.”

seasonal!) and a carrot ginger vinaigrette. Dessert arrived just as the restaurant was really filling up. (I guess fancy people eat late?) Anyway, our unnamed server arrived bearing two mason jars filled with sweets. I received the butterscotch pudding, and Gordon sampled the Meyer lemon panna cotta. The pudding was thick, goopy and awesome. It was topped with a small, toasted marshmallow, which stuck to my spoon until pried off with furtive fingers. The pudding itself was like eating a cute, squishy cartoon character — sweet, supple and just a little salty. The lemon shortbread, gelato and curd were also tasty, though a little tart for my taste. Waiter-man approached with the check and quickly made his escape. Gordon and I remained slumped in our seats, surprisingly full considering the relatively meager portions. Besides, based on the bill in front of us, we deserved to loiter a little. All in all, Heirloom deserves its sterling reputation. While a tad stuffy and impersonal, it nonetheless provided the food and atmosphere for a fine evening. I left sated, happy and still slightly curious about what the hell a Winesap apple is. Contact SCOTT STERN at scott.stern@yale.edu .

// JENNIFER LU

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Brunch in last night’s clothes

Bonus points if you’re still wearing your mask from Masquerade.

// ALEXANDRA SCHMELING

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

BYOB PAINTING PARTIES 130 Park St. // 6-9 p.m.

Because wine and paint are fun.

Pacifico is a pretty punchy place, or that’s what it feels like it’s supposed to be. Its bright orange walls are laced with stripes of blue. Drawings of little fishes swim along these stripes, or perhaps they’re tadpoles, or just a series of swirls in unapologetic reds, yellows and greens. Early afternoon sunlight filters through wide windows. It seems as if all is bright, punchy and well. The flavors, one might expect, should match. In the trifecta of Latin Americaninspired restaurants that hugs the block on Crown between High and College (Oaxaca, Pacifico, and Rubamba), competition is particularly fierce. Even without the prix fixe menus, which you find for $18 during restaurant week, each restaurant is already pressured to distinguish itself from the others. Rubamba excels at the arepa. But Pacifico and its neighbor Oaxaca, compete with surprisingly similar cuisines: traditional Latin American fare with a modern twist. The questions that follow, naturally, are: What is the twist? Where does it come from? And why? Too often, fusion cuisine is blindly taken up by lazy chefs who have refused to put in the effort to perfect a time-tested cuisine. Instead, they devise their own cuisine as a shortcut to a niche market of perky foodies who always want something new. Instead, why not either devote yourself to one camp or the other: tradition or innovation? Chef Rafael Palomino calls his cuisine “nuevo Latino.” The “Latino” element, of course, is clear. At times, the “nuevo” element is far murkier. One appetizer, the Argentinean empanadas, is an example of such. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a treat. A coupling of braised sirloin and raisins lends the fluffy appetizer a characteristic sweetness. We’re told that Pacifico’s innovation is replacing the traditional flour-based crust with a cornmeal-based one. But that comes as a surprise, given that cornmeal empanadas are a staple in both Colombia and Venezuela.

Another seemingly Latino dish was the tilapia con cubierta de platano, or the plantain-crusted tilapia with shrimp enchiladas. A fish, well cooked and flaky, was perched delicately on two yellow corn tortilla rolls. The green mole sauce with its peculiar but nevertheless tasty bitterness bound the whole dish together to great success. But the combination of mole, plantains, salsa and enchiladas is fairly common and doesn’t quite evoke “nuevo.” The other half of the meal was neither “nuevo” nor “Latino.” The shrimp and corn chowder was chunky and creamy, like chowders should be, but left hanging the question of what a Latino chowder might actually be, especially if its flavor profile is reminiscent of one commonly found in the Davenport dining hall. The emparedado de pollo was a chicken sandwich. And, as chicken sandwiches come, this fell very snugly into the category of most chicken sandwiches. Grilled chicken, arugula, avocado and blue cheese are almost exactly what one would expect when one orders a chicken sandwich — especially if you realize that “emparedado” just means “sandwich.” There might’ve been promise of a hint of Latino flavors in the smoky paprika fries, but somehow they seemed to lack both smokiness and paprika. Thus far, this review might discount the simple fact that lunch at Pacifico is a great bargain. Unlike other establishments around New Haven, portion sizes and ingredient quality aren’t compromised for the sake of restaurant week. Not to mention, the food is good, if not inventive. It’d be unjustified to dismiss the menu as entirely uninteresting. After all, the meal did begin with that red salsa dip: a balance of Latino roasted red peppers and Italian sundried tomatoes, an almost tongue-in-cheek demonstration of nuevo Latino culinary ingenuity. Contact LUCAS SIN at lucas.sin@yale.edu .

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Turning up your radiator Literally and figuratively.


PAGE B6

WEEKEND EATS

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B7

OUT

A MEAL BUILT BRIQ BY BRIQ

AN OFFER YOU CAN’T REFUSE

// BY RUOXI YU

// BY HAYLEY BYRNES

// MINSUN CHA // ROUXI YU

It is an understatement to say that my dinner at Briq was a culinary marathon. We had a slow start. I arrived a little after my reservation time, only to discover that our table was not yet ready. About 40 minutes later, we finally relocated from our refuge at the bar to a small table near the front of the restaurant. With flickering candles and brick walls, the space, long and narrow, reminded me of a more pleasant (and lively) interpretation of the “Cask of Amontillado,” except this cavern had food, drink and company. Glancing at the menu, we rejoiced to discover that Briq’s unique “table-style” dining encouraged us to share plates among ourselves. Although less

than enthused by another 20 minute wait, we quickly placed an order for several table plates (appetizer courses), a main plate, and dessert to finish it all off. First came the skinny fries ($7), which seemed like a hollaback to Miya’s Sushi’s Tokyo Fro. This crispy mass of perhaps too skinny potato sticks came drizzled with secret sauce that made for a messy but savory dish. The caramelized butternut squash ($6) followed, a collection of cubes sautéed over maple ginger soy sauce and topped with panko crumbs and pomegranate seeds. I was perplexed by the addition of pomegranate seeds, which added a powerful, sour punch to an otherwise

balanced dish. The butternut squash, however, was too firm and this particular take on the fall vegetable favorite was off from the comfort I expected. Next, the shrimp salsa ($9.50) presented a playful take on the average taco. A crunchy, corn tortilla complemented airy, whipped avocado with fresh shrimp, followed by a delightful peek of spice in the aftertaste. The lobster mashed potatoes ($12), a dish I initially ordered with skepticism because of its description of “simply, ‘amazing!’” turned out to be the winner of the night. While I’m uncertain who was actually quoted in the menu description, it might as well have been me because this table plate sin-

gle handedly won over my heart. This dish managed to preserve the subtle, sweet taste of lobster amidst a rich and creamy sea of mash. The next courses, however, began to suggest a downhill trend. Mike’s Italian beef tartare ($12) fell short on presentation and taste. It was as if the beef tartare was so shamefully salty that it had to hide under a thick layer of shaved grana padano cheese. The tartare also arrived with two measly slices of slightly burned garlic bread. But their merits (nonexistent) I will not delve into here. While generous in portion, the burrata pasta pillow ($18), our main dish, offered no redemption. Although I don’t

know what a “pasta pillow” should look like, this dish had none of the characteristic fluffiness that its name might suggest. The overdone pasta to sauce and cheese ratio left me confounded. At the outer edges, it was a poorly made thin crust pizza; at its center, a ravioli lacking filling. After being left sorely disappointed after an incredible high, I looked forward to dessert. Despite being informed that they had run out of the Adult Birthday Cake we had ordered earlier (what), we compromised and ordered the Nutella and Banana Crepes ($7). The sliced bananas came under-caramelized, and missing that extra crunch, but the crepes them-

selves were traditional and homey, ending the night on a pleasantly cozy note. While Briq might have its fair share of service and supply issues to iron out, its repertoire remains competitive among the set of contemporary American restaurants around campus. Despite the unpredictable sizes of their table plates, Briq can prove to be a worthy culinary venture for those willing to share. Just make sure you’re ready for the wait and, no matter what you do, order those “amazing!” potatoes. Contact RUOXI YU at ruoxi.yu@yale.edu .

Given its obvious nod to gangster cinema, there’s something redundant in deeming Goodfellas an Italian restaurant – a bit like clarifying that “Major English Poets,” is, shockingly, an English class. Plasma televisions splash Robert DeNiro’s face across the restaurant’s walls, silently looping “The Godfather” and other genre classics (a bit Orwellian for my taste, but harmless enough). The result: an innocent Atlantic City atmosphere, buzzing but businesslike. Equipped with a newly minted upper patio level, the architecture betrays an American sensibility. Comfortably spread out, the tables favor intimate twoperson settings, not quite enough for the entire Corleone dynasty.

It’s spacious and swanky, with an admirable rooftop view of the city. Goodfellas is perched just outside the Yale Bubble, hidden on State Street. When I stumbled in on Wednesday afternoon, couples and businessmen populated its tables. Not a backpack in sight (except mine). At Yale, Italian is synonymous with pizza, a noted absence in Goodfellas’ offerings. Perhaps for that reason, the choices felt more mature, but still familiar. Gnocchi. Chicken Parmigiana. Nothing, it seemed, that required a badly imitated Italian accent. I knew exactly what I would get when I ordered, despite my inexperience with Italian food. Still, this experience with American Italian was an improvement on those I’ve had

before. At age four, I sat next to my mother at a Midwestern Italian restaurant (read: American restaurant with meatballs). Within five minutes, candle in hand, I had lit the red gingham tablecloth on fire. We never got our meatballs. My mom – allergic to garlic, vaguely vegetarian and prone to takeout – once bought Spaghetti-O’s a few years later. With that, my Italian culinary education came to a close. And given that lack of experience, anything would surprise me. In atmosphere, Goodfellas felt like a beautiful, if sanitized, hotel lobby, but in its offerings, the restaurant struck a more homespun note. Creativity was sacrificed for simplicity, but with success. Unsurprising, then, that we began with the

infallible bread-and-olive-oil combination. The breadbasket is my culinary equivalent to elevator music: done well, it is left unnoticed. If our breadbasket struck a pleasant — if forgettable — note, my garden salad crooned a more melodic tune. With a solid base of fresh greens, the garnishes were sparse: four succulent tomatoes, a sprinkling of balsamic. Unlike my usual hurried gulping of semifrozen packaged spinach in the dining hall, I cherished each bite here. Unannounced, our server surprised us with complimentary bruschetta — just as simple, just as fresh. As I swallowed my final leaf of lettuce, I glanced up at the subtitled scenes. Cops and gangsters faced off in smoky black alleys. But as sensationalized as

During Restaurant Week, New Haven opens it arms to foodies of all sorts. Local restaurants, often too expensive for undergrads, offer cheap lunches and dinners for relative bargains. Is this just an attempt to lure patrons? Are these meals worth it outside of restaurant week? Did you know you can buy food somewhere other than Durfee’s? WEEKEND sent a group of reporters into the field—their mouths watering and their pens ready.

it is in décor, Goodfellas’s menu avoided any culinary overindulgence. Each course successfully resisted the temptation of over-seasoning — my breath never reached un-kissable levels, despite garlic’s near-holiness in Italy. By the entrée, I felt full. But with the arrival of a supersized serving of pasta bathed in vodka cream sauce, my will returned. I felt the same heavy, rich satisfaction of a Thanksgiving meal. The portions were generous, with a liberal heaping of the vodka dressing. The tiny bite of gnocchi that I stole from my friend was just as comforting. There was something nostalgic about the meal, so easy was it to imagine a grandmother crafting the sauce from a time- and family-honored recipe passed down

from the shores of Sicily. Tiramisu and a cappuccino ended the meal on a creative note. The cappuccino, sprinkled with cinnamon, had an appropriately seasonal flair. The tiramisu, house-made, lingered with a subtlety, avoiding the sticky sugarcoated excess of poorly executed desserts. At 1:00 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon, Yale is not a calm place. Yearning for time, we jog to class and skip lunch and glance at iCals for guidance. At Goodfellas, I found refuge — tranquilized by carbs, mesmerized by plasmas. New Haven’s high-end Italian theme park is an indulgence, I think, worth taking. Contact HAYLEY BYRNES at hayley.byrnes@yale.edu .

I Think “Nuevo” Means “New” // BY LUCAS SIN

Thick, Goopy and Awesome // BY SCOTT STERN

Walking into Heirloom, all my fears are confirmed: The jeans and flannel shirt weren’t sufficient. Hey, it has a collar! Heirloom, a large, dimly lit restaurant with massive windows, exudes refinement and a polite, appropriate amount of warmth. I am nervous. “Reservation?” the maître d’ asks cheerfully. “It should be under Stern?” “Very good,” she replies, with all the pomp of a person twice her years and three times my classiness. “I hope this table in the corner will be OK.” Actually, it was wonderful! As out of place as I feel in any restaurant other than Subway, the meal was absolutely delightful. The service was fast; the waiter (who didn’t give us his name; weird) was polite and efficient; and the food was delectable. My first foray into Heirloom’s famous fare was its bread — excellent — served with a horseradish dip — a nice touch. The bread was so good, in fact, that it was hard not to fill up on it. The sophistication of the bread and dip was diminished, somewhat, by the appetizer menu that rested at the bottom of the bread bowl, positively staring into your soul and ordering you to order more just as your hunger is piqued. Thankfully, my stinginess kicked in; crisis averted.

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

For appetizers, I started with the oddly named “No Cream of Sweet Potato Soup,” a thick, delicious mixture topped with lime, honey, cilantro and spiced peanuts (at a slightly overpriced $10). My roommate, Gordon, who had never tasted kale before, tried the Starlight Farms kale salad, which he described as crisp yet smooth: “A lot like a fine wine, but it’s kale!” It was also a little on the expensive side ($11) — perhaps this was a trend — but it was a sizable salad, complete with hazelnuts, breadcrumbs and ricotta salata. An appropriate amount of time later, the entrees arrived. My hand-rolled penne ($24) came in a large and nearly overflowing bowl, while Gordon’s woodroasted salmon ($24; I know, right?) appeared puny and pathetic on its oversized plate. The penne came stuffed with milled tomatoes, garlic, chilies, thyme and quite a lot of walnuts. A frothy, crunchy, garlicy, herby mixture, it was as pleasurable for the palate as it was for the vocabulary. The salmon, too, was quite good, though I can’t reiterate enough how lonely it looked, beached on its small island of quinoa. Nevertheless, the few bites present were remarkably tasty, garnished with radish, Winesap apple (the oddest kind of apple), sugar snaps, pumpkin seeds (ooh,

YSO PRESENTS: A WORLD PREMIERE AND THE FIREBIRD Woolsey Hall // 8-10 p.m.

Harness your inner Pocahontas in pieces like Professor Kathryn Alexander’s “Become the Wind.”

seasonal!) and a carrot ginger vinaigrette. Dessert arrived just as the restaurant was really filling up. (I guess fancy people eat late?) Anyway, our unnamed server arrived bearing two mason jars filled with sweets. I received the butterscotch pudding, and Gordon sampled the Meyer lemon panna cotta. The pudding was thick, goopy and awesome. It was topped with a small, toasted marshmallow, which stuck to my spoon until pried off with furtive fingers. The pudding itself was like eating a cute, squishy cartoon character — sweet, supple and just a little salty. The lemon shortbread, gelato and curd were also tasty, though a little tart for my taste. Waiter-man approached with the check and quickly made his escape. Gordon and I remained slumped in our seats, surprisingly full considering the relatively meager portions. Besides, based on the bill in front of us, we deserved to loiter a little. All in all, Heirloom deserves its sterling reputation. While a tad stuffy and impersonal, it nonetheless provided the food and atmosphere for a fine evening. I left sated, happy and still slightly curious about what the hell a Winesap apple is. Contact SCOTT STERN at scott.stern@yale.edu .

// JENNIFER LU

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Brunch in last night’s clothes

Bonus points if you’re still wearing your mask from Masquerade.

// ALEXANDRA SCHMELING

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

BYOB PAINTING PARTIES 130 Park St. // 6-9 p.m.

Because wine and paint are fun.

Pacifico is a pretty punchy place, or that’s what it feels like it’s supposed to be. Its bright orange walls are laced with stripes of blue. Drawings of little fishes swim along these stripes, or perhaps they’re tadpoles, or just a series of swirls in unapologetic reds, yellows and greens. Early afternoon sunlight filters through wide windows. It seems as if all is bright, punchy and well. The flavors, one might expect, should match. In the trifecta of Latin Americaninspired restaurants that hugs the block on Crown between High and College (Oaxaca, Pacifico, and Rubamba), competition is particularly fierce. Even without the prix fixe menus, which you find for $18 during restaurant week, each restaurant is already pressured to distinguish itself from the others. Rubamba excels at the arepa. But Pacifico and its neighbor Oaxaca, compete with surprisingly similar cuisines: traditional Latin American fare with a modern twist. The questions that follow, naturally, are: What is the twist? Where does it come from? And why? Too often, fusion cuisine is blindly taken up by lazy chefs who have refused to put in the effort to perfect a time-tested cuisine. Instead, they devise their own cuisine as a shortcut to a niche market of perky foodies who always want something new. Instead, why not either devote yourself to one camp or the other: tradition or innovation? Chef Rafael Palomino calls his cuisine “nuevo Latino.” The “Latino” element, of course, is clear. At times, the “nuevo” element is far murkier. One appetizer, the Argentinean empanadas, is an example of such. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a treat. A coupling of braised sirloin and raisins lends the fluffy appetizer a characteristic sweetness. We’re told that Pacifico’s innovation is replacing the traditional flour-based crust with a cornmeal-based one. But that comes as a surprise, given that cornmeal empanadas are a staple in both Colombia and Venezuela.

Another seemingly Latino dish was the tilapia con cubierta de platano, or the plantain-crusted tilapia with shrimp enchiladas. A fish, well cooked and flaky, was perched delicately on two yellow corn tortilla rolls. The green mole sauce with its peculiar but nevertheless tasty bitterness bound the whole dish together to great success. But the combination of mole, plantains, salsa and enchiladas is fairly common and doesn’t quite evoke “nuevo.” The other half of the meal was neither “nuevo” nor “Latino.” The shrimp and corn chowder was chunky and creamy, like chowders should be, but left hanging the question of what a Latino chowder might actually be, especially if its flavor profile is reminiscent of one commonly found in the Davenport dining hall. The emparedado de pollo was a chicken sandwich. And, as chicken sandwiches come, this fell very snugly into the category of most chicken sandwiches. Grilled chicken, arugula, avocado and blue cheese are almost exactly what one would expect when one orders a chicken sandwich — especially if you realize that “emparedado” just means “sandwich.” There might’ve been promise of a hint of Latino flavors in the smoky paprika fries, but somehow they seemed to lack both smokiness and paprika. Thus far, this review might discount the simple fact that lunch at Pacifico is a great bargain. Unlike other establishments around New Haven, portion sizes and ingredient quality aren’t compromised for the sake of restaurant week. Not to mention, the food is good, if not inventive. It’d be unjustified to dismiss the menu as entirely uninteresting. After all, the meal did begin with that red salsa dip: a balance of Latino roasted red peppers and Italian sundried tomatoes, an almost tongue-in-cheek demonstration of nuevo Latino culinary ingenuity. Contact LUCAS SIN at lucas.sin@yale.edu .

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Turning up your radiator Literally and figuratively.


PAGE B8

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

WEEKEND COVER

STICKING TO THE LESSON PLAN TEACH FROM PAGE 3 education, that training isn’t much better than practical experience. “You learn how to be a good teacher by teaching and studies show that a first year TFA teacher performs as well or better than other first year teachers,” she said. But Blanchard pointed out that the program’s members generally don’t stay in teaching long enough to learn these skills. She said that in addition to those, like her, who quit before their two-year term ended, many corps members teach for an additional year or two before heading to graduate school or other more high-paying jobs. They don’t have time to ever get comfortable in a classroom. Others on the job disagreed with Blanchard, arguing that most members remain involved in education in some capacity. Clarke admitted that he knows colleagues and fellow corps members who have told him that they see TFA as a stepping stone or a line in their resume, a way to get into medical or law school, especially if they don’t have the background of coming from an elite university. He maintained, however, that most TFA members are interested in pursuing education as a full-time commitment. “Whether a TFA corps member is a good teacher is more important than whether the member is doing it for the right reasons,” Clarke said. And Rikki Crouse, a TFA member from the University of Oregon teaching middle school math at Domus Academy in New Haven, pointed out that those who come to TFA for the wrong reasons are often the ones who quit during institute training, not those who drop out on the job. Still, dedicated TFA members face challenges beyond their control. Blanchard arrived in an Atlanta school in the midst of a cheating scandal. And, when she needed help with a special education student who wasn’t supposed to be in her class, for instance, neither the school nor TFA was responsive.

teachers attend an orientation and take a quick break before moving into their assigned classrooms at the beginning of the school year. The teachers interviewed agreed that the first days, weeks, even months of school are hectic as can be. “Nothing prepares you for when you’re in charge of classrooms,” Mariel Novas ’10 said. “You’re expected to [teach] like a twenty-year veteran.” During this make-or-break period, the new teachers struggled with the obstacles of effective classroom management. Once, in Cho’s classroom, a student burst out crying. He had no idea what to do. Groff’s students acted similarly. They would often be playing, talking or even fighting with one another when he was trying to teach. Thankfully for Groff, the situation improved once he figured out how to take control of his students. Still, he called the job “physically, emotionally and mentally draining” because of the need to be thinking about so many things simultaneously. In addition to maintaining a healthy classroom climate, the new teachers have to deal with the new responsibilities thrust upon them. Novas initially felt weighed down by the pressure to change her students’ lives and provide them with the opportunities that she had had. She learned, however, to embrace this pressure and use it as a driving force toward positive change and better classroom practices. “I understood the system that had to be in place to manage a classroom and ensure that the students are learning,” she said. She added that she felt she has learned the importance of being honest and genuine in response to her students’ needs. Shanaz Chowdhery ’13 teaches fifth grade math in Washington, D.C. She spoke about all of the unexpected obstacles encountered while teaching, including managing student behavior, working with parents as partners and navigating relationships with coworkers. She also emphasized the long hours of the job

DO A LOT OF TFA MEMBERS THINK OF QUITTING? YES, ABSOLUTELY, BUT MOST PEOPLE GET THROUGH IT. RIKKI CROUSE

In situations like these, Blanchard was meant to rely on her advisor in the program, an MTLD (Master of Teacher-Leader Development). While she said that she found her MTLD supportive, and invested in her success, she said that the program’s advisors are spread too thin. “My MTLD really cared a lot and was absolutely terrific and invested in my success, but she had thirty other teachers to take care of,” said Blanchard. TFA also faces criticism, not on specific policies, but on how the program runs as a whole. Clarke said that as a TFA member in Chicago, he has often been personally attacked or vilified by public school teachers who see the program as a threat to the system. “The Union leader of the Chicago public schools called TFA the Devil recently,” he said. He added, however, that he taught at a charter school where teachers and administrators are generally more supportive of the TFA mission. For some, including Diane Ravitch, a historian of education at New York University and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education during the presidency of George W. Bush ’68, the road to hell really is paved with good intentions. She argued that TFA offers a low-cost and low-quality alternative to unionized public school teachers. While funding for TFA is expanding, teachers are being laid off in many cities — and these two trends are no coincidence, Ravitch argues in her writings. “[TFA] has become the handmaiden of the privatization movement,” she wrote on her website, The Diane Ravitch Blog, in a September post.

OFF THE SYLLABUS

Yalies admitted to TFA find that their experience isn’t always the life they imagined. As soon as future corps members are admitted, they are taught TFA’s five core values — diversity, transformational change, leadership, teamwork and respect/humility — through activities like putting pictures of each value on Pinterest. In addition, TFA recruits are given readings on race, economic justice, urban issues and more. In June, a training institute begins. For most TFA trainees, this is a five-week boot camp of sorts, during which future corps members are made to teach for most of the day, attend lectures on teaching in the evenings and create lesson plans at night. Clarke said that during “Institute” — which he described as being “like finals on steroids” — TFA recruits read books such as “The New Jim Crow” to heighten their cultural sensitivity and awareness of issues salient to low-income communities. They also openly discuss whether it is morally acceptable for privileged graduates from elite colleges such as Yale to be teaching in predominantly African-American or Hispanic schools. When this process ends, the trained

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

— during our early evening phone conversation, Chowdhery was simultaneously creating an answer key for a quiz that she planned to administer in the next couple of days. “I’ve been working harder than I’ve ever worked in my entire life,” Chowdhery admitted. And complaints, in the end become a common theme. Clarke enjoys his time in working in Chicago, but says that many corps members bond through mutual pessimism. “TFA members complain a lot. That’s what we do to socialize,” he said.

AFTER SCHOOL

Ultimately, some TFA teachers can’t take the heat. Teacher retention and attrition rates — already one of the biggest problems facing schools in high-poverty communities — are particularly high for TFA members, said Clarke. And more than 50 percent of TFA members do not remain in the classroom after their two-year tenure is up. Crouse said that, as a second-year TFA student, she knows of only a handful of colleagues from her five-week training period that quit during the two-year program. “ Do a lot of TFA members think of quitting? Yes, absolutely, but most people get through it,” she said. The number one reason for staying? The kids, of course. In a phone interview, Cho shouted over the line that he loved his kids. Unlike Gross’s call, however, Cho’s took place after school hours. His kids couldn’t be heard in the background. But, like his former suitemate, Cho knows how taxing a daily routine with them can be. He wakes up early — at 5:30 a.m. in Hollandale, Miss., population: 2,500. After a twenty mile drive, he arrives at Simmons High School in Leland, Miss., population: 4,400. There he teaches for seven out of eight class periods, finally leaving the school at 3:40 p.m. When he gets home, he’ll spend hours making lesson plans and grading papers. Cho also said that you often “hope that you’re making a difference,” and that’s what matters. There is a teacher shortage in his region of Mississippi, and he believes that, even if he’s only there for a short amount of time, he can be a positive influence. When asked about teachers who struggle with quitting, he admitted that some of his co-workers have left the program. But he also said that he has witnessed many discover that they have the “grit” to preserve. “I’ve seen teachers cry after school, and still come back to their desks in the morning.”

8/16/13 first application deadline

10/31

11/13

first admissions

first decision deadline

deadline

notification

2/15/14 last application deadline

4/17

last admissions

4/30

notification

last decision deadline

deadline

6/2 training institute

7/6 August or

September school starts

Contact RISHABH BHANDARI and WESLEY YIIN

at rishabh.bhandari@yale.edu and wesley.yiin@yale.edu .

YALE VS. BROWN

Yale Bowl // 12:00 p.m. Perfect your tailgate prowess in preparation for The Game.

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: The musings of Katy Perry

“Boy when you’re with me/I’ll give you a taste/Make it like your birthday every day”


YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B9

WEEKEND FEATURE

PHILOSOPHY’S COMEBACK KIDS // BY YUVAL BEN-DAVID It’s 3 a.m., and Professor Jason Stanley is surprised to find himself in bed with his wife. Indeed, since moving to New Haven in August, Stanley has been going to bed earlier than usual. It’s a sad fate for a man who says that, until last year, he would regularly find himself partying in Brooklyn until the early morning. “I miss New York terribly,” the philosopher says, reminiscing of the days when he’d commute from Harlem to his academic post at Rutgers, in New Jersey. “But I’m 43. It’s time to stop monkeying around.” A wunderkind philosopher of language, Stanley left Rutgers for Yale earlier this year — marking the most recent in a string of high-profile hires by the Philosophy Department. In many disciplines, the move might go relatively unnoticed: It seems natural for the more promising of academic careers to eventually take their perch among Yale’s elite. Few Yalies doubt that their departments are anything less than the crème de la crème. And if Yale is the academic crème, then public institutions like Rutgers might strike the complacent snob as a lesser dairy product. But the national rankings of philosophy departments tell a different story, in which a cartel of public institutions like Rutgers and the University of Pittsburgh have traditionally trounced their wealthier, private counterparts. In the most recent Leiter Report — the gold standard of philosophy rankings — which came out in 2011, Rutgers ranked second only to New York University. The University of Pittsburgh tied for fifth place with Harvard. Yale came in seventh. In 2004, Rutgers still came in second. Yale? Twenty-fourth. Incidentally, that was the year Stanley and two other rising stars in the philosophy world turned down offers from Yale. All of them ended up at Rutgers. Now, nine years later, with Yale 17 steps up in the rankings, Stanley hasn’t only traded in his hipster youth for the grind of New Haven. He’s also left the Goliath of departments for a veritable David — a much smaller department, but one he firmly believes is on the upswing. “Rutgers is a great, great philosophy department,” Stanley says. “But Yale is going to be. *** Maybe it’s only appropriate that Yale’s phil oso p h e rs h ave to dwell on the question of the chicken or the egg. Which

came first: the academic decline of Yale’s Philosophy Department or the decline of its reputation? Back in the ’60s, Yale boasted one of the top philosophy programs in the country. When Professor Karsten Harries GRD ’62 came to Yale as a graduate student, the department’s pull was so strong that he didn’t seriously consider other programs. “I had no doubt that I should go to Yale,” he says. “It wasn’t even a question.” The problem is that little consensus emerges as to what happened to implode the glory. Some 20 years stretch between the department’s Golden Years and its darkest days. The tricky part with narrating the fall and rise of the Philosophy Department is deciding where the epic begins. According to Professor Michael Della Rocca, the department’s melting point came around 1990, when the administration lost so much faith in the department’s governance that it put the department in “receivership” — effectively limiting its powers to make senior faculty appointments. A committee appointed by the administration, in consultation with distinguished philosophers from outside Yale, would instead be the ones to make recommendations for tenure. Traditionally, the ability to make such hiring recommendations is a department’s crowning responsibility. Professor Shelly Kagan says the department was “robbed of its ability to govern itself.” So if that was the crisis point, how did we get there? In the romanticized retelling, which still percolates through to the occasional undergrad, a fiercely intellectual rift underwrote the drama. D.S.’ers might fancy that what ultimately toppled Yale’s program from its great heights was an Olympian squabble between two intellectual camps, the Continentals and Analytics (or, roughly, philosophers within the French and German tradition of asking larger questions of theory versus Anglophones directing their attention to the finer points of logic). In other words, just as superpowers were waging a proxy war in Vietnam, so

were the titans of ideas at Yale. Still, faculty members are quick to deflate the notion that the overriding conflict was intellectual. Professor Tamar Gendler ’87 recalls from her undergraduate days in the department that the problem was decidedly more petty, far from a strictly academic chasm. The “personal animosities of the faculty made it difficult for people to recognize points of intellectual overlap,” she says. “even when there were some.” His feet crossed in his trademark Indian style, Kagan recalls secondhand how the University of Pittsburgh raided the Yale Philosophy Department throughout the ’60s. But that exodus of talent was both cause and symptom of the discord to which Gentler is referring.

THE KEYWORD ABOUT ACADEMIC RECRUITMENT IS YOU HAVE TO BE OPPORTUNISTIC. PROFESSOR MICHAEL DELLA ROCCA

Ultimately, it was persistent, often inexplicable, infighting that plagued the department. “A lot of it had to do with personality,” says Harries. “One shouldn’t underestimate the personal side in the life of the department.” “People came in who had no side and got caught up,” Kagan says. “Sometimes it was personalities, sometimes ideology, sometimes differing opinions of where the department should go.” Kagan said the Chronicle of Higher Education once asked the departing philosopher Harry Frankfurt why there was so much friction in Yale’s department. His answer, apparently, was “demonic possession.” It may be more accurate to say that a different war — over a string of contested faculty appointments — more fully expressed the reigning animosities. Harries recalls a faculty appointment, sometime around 1974, that was derailed by a small coali-

tion of professors who overruled the majority’s decision to approve the hire. It seems intuitive to bracket this incident as part of the department’s intellectual tribalism. The appointment under consideration was of a continental philosopher, while the professor who led the charge against him, Ruth Marcus, was firmly analytic. Nevertheless, Harries finds himself in Gendler’s camp, pointing once more to thorny personalities — not ideological conflict — as the more tangible source of the department’s decline. Regardless of the reason, he says, senior faculty appointments had long been a flashpoint of the department’s internal war. In fact, Professor Stephen Darwall ’68 traces the slow collapse of the Philosophy Department to his own undergraduate days, when the University’s decision to deny tenure to philosopher Richard Bernstein PhD ’58 — popular with undergraduates for his creative methods of teaching — made headlines and provoked a national outcry over the University’s “publish or perish” mentality. The student protests that followed eventually led to tenure reform at Yale more broadly, but in Darwall’s estimation the department took longer to recover. *** Today’s Philosophy Department is a museum of its own comeback story. The faculty roster alone tells the history of gradual recovery. Harries is the only remaining faculty member from those tumultuous days. And Michael Della Rocca, the second-most veteran member of the philosophy department, is the man largely credited with its rebuilding, his strategy rooted in poaching even more top professors from elsewhere. Kagan nods towards former department chair Bob Adams as the man who turned the department around back in the early 1990s, but acknowledges that Adams’s department was fragile. “We had momentum on our side, but still our numbers were sufficiently small that if a cou-

ple of people left that would do us in,” Kagan says. To compete, the department just had to bulk up. Della Rocca faced the challenge of convincing world-class scholars to put their faith in a struggling department. There he had one weapon: the loyalty of Yale alums like Gendler and Darwall. Gendler uses a Harry Potter reference to explain what drew her from Cornell to Yale in 2006. “My joke was then when President Levin touched the ‘Y’ on his arm, the ‘Y’ on mine lit up and I thought, ‘New Haven is calling.’” “Because I had been an undergrad here and I knew the community, I was certain it was a place that could thrive,” Gendler says. Though Kagan says the administration has offered unstinting support during the rebuilding process, the department has naturally had to contend with limited resources such as hiring quotas. As department chair, Della Rocca was “extremely creative” about finessing appointments past the department’s quotas, Kagan says. “The keyword about academic recruitment is you have to be opportunistic,” says Della Rocca. “You have to look for the opportunities and be flexible as to what appointments to pursue.” The creation of a joint position in philosophy and classics made room for the coveted appointment of Professor Verity Harte, while Gendler’s appointment was finagled with the help of the Cognitive Science program and the Psychology Department. Looking back, Gendler divides the appointments into three waves. The first, around the early ’90s, brought in professors like Shelly Kagan and Keith DeRose and gave the department “world-class status” in certain areas like ethics and epistemology. Between 2003 and 2008, a second wave brought in “the heart of the department as it’s currently configured.” The third wave is ongoing, says Gendler, who chaired the department from 2010 until last year and i s

responsible for recruiting much of that third wave of hires. To borrow Gendler’s paradigm, it’s fair to say that Della Rocca’s skilled use of hiring quotas stabilized the department during the first two waves. But the current wave — which is reeling in scholars like Joshua Knobe, Jason Stanley and, as of next summer, Oxford’s David Charles — is doing something different. Della Rocca’s elastic hiring methods had the side effect of giving Yale’s department more interface with other disciplines, lending it a distinctly collaborative profile. A renowned ancient philosopher, David Charles cited the opportunity for “high level collaborative research” as one of the considerations that drew him to Yale. It was this very spirit that attracted Stanley from Rutgers as well. Stanley comes from a background in the philosophy of language, but has recently spread into political theory to explore the relationship between speech and democracy. He also makes occasional forays into cognitive science, discussing skill and rationality—a topic on which he often finds himself debating Gendler. At Yale, Stanley hoped the dragnet of his interests could pull inspiration from the many topnotch colleagues the University offers. “I wanted to be an academic in an academic community,” Stanley said, noting that while Rutgers had an excellent philosophy department, others were not so luminous. At Yale, the consistently high quality of departments facilitates interdisciplinary transaction. Not to mention, Stanley says, that at Rutgers many professors commute from New York, rendering campus itself a less robust hub for intellectual exchange. Philosophy doctoral candidate Daniel Putnam GRD ’16 says that people in the department are “just very eager to talk to each other and read each other’s stuff.” Anecdotally, Putnam says, higher-ranked departments at Rutgers and New York University have reputations as more intellectually combative environments. “I think the tenor of philosophical conversation here is more constructive,” Putnam says, “and less adversarial.” Oh, how the tides have turned. Contact YUVAL BEN-DAVID at yuval.ben-david@ yale.edu .

// TAO TAO HOLMES

S AT U R D AY NOVEMBER 9

WORLD FREEDOM DAY

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS:

America // All day

“TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”

Tim Riggins

We always skip Wednesdays. Texas Forever, y’all.


PAGE B10

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

WEEKEND COLUMNS

MARTHA STEWART LIVING: SCREW EDITION // BY ELEANOR MICHOTTE Fifty-two minutes ago, I got an email from Martha Stewart with the subject line “14 Ways to Enjoy Parsnip + Fall Party Essentials.” Thanks, Martha! I don’t remember subscribing to your panlist, but now I will never need to worry again about how to eat parsnips or enjoy parties in a seasonally appropriate manner. But seriously, thank God Martha has gotten in touch. As we speak, we’re standing on the cusp of a new season — and both you and I need her guidance for it. It’s the start of fall party season — or, as we call it at Yale — screw time. Now, I don’t know about you, but I am fundamentally confused by screw. Maybe my lack of understanding is a cultural thing: The other day, I tried to explain to a friend back home what screw is, and she didn’t get it either. I think that’s because in England, we don’t set up our suitemates for parties with some rando from section under the assurance that they’re “better in person” and that, yes, they’ll (most proba-

ELEANOR MICHOTTE CRIT FROM THE BRIT bly) definitely be down to hook up. That might be why, when I was talking to my friend, it took me about 10 minutes to come up with a definition of screw that came across as neither bizarre, nor borderline sociopathic. I finally sanitized it to “a blind date minus the date, set up by someone else and paid for by your Master.” In hindsight, that still sounds extremely uncomfortable. It’s all in the name, really. “Screw” says, “Hello! I am a party in which you will either screw or get screwed over by a stranger, depending on how successfully your suitemate bartered you a date via Facebook.” Martha has included none of these elements in her fall party

essentials. That means this is weird. I feel like someone a long time ago should have had a very serious chat with the person who held the first screw. They should have explained to them why being strong-armed by ambient pressure to hook up with a stranger is an even worse idea than throwing a Guantanamo Bay -themed Coachella party (yes, that happened). If Martha and I had that chance today, here’s how we would do it: First off, screw gives rise to some rather grimace-inducing behavior. In the past two years, I’ve witnessed person after person appraise their closest friends’ looks as if they were just numbers on a budget, then tot up who they could “afford” to be set up with. When we get set up, we’re just as bad: People aren’t always charitable when they receive an offer they feel they can refuse. What’s more, I’ve also seen a distressing number of dates fall through because a “better” offer has come along. Net result: We find our-

David and Malcolm // BY SCOTT STERN

Critics love to hate Malcolm Gladwell. Pretty much immediately after his newest book, “David and Goliath: Misfits, Underdogs, and the Art of Battling Giants,” hit the shelves, the vultures began to swarm. New York Times columnist Joe Nocera wrote, “Maybe what ‘David and Goliath’ really illustrates is that it’s time for Malcolm Gladwell to find a new shtick.” Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times noted that the rather condescending Gladwell constantly uses rhetorical questions “as if addressed to an audience of dim schoolchildren.” Christopher Chabris, in the Wall Street Journal, called Gladwell himself a Goliath and suggested that Gladwell “acknowledge when he is speculating or working with thin evidentiary soup.” It would be easy to dismiss the reviewers as jealous, which they almost certainly are. Gladwell’s name is not just magic — any book of his will inevitably sell millions of copies — but rather, he has an uncommon ability to keep readers interested, tell a good story and sell a weird idea. Yet the critics aren’t entirely wrong — so much of Gladwell’s books don’t hold up against scrutiny, and many of his cute little vignettes represent a genuine misunderstanding of the subject at hand. This doesn’t really matter. In spite of his grating style, in spite of his lack of expert credentials, in spite of his occasionally blatantly false statements, Gladwell is one of the most successful journalists in the world. And “David and Goliath” exemplifies the reason why. Love it or hate it, “David and Goliath” is sure to get you talking. Gladwell asserts, “The same qualities that appear to give [the Goliaths of the world] strength are often the sources of great weakness…” Davids, meanwhile, can capitalize on their weaknesses — many of which actually produce greatness. It’s an evocative thesis, and, as a handful of reviewers has pointed out, a decidedly American one — we love us an underdog. Gladwell’s weird and eclectic interests shine through in “David and Goliath,” which contains chapters ranging from those about middle-school girls’ basketball to big business to ancient history. Fascinatingly, Gladwell starts with the literal David and Goliath (of the Bible); in his patent patient tone, Gladwell explains why the very qualities that make us see David as the underdog allowed him to triumph. According to the tenets of ancient warfare, Gladwell asserts, David’s slingshot was at an advantage compared with Goliath’s bulky armor. Further, Gladwell diagnoses Goliath with acromegaly, a rare condition that attacks the pituitary gland and makes the sufferer’s body grow large, while causing vision problems. Blind and unable to move, of course Goliath lost! Wow, who woulda thunk it? Not I, and I’m not sure I believe it now. But it’s an interesting idea. This pattern continues. Gladwell discusses why dyslexic people may actually be

SCOTT STERN READING BETWEEN THE LINES at an advantage — the struggles they have gone through necessitate that they think outside the box and work harder. “You wouldn’t wish dyslexia on your child. Or would you?” Gladwell asks about two dozen times, constantly underscoring his point. He uses the examples of super-lawyer David Boies, as well as Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, and a few others. In another chapter, also about why difficult childhoods can be advantageous, Gladwell posits that Emil Freireich, one of the pioneers in the treatment of childhood leukemia, succeeded because of (rather than in spite of) his terrible and abusive childhood. These examples, strange and callous though they may seem, are, again, thought provoking. It’s worth noting that much of Gladwell’s evidence doesn’t pass the smell test. His position on dyslexia is supported by a handful of anecdotes and a tiny study asserting that dyslexics are overrepresented among entrepreneurs; he mentions but does not dwell on the fact that dyslexics are also overrepresented in prisons, and he doesn’t address at all the virtual absence of empirical evidence to support his claim. Much of his other evidence is based on faulty assumptions. His chapter on why you should choose a state school over an Ivy League school is predicated on the false premise that “a science degree is just about the most valuable asset a young person can have in the modern economy.” Thus, because you may be more likely to get a science degree at a less rigorous school, you’d be better off going to one. This ignores the plethora of advantages conferred on students at top schools. (He also thinks Martin Luther King, Jr., was some sort of unimpeachable god. He even suggests that crime can be single-handedly prevented by police kindness, which is a beautiful idea, but one that ignores the larger societal flaws causing crime. But I digress.) Gladwell is a weird guy, and so much of his book is flawed. Yet I assert that this doesn’t matter. Malcolm Gladwell is responsible for popularizing so many important ideas — the 10,000 hours rule, the 80–20 rule, to name just two. In a larger sense, he has given millions the fodder to question whether all is truly as it seems. Gladwell’s books get us talking, which is more than I can say about nearly any of his academic and professional critics. They’re not just jealous; they ignore that his books stimulate important discussions and really get us thinking. Contact SCOTT STERN at scott.stern@yale.edu .

S U N D AY

Residential college dining halls // 5:30 p.m.

NOVEMBER 10

If you’re in Saybrook, we are sorry.

FAMILY DINNER

selves on a campus where people are thinking of and treating a potential date but like an item in their online shopping cart. Martha would turn screw into more of a soiree, substituting systemic disrespect with some “delightful bites.” Secondly, being set up for screw leads to disaster approximately 93 percent of the time. Option 1: You and your date get along fine and he/ she look cute and you maybe have a little fumble at the end of the night. You then ignore each other for the next four years, and it never stops being awkward when you’re both in the Stiles pizza line. Option 2: It’s awkward from the beginning, and you spend the night desperately making rescue signals across the sweaty, sweaty surfaces of Lilly’s Pad. Still, you feel disappointed if you two don’t hook up at the end of the night, because however much you didn’t want to, you feel like it was expected. Option 3: You are one of five people on campus now dating

their screw date. You are as rare as a short Durfee’s line. Martha would propose one of “27 Cocktail Hour Favorites” to help distract you from unsuitable dates and crippling social pressures. Thirdly, unlike most worst-case scenarios, the screw one actually does pretty consistently happen. When setting their suitemate up, Yalies can make assumptions about sexuality or other preferences, making that person feel cripplingly uncomfortable and alone for much longer than one night. I’ve known someone outed that way; I know someone else who never came out to those suitemates because the whole setup made them seem so insensitive. I don’t think even Martha could put a cherry on top of that problem. However solid a tradition screw may be, it couldn’t be further from a fall party essential. Contact ELEANOR MICHOTTE at eleanor.michotte@yale.edu .

Wish I Could Be Part of Your World // BY STEPHANIE TOMASSON I walked into the Brooklyn Museum Saturday afternoon with high expectations. Currently on display there is the first survey show of Brooklynbased artist Wangechi Mutu ART ’00. I had heard from several friends that it was “fantastic,” and “really changed perspectives.” A fan of Mutu’s work, I was excited to see the evolution of her ideas and collage techniques over such a comprehensive time span. Instead, I found myself overwhelmed by the space, unable to settle my eye on one specific piece. Mutu was born in Kenya and moved to New York in the 1990s, receiving her MFA from Yale. The exhibit, called “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey,” features 50 pieces from 1995 to the present, including sculptural installations, large-scale collages, video works, small-scale sketches and a site-specific wall collage. The exhibition’s namesake is a 1970s NBC series chronicling the adventures of a family trapped on an uncharted island. Trevor Schoonmaker, curator of contemporary art at the Nasher Museum at Duke University, created the show for his home museum. The artist is most well known for her massive, cryptic collages of cyborg-like figures, which are somewhere between woman, machine and monster. Her work focuses on issues of gender, racial relations, war, consumerism and colonialism. Much of her process is devoted to carefully choosing and cutting out images from nature, political, fashion and pornography magazines. I expected to find a traceable development of style — a narrative to follow — but was disappointed by the exhibit’s lack of guidance. The works were hung close together: Rather than putting them into conversation with each other, this staging caused one piece to eclipse the other. It was impossible to focus on one work for very long without being distracted by its neighbor.

STEPHANIE TOMASSON PUSHING THE PALETTE KNIFE Mutu’s work is emotionally charged, and as a woman of many passions, her influences are scattered. Yet the very aim of her art seems to be finding unity in fragmentation. Her work is multimedia and she beautifully creates one figure out of a plethora of materials including watercolor, tape, animal heads, contact paper and magazine cutouts among others. Primarily a collage artist, she is attuned to the subtlety needed to join many forms into a cohesive whole. Yet, “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey” failed to mirror her unified aesthetic. Perhaps by nature of it being a survey show rather than a focused exhibit, or perhaps because of the Brooklyn Museum’s characteristically impractical use of space, I could not locate a narrative.

I DON’T KNOW – AND I DON’T THINK SHE FORCES ME TO DECIDE. However, though there was no real story, the show did transport viewers into the mythical world of the artist’s creatures. Mutu’s site-specific installation of large felt tree trunks gives visitors the sense that they are winding through a mysterious forest whose contents oscillate between the natural and the manufactured. One room is occupied by Mutu’s 2008 sculpture “Suspended Play Time,” a series of black spheres made of trash bags wrapped around packing blankets and suspended

at different levels from gold string. Through the throng, one can make out the playful and plant-like collages — the natural setting — of “Funkalicious Fruit Field” and “A’gave You.” Mutu leaves me wondering: are these trash bags the former liners of what she calls “receptacles of cultural consumerism,” or are they vines in a forest? I don’t know — and I don’t think she forces me to decide. The show also succeeds in what Mutu identified as her artistic goal in a video interview: “to keep the figure, the story of female, in the center; to keep discussing and talking about women as active, as protagonists.” She went on to say that she did not want women to be marginalized. In the show, the female body is certainly not: instead, it overtakes nearly every wall space. The imposing wall art, “Once upon a time she said, I’m not afraid and her enemies began to fear her The End,” is the first piece of the show, standing almost as a protective barrier between the visitor and Mutu’s mythical land. The subject of this piece, Mutu explained in the video, is triumphantly evading robotic, demon-like creatures. Her escape is successful primarily because she has said that she is no longer afraid. It is also fitting that she is the first work of the exhibit because she serves as a guide. Her coyote head is both a testament to her power and an allusion to border “coyotes,” individuals who illegally transport people from one side of a border to another. Mutu has said of her work, “If you make something, you actually bring it to life.” She has enlivened her imaginary cyborgs and placed them in their accompanying mystical realm. I just wish I had felt more a part of that world than an alien, directionless visitor. But maybe that was the point. Contact STEPHANIE TOMASSON at stephanie.tomasson@yale.edu .

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Jamestown, The First Town in America

“Winter” is coming – time to get the band back together!


YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

PAGE B11

WEEKEND THEATER

AN UNTOLD STORY COMES TO LIFE // BY STEPHANIE ADDENBROOKE are powerless to stop this. It was part of our history, and something that we should be moved to change.

THE AUDIENCE FINDS ITSELF BARRED FROM THE STAGE BY THE LITERAL BARRIER OF AN ELECTRIC FENCE.

ence. But, of all the things I personally learned from Bent, there is one universal takeaway: We should not be scared by love; we should feel honored we have the freedom to fully embrace it. Contact STEPHANIE ADDENBROOKE at stephanie.addenbrooke@ yale.edu .

The culmination of these features makes it hard to attribute Bent’s genius to one particular person or narrative throughout the show. But one must commend director Molly Houlahan ’14 for her decision to craft Bent through an intimately human lens, along with the actors for their brave and authentic portrayals of Sherman’s characters. No words could describe the incredible sense of awe I felt talking to that man outside of the Whitney Theater, reflecting on the incredible feat that had just been produced by my very peers. Bent, ultimately, finds its strength in its relatability, as each line about love and about life takes on a unique meaning for every member in the audi-

BA LK O SK

E JA N

// BY

A

I

Bi za rre

Ta ke on Lo ve

A man stopped me as I left the Whitney Theater this evening — “Was that all done by undergraduates?” he asked me in disbelief. Not quite believing it myself, I proudly told him that it was. We had both just seen Bent, and I don’t think either of us knew what to say next. Bent comes to Yale as the senior project of Connor Lounsbury ’14. Written by Martin Sherman, it tells the oft-untold story of the treatment of homosexuals during the Nazi regime. It can be easy to simply relate the Second World War with Jewish repression, and watching Bent is harrowing, in part, because it is presented as a story that has seemed to escape us altogether. For German homosexuals, the cost of love was death. The strength of this play lies in the characters and the power of the actors playing them. The all-male cast is comprised of only six actors, but this is all it needs. Sometimes we enlarge the Second World War to an enormity that often glosses over the very individuals who lived through it. Max, played by Lounsbury himself, is the central character, someone struggling to deal with the implications of his homosexuality. He wishes to repress his feelings because “queers aren’t meant to love.” Lounsbury’s performance is hauntingly beautiful because, of course, he should be allowed to love. Max is not a villain, even if his actions may make him look like one. Tim Creavin ’15 plays Horst, Max’s sole connection within the concentration camp. The two connect in a way that means they do not even need to touch to feel as if they are making love. In fact, the rules of the camp forbid them from doing so. The yearning they have for each other is so real and relatable, and somehow, Creavin and Lounsbury manage to convey the excitement and giddiness of the first moments of love, even in the knowledge of its dire implications. And, just as they are separated by the rules of the camp, the audience finds itself barred from the stage by the literal barrier of an electric fence. It is a constant reminder that we are in a concentration camp and that these characters are imprisoned. We are forced to be distant, to acknowledge that we are lucky not to be in their situation. We

“Tiny Boyfriend” opens with a nice one-liner: “Love is bizarre.” And in the Yale School of Drama’s newest experimental play, love is indeed bizarre. Love involves mini-baguettes and oversized flower pots and rubbery dildos. Love is knotted and ugly and very opaque. And love isn’t just love, but is also race, gender, faith, disease and death. In brief, “Tiny Boyfriend” is a romance that wants to be much more.

“TINY BOYFRIEND” DOESN’T NEED ITS POSTMODERN FLOURISHES. Quan and John share an office, a Kafkaesque cubicle they cannot escape. John’s a temp worker, Quan’s a full-time employee, and the attraction is immediate. They exchange long, lingering looks from either side of the room and when they speak, their sneering boss interrupts and parades around the room with a foppish gait. But Quan and John persevere, plan a date, sing karaoke and end up having hot and sweaty sex that ends abruptly when Quan mentions John’s “big black dick.” John has some insecurities. But still, they persevere. They keep going to work; they keep avoiding their boss; they keep dating. They even have a daughter, Olivia, played by the same actor who plays the boss (unclear at what point they adopted a child). Olivia’s sassy and slightly crazy: she speaks in tongues and throws hysterical fits. Quan and John struggle because love is bizarre, an appropriate parallel to the play itself. Sara Holdren DRA ’15 and Phillip Howze seem to pick strangeness for the sake of strangeness. On his first day of work, John enters the office and begins to dance the robot. Quan microwaves a telephone. While these details amuse, they often distract, making the story hard to follow, diffuse, and unclear.

When d i d Olivia learn Spanish? How old is she? Why’s she fixated on a rubber dildo? And what does the giant white flowerpot mean? Quan and John break the fourth wall without earning their asides. Coaxing Olivia out of a fit, they claim that “this play has rules” and that the audience expects better from her, but these attempts at meta-theater are halfhearted gimmicks. “Tiny Boyfriend” doesn’t need its postmodern flourishes. Ultimately, Howze takes on too much for such a short production. The play spans 25 years and during the 25 years, Quan and John grapple with various capital-I Issues. Howze crams race, sex, politics, gender and faith into a single relationship and it cannot withstand the pressure. Both men are bubbling cauldrons of insecurity — new fears surface in every other exchange and the audience can’t keep up. Since Howze doesn’t allow for real character development, the central relationship doesn’t make sense. Why are these two men together? The final scenes, scenes in which John accuses Quan of perfectionism and Quan accuses John of immaturity, aren’t satisfying. They’re not a culmination; they have an unjustified intensity that only feels hollow. Howze doesn’t build a scaffold strong enough to support such emotional complexity. But when “Tiny Boyfriend” stays tiny, when it doesn’t do too much, the play’s lovely and strange. The first sex scene is perfect: the lights dim, Quan and John stand in separate corners and remove their pants. They moan and pant

S U N D AY

Other World // All day, potentially forever

NOVEMBER 10

Those button eyes were freaky as fuck.

i n alternating intervals. John grunts, Quan sighs, John grunts. And the acting, too, is mostly great. James Cusati-Moyer DRA ‘15 — as both Olivia and the boss — is hilarious. He’s perfected a child’s sloppy movements and sheepish giggles, dramatic fits and quick recoveries. Mitchell Winter DRA ‘15 as Quan is not only endearing but heartbreaking, crying “I wish we felt it all and all at once!” And Yahya Abdul-Mateen II ‘DRA 15 is powerful and, in moments, majestic. “Tiny Boyfriend” succeeds when Howze doesn’t overreach, when he isn’t writing Relevant Theater. But most of the time, he does overreach. Quan and John are as trapped and terrified as Beckett’s Vladimir and Estragon but even this absurdist reference to “Waiting for Godot” is gratuitous and ultimately distracting. Not only is the play overladen with footnotes on race, gender and democracy, but “Tiny Boy-

friend” is a swarm of surreal details. T h e se d e ta i l s confuse. “Love is Bizarre,” sure, but its explication doesn’t have to be. Contact JANE BALKOSKI at jane.balkoski@yale.edu .

NEIL GAIMAN’S BIRTHDAY

// TASNIM ELBOUTE

WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: “Rugrats Go Wild”

No one wants to be just a backyard baby with a diapie full of dreams.


PAGE B12

YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2013 · yaledailynews.com

WEEKEND BACKSTAGE

Ted Conover: Shape-Shifter, Meat Inspector, Journalist // BY YUVAL BEN-DAVID

S

eniors stressing out about postgraduation plans might consider Ted Conover as a potential guru. A celebrated participatory journalist with a Pulitzer nomination under his belt, Conover career hops for a living, dipping into other people’s experiences in order to write about their lives from a first-person point of view. Conover, who dropped by Yale last week for a Master’s Tea, seems to have lived more lives than a proverbial cat. He wrote about being a taxi driver in Aspen and a homeless person in the Southwest. Conover has gone undercover twice — first as a correctional officer for his acclaimed book, “Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing,” and more recently for Harper’s magazine, where he wrote the May cover story about his experience working as a meat inspector in Nebraska. Conover practices New Journalism, the long-form style pioneered in the ’60s by wild-eyed writers like Hunter S. Thompson, but his product offers not druggy joyrides but a controlled experiment in radical empathy.

A. I’m not vegetarian, though the question came up at the Morse Master’s Tea. You remember, in the last scene of the article I confront a steak. Any immersive experience changes me, and in many ways these pieces are less investigations in the classic journalism sense than they are experiences in identity — seeing if I can live in a different way as a different kind of person. I think that’s what makes my work a little different from what you might expect when you hear “undercover reporting.” My book about Sing Sing isn’t an exposé and the story about working as a USDA meat inspector isn’t really an exposé either. Cargill Meat Solutions is very unhappy that I spent so much time in that plant without asking permission, but I don’t describe rats being ground in with the regular meat or somebody losing their arm in a machine. I guess I would have written about it if I saw it. The worst thing I saw was pink slime, which has been known about for a long time. It’s less a breaking-news piece of expose writing than an ethnographic journey through a strange corner of American life. That’s what I expected in life starting out and that’s how it ended up. Q. You’re saying the pieces are as much about the first-person singular as they are about the landscape and environment they describe? A. Not as much. The story’s about being a meat inspector but I think the fact that I am the meat inspector makes it singular. The benefit of doing work like this is not just that you get to see things you wouldn’t ordinarily see, but that you get to see what it feels like to do a certain kind of thing for a long time. I try to be very honest about how my appetite for meat changes and how my body responds to the demands of work on an assembly line and what it’s like to be part of the everyday slaughter of thousands of animals. That is another thing I write about — predation writ large, which is what a slaughterhouse is. I try to look at it from all of the angles and hope the result is something that has some value as writing and not just as information. Q. You wrote the meat-inspection piece for Harper’s, which is one of the best platforms for long-form journalism today. Do you find that people today have less patience for long-form? A. I don’t think so. The piece has now appeared not only in Harper’s but also in Byliner and on Longform.org and from what I can tell it’s getting a zillion hits. I don’t think there’s less interest in reading long-form. I think there’s a missing model for how to make money at it. I think that’s the crisis in journalism as regards to longer pieces like that. There are lots of experiments underway to monetize something that’s shorter than a book and longer than an article, such as Kindle Singles or pieces by the Atavist. Some of these are going to start bearing fruit. It’s an exciting time and I don’t feel that I have fewer readers than I did in the past. It’s just that I’m being read in different ways. Q. Once you’ve started researching or gone undercover, it would be a shame to hit a wall and realize

there’s no real story or that your cover is blown. What preparation do you do before you start covering a story? A. I wasn’t too doubtful that there’d be an interesting story about being a USDA meat inspector. That seemed to me a pretty sure thing. The uncertain part was over whether I could get the job. Once that was an in, I felt that the experience of working on the line, inside a slaughterhouse, to make sure food was wholesome, would carry the story, and would be interesting. There wasn’t a big downside in terms of having something to tell readers that they didn’t know. Most people have no idea how meat inspection works and most people have only a vague idea of how a slaughterhouse works. I wasn’t too concerned about that. What’s more concerning to me is just that something will fall through at the eleventh hour. I waited more than two years from the time I had this idea to the time I could actually begin. And with my book “Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing” I think I waited almost four years, so the bigger fear is that after such a long time spent waiting, something will knock me out of consideration for a job. A Google search of my name that reveals I’m a writer, that’s what I worry about. Freelance writing is like venture capitalism, in which your capital is your time and you only have so much of it. You want to make good use of it and some of these projects require a lot of it. The return is never certain. If there’s something I’m willing to wait this long for, it’s usually because I know there’s a good story there. Q. So if you’re afraid of employers googling your name, does that mean that you don’t devise a new identity when going undercover? A. I’ve only done two quoteunquote undercover projects: my prison book and this Harper’s article. I learned for the prison book that it’s important to be truthful when you apply for any job. So I applied with my legal name, which is not Ted. When asked for nicknames I put down Ted and a couple other things I’ve been called. So that reduces the chance somebody is going to Google Ted Conover but doesn’t eliminate it. And truly just that Google search would be the end of the line, in most cases. Q. So why is it important to put down your real name? A. For legal reasons. If you invent the name or invent the resume, as ABC News did in the famous

food line/grocery store case, in which some producers made up resumes, you’re committing fraud. If you simply offer a selection of the truth, and don’t invent anything, you’re in much better shape legally. And then just as a matter of practice, I’m uncomfortable making anything up. I guess it’s my journalism background. Journalism is nonfiction and nonfiction is about what really happens. I go to great lengths not to tell lies, not to invent some backstory and deceive my co-workers with it. It’s much easier just to be taciturn, to say you just prefer not to go into it. You might remember that in the Harper’s article I was asked where I went to college by my co-worker Stan, and I just told him I preferred not to talk about it, which felt to me like a big copout and I was sad to have to say it. He ended up giving me credit for not being the kind of person who would boast about his college. He says most of the people he knows who’ve gone to college want to tell you more about it than you’re interested in hearing, and I was the opposite. It felt a little unfortunate that I got credit for a dodge. But I do typically try to avoid fabrication. Q. Doesn’t a journalist sometimes have to lie and deceive in order to get to the truth? A. Some do. I’m just not sure I would ever do that in pursuit of a story. I think it’s very important not to make things up. There’s something inherently deceptive about any kind of undercover reporting. But I think there’s a real difference between simply lending a false impression, by turning up in Nebraska as a meat inspector when my regular employment is in New York City as a journalist, and concocting an elaborate story that will trick somebody into hiring me or inviting me to be around. I don’t do the latter. It wouldn’t feel good and it’s too complicated to make a big lie like that. I’ve been reading a great new book called “Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception” by Brooke Kroeger. It makes a persuasive case that there’s deception in all reporting. But early instances from the U.S. and Europe from early in the twentieth century and even before, people made up elaborate stories to deceive their subjects. They made up names for themselves and whole personal histories. That feels complicated and sleazy to me. I don’t think I would ever attempt that. Contact YUVAL BEN-DAVID at yuval.ben-david@yale.edu .

FREELANCE WRITING IS LIKE VENTURE CAPITALISM, IN WHICH YOUR CAPITAL IS YOUR TIME AND YOU ONLY HAVE SOME MUCH OF IT.

Q. You discover lots of horrific information during your research. Do these discoveries influence your life after you’re done? Did covering meat inspection convince you to go vegetarian?

WEEKEND  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you