WEEKEND // FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014
THE POLITICS OF TRANSPORTATION David Blumenthal looks into the pitfalls and promises of Connecticut public transit.
BOOKBINDERIES AND PRINTING PRESSES Andrew Koenig traces the revival of lost arts in the basements of our colleges.
A FILM COLUMNIST BIDS ADIEU Michael Lomax reflects on his three years writing for WKND, along with the beauty of the dreamer.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
GINGER-BRAISED CHICKEN // BY HONG TRAN
At Yale, we write, dance, worship, paint, imbibe; we do all things that celebrate our humanity. Yet, despite being the only species that cooks, we don’t always find the time to. Darwin considered language and fire the two greatest accomplishments of men. Fire sparked off cooking, which revolutionized the feeding of the brain, the organ that generates culture and language itself. Levi-Strauss’s metaphor of “le cru et le cuit” pinpoints the threshold where the raw became the cooked, beasts became men. Cooking is indeed both a hallmark and a giver of our humanity. Still, at Yale, I’ve been told that my appetite for cooking is “feminine,” “wonderful” or “domestic.” I wish, on catching a whiff of my culinary industry, that people would instead say: “Look at you, being all human and stuff!” *** Vietnamese cooking is often just a lot of watchful waiting. I like to think of the stove as a stage, the real cooking a theater of nature, and my pretense at it an exercise in patience and faith. Cooking for me is everything I want to be at a given moment: communal or solitary, reveling or grieving. My late father used to make ginger-braised chicken for me. Amidst warmly spiced, glisteningly brown molten fat, floats mahogany chicken dressed in crackly skin. My teeth would linger on the silky, fork-tender goodness, my tongue bathed in the heady yet hearty juice. Gourmet? Không có âu! It’s a commoner’s food — economical,
efficient, easy. Tough meat in lean times, leftover vegetables — everything cooks in one pot and everybody digs in. Last night I dreamt of my dad recasting a cookie tin into wall sockets. My house, like the braised chicken, is a patchwork of reincarnated materials, an everpresent celebration of his thrifty resourcefulness. *** To show you how easy it could be, here is a four-serving recipe that requires only $4 worth of value-pack industrial broiler chicken and 20 minutes of your limb coordination. Ingredients can be sourced in Stop and Shop and Hong Kong Market. Swap chicken for mushroom or seafood as desired, though to my fellow lapsed vegetarians, I’d say, go with the chicken.
Have one nice pound of thighs with both bone and skin chopped into two-inch chunks. Skin and bone are needed to anchor the meat, keeping it chewy and moist. Make nuoc mau (bitter caramel sauce) by mixing three tablespoons of sugar and ¼ cup of water in a pot on medium-high heat. Watch it caramelize in the next 10–15 minutes. For a creamy alternative, caramelize coconut juice. In a bowl, mix your homemade nuoc mau, sliced ginger and nuoc mam (fish sauce) — use ¼ cup each. Add one tablespoon of sugar. Add chicken. Massage the marinade thoroughly into the flesh. Feel the naked chicken between your fingers — it’s good! Work it like you want to make the chicken feel good too. Watch out for sharp bone
edges. Stick the marinated chicken in the fridge for 20 minutes, or longer if you can wait.
Pick a heavy pot for slow and even cooking, and turn the heat on high. Lather the bottom with one tablespoon of oil. After 30 seconds or when the oil has become uncomfortably hot, dump five cloves’ worth of minced garlic and one diced sweet onion.
When the garlic browns, convey the chicken into the pot piecewise. Exclude the marinade. As the meat stops sweating, brown crust will form to lock in moisture. Flip the chunks sideways to ensure an evenly seared exterior. After two minutes, remove the chicken and set aside.
Add the marinade to the emptied pot. Scrape caked bits off the bottom. These bits are jam-packed with flavors; exploit them!
Replace the chicken into the pot. Add just enough water or chicken stock to half cover the chunks. After bringing to a boil, skim off fat and froth. Cover the skillet, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add spring onions and ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with a zingy confetti of fresh parsley or cilantro to lighten the gravy-ty. Spoon the sauce over rice — jasmine, brown or glutinous — and serve. Trouble-shooting notes:
If scorched, add water; if too watery, add flour and melted butter. Bonus tips: Stick the leftovers in the fridge for some ga dong (“winter chicken”). Jelly chicken may sound dubious, but tastes solidly positive. Add cider for a bright sweet note, dry wine for a deep tone, or both to create a jolt of zest. *** Fine juliennes of ginger carry a tinge of sweet heat — the signature taste of the dish. In oral literature, the good old pungent ginger symbolizes the Vietnamese self-identification as a long-suffering people, having lived through the millennia of Chinese rule, the French protectorate and the Vietnam War. But we also pride ourselves on making sweet out of the bitter. For us, “When life gives you ginger, make ginger-braised chicken.”
This internally-rhymed, harmonically resolved couplet of folk sung poetry, or ca dao, celebrates the unlikely union of salt and ginger, each of which denotes its own flavor of hardship. Metaphorically, the couplet sings of the dutiful love between long-married husband and wife braving life’s trials and tribulations together, a kind of tenderness and devotion that is seasoned like salt, warm like ginger. Contact HONG TRAN at email@example.com .
Closets (My Queer Manhood) // BY MATTHEW MATTIA
At the beginning of this year, my 20th, just before I arrived at Yale, I came out as bisexual; had my first sexual relationship with a man, in which I felt profoundly feminine; began this voluptuous ceremony; affirmed beauty; affirmed the affirmation; and returned to innocence, to whimsy. I wanted to be young; femininity was, to me, essentially youthful; beauty was youthful; was feminine; I wrote about flowers, butterflies, perfumes, jewels; purchased a kimono; asked my mother for her mother’s old beaver-fur jacket, and her silk robe, and her golden bracelet; began to wear a ring; to go out to parties with groups of straight girls, and to grind with them at those parties; to drink beforehand, ecstatically, ritualistically; and drinking and dancing were intimately connected, they were part of my ceremony. When I went out, I became the butterfly I wanted to be; exquisite, darling; fluttering about. I wanted to create an exquisite self: one that could laugh, and call things darling, and adore things, and think them splendid; I wanted to invent a truth and inhabit it; and I still believe it is a truth, but I do not deny that I created it: I am coded by straight girls as gay (I have, after all, largely rejected my bisexuality; and might even be gay, for all I know; the matter is delightfully undecided, just as the matter of daisies is undecided; of why daisies exist; and I do not know, but I kiss them anyway), so I cuddle with straight girls in my bed, so I, as I said, grind with them; and I do not desire them, and they do not desire me. But why do they not desire me? Because I learned to be gay. And learning to be gay is a dangerous thing. I have learned to be gay; and girls have come to see me as a child; a little boy, to be hugged and kissed. You will, no doubt, find this familiar. You have likely seen a feminine gay man, and thought him childish; like a little boy as he flutters about. At least, I did for a long time. We see something childish, in fact, in any gay man; he is not a true man; he has not grown up; cannot; and cannot really have sex, either, left as he is with the anus; and, therefore, is an eternal virgin who, in the
F R I D AY APRIL 25
eyes of straight men and women, is essentially a eunuch; a castrated boy; because his sexual experience is ignored by their discourse; banished from it; it makes straight men and women uncomfortable to think of men having sex with each other; they would rather pretend it doesn’t happen; imagine away the penises of gay men; and return them to childhood, to the eternal childhood of the eunuch. Or they parody it; delegitimize it; use it as an insult (cocksucker, etc.); and in that way erase it, take from it its seriousness; remove from it the quality in it of the sacred; which is essential, for me, to the sexual act, and its intimacy. Or they (in my experience only straight women) sensationalize it; exoticize it; like they would a circus act; and I act, because I have learned to act; I perform, as I am told elephants were taught to perform, and monkeys; and midgets and bearded women; so that when they ask questions of me, with what is, in retrospect, a kind of grotesque fascination (“What is it like, to, you know, taste another man’s, you know?”), I take delight in it, I am glad for the attention, because I have finally been given the opportunity to speak about what for seven years I have endured in terrified silence, because I do not consider how I am caged; that I have left one cage (that of silence and shame) only to enter another (that of the spectacle); and they gawk; and they laugh; and, suddenly, I have become something quite different from a friend; I am a pet; I do tricks; I have walked into a far more insidious cage, because of its subtlety. (To learn to be gay is, in one sense, to learn to be a spectacle. In the sense, that is, of the “gay best friend.”) In this way all gay men are infantilized, parodied, sensationalized. But feminine gay men especially are so. We are seen, paradoxically, as bossy; weak; mawkish; prissy; and therefore not worth listening to; better to ignore; to imitate; the feminine gay man being, of course, the most imitated, the most mocked, of gay men, because we are the most exotic, the most unmistakable, the least able to “pass” as straight; because we
are free with our gender expression. Minorities, after all, are understood by normative discourses only in their difference, so the feminine gay man is the model against which all gay men are held; and so, too, when I came out, it was this identity I held close. I remember saying to a close friend of mine on the phone, “I’m becoming gayer every day.” But it was this identity I had always wanted, secretly; this identity against which I had fought for so many years; and, in this way, the self I am creating is a truth. Furthermore, my cage protects me. By acting the “gay best friend,”
BUT WHY DO THEY NOT DESIRE ME? BECAUSE I LEARNED TO BE GAY. AND LEARNING TO BE GAY IS A DANGEROUS THING.
by parodying, and exoticizing myself, I make my sexual practices unthreatening; present them as not serious, as, perhaps, frivolous: so I can introduce them into the heteronormative discourse without challenging that discourse; because to present them as serious, as sacred, would be to equate homosexual and heterosexual intimacy; and that, in the eyes of the discourse, is a cardinal error; and laughable. So I hide in plain sight, and in this way, I do not make myself vulnerable to mockery; and therefore protect myself from shame; but am able to vocalize my experience, to put my desire into language. This is unsettling; this new closet; how do I find my way out? Should I? But my assumption of this identity has also brought me into intimate contact with myself; with my own beauty. It felt natural; it still does. Now I can say: I have a voluptuous soul. In this sense, learning to be gay was about learning to let myself be gay; to let myself love men; with my heart; and with my whole body. It was about learning to let myself be as
THE SEE YOURSELF PROJECT
sexual roles; no oppressive power relations. It is a vast sexual space. A space returned to innocence. Free of the historical weights of virginity; of pregnancy; of marriage. There is a freshness to the gay sexual act, and to the feminized male body; but the innocence of these forms is not the innocence of children; it is the innocence of the unexplored; the uncodified; of what is untouched by language. To infantilize me is to not understand me, to fear me. Because I am more than a man; I have outgrown the concept; and there is not a word for me anymore: I exist beyond language. At least, the language of our mainline cultural discourse. There is, after all, a lively queer discourse. So I should say: I exist beyond your language. But you are welcome to learn mine; my queer discourse is not painful, it does not bruise; it welcomes: To all, it welcomes, like an endless caress. Contact MATTHEW MATTIA at firstname.lastname@example.org .
New Haven Green // 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. An interactive living statue event by the Elm City Dance Collective!
feminine as I am; to write about flowers; to perfume myself. It was about learning to let myself pick shirts from the women’s section if I liked them; to wear eyeliner if I wanted; about seeing the feminine in my body in the midst of a sexual act. It was about celebrating, because of this love, my youthfulness; about loving, at last, what I am now. And my desire for innocence? It is simply because my body feels newly born; and I myself do as well. The sexual act between two men is often a site of intense creativity; being, as there are, no unchanging
We’ll be hitting up “Beer, Bourbon & BBQ.”
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
// BY KATY OSBORN
t was post-exam, early May of last year. Light was coming through the Street Hall skylights in fractals. In the landscapes of YUAG’s American Paintings and Sculpture, Otis* watched the flowers dance. “They were breathing,” he remembers, laughing to himself. “It felt like being in on the biggest inside joke in the world.” Short-sleeved on a Friday night in February, Isabel* walked the empty streets of New Haven. “I got to the corner of Prospect and Grove, looked up at Woolsey, and just started to laugh. It looked like a piece in a board game or a video game. I was like, ‘Literally, where am I? What is this fake world I’ve been picked up and dropped in?’” Last weekend, in her on-campus double, Zoe* pushed the twin beds together and filled the room with provisions for her and a friend — “nesting” she calls it — fresh fruit, piles of art books she’d checked out from the library, finger paint, pillows, films, Christmas lights, balloons, flowers, an old black-andwhite camera. The photographs came out a little blurry. For tomorrow’s Spring Fling, Isabel bought her LSD in Chinatown. “It’s not even tabs,” she explains. “They’re drops on Sour Patch Watermelon candies.” *** Acid doesn’t flow on Yale’s campus. There’s no equivalent of the one-button Wenzel, and it seems unlikely that anyone will step up to fill the gap anytime soon. “I get it from a friend,” one student — or rather every student of the nearly two dozen I interviewed for this article — tells me when I ask about Yale’s acid, or LSD, market. At first I think it’s a euphemism, but then finally one of them directs me to his “friend” — a student from another, more drug-savvy, Ivy League, who allegedly buys in bulk and is hooking him and other Yalies up for Spring Fling. I think I’ve landed myself in the middle of a bona fide operation until I learn that “bulk” for this Ivy League drug mule means a 10-strip — that is, 10 tabs of acid that sell for around $8–10 a piece. Every man or woman for his or herself (and maybe a couple of friends) is a simple reality of being on a relatively dry campus, particularly in a nation where LSD production — very expensive, requiring hard-to-get precursors and an expert level of chemical precision — is believed to be concentrated in just a handful of labs nationwide.
This isn’t to say that students don’t get creative. Some, like Isabel, bring personal supplies in from New York, or nearby universities where drug use is more prevalent. Others have ordered tabs from the West Coast — “It comes on paper, is tasteless, and odorless,” one student explains to me. “It’s the easiest thing in the world to put in a box and ship.”
THE BASICS OF LSD ARE SIMPLE: IT TAKES JUST 15 MINUTES WITH A TAB UNDER YOUR TONGUE ...
Last year, Otis and friends bought acid on a website similar to Silk Road, an anonymous online marketplace where, he explains: “You can basically buy anything you can think of — you can hire prostitutes, assassins ...” he pauses. “Reportedly.” The crux of Silk Road’s business model is that Bitcoin, a form of online currency, are used as payment, allegedly making transactions much harder to trace. He and his friends would have used the real Silk Road, Otis explains, but on the day they were set to receive the Bitcoins — Oct. 2, 2013 — the FBI shut Silk Road down. As of late Zoe has a connection at Columbia, she tells me, who buys LSD directly from a lab in New York City. She will, on occasion, get groups of up to ten friends together for an order that satisfies what I originally imagined when I heard the term bulk-buying: a sheet of 100 tabs, at a total cost of about $800. Even so, she explains to me that this is “very much a one time thing” — or at least, a once-in-along-time thing. At this point, a disclaimer: I’ve never tripped on acid, or any other psychedelic for that matter. My dad has been known to send my siblings and me emails (government job applications attached) reminding us that even if we manage to evade arrest; injury; death; loss of mind, motivation and self; drugs now will make us unemployable forever. We’ve never discussed acid specifically (D-R-U-G-S has served its purpose well as a formidable umbrella term), and until recently I thought it made you want to peel your face off like an orange. Turns out that’s either bath salts or PCP —
Percentage of students who have used illicit drugs other than alcohol at Yale
and also possibly an urban legend— but needless to say, acid has been a non-issue so far. Reportedly, Yale’s been struggling lately to say the same. When I first began this piece, it was to be — in light of Chance The Rapper’s “Acid Rap” — a look at first time drug use for Spring Fling (in an ironic twist of fate, Chance turned out to be the LSD problem that went
away before the administration ever knew it existed — Get well soon, Chance!). The assumption was that Yale drug culture is event-focused, and as many have described it to me, “tame”; a culture in which harder drugs take a backseat to alcohol and marijuana. The numbers point neither one way nor the other. Of 832 respondents to a News survey on student drug use earlier this week, 44 percent admitted to having used illicit drugs other than alcohol while at Yale. Of these, 42.2 percent cited marijuana use, while the prevalence of prescription stimulants (e.g. Adderall), Molly, and cocaine came in at 7 percent, 6.2 percent, and 5.7 percent, respectively. Only about 5.3 percent of student respondents claimed to have used LSD. One in 20 Yalies is not an insignificant student ratio — though it pales in comparison to a 1967 poll of 541 undergraduates, in which 10.5 percent of respondents had tried LSD. Still, this statistic has represented a fringe of campus life that, until now, has been easily avoided and overlooked. In a campus-wide email sent out just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, Director of Yale Health Dr. Michael Rigsby cast a different light on drug use at Yale. “Several recent incidents have raised our concern that use of drugs such as LSD, cocaine, and heroin is on the rise among college students, fueled in part by a mistaken belief that occasional use is really not that dangerous,” he wrote, eliciting a reaction which, for many of the students I interviewed, was twofold. First: “Who’s doing heroin?!” — a tangential gut reaction, but
one which, to my amusement, was repeatedly voiced, verbatim, among not only students who talked casually about their own LSD use, but also by one of my professors, and my mom. (To answer this question: one of the 832 survey respondents claims to have tried it.) And second, more importantly: “Shit — what happened?” Fast forward two weeks, and I’m sitting in a corner of Bass Café across from Alex,* whose voice wavers as he talks. Alex is a member of the freshman suite in Durfee Hall whose March incident with LSD was covered in Monday’s issue of the News, and the primary witness to what it called his suitemate’s “extremely negative reaction” to the drug. “When I woke up, there was a ton of noise coming from the common room,” he tells me. “Sounds of things being broken, things being thrown — just a lot of screaming and incoherent rambling.” For those familiar with LSD, what happened to Alex’s suitemate is known as a bad trip — what students have described as an overwhelming downward mental spiral, often to the effect of terror, anxiety, grief, loss of reality, feelings of entrapment, and much that goes beyond words. Alex agreed to go on the record in the interest of dispelling rumors surrounding his suitemate’s bad trip — namely, that either a suicide attempt or intentional self-harm occurred. “As I started to get more focused, I recognized it as a computer programming language. He was running through strings, but every time he would get to a certain point, his syntax would be off or he would say something wrong. And then he would start screaming. He sounded like a fucking banshee or something.” “I decided to walk out when there was a second of quiet.” Alex pauses and takes a deep breath. When he’d gone to bed around 2 a.m., his suitemates had dropped acid almost four hours earlier. Things were calm: they’d just finished watching Planet Earth together, and were leaving to visit another suite. As he speaks, it’s clear that he was unprepared for what he encountered next: his suitemate, standing naked in the common room, covered in his own blood. “It looked like something out of a horror movie,” Alex remembers. “I tried to call his name, and something about that scared the shit out of him. He screamed and rushed at me.” At that point, Alex slammed his door, locked it, and called his FroCos, who in turn called the police. His suitemate was taken to
*** Part of the horror of Alex’s account is that the question of what happened, and why, remains to be answered. “We know a lot about what LSD does to the brain — we’ve been researching the neurology since the ’50s,” says Peter Addy, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. “We also know a lot about what it does to consciousness. The thing is,” he explains, “we don’t really know how neurology and consciousness connect.” Addy calls me from a conference at the University of Arizona, Towards a Science of Consciousness, where he gave a lecture on psychedelics earlier in the week. This question — what’s been called the “hard problem of consciousness” — is what the conference revolves around. “How do the brain and mind interface with each other?” The basics of LSD are simple: It takes just 15 minutes with a tab under your tongue to, in the words of the famous Harvard psychiatrist Timothy Leary, “turn in, tune in, drop out.” Once in the brain, LSD interfaces with about 20 different receptor sites and transporters — but one particular serotonin receptor, 5-HT2A, which LSD activates as an agonist, is thought to be responsible for its visionary and psychedelic effects. The physical side effects of LSD — beyond dilated pupils and sometimes, troubled sleeping — are virtually nonexistent. Acid is non-addictive, and if it’s possible to overdose, no one in all of its rampant history has managed to do so. But even in microgram doses, it’s marvelously potent, and triggers an 8–12 hour trip to match. The night before I read Rigsby’s email, I sat in an off-campus living room with Dylan.* He had recently experienced a bad trip firsthand within these same four walls, where he took two “really strong” tabs with three of his housemates. It wasn’t long into the trip before, he recalled, he lost the ability to form a thought. “I was sitting in this room and I was picturing us all shorting out. We were broken.” A few moments later, he did have a thought. “I am lucky or unlucky enough to exist at the very point in time where time has ceased to exist.” Dylan took two sleeping pills. He’d intended to take more, but his housemates hit the rest out of his hand. “I wasn’t thinking about SEE DRUGS PAGE 8
Most commonly used illicit drugs at Yale 1 Marijuana 2 Prescription Stimulants (e.g. Ritalin, Adderall) 3 Molly/Ecstasy/MDMA 4 Cocaine 5 LSD Data from a randomly-distributed YDN online survey of roughly 850 students. // THE AMAZING ANNELISA LEINBACH
F R I D AY APRIL 25
HOME AND AWAY: THE EPIC JOURNEY LC Rm 211 // 4–7 p.m.
#time #space #iter #nostos
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Umbrellas as sun shields
They do it in the home country!
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
On Feb. 3, Mayor Toni Harp’s entrance into New Haven’s aldermanic chambers was nearly a foregone conclusion. After all, Harp’s distinguished legislative career as both an alder and a state senator — and eventually chair of the state Legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee — certainly paved the way for the 2014 State of the City Address. During the campaign, her deep roots in New Haven were evident and, with the exception of a microscopic minority, she received the endorsements of New Haven’s entire political establishment. So eyebrows were raised when Harp, still in her “honeymoon phase” as mayor, chose her address to announce her new priority for New Haven, one that very few were expecting: increasing access to public transportation. She described the issue as an “economics and civil rights” one, and said she would fight for more reliable transportation access for the New Haven public, as well as the expansion of New Haven’s Tweed Airport within two years. But after the fanfare faded, Harp’s choice seemed less surprising. After all, politicians make transportation projects a part of their policy diet as much as Yalies scoop up steel cut oatmeal during breakfast in the dining halls. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, elected in 2010, proposed building a rail line connecting the Connecticut cities of New Haven and Hartford to Springfield, Mass., as well as an 11-stop busway known as “CT Fastrack” that connects the cities of Hartford and New Britain, all during his first year in office. However, these transportation projects seem to have a hard time taking off. Harp’s efforts to expand Tweed and the city’s public transit have fallen prey to political realities and insufficient funds, and Gov. Malloy’s New Haven-to-Springfield Line project will have taken as many as six years to build before it is completed in 2016. The Hartford-to-New Britain busway, originally estimated by Connecticut Department of Transportation Director Jim Redeker to be completed in 2014, is now slated for February 2015. And southwestern Connecticut’s Metro-North Railroad, historically criticized for both timing and safety issues, derailed last December, killing four people and injuring 63. The incident provoked a federal audit of its safety practices. In light of these problems, for Connecticut as well as New Haven politicians, any transportation project is a good one. As it stands, the status quo hampers both the ability of New Haveners to go about their daily lives, as well as the economic development of the region in general. But an intricate set of political realities may stand in the way of the implementation of the region’s most-needed transportation improvements. *** When I reached Professor Gary Rose, chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University, he was in the car. After I waited for him to get through a Merritt Parkway tunnel, the cause for some momentarily spotty cell service, he explained that improving public transportation has been a goal of governors and politicians past and present. And yet, lit-
THE POLITICAL POTHOLE OF CONNECTICUT TRANSPORTATION / / BY DAVID BLUMENTHAL tle progress has been made. “These are not the first people to talk about solving the transportation problem,” Rose said. “Every time somebody runs for governor of the state or for Senate, you get all this talk about fixing the transportation of the state, and the reality is that it’s a very costly endeavor.” John Hartwell, the vice chair of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council, agrees that the costs of transportation improvements are steep. But he says that, in Connecticut, several steps have been made in the last four years, in spite of the high price tag. He cited the delivery of newly purchased Metro-North rail cars, implementation of the New Haven-to-Springfield rail line and the Hartford-toNew Britain bus systems, as well as Connecticut’s elected officials’ efforts on the federal level to revamp the state’s transportation facilities. On April 7, Gov. Malloy announced his request of $603 million from federal Hurricane Sandy relief funds. The money, if granted, will go toward an $800 million combined project of repairing a Norwalk bridge, improving Metro-North’s communications systems and updating the New Haven rail yard’s power transmission system. However, there has been some degree of concern over the ambition required to modernize Metro-North and mitigate its current safety concerns. A Regional Planning Association study released in January estimated that fully modernizing MetroNorth will require $3.6 billion worth of improvements. Then, on March 14, the Federal Railway Administration released the results of “Operation Deep Dive,” an audit of the railroad’s safety measures that exposed some troublesome practices. According to the report, the rail line suffered from “an overemphasis on on-time performance, an ineffective Safety Department and poor safety culture, and an ineffective training program.” Hartwell stressed that, when it came to the Metro-North Railroad, state officials were genuinely invested in improving its shortfalls. “These are not political tools,” he said. “[Connecticut elected officials] are there and they are working on our behalf, it just takes a lot of time.” But Rose cautioned that politicians aren’t pursuing transportation projects with wholly sincere motives. According to Rose, politicians are well aware of these efforts’ little chance of swift passage, but they continue to promote them anyway. Why? “To give people the impression that you’re a reformer,” he said. *** New Haven City Hall officials are well aware of the complications — and liabilities — that come with the process of improving public transit in the Elm City. “As a former legislator, the mayor understands the time it takes to formally plan these projects and will keep working to expedite approval and line up resources moving forward,” Laurence Grotheer, the mayor’s communications director, said. School of Management professor Douglas Rae,
who served as the city’s chief economic administrator from 1990 to 1991 under Mayor John Daniels, said that city administrators face a difficult environment for accomplishing anything, let alone issues related to transportation. When attempting to change the status quo in nearly all organizations, “the inertia forces favor very small, incremental change or no change at all.” This is especially true in the case of the Tweed New Haven Airport, whose fate is beholden to a number of political municipalities, which “is like running in the mud.” Harp’s meetings with New Haven’s transportation volunteer boards have also been few and far between. Carol Nardini, a member of the Greater New Haven Transit District, said she was not aware of any meetings between Harp and the committee designed to pursue the transportation policies, nor had she spoken to the mayor herself about it since Harp took office in January. Don Dimenstein, the head of the Greater New Haven Transit District, declined to comment. Interviews with New Haven’s legislative body did not give the impression that they have been deeply involved in the issue, either. Ward 2 Alder Frank Douglass, who chairs the Community Development Committee on the Board of Alders, said he had not been part of such a conversation during this term and could not comment. Ward 26 Alder Darryl Brackeen Jr. maintained that transportation is an issue that, if tackled correctly, could positively affect many city neighborhoods — namely the Hill, Westville, Newhallville and Fair Haven. But he added that it has yet to be given the full attention of the Board it deserves. “I must admit, I am the only person who has posted any resolution considering transportation this term,” he said. However, Brackeen said it would be “brash” to paint his resolution, which has not yet gained traction on the Board of Alders, as the full measure of current efforts to improve New Haven transportation. Mayor Harp’s appointing of Doug Hausladen ’04 to the position of director of traffic and parking, he said, was a clear indication that she would not be an aloof mayor when it came to transportation. In fact, Hausladen has already been pushing to equip all CT Transit buses with GPSes, an improvement expected to be fully implemented by 2015. “I consider him one of the most important appointments alone,” Brackeen said. “I think she really trusts him with a lot of responsibility.” But regarding New Haven’s share in transportation policies on the state level, Brackeen is less enthused. “Our state legislators have been doing a pretty good job of trying to make that a priority, but that’s pretty tough in this economic environment,” he
said. “On the state level I definitely think more can be done.” *** It’s no secret that Connecticut is steeped in a tough economic environment. When the New Haven-toSpringfield rail line and the Hartford-to-New Britain busway were proposed, the state had amassed a budget deficit of $3.6 billion. Nevertheless, the Malloy administration prioritized these projects — costing $567 million and $365.6 million to complete, respectively — and pursued them relentlessly. Gov. Malloy said at the time that the CT Fastrack project would bring “long-term economic growth and development to the corridor [between Hartford and New Britain].” In the case of the rail line, he “personally wrote letters, made phone calls and met with various federal officials, including President Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood,” according to a May 9, 2011 press release. But these projects’ merit has been questioned, especially considering the transit needs cited by many in New Haven. Rae of SOM, for one, does not find either one particularly compelling. He said that Springfield and Hartford “have a set of problems that are different from New Haven’s” since they are not part of either the Greater New York or the Greater Boston Region. Asked whether the project was being pursued primarily for political reasons, Rae responded, “I would definitely agree with that.” Rae also cited the example of the Hartford-to-New Britain busway as particularly egregious, given that it will cost over $500 million, despite the fact that it has “no demonstrated demand.” However, Mark Abraham, executive director of the New Haven public information nonprofit DataHaven, said that the New Haven-Springfield line has the potential to increase Connecticut’s economic growth. The current national trend is to build “more compact, blockable communities” that are “a more sustainable solution … for the long run,” he said, of which developing areas adjacent to train stations would be a good example. In New Haven’s case, not only would it take advantage of the city’s “critical mass of transportation,” but the rail line would also distribute New Haven’s economic firepower across all of Connecticut. He did admit that expanding the New Haven bus system instead of the rail line would “service a lot more people … in terms of transit.” The mayor’s ability to lobby the state Legislature to provide funding for this project, as well as expediting the extension of Tweed’s runway, will likely rely on Toni Harp’s clout in Hartford. During her may-
oral campaign, she pointed to her record in Hartford as proof of why she made a better candidate than her general election opponent, Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10. Grotheer said the mayor remains dedicated to maintaining New Haven’s influence in Hartford. “She communicates regularly with the governor,” he said, “on any number of projects.” Sometimes, however, Grotheer cautioned, a personal relationship is not enough. “Some of the moving pieces in these transportation project … there’s funding available, but you can’t apply the funds until the project is planned and approved and engineered, and sometimes that happens more quickly than other times,” he said. *** Somewhere along the Merritt Parkway, Rose and I started talking cars. He said fundamental transportation reform — the sort that would give the American populace incentive to stop using cars as their primary mode of transportation — will not be possible even if Connecticut’s budgetary concerns are solved. “Mass transit in the United States has never really broadly been a popular proposal,” he said. “Connecticut residents are certainly no exception to that.” America’s “individualistic” culture, Rose added, was different from other countries where he has spent time, like Germany. In countries like these, he said, where more emphasis is placed on collective achievement, people are more likely to engage on issues of mass transit. Rae agreed with this characterization, saying cars have been ingrained in American culture “ever since Henry Ford sold 15 million Model T’s.” However, he said that air travel and public transit systems in major cities remain the most practical, and thus politically viable options. Given this reality, Rose concluded that Connecticuters should prepare for their elected officials to discuss transportation more, especially during election years — but not necessarily with tangible results. “I guarantee you when we have our debate between Dan Malloy and whoever is the Republican nominee, I guarantee you we will hear about mass transit,” he said. “It’s just one of those issues people acknowledge at this point — we know it will be discussed, but very little will happen.” Contact DAVID BLUMENTHAL at email@example.com .
// WILLIAM FREEDBERG
F R I D AY APRIL 25
PETER OUNDJIAN GUEST CONDUCTS PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA Woolsey Hall // 8 p.m.
A Canadian virtuoso graces America with his presence.
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Summer flings
SUN’S OUT BUNS OUT
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
A HOUSE WITH FAULTY FOUNDATIONS // BY PATRICE BOWMAN This January, TIME Magazine published “10 Reasons for Theater Lovers to Leave New York in 2014.” I was intrigued to see “The House That Will not Stand” by Marcus Gardley DRA ’04, now playing at the Yale Repertory Theater, prominently featured on this list. The play takes place in 1830s New Orleans, where obstinate free woman of color Beatrice (Lizan Mitchell) mourns after her white lover Lazare (Ray Reinhardt), and father of her three daughters, dies mysteriously. Spurred by my interest in African American history and TIME’s recommendation, I rushed to the Yale Rep. The story begins on a cheerful note: Lazare’s corpse lies on a table in the house. A woman named La Veuve (Petronia Paley) enters and snatches the rings from his fingers to spite her rival, Beatrice. Makeda (Harriett D. Foy), Beatrice’s slave quickly confronts her. Before the play reaches the ten-minute mark, La Veuve has already given the audience reason to be wary of Beatrice’s character: she suspects that Beatrice murdered Lazare and a former lover as well. La Veuve reveals her suspicions to Makeda, and this exchange, though entertaining, reveals the two issues that plague the play as a whole: unnatural dialogue and overacting. A sign of great theater is that it teaches you something new without sounding like a dry lecture. “The House That Will not Stand” has too much bombast to make you drowsy, but, on the other hand, it features expository moments that stick in the atmosphere like smog. These moments often fall upon Beatrice, played
with a laughable French accent by Mitchell. She gesticulates to educate us on “plaçage,” that genteel form of slavery that placed free, light-skinned black women with white men in New Orleans. But now, free women of color are losing their privileges. As a result, she doesn’t want her lively, eager daughters Agnès (Tiffany Stewart DRA ’07) and Odette (Joniece Abbott-Pratt) to be a part of this system. What a mouthful! But this little lesson, as awkwardly executed as it sounds, is necessary because plaçage remains such an obscure part of American history. From start to finish, every actor speaks and moves with an exaggerated twist of the neck, a singsong drawing out of words or a sassy distortion of the face. This performative excess, which verges on racial caricature, threatens to mute the historical struggle and
trauma that the text wants to convey to the audience. To be sure, there are instances in which this sort of performance provides the viewer with a genuine, emotional connection with the characters. Although the plot revolves around Beatrice’s efforts to support her family and Odette’s and Agnès’s romantic longings, the real powerhouse of this play is Makeda. Foy distinguishes herself amidst the sea of overacting not through subtlety, but by making her emotions come across as the most authentic. Her character’s colorful flights of language, pride in her African heritage and her desire for freedom are effective and touching. The production’s aesthetic and visual components, however, nearly compensate for the pitfalls in acting. The scenic and costume design, courtesy of Antje Ellermann and Katherine O’Neill DRA
’09, conjure romantic visions of the antebellum South reminiscent of “Gone with the Wind.” Curtains and portraits of the daughters line the immaculately white interior of the house, while outside, palm trees lean on the structure. The moss hanging on the lights’ rafters above the stage provides an added element of realism. The costumes, a parade of elegant, shimmering gowns and veils, deserve applause on their own. Ultimately, both the set and the costumes work together to symbolize the polished façade of what plaçage really was: an alternative form of slavery that still degraded human beings. The lighting, designed by Russell H. Champa, effects a mood that alternates between realistic and fantastical. The reds, blues, pinks, greens and reds reflect the characters’ vivid flashbacks and wild dreams as they’re acted
out onstage. These surreal colors lend strength to the play’s supernatural moment, in which Lazare returns from the dead and (unsuccessfully) confronts Beatrice. It’s too bad that the vivid lighting can’t flesh out this underdeveloped part of the play. Because there are so many other plot points zipping around — the question of plaçage, Makeda’s freedom and colorism between the darker Odette and lighter Agnès — the ghost storyline falls flat. Because of this unsustainable and underdeveloped number of plotlines, paired with overheated acting, I left the Yale Rep feeling simultaneously overwhelmed and underwhelmed. While I didn’t leave “The House That Will not Stand” totally disappointed, I was expecting more from such an interesting and hidden story that deserves to be told. TIME describes the play as such:
// YALE REP
The crushing beauty of plaçage.
“With ‘12 Years a Slave’ one of the top contenders for Oscar nominations, Marcus Gardley’s new play about a free woman of color in 1836 New Orleans could be arriving at just the right cultural moment.” This is certainly true — “The House That Will not Stand” comes at a time when African American stories are becoming more and more visible in popular culture. But unfortunately, the play doesn’t quite succeed in adding anything critically outstanding to the greater discussion of black stories portrayed onstage. Contact PATRICE BOWMAN at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Art of Rebounding in NYC // BY THERESA STEINMEYER On Wednesday evening, I attended the opening performance of “I Love You Because,” which is showing in the Saybrook Underbrook twice more tonight. If you need something to boost your spirits this weekend, this performance is a great choice (and I’ve got a couple dozen super excited prefrosh and their parents to back me up). Directed by Zina Ellis ’15, “I Love You Because” offers two hours of dysfunctional rebound romance in New York City. Torn up over their respective breakups, six young people determine that the best way to move on from heartbreak is to date someone completely wrong. They’re working hard to follow all the rules — calculating “rebound time” based on RL (“romantic life”), debating the proper time to send the “rekindle poem” and adhering to the “Rock Bottom Principle” — which means that, when it can’t get any worse, you revert back to your ex. Diana (Caroline Powers ’17) and Jeff (Jordan Schroeder ’16) convince Marcy (Lauren Modiano ’17) and Austin (Simon Schaitkin ’17) to meet each other, assuming that none of them could ever be compatible — but per the protocol of romantic comedy, all plans must go wonderfully wrong. The greatest strength of “I Love You Because” is the acting — it’s solid throughout, but I’m especially convinced by Modiano’s Marcy and her rebound love interest, Schaitkin’s Austin. Playing this relationship believably is no small feat, given that Marcy’s spontaneity has to mesh with Austin’s insistence on order. When their first coffee shop meeting erupts into a fight when Austin can’t drop the topic of his ex-girlfriend, it’s hard to imagine the pair ever being vulnerable to one another. But as Marcy coaches Austin through his unpromising greeting card writing, leading up to a chaotic dinner date in which the two take on a Chinese restaurant waiter, it’s impossible to imagine them with anyone
S AT U R D AY APRIL 26
OPENING PARTY FOR “13 MOST WANTED MEN: ANDY WARHOL AND THE 1964 WORLD’S FAIR” Queens Museum // 6 p.m.
In case you’re, like, too cosmopolitan for Spring Fling.
// MARISA LOWE
We hope our post-grad love lives occur in song.
else. Although his emotional arc is less pronounced, Schroeder’s choreography is crisp from start to finish, and whether he’s dancing, feigning back pain or multiplying on an abacus, it’s clear that his heart is completely into it. The cast uses the Underbrook space well, keeping the scenery simple with just a few rotating pieces of furniture in front of a New York City skyline, but exploring the possibilities for entrances, lighting and the pit orchestra. When serving coffees to Marcy and Austin, the barista also walks over to offer one to the pianist. As Marcy struggles alone onstage to work through her feelings toward Austin, the lights tremble through warm and cold patterns, and characters make entrances and exits not only off to stage left and right, but also by running down the side aisle. This thorough stage presence makes for an energy that touches every corner of the Underbrook. If “I Love You Because” disappoints anywhere, it’s in the vocal performances. Solos are strong, especially from Modiano and Powers. But the cast stumbles during the ensemble songs, which unfortunately includes the opening number. The six singers struggle to fall into sync with one another to deliver a unified performance, and harmonies don’t always line up. The unity in the vocals improved as the show went on, perhaps with the heightening energy as the cast eased into their first performance of the week, producing a momentum that they will hopefully be able to sustain into the weekend. Contact THERESA STEINMEYER at email@example.com .
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Exploring a new music genre
WKND suggests a bluegrass-soul fusion.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
Prefrosh, We Really Do Want You Here
WEEKEND DOES BULLDOG DAYS
// BY WESLEY YIIN
Yes, we know that Bulldog Days is over. The pizza has all been eaten and the prefrosh have already made their way out of our maze of gothic architecture and back home. While they’ll spend their next few days unsticking those little paper ads for obscure clubs and performances from the crannies of their brand new Yale sweatshirts (and recovering from spa water hangovers), WEEKEND decided to take a trip down a memory lane of our own. We dredged up some of our favorite, least favorite and possibly invented, memories of our own visiting weekend (no caps, sad, we know), and our other visits to Yale.
As a recruitment coordinator for the Admissions Office, I get to see dreams come true. Admissions Officers may admit the new class, but in some ways, my job is better — and more exciting. Officers deliver their decisions on a single day, while we work with prospective and admit students for months. We get to watch them fall in love with Yale. Bulldog Days is the natural culmination of our work. There’s nothing like talking to prefrosh over a meal or on a random street corner and seeing their eyes widen and jaws drop when I compare residential colleges to Hogwarts Houses, or when I talk about that interdisciplinary seminar that expertly melds together three or even five seemingly unrelated topics. There’s been a lot of talk recently about how Bulldog Days projects unrealistic, misleading or flat-out untrue ideas of Yale that may end up
damaging incoming freshmen further down the line. While I truly appreciate this perspective and the thoughtfulness of its proponents, I’d have to respectfully disagree with it. I’ll even admit that I was one of the misinformed kids coming into freshman year — I really thought that every club wanted to have me, that anyone could get into any class if they really tried and, perhaps most heartbreakingly, that everyone would always be nice. Even so, it wasn’t too difficult to wrap my head around realities once they sank in — mostly because I found that Yale had many assets that weren’t featured during BDD. Newer clubs, for instance, or smaller departments with equally interesting professors, or less outgoing but fascinatingly kind and talented friends. Prefrosh, if you’re reading this, know that the Admissions Officers
and others involved have worked backbreakingly hard to put on this program for you. It isn’t just to boost our yield rates. I can tell you from firsthand experience that we care about you, and we want you to come to Yale because we think you would contribute positively to campus culture. That’s it, plain and simple. Yes — if you choose to come, there absolutely will still be moments of disappointment, anger, confusion or outright distrust, perhaps sometimes directed specifically at the University administration. And yes, things will change, some for the better, others not so much. Your next four years will be unpredictable, so just make the best decision that you can in this moment. For now, just let the dream live. Contact WESLEY YIIN at firstname.lastname@example.org .
My Dysfunctional Yale Visit
Improv and Cellos
// BY ANDREW KOENIG
During the second night of my Bulldog Days, I endured two hours of an experimental improv comedy show. I’m the kind of girl who cracks up over singing snowmen and other innocent Disney-esque jests. Sarcasm goes over my head 70 percent of the time. But for two excruciating hours, I tried to laugh at people dressed in white rags, screaming, crawling, stabbing and humping. I failed miserably and sat flaring my nostrils and twiddling my thumbs. Some girl was howling the whole time, and at the end of the show, she thanked the actors for how hysterical they were. The prefrosh who dragged me along were also completely entranced. I was more freaked out than entertained and I practically kissed the ground upon exiting that theater. Later, things got a bit better. I met up with Kay, my violinist friend
The first time I came to Yale, I was with both of my brothers, my parents and my grandma. It was May 2008 and my sister was graduating. I don’t remember much of Commencement weekend; it was largely a blur, possibly made blurrier by the unbearable East Coast humidity and the fact that, as a native Angeleno, I was forced to not rely on cars for the first time. But a few memories do stand out. I remember staying with my entire family in Swing Space and going just a little stir crazy. I remember reading “The Scarlet Letter” that weekend, and really coming into my own as a disagreeable teenager. I’m not sure what it was: maybe it was a misguided emulation of the troublemaking, semi-possessed character of Pearl in “The Scarlet Letter,” maybe it was my homebred aversion to walking. Whatever it was, I lost it one day while walking down the street with my family. My brother was picking
// BY AUDREY LUO
on me and I just began whaling on him in the middle of the street, until a Yale policeman accosted me and asked me to stop. My mom thought I was going to be arrested on the spot. That wasn’t the last of my unpromising encounters with Yale. There was also the time I decided to leap frolicsomely into a hammock and then immediately flipped over, banging my head on the wooden base. My mom thought I was literally dead. I can’t exactly say that Yale screamed “perfect fit” after that. Before we left, my mom said, “Try to remember everything you can, because we sure as hell aren’t taking another trip out here for you to visit.” I tried to remember and came up empty except for the minor traumas, but hey, I still ended up here — and things have been uphill ever since.
from music camp who I hadn’t seen in years, and we went to the extracurricular bazaar together. We had fangirled over a Low Strung performance at Woolsey Hall the night before and, as we passed their table in Lanman Center, I half jokingly whispered in her ear, “Cellists are sooooo hot.” Apparently I’m a pretty terrible whisperer because some of the guys stared at us and exchanged smug glances. Coincidentally, the guy I’m now dating is in Low Strung and had heard what I said to Kay — I’m glad he thought I was more cute than scrubby. The awkward days of being a prefrosh may be gone, but my dorkiness remains steadfastly the same. Contact AUDREY LUO at email@example.com .
The Mystery of the Phantom Prefrosh
Contact ANDREW KOENIG at firstname.lastname@example.org .
// BY AARON GERTLER
What I Learned // BY WILL ADAMS Bulldog Days teaches you so many good things. I learned lots of things on my Bulldog Days three years ago. Important, useful things, like what it’s like to have your very first experience with hard alcohol. I was an 18-year-old who, for an undoubtedly irrational reason, feared that he was somehow being watched by administrators from his strict-on-alcohol-related-fronts boarding school 150 miles away. And I learned that staring wide-eyed into the full shot glass would neither make the clear liquid go away, nor make me cool. I also learned that it was like totally not a big deal to be drinking as a pre-frosh — like, whatever, get over yourself, duh. I learned this indirectly, when I saw a friend of mine from the same boarding school vomit into the bushes on High Street. Simple! There are no rules in college! Things are
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different! I learned such good things. The other important thing I learned is that pomegranate vodka tastes neither like pomegranate nor vodka. It tastes like fire. I also learned that, if you have never drunk before, one shot of flavored liquor is enough to make you drunk enough to sit with friends on a blanket in the middle of Old Campus, strumming sing-alongs on a guitar at a freezing two in the morning. I learned so many things then. During the day, I had been dragged to a lecture on environmental technologies in Davies Hall. There, I learned nothing. I left Yale the next morning, brain filled with the fun things I had learned — none of which I could speak of at my strict boarding school. Those things could wait. Contact WILL ADAMS at email@example.com .
// ANNELISA LEINBACH
you know // where it’s at Don’t kid yourself. You’ve been waiting for Ja Rule your whole life.
“The world you desire can be won. It exists. It is real. It is possible. It is yours.” —Ayn Rand
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I had a prefrosh once. Long ago, in the wilds of freshman year. I was practically a prefrosh myself — my eyes were bright, my tail was bushy — but I knew my way around. I loved nothing better than walking the streets of New Haven in the middle of the night, under the light of the full moon, and also under the light of streetlights. I told Yale I wanted to host a fellow born adventurer. When I met the kid, he seemed to fit the bill: Tall, strong, with a grip like steel and the calves of a tennis champion. Turns out he was a tennis champion. I’d swung the racket a bit myself in high school, so we quickly became fast friends. That evening, after he’d enjoyed a long night of singing, improv comedy, IM volleyball, macroeconomics, drinking, vomiting, and all the other classic pursuits of the Yale man, he asked me to show him a secret place. I took him to the Hall of Graduate Studies, where my favorite trapdoor leads to a marvelous view of the Yale Power Plant. We climbed through the roof, admired the view for a while, and talked about the romantic partners we’d left behind. (He was dating his male doubles partner—really, the epitome of a Yale man.) Then I climbed down. I waited a
YSO SEASON FINALE: ALL FRENCH PROGRAM
Contact AARON GERTLER at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Woolsey Hall // 8 p.m.
A lovely interlude to the symphonic melodies of Spring Fling.
minute, expecting that he’d be right behind me. Then another minute. I climbed back up to look for him. But he wasn’t on the roof. I called his cell phone — no answer. I scoured the halls of HGS and howled his name at the moon. I even went to Toad’s to search for him, to no avail. I returned to my room with a cute girl I’d just met, hoping he’d be nestled safely in his sleeping bag. He was not. I didn’t tell Yale I’d lost a prefrosh; as far as I know, they never found out. I scanned the local newspaper in the guy’s hometown, and startled at the sight of a story on a boy who’d gone missing on a college visit. It turned out to be an unrelated case. I called his phone once a week for six months. No answer. Every Bulldog Days since then, as I wander the campus late at night, I’ve heard his voice, floating faintly over the din of the A Capella Showcase. “Aaron? Aaron? Where you at, man?” Then I sprint back to my dorm in panic, never looking behind me, until I’m nestled safely in his sleeping bag, which I’ve kept for myself. It’s a really comfortable sleeping bag.
We hear the south of France is good for that one.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
DRUGS FROM PAGE 3 notions of death and sleeping,” he tells me. “I didn’t see the difference between the two anymore. I just wanted to leave the trip.” What he did leave was his living room — for the hospital, where they covered him in little sensors. There, things got even weirder. “I thought we all shared one brain. I saw the doctors as conglomerations of three or four people that I knew. Every person I’d ever met was a construction, and every single being in the world was connected to me. Here was this new reality I had to deal with.” Dylan tells me. “I remember I turned to the nurse at one point, and was like, ‘I’m so excited.’” “It was the most traumatic experience of my entire life,” Dylan admits. “But in hindsight, it was also one of the most formative and maturing … It’s like someone peeling a layer off the world—you don’t remember what it looked like before.” *** “Acid is my favorite drug,” Madison* laughs. We sit at a small table in the back of Starbucks, where she’s just finished walking me through all the LSD trips she’s taken — around 25, she estimates — since she first dropped acid with her boyfriend and best friend at Spring Fling freshman year. Madison wears a white Oxford shirt and a tan cardigan, and oozes the sort of selfassurance that in any other context might set off my instinctual ‘section asshole’ alarm. In this context, however — Madison’s effect is somewhat different. What it tells me is: This is not the Electric KoolAid Acid Test. There is no “on the bus or off the bus.” It’s Yale. Here, a student who drops acid on Saturday writes a paper on Sunday and interviews for summer internships on Monday. Madison hopes to pursue a career in public health (the only drug she sees as being in particular conflict with this right now is Molly: “It’s a designer drug, so what you’re getting is almost never actually Molly these days”). She can tell me everything there is to know about “set” and “setting” — the idea that one’s mindset and physical setting can make or break a trip — meticulously plans for every time she drops acid, and knows that you should “never, ever” dive into a new batch without first testing how a small amount makes you feel. “I’ve never had a bad trip, and no one’s ever had a bad trip with me,” she tells me. On the fun to introspective scale of LSD experience, Madison sits far left. She uses the drug mainly for concerts, festivals and day adventures — for the “giddy, childlike” sensation that can come from a trip. But even among those on the other end of the spectrum, for whom tripping is a narrative of transformation — expansion, even — she’s not alone in her love of acid. “I think I would like to trip at least every three months, even just for a reflection period,” another student, Olivia*, explains over lunch in Morse, picking up a slice of portobello between her middle finger and thumb and popping it into her mouth. When I ask her about the time commitment — tripping has been framed to me as “kind of like going to Boston for weekend” — she scrunches her face a bit. “I honestly feel like tripping is so productive — it’s not a work versus play thing. So often I’ll come out of a trip with ideas that I’ve never thought of
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before … But it’s not something you can do every week, or even every three weeks,” she says. Often, she explains, it can take a while to digest everything that comes to the surface in a trip. For Zoe, the novelty and departure of an acid trip holds particular appeal. “When I think about why I’m taking drugs,” Zoe tells me, “it’s because I’m interested in an experience that I can get something out of. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful things while on acid, and it’s brought a lot to my life. I look at the world differently after a trip — I keep those things with me.” But especially on a campus where alcohol — and lots of it — tends to be the social norm, logic would suggest LSD to be more in line with a liberal arts education than much of student habit. “I wouldn’t say LSD is good for academics,” Otis tells me. “You can’t write a paper on LSD — it’s just not going to happen. But intellectually? Yeah. I think my professors would be proud of the thoughts I have when I’m tripping.” There’s no way to know, really— but that too seems to be part of the psychedelic experience. At some point, you just have to go with the flow.
three days later — the final note was a peculiar one: Home by bicycle. From 18:00– ca.20:00 most severe crisis. What had happened, of course, between Friday and Monday — what would eventually come to be known as Bicycle Day — was that Hofmann “decided on a self-experiment,” Taking the same leap of faith that generations of acid users would follow, he ingested 250 micrograms of LSD. It was Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, the original. In United States, self-experimentation took place on the back burner LSD came to be the subject of close to a decade of notable clinical psychiatric research, mainly to induce “model psychoses” in otherwise healthy patients in an attempt to study mental illness. The most infamous of this research, started in 1953 under the direction of Dr. Sydney Gottlieb, was Project MKUltra, in which the CIA tested LSD on often nonconsenting human subjects — mental patients, prisoners, and heroin addicts (bribed into participation with more heroin). MKUltra, however, wasn’t brought to the public eye until 1975 — and thus, the dominant narrative among many scientific research-
HERE, A STUDENT WHO DROPS ACID ON SATURDAY WRITES A PAPER ON SUNDAY AND INTERVIEWS FOR SUMMER INTERNSHIPS ON MONDAY.
“We’re always asking ‘What is this? What is this? What is this?’ and coming up with these temporary, functional, predictive answers that condense reality into regular things. The trick of acid,” Dylan tells me, “is it kind of sheers off those associations.” *** I ask my next interview — Rebecca,* a junior — if we can move from Bass Café to Cross Campus. The weather on this particular day — rounding the corner on 70 degrees, sunglasses or squints all around, high chance of toasty skin by dinner time — would be what many have described as perfect for an acid trip. Fittingly, as Rebecca remembers while watching a classmate ride by, it’s also Bicycle Day — April 19, the 61st anniversary of the first intentional ingestion of LSD. Dr. Albert Hofmann, a 37-yearold Swiss chemist working in the pharmaceutical-chemical research laboratory of Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, had his first experience with LSD — Lyserg-saure-diathylamid, as he knew it — nearly five years after he’d first synthesized it and set it aside. As Hofmann later wrote in his memoir “LSD: My Problem Child,” he’d been struck by a “peculiar presentiment … that this substance could possess properties other than those established in the first investigations,” and had set about, one Friday afternoon, to synthesize the drug for a second time. Hofmann was forced to interrupt his work in the midst of a “not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination.” He later realized that he had absorbed the LSD through his fingerprint. In Hofmann’s laboratory journal on the events of April 19, 1943 —
ers was that the eventual surge of medically unsupervised recreational use, or as Hofmann called it, “the huge wave of an inebriant mania that began to spread over the Western world, above all the United States, at the end of the 1950s” was what ultimately transformed LSD into a “problem child.” The irony of this transformation is that it began, in large part, on the campus of the nation’s most elite institutes of higher learning. It was in a café in Paris in 1961, just after Jim Fadiman graduated from Harvard College, that his undergraduate mentor, Richard Alpert, first introduced him to psychedelics. Alpert, an assistant professor of clinical psychology and education, told Fadiman that he had just experienced “the greatest thing in the world,” and offered him psilocybin — the psychedelic compound found in shrooms. “It awakened me to the fact that I was much more than my education,” Fadiman tells me over the phone one afternoon. Fadiman tried LSD for the first time later that year, when he arrived at Stanford for graduate research in clinical psychology on its effects. Fadiman was just one of countless students and faculty members that Alpert and his colleague Dr. Timothy Leary, a lecturer in clinical psychology at Harvard, allegedly introduced to psychedelics between 1960 and 1963. When Harvard President Nathan Pusey terminated their contracts in 1963, he cited Leary’s failure to keep to his teaching schedule as justification. Clearly, the issue was much bigger: in Hofmann’s eyes, “the evolution of LSD from remedy to inebriating drug” was primarily their doing. At Yale, it wasn’t faculty that brought acid to campus — it was
the mid-’60s. In Geoffrey Kabaservice’s The Guardians, Mark Zanger, a then-prominent leader of the radical student group Students for a Democratic Society, recalls, “our class [the class of 1970] arrived and basically marijuana and LSD arrived with us.” That was the fall of 1966, and the drug had already begun to accumulate the cultural baggage of the era. LSD became illegal nationwide in October. In a December 1967 interview, University President Kingman Brewster told News Friday he thought of LSD use as “the signal of a need for psychiatric treatment … and in some cases, institutionalization. If any friend or relative of mine were using LSD,” he added, “I’d be very worried about it.” By the time ’60s student counterculture had run its course on University campuses — culminating in 1969 student riots nationwide — LSD had come to be virtually synonymous with the decade’s trauma. In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act classified it as a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use,” effectively strangling all further laboratory and clinical trials for the next 40 years. “From the late ’60s and early 7’0s until the ’90s, there was no research done whatsoever on human subjects in this country with psychedelics because of all the political and cultural turmoil. It had become too politicized,” says Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. Grob has been part of the scientific vanguard venturing back into kaleidoscopic terrain within the past decade, shedding light on the therapeutic potential of a psychedelic-assisted treatment model using drugs such as psilocybin, MDMA and ayahuasca for conditions ranging from chronic alcoholism to PTSD and obsessive compulsive disorder. Grob recently submitted for publication a study demonstrating psilocybin as an effective treatment against anxiety in advanced-stage cancer patients. Still, he is quick to point out that he doesn’t conduct research on LSD, and in a 2012 article in The New York Times, referred to himself as “anti-Leary.” “LSD continues to carry strong cultural and political associations from the ’60s that really make it much harder to do careful, objective scientific research,” Grob explains — but something tells me objectivity isn’t the whole story. His disclaimer is symptomatic of a scientific community haunted by what Dr. Peter Addy calls “a serious social stigma towards LSD. No one wants to go near it,” he says. In fact, there has only been one published study using LSD on human subjects in the past 40 years, and it came out just last month. Though the study was largely funded by the U.S.-based Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies and mirrored projects on neardeath patients like that of Grob, it was ultimately conducted by Swiss researcher, Dr. Peter Gasser, in Switzerland, at least partly due to the salient bureaucratic barriers to LSD research that remain to this day in the U.S. In fact, Grob, Addy, Fadiman, and Brad Burge — of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies — were all sure to ask about my findings on student LSD use at Yale when we spoke. As researchers whose funding and reception is tied to public perception, they have
RECITAL: SARA COUDEN, MEZZOSOPRANO
*name changed for anonymity. Contact KATY OSBORN at email@example.com .
Sprague Memorial Hall // 8 p.m.
Make it a full day of music.
a vested interest in discouraging the “problematic model” of psychedelic use that arose in the ’60s — a model that saw these drugs taken in dosages of several hundred micrograms at once (much higher than the average today), often in combination with drugs and alcohol. “There’s a clear difference between this recreational model and administering a drug in a controlled research or treatment setting,” Grob points out. Burge, to whom I mention that students have pointed to the recently published MAPS study as evidence for the therapeutic nature of LSD, follows this with another crucial caveat: “It’s not LSD that’s doing the therapeutic work. This is LSD-assisted psychotherapy.” Of course, no institution has so vested an interest in student LSD use as Yale itself. By this logic, it’s hard not to question a campuswide email from administrators — not unlike the emails I get from my dad — that corrals heroin, cocaine and LSD into a single sentence. It’s similarly hard not to marvel at the Director of Yale Health, Paul Genecin, who addressed my four questions on this “important topic” in a total of no more than 50 words, most substantially: “These are all illegal substances used for recreational rather than therapeutic purposes, all with significant risks to the user’s health.” Jim Fadiman compared this sort of approach to preaching abstinence over sex education: naïve at best — and more likely, destructive. “Once you’ve smoked a joint one time and you realize it’s fine, and you take MDMA one time and you realize it’s fine, there’s really no reason for you to believe anything anymore,” Zoe says of this. “Especially at an elite University like Yale, there’s a great deal of pressure, culturally and financially speaking, for administrators to squeeze drug use under the rug or cast out students who do use them; to either blow it out of proportion or pretend it’s not happening,” Burge, who graduated from Stanford in 2005, points out. “A much better policy, in my view, is to have an open door for that kind of thing — to be able to host confrontations openly and publicly about drug use, and about psychedelic use. No matter how elite a University gets, people will use drugs.” Charlotte,* sitting in my living room on a Saturday afternoon, tells me as much. Following a recent encounter with Yale’s Executive Committee, she’s been attending counseling for substance abuse at Yale Health. “At first, I guess I was a bit annoyed,” she admits. “My counselor seemed kind of pedantic and moralizing when I would talk about my drug use. She kept talking about the risks I was taking in using LSD, and ultimately, I had to concede that she was right. But at that point, there was still a difference in what we valued.” Her experience speaks to a problem I’ve been circling as I write this piece: the way in which Yale students, administrators, professors and parents speak, think and read about LSD are hardly in the same language, let alone on the same wavelength. “Eventually, she asked me, ‘Would it help you if I told you what I’m thinking?’” “And I said, ‘Yeah. Yes, it would.’”
Falling in love
Try it — it’s pretty wonderful.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
W AR D BY ANDREW KOENIG Inside of the Jonathan Edwards College Press, woodblocks are laid in piles that spill onto the counter and against the wall. They are woodblocks carved by students from ages past, accumulated there for future viewing and use. The images range from the JE-themed — spiders and busts of the college’s namesake — to coats of arms, cartoons, damsels in distress, mill wheels and monks at their books of hours. Scattered across the counter on which the woodblocks sit are blueprints for an architecture project that Pablo Ponce de Leon ’16 is working on; he stops to erase a stray mark or straighten a line when he has a moment, taking a break from his main job: monitoring the press. As student manager, Ponce de Leon spends at least six working hours in the facility per week, and often many more completing various projects, for his own pleasure or on assignment from JE. He gives a sneak peek of his most recent job: coasters advertising JE’s formal Spider Ball dance. They are tickets-turned-keepsakes, crafted with an attention to detail and refined over the course of a long, many-step process. Ponce de Leon shows me the design, a bust portrait of Jonathan Edwards framed by the time and location of Spider Ball. “This is always hard,” he explains, “because people are always saying, ‘Well, what’s it going to look like?’ And you can never give them a proof.” To make the coasters, he picks out his preferred type — sans serif and unlabeled. He sets the type along with the woodblock image of Jonathan Edwards in a metal frame called a “chase,” surrounding the design with wooden blocks called “furniture” as well as “coins,” rectangular pieces of metal tightened to hold everything stiff. As a check, Ponce de Leon lifts the chase and shakes it to make sure nothing falls out. Nothing does. Then, he dabs some ink onto the circular plate of the press he’s about to use and starts pedaling the foot-operated treadle. This causes a wheel with curved spokes to spin, powering rollers that pass over the plate and eventually become soaked in ink. Once the rollers are inked, Ponce de Leon is ready to slot in the chase. He starts treadling; the rollers ink the design in the chase. At the propitious moment, he pulls back a lever, which lifts the chase until the ink-moistened design presses down, just kisses the coaster and leaves an impression. He surveys the coaster and makes adjustments. First, he has to remove the “make-ready” — pieces of paper ordinarily used to mount the printable surface. The coasters are already thick pieces of stationery, so if they’re mounted too high, the set type and wood-
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block will crunch against them and they’ll crack. Next comes the ink. The coasters are to be printed in two colors — “metallic, because I always like to use metallic” and “this green verging on black, more representative of JE’s colors.” This means that Ponce de Leon will actually have to perform the process in two rounds, once with the dark ink, once with the metallic, letting the coasters dry in between. It’s a painstaking and prolonged sequence, but Ponce de Leon derives pleasure from this gradual refinement. The process is filled with false starts, creative solutions and minor adjustments. It keeps him on his toes. Because every session involves setup and cleanup as well as the print job itself, letterpress printing requires big blocks of time. It doesn’t lend itself to shortcuts. “There are tricks you pick up,” Ponce de Leon says, “but there’s no secret you unlock to printing. The secret is: you try a lot; you don’t give up; you seek perfection; and eventually, if you persevere, you will get a good print.” *** Over 40 years ago, graphic designer Lance Hidy ’68 learned the same hard-earned lessons as Ponce de Leon in the JE press. Things were a little different back then. Sometimes Hidy would stay in the press until three in the morning, only stopping when people in the dorms above complained about the noisy vibrations from below. Other than that, he says, “There were no rules at all. Not a single one.” This lack of regulation brought with it not only freedom but also abuses. According to Hidy, many students used to print commercially without permission from the residential colleges, out-competing licensed businesses in New Haven that had to comply with tax and sales law. “Many of them were illegally printing postcards and posters for the Yale Political Union and other student organizations, and they charged fees that were cheaper [than those of commercial printers],” says Hidy. “Some of them were pretty savvy businessmen, making thousands of dollars per semester illegally from the printing presses.” The rules of the game have changed. Letterpress printing is no longer commercially viable or lucrative the way it once was — now the hobby is more aesthetic, dependent on love of the craft. Compliance with regulations is a must today. Students are no longer allowed to stay in the presses past midnight. They must wear long pants and close-toed shoes, and may only print when someone else is present. After the tragic death of Michele Dufault ’11, who perished while working in a Sterling Laboratory metal shop several years ago, the University has tightened safety
WHC Auditorium // 7:00 p.m. We can hear the soundtrack now.
regulations for press facilities. This has meant the covering-up of exposed gears, increased supervision and stricter hours. Nate Gibbons, print master of Branford, believes these measures are necessary and often beneficial. “Our relationship with the Safety Office is terrific,” he says. “I’ve implemented just about everything they’ve suggested.” Newer environmental measures have similarly signaled a change from the wild and wooly days of letterpress printing in the ’60s and ’70s. “We don’t sweep stuff up anymore because it gets lead dust in the air; now we use a vacuum,” says Gibbons. “The inks and solvents we use now are much more environmentally friendly; they’re not green, but they’re better than what they were.”
of digital media in the ’80s and ’90s, as well as competition cheap large-scale printers like Tyco, inhouse printing in the colleges was crowded out. Now, however, the meticulous craft has experienced a resurgence, thanks to causes both general and specific to Yale. According to Rose, Yale’s bibliophilia, relish for tradition and storied history of craftsmanship have made it a haven for the book arts. “There’s a love of the book here,” he says, “and that’s something that exists across departments.” Such devotion to the physical text resonates with a larger phenomenon of cultural nostalgia. Ponce de Leon attributes the fact that press culture “is picking up” to a general hearkening back to the authentic, the handmade and the irreplicable in an era
“THE FERVOR FOR HAND-PRINTING AT YALE GOES IN CYCLES.” RICHARD ROSE, JE FELLOW
Within this safer, more bureaucratized atmosphere, the tradition of letterpress printing endures. It has drawn a small but devoted cohort of practitioners like Ponce de Leon, many of them trained by residential college fellows in onsite workshops. Now, workshops are offered in the press rooms of Branford, JE and Davenport-Pierson. When letterpress printing at Yale was in its heyday, 11 residential colleges had fully operational letterpresses. Now, only the three mentioned are still active. But even though the number of letterpresses on campus has dwindled in objective terms, the facilities have benefitted from consolidation. For instance, the Gaudi press that Ponce de Leon often prints on now once belonged to Trumbull College. After Trumbull shuttered its print shop, JE acquired the highquality and historic press. Richard Rose, a JE fellow who regularly teaches students how to use the press, believes this trend towards consolidation actually foretells renewed vigor. “I think there’s a kind of distillation,” he says. “Rather than one college having a press that rarely gets used, by having a few college presses, things have become more focused.” Moreover, Rose thinks the presses are experiencing an upswing in popularity. “The fervor for hand-printing at Yale,” he says, “goes in cycles. There are periods where it’s very, very popular, and there are periods when it’s less so. I must say, in the past five or seven years it’s been very popular and attractive to students from many different disciplines.” For a while it seemed as if handprinting at Yale, which thrived in the late ’60s and in the ’70s, had had its day. After the influx
saturated with digital media. Within residential colleges as well, measures have been taken to keep the flame alive. Around 15 years ago, Yale enlisted the help of Gibbons to resurrect letterpresses that had fallen into disuse. Although restart attempts in Berkeley and Silliman failed, Branford has kept its renewed press alive. Now, Gibbons regularly offers workshops on letterpress printing to Branford students. It’s a victory, albeit a small one. *** Hunter Ford ’15 pursued a similar goal of revivification in the book arts — but for him, it was bookbinding that was calling out for attention. Two years ago, Davenport College’s bookbindery was closed and Silliman was in the process of shuttering its own bookbindery. At the prompting of the Davenport Master Richard Schottenfeld, Ford took the initiative to reopen the Davenport bookbindery, later turning his sights to Silliman. At first, Ford had trouble maintaining student interest. He taught a small class of six to eight whose numbers declined as the year progressed. It wasn’t a promising start. Now his Guild of Bookmakers workshops regularly draw between 10 and 40 students. Students have bound things from Moleskinestyle journals to a copy of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” bound in stingray leather. To date, the Guild of Bookmakers has offered 40 workshops; in the second semester of last year alone, students bound over 20,000 pages. The bookbindery is often not sufficient to accommodate all the students who attend the Guild’s sessions. The once-neglected bookbindery is now thrumming with activ-
// LANCE HIDY
If only we could print WEEKEND like this. ity, and Ford often stays there late into the night supervising students who want to finish their projects in one go. Part of the appeal of bookbinding, Ford explains, is this very ability to do things in one fell swoop. Students can spend one six-hour block binding their book during one of the Guild’s seminars, and never bind another book during their time at Yale. The workshops, Ford explains, are tailored to a stop-and-go approach. “The Yale Guild of Bookmakers does not have a set curriculum,” he says. “You come to any one of our workshops, and you can do whatever it is you like to do. You can pick up where you left off, start something new, and you don’t have to work on one type of book.” Bookbinding differs in this from letterpress printing, which often requires multiple visits, consistent workshop attendance and a greater level of commitment. The materials for bookbinding aren’t as messy — glue, razor blades and leather instead of ink, rags and solvents — and the structure of workshops is more flexible. At bottom, however, both bookbinding and letterpress printing share this: They demand that students slow down and work with their hands. In an atmosphere as frenetic as Yale’s, this is at once a draw and a deterrent. Rose thinks this change in pace isn’t “a hindrance, but it often takes some adjustment on a student’s part to understand that the clock slows down” in the press. “But that’s important,” he adds. “This dance between hand and eye and brain is often very slow, and there’s great value in that.” Like Ford in the bookbinding community, letterpress enthusiasts express a desire to share what some consider an obsolete craft with students who may never have the chance to practice it otherwise. Gibbons says, “I am happy to share my knowledge with 18–24 kids a year, even if they don’t print another thing in their life. They’ve learned something unusual, and they have tangible evidence and something they can show their parents, their friends.” One of the great parts about Yale, he says, is its deep stores of arcana, its venerated traditions of craftsmanship that have largely vanished from the wider culture. But tradition alone is not enough: it is the adaptability of the book arts, their continued appeal for students like Ponce de Leon and Ford, and Yale’s mindful support that will ensure a home for letterpress printing and bookbinding on campus. Contact ANDREW KOENIG at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Catching up on Scandal
Then you’ll feel safe going on Facebook on Friday mornings.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
Retrospective to the Max Three years. Thirty columns. Four cycles of YDN editors. Hours on hours of writing and movie watching. Now I’m graduating with two senior projects, post-grad prospects on a film set in New London, and a lifetime’s worth of memories. So what do I possibly write about last? I could do another film review. I could pick some theme I noticed in some film I saw a month ago, and then write about it for another 600 words. Or I could just pontificate. I started this column because I love movies. I also love novels. But when you go to a place like this, doing things you love becomes harder than you think. Luckily, watching a movie is relatively easy to digest, though like any other medium of expression, it has the capacity to become truly fine art. It depends on how seriously the filmmaker takes his or her own work, and on how seriously we regard it. With any film, we have to ask ourselves what we’re watching, and why
MICHAEL LOMAX CINEMA TO THE MAX we care. Think about it for a moment. Why do we watch movies? Why do we read books? Why do we go to the theatre? For most of us, the answer is simple: because we love stories. And I love thinking about stories. The best artists try to make money daydreaming. I understand that very well. But I also go to Yale. I am surrounded by incredibly ambitious people who all have incredible things lined up for them. I’m not saying I’m a chump, but I just want to write novels and make movies. I believe in art’s objective to make rational what is an irrational world. But I also believe that social activism and
those similar avenues my peers travel down is probably more valid. The world needs leaders who care about people, and my generation — across every university in this country — is up to answering the call. But not necessarily me. I’m a dreamer, and I want to express these dreams to people. Hopefully, if I get enough experience under my belt, and I keep growing and maturing and working at my craft, I can do just that. Oscars, million-dollar options, Pulitzer Prizes and speaking gigs at places just like this — of course I want those things. Like I said, I’m not a chump with chump dreams. But that’s not the most important thing to me. Honestly, accolades shouldn’t be all that important to anyone. It’s the fulfillment of your need to tell stories that really counts. Great filmmakers do what they do because they have to. They are consumed by stray images and moments that linger on the edge of an otherwise
calm mind — disrupting it, throwing it all out of focus. I started writing “Cinema to the Max” as an extension of this idea. I loved film too much. I had to write about it. I had to let people know what I liked and what I didn’t. Even if I’d never had a single reader, I’d keep at this thing.
I BELIEVE IN ART’S OBJECTIVE TO MAKE RATIONAL WHAT IS AN IRRATIONAL WORLD. Transitioning1now into the field itself is at once dangerous and alluring. Thousands jump into the market year after year — each and every one of them hoping for that elusive big break. All of them hoping for that single opportunity that will throw their years of disaster
and clusterfuck into relief. But so few actually find it. Most give up. Others trudge onwards, and after a while, they attain some measure of success. They learn from every mistake they inevitably make. They keep an eye to tomorrow, while never forgetting to enjoy the now. They follow what they love and what makes them happy. They stand stubbornly strong against all aggression. They believe that if they stay committed, satisfaction is just around the corner. So if you’re out there fighting that good fight, take solace in knowing you’re not alone. I hope my columns these last three years have made you think and, more importantly, smile. Now keep doing your thing. Keep striving forward. There will always be a bountiful world out there for all us hungry souls. And I’ll be waiting for you there. Contact MICHAEL LOMAX at email@example.com .
Living La Vie En Rosé With the last of my Yale days on the horizon, and as my nostalgic side becomes ever more persistent, I’m beginning to seek comfort in one refreshing indulgence I know will satisfy me through summer: rosé. My boss calls rosé “quaffing wine,” meaning you can gulp down a glass as easily as lemonade in August. Come Sunday, if you’re still not ready to hit the books after Spring Fling, consider keeping the party going with rosé — a personal favorite that will surely go down easier than the PBR or Dubra shots we’ll all inevitably imbibe tomorrow. There are a number of ways rosé can be made. The simplest method is to just mix red and white wine together. But, no serious winemaker produces rosé in this fashion. In fact, this technique is illegal in France, except for in Champagne, where it still remains highly discouraged. Most quality rosés are created in a process that essentially resembles truncated red wine production. Wine gets its color from grape skins. In theory, all red grapes can produce white wine (but the reverse is not true). To make red wine, after the grapes are pressed, the juice, along with skins, pulp, seeds and sometimes stems are placed into either stainless steel tanks or wooden vats. This stew of crushed grapes is known as the must, and its solid part is more specifically called the pomace. While fermentation gets going, the soaking skins loosen their pigments and release them into the must, in a process called maceration. A winemaker creates rosé through shortening maceration to typically a day or less, whereas it may continue in red wine production for days or even weeks. From here forward, rosé is treated like a crisp white wine, predominately fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, rather than oak. Tonight, my friends and I are popping open two bottles of rosé — one French, the other Spanish. In France’s southwestern corner, Provence has long been regarded as a Mediterranean haven for artists and surfers alike. But, it can also be considered the international capital of rosé, where the pink treat accounts for over half of all wine production. Provençal rosé is typically comprised of a blend of Rhône, Mediterranean and international grape varieties, and is often sold in whimsically shaped bottles. It pairs famously well with the rustic, herbaceous and garlicky seafood dishes of the region.
BRYCE WIATRAK WINESDAY Château du Rouët’s “Couer Estérelle” 2012 is quintessential Provençal rosé. A traditional blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault, this light salmon-colored wine opens with a bouquet of wild strawberries, torn basil and lavender. On the tongue, it reveals flavors of lemon zest, rosemary, Jolly Ranchers and Bing cherries, sliced open with lightning acidity. Finishing with a surprising hint of burnt crème brûlée crust, the Coeur Estérelle is a light, refreshing rosé destined for poolside sipping. Our second rosé this evening, a 2013 from producer Sierra Cantabria, comes from Spain’s most celebrated region — Rioja. Best known for fiery, masculine red wines made from Tempranillo, in this rosé Rioja’s star grape takes a supporting role. Garnacha, as Spaniards call Grenache, steps into the spotlight alongside white grape Viura to assemble this sumptuous rosé. The Sierra Cantabria has a deeper pink hue than the Coeur Estérelle, matched by a fuller body. With aromas of freshly picked berries and garden herbs on the nose, this lush rosé tastes of watermelon, pomegranate and strawberries and cream, balanced with a mouthwatering acidity expressed through notes of grapefruit and lime. Beyond simply being delicious, rosé has the added benefit of being cheap. Both these bottles retail at $13, making them serious bang for your buck. But be careful — with rosé’s low price in combination with its supreme “quaffability,” this baby will creep up on you. Here’s to a rosé-filled reading week! Both the Château du Rouët “Coeur Estérelle” 2012 (Côtes de Provence, France) $13 and the Sierra Cantabria “Rosé” 2013 (Rioja, Spain) $13 are available for purchase at The Wine Thief (181 Crown St., New Haven). Contact BRYCE WIATRAK at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Hello Goodbye Someone asked me recently how I go about writing these little columns. I had to stop for a minute to pick my jaw up off the pavement, where it had plunged at the thought that anyone actually reads my bratty ramblings. Once I’d dusted it off, I wasn’t sure quite how to answer. I was flattered, but also embarrassed, given that I’m currently writing this in a toilet stall in HGS. I know, I know, it sounds bad. I don’t know if any other hardhitting journalists have ever drafted their copy from a diaper-changing table, but I can’t imagine that it’s a fertile breeding ground for Pulitzers. Personally, I blame the prefrosh. They’re spreading all over this campus, like some sort of infectious rash. It started this afternoon in the Law Library, where I was in a cold sweat, try-
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ELEANOR MICHOTTE CRIT FROM THE BRIT ing to bash out a paper proposal. Suddenly, a whole group of young things apparated into my reading room, followed by a loud man in a fleece, who seemed to be giving them a tour. I for one did not appreciate this. I was even less happy when the group started taking pictures of themselves jumping, High School Musical-style, by the circulation desk. This was the last straw. Desperate, I relocated to the HGS common room, where, no sooner had I laid out my books, taken out my charger,
Instagrammed a scone, eaten the scone, than another gaggle of them materialized. This time, a particularly confident one made a beeline for the piano, where he treated us to three dissonant masterpieces and showed no signs of ever taking his gifts elsewhere. After 15 minutes, I made for the only locked door around. So here I am, typing to the beat of repeated flushing, and the occasional spritz of Febreeze. For the record, I do think it’s fantastic that the little ones get to spend some time on campus. I too was once thrilled to be given a little drawstring bag and go to little open houses. I’m just grouchy about Bulldog Days this year because it feels jarring in the last week of classes. Everything’s winding down, and all those earnest high school faces
are here, taking notes. They’re excited for a new beginning, and it’s running against the grain of all these last lectures, term paper apocalypses, and seniors riding off into the sunset. Today, the guy sitting next to me recorded my professor’s goodbye, because he wanted to remember his last class ever. On his other side was a prefrosh, nonplussed. Not, I should add, that that’s my sunset. Lucky old me is still a jaded junior. But this is the first year that I’ve felt attached to a sizeable chunk of folks getting ready to fly the nest. And the sense that things are coming to a close for them has been contagious. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been watching them all slowly gather up the pieces of their Yale life, as if it were a picnic blanket as the sun goes
down. I’ve seen them draw in its edges, shake out its crumbs, and pack up the leftovers to carry home.
HERE’S WHAT I KNOW: IT’S ODDLY BITTERSWEET TO BE STAYING BEHIND. That’s their story to tell. Here’s what I know: It’s oddly bittersweet to be staying behind. Those of us who aren’t seniors will live out this chapter a little while longer. But all those supporting characters — teammates, lab partners, section assholes, crushes — are dropping off the page.
YALE SPRINGTIME INVITATIONAL
Contact ELEANOR MICHOTTE at email@example.com .
DEW CUYL // all-day
A day at the races.
For a while now, I’ve designed costumes for shows. It’s all fun and games until one particular moment, right when the run has just finished. As the cast goes out to greet the audience, I head backstage to clean up the dressing room. I walk in, and for the first time in weeks, it’s so quiet. The costumes are just clothes, now, in empty piles where the actors shrugged them off. The makeup is open, the safety pins scattered. Everything’s ready for the next performance, but the set is already coming down. Anyway, this romantic toilet setting is making me sentimental. Seniors, it’s been a pleasure. Feel free to boot that prefrosh off the piano bench on your way out.
Remember what it feels like to do this for fun.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
INTO THE PAGES OF THE PAST // BY CHLOE TSANG
If I were to look back on my childhood and try to write a story about it, I’d probably write myself as both the heroine and the villain. Memories are a funny thing — on the surface, they claim to be objective truths about past events. “Harold,” a student-made silent film that screened alongside a live opera this past Sunday, challenges this notion. As the lines between imagination and memory in the film begin to blur, we are given a fantastical reconstruction of the past that feels more real than either of those things could ever be on their own. We learn that memories are complex, subjective and prone to manipulation. The room is pitch black as I make my way into Sudler Hall for the 13-minute performance, the brainchild of Jordan Plotner ’17, Gian-Paul Bergeron ’17 and John Chirikjian ’17. The choir silently makes their way on stage. For the first 30 seconds of the film, there is nothing but darkness. Then, the singing ensemble begins
whispering and murmuring, gradually growing louder and more cacophonous. Suddenly, it gets quiet. I turn my attention to the film just as the voices stop and Harold wakes up. Our first introduction to the film’s protagonist and namesake (Marc Cameron, voiced by Michael Protacio ’13+1) is far from extraordinary. Adult Harold is a middle-aged man who goes through the same, monotonous schedule every day: He wakes up, eats, scribbles in his journal and visits the local library, where a single children’s book serves as the portal to his childhood. One day, the book goes missing, and we watch as Harold grapples with the confusions and regrets of his past. What follows is a series of intricate temporal shifts interweaving the present with both real and imagined flashbacks. As a child, Young Harold (Hunter Taylor) witnesses his mother (Michelle McGregor DRA ’14; voiced by Abby Snei-
der ’17) engage in an extramarital affair. He remembers the suitor (Otis Blum ’15, voiced by Julian Hornik ’17) as an evil figure constantly lurking in the shadows, although the blackand-white flashbacks reveal that he likely isn’t as wicked as Harold believes him to be. While the vacillation between the present, past and “pseudo-past” can get complicated, it aptly communicates Harold’s struggle with being at the crossroads of imagination and reality. This internal conflict is powerfully executed through the film’s spot-on casting choices. Finding a little boy and a middle-aged man to star in “Harold” posed a challenge for the creators, who took to the streets of New Haven and the pages of the World Wide Web to find their actors. Plotner found his Young Harold in the New Haven Free Public Library; Cameron signed on to the role after responding to the production’s Craigslist ad. Despite these unconven-
tional methods, the Harolds of the film are perfectly cast. With his blond hair, piercing eyes and cherubic face, Taylor is the very image of a delicate, innocent child caught up in his own imagination. Meanwhile, Cameron is exactly how I’d imagine Adult Harold — though he is older and physically worn out, there is a youthful spirit about him that shines through when he reads his book. In the film’s most climactic moment, imagination and reality collide as Teen Harold (Will Viederman ’17) finds himself in the middle of a confrontation between his father (Jonathan Adler ’17) and his mother’s suitor. We are transported to a surreal cemetery scene in which Teen Harold sits by the two men as a dramatic fight unfolds between them. Eventually, Harold walks away without a word. In later attempts to reconcile with his mother, she remains distant and unmoved. As she sits on the edge of her bed and away
from Harold, the choir sings “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always,” a painful and ironic reminder of the pair’s damaged relationship. This line, perhaps the most important one of the film, is hauntingly resonant. The film’s emotions and storyline are effectively conveyed by its operatic accompaniment. The clarity of Protacio’s voice evokes Harold’s childlike innocence; as a soprano, Sneider sings in the nurturing tone of a mother. While Hornik’s sound is not as traditionally operatic as that of the other singers, he succeeds in portraying the duplicity of the suitor’s character. His performance is a transformative one, as he artfully alternates between a suitor who is men-
acing and one who is harmless, between perpetrator and victim. Upon leaving the performance, I found myself looking back on my childhood and questioning the validity of my own memories. “Harold” is a modern fairy tale in its own right. The film masterfully places the intricacy of memory in conversation with the purity and innocence of a child’s imagination. Meanwhile, the opera’s storybook-inspired lyrics are charming and powerful — at the heart of their simplicity is an emotional complexity that leaves audience members yearning to return to their youth. Contact CHLOE TSANG at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Beaten Path to “Acceptance” // BY CORYNA OGUNSEITAN
“Acceptance” is in many ways an archetypical movie. The highpressure prep school environment, the nerds who want to be cool but aren’t, the girl who can make said nerd look cool by holding his hand — all clichés of the high school drama. However, what makes this film unusual and therefore interesting is the fact that the protagonist, Rohan Patel, doesn’t gain “acceptance” into his school’s highest social circle through merit. Instead, he lies. The film, then, is not another narrative of a lovably flawed main character working his way to the top. It chronicles Rohan’s introspective journey towards discovering the meaning of true acceptance. Created over the course of three years by Ryan Chan ’15 (director, producer and writer), the film
S U N D AY APRIL 27
is inspired by his and co-writer Vishnu Hari’s high school experiences. During their own admissions cycle, Hari lied to Chan about being admitted to Harvard, and the stressful academic environment depicted in the film is strongly influenced by both Chan and Hari’s memories of their highly competitive international high schools. Rohan learns at the beginning of the film that he has been rejected from every Ivy League school except Harvard, because the Harvard decision date has been delayed. Given the mindset surrounding college application season, this is in many ways traumatic, particularly for students at his top-tier high school in Singapore. Rohan is made so insecure by his classmates’ obnoxious “X Uni-
versity Class of ’14” Facebook statuses that he decides to falsify one of his own, to Harvard. He wears a Harvard sweater to school the next day — and voilà! — he is invited to parties with the cool kids and dances with the most popular girl at school. The film’s premise and execution lack some nuance. In his unprecedented social ascension, Rohan predictably leaves behind his equally lovable roommate and sidekick, Hyo, demonstrating his lack of appreciation for what is revealed to be the truest kind of acceptance — the acceptance of a best friend. The dialogue is stilted and unnatural at certain times, such as when the characters curse. When Rohan is clubbing with the cool kids, the stock bully approaches him and says, “This is
a place for fucking. I’m gonna fuck you.” What he means by fuck, we will never know. The purpose of these scenes, I imagine, is to make apparent the characters’ staged ambivalence, but they come across as a heavy-handed attempt to remind the audience that they are, in fact, teenagers. The drama of Rohan’s rise in popularity borders on the inconceivable. The moment Rohan reveals at school that he’s been accepted to Harvard, a classmate he does not appear to know invites him to a party that night. (It’s a Tuesday.) At the club, an attractive girl named Amber wordlessly approaches and begins dancing with. At school the next morning, they’re seen holding hands. While it clear that the two share a romantic relationship, Amber says
I was upfront about my rejection.” His honesty represents a group of students, who in the face of failure, are nonetheless secure in themselves. As they each overcome the pressures of college decisions, the students’ shared humanity is revealed. While the film is beautifully shot and successfully emulates the aesthetic of a private, academically rigorous high school, in the creation of this aesthetic it relies heavily on well-worn tropes. Nevertheless, “Acceptance” is an enjoyable viewing experience, rife with nostalgia and humor. It will no doubt bring audiences back to their transformative adolescent years. Contact CORYNA OGUNSEITAN at email@example.com .
YCBA // 2–3:30 p.m. “Music inspired by the poetry of Alexander Pope.” Also, the title is just “concert.”
little over the course of the film, leading him silently from party to party. The film does, however, poignantly highlight the psyche and attitudes of second-semester seniors. Each character’s vulnerabilities are well illustrated, regardless of whether they have been accepted to their school of choice. Hyo, who is initially admitted to Cornell, develops a painfully uneasy — and entirely convincing — relationship with Rohan. As the only person privy to Rohan’s deception, Hyo is placed in the uncomfortable position of triumphing over his best friend in the college admissions game. The aforementioned bully character, who isn’t admitted to any Ivy League school, retorts at Rohan upon learning the truth, “At least
It’s surprisingly easy to forget.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 · yaledailynews.com
A TEASPOON FULL OF FOLK // BY MADELINE DUFF
Q. So what’s the story behind your band name, The Teaspoons? Tommy Bazarian. Want to do it? Lauren Tronick. You can do it. TB. So the Teaspoons were founded two summers ago when Lauren, Jenner, Jacob Paul, a former member of the group who just graduated, wanted to go on a summer tour and play some folk music out west — so, we did! And we needed a name and we’re all in Tangled Up in Blue together. Our friend, Rav Shapiro (also a TUIB alum) observed that we, the Teaspoons, were a TUIB side project. He abbreviated that to TSP, so, the Teaspoons. Really a very clear story! And it stuck. Q. So you all really came together through TUIB? LT. Yes. We all met through TUIB and then the band just really happened because we wanted to go on tour and play originals. We played up and down the coast of California and went to the Grand Canyon and Vegas, which was hilarious … and then it kind of stuck when we got back to campus. TB. Before our sophomore year, it was really just a bluegrass/folk quartet. Then we added Ethan Schneider and Hans Bilger on drums and bass that spring. LT. And then Jacob left, so now it’s just the five of us. But then it was so special because he came back and recorded with us. So, all six of us are on the album. Jacob even also helped produce and plays trumpet. Q. What are the other most exciting places you guys have performed? TB. California was the only big tour we’ve done. LT. We literally were on the Vegas
strip and it was nighttime and everyone around us was doing crazy things and we just kind of stopped in the middle of the street and sang, which was really so neat. TB. We sang a cappella. LT. We also played with this awesome family in Stamford. We do their Christmas parties. The Yale Farm? That’s pretty exotic! Q. When did you guys perform at the Yale Farm? TB. At the pig roast last spring! LT. We did Koffee?… TB. Lauren and I also played at Chocolate Maya… LT. Oh and we did the block party and at the beginning of this year had an awesome show in the backyard of 28 Lynwood, which is kind of our home base because Jenner and Tommy live there and sometimes we rehearse there. Q. Is there one place on campus where you’d want to perform but haven’t? LT. Woolsey! TB. Yeah, Woolsey! LT. Battell… Q. What about your dream place to go on tour again? LT. Anywhere! Q. How about your recent recording process? What has that been like? TB. We recorded in a very short amount of time. It’s really hard to get everybody together. We decided to block off two days: this past Saturday and Sunday. LT. This has basically been two years in the making. We’ve been trying to record for so long and finally at the beginning of the semester we just thought, “All
right! We’re doing this. We’re going to raise money and we’re going to have something to record once we’re done. Ethan and Jenner are graduating and I think that’s probably going to be the grand finale for the group. We wanted to celebrate with something concrete that we could keep. TB. We did an [Indiegogo fundraiser]. Our amazing friends and family contributed. LT. You know how you have to do those promo videos? Ours was fantastically awkward. But so many people donated. It was so unreal. TB. We broke our goal and got even more money, which we ended up needing. We ended up using the extra money to book the place we recorded, Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, for two ten-hour days. It was a crazy short timeframe. We were planning to do a six or seven song EP, but we ended up getting thirteen songs totally done in two days. We were also planning on coming back to campus to touch it up and do vocals, but we finished the whole thing. It was crazy! A magical whirlwind of stuff. LT. It was one of the best musical experiences I’ve ever had. Q. What made the recording session particularly special? LT. It’s so rare that you spend ten straight hours intensely focusing on one thing. You spend all this energy but you’re just so focused. You’re just in this headspace that continues for ten hours. It’s also something that you love doing. You just want it to be better and improve and play with everyone. We were all so well rehearsed. TB. We just tried to bring the best energy we could. There are a lot of different ways to record. You
can do tracking-based recording where everyone records his or her part individually and then you later them. What we tried to do, since we’re a live band and that’s what we’ve always played and we weren’t really used to recording, was do as much as we could live at the same time. The first day we did a lot live since the studio had amazing capabilities to record that. The second day we did a “second wave” of overdubs and violin. Then for the last three hours we did a ton of vocals. It was kind of three “waves” of live performance. LT. I would listen and I would hear what had been recorded so far. It would guitar maybe or drums or bass or sometimes mandolin and then I would either play fiddle over it or sing over it. Sometimes it’s hard to record a song since we’re so used to playing live. It was so funny because say for a song Tommy or Jenner sings, they can’t sing their part while they play guitar, so I would be in a different room singing their songs so they could play along with it.
mix and master it at the end of this month or next month. We’ll hopefully put the tracks up online. And they’re free! All thirteen songs are also originals. We even had seven more that got cut.
Q. What are the other differences between live performance and recording?
LT. It’s different playing it versus what it means as a song. Tommy wrote this song that I love singing because it’s such a challenge for me called “Amity.” I love it. TB. I’d say that’s my favorite, too, because it’s so awesome to hear Lauren. I have this vivid memory of watching Lauren record. I was two rooms away and she was in her little singing booth when she did this amazing vocal take at the end of our session. I got such goosebumps. LT. Aw! I didn’t know that! TB. The other highlight recording moment was I have this song inspired by the California tour. It’s mostly pretty bare bones, just me
LT. Well, you can hear everyone! It’s so amazing! You think, “Whoa, you play that part?” It’s incredible. You can be a lot more detailed and nit-picky. Q. After this experience, do you prefer recording or live? LT. I don’t think recording would’ve been so magical and amazing if we hadn’t played so much together live already. TB. Recording can be hard when you walk into the studio and start from nothing and try to build it. It’s so much better and different when you’re recording a live band that’s already played so much together. It’s like taming this animal. LT. We’re also releasing this album online for free. We’re not going to ask for money. It’s not like we’re trying to promote ourselves. This is kind of the end, so it was really just for us and our friends and family. It was just a different energy. It was more about creating this thing that we were happy about. TB. So that’s the plan for now. Dan Cardinal, our engineer, is going to
Q. Who does most of the writing? LT. Mainly Tommy, Jenner and I do the writing. Sometimes we write together. Sometimes we write part of a song and then pass it on to the next person. We’ll have a vague idea and make it more whole as a group. Other times Tommy will have these incredible parts to the trill. It’s so different for every song. TB. Lauren, Jenner and I play for the band but Hans is also an amazing songwriter. And we all sing. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. LT. It’s much easier to get everybody doing anything when live. In an album, you have to pare it down, which we did. Q. Which song on the album kind of speaks to you the most?
with the guitar, but then at the end everyone usually just sings along. We wanted the sound of a group of people singing, so we got everyone in the studio signing. So the band, plus Jacob, plus Jacob’s girlfriend, plus the engineer, and then our friend stopped by, and he had a child with him, so Alex and his small cousin are on it. There’s this little kid giggling. Twelve people gathered around this microphone — afterwards we were all so happy. Q. What is it about folk music that you think makes it so special? TB. Before I came to school I never was really into folk music. I was into everything that wasn’t folk and beating around the bush. Then I got here and joined TUIB and saw where all the music I really loved was coming from. I think it’s good to get back to the source. If you listen to this album, though, it’s probably more of a pop/rock album. LT. It’s really evolved. It’s so clear, though, that our inspirations come from folk. I think that folk music and TUIB and the Teaspoons has a way of being really simple and raw and there’s no shame in hearing a very clear inspiration from another song because that’s how folk music works. Another kind of sounds like one and it’s this beautiful, giant catalog of collaboration in a way. Q. When can we catch your next live performance? LT. Stay tuned — if you’re around for Commencement we’ll definitely be doing a show and bidding it all farewell. Contact MADELINE DUFF at firstname.lastname@example.org .
THE YALE FARM? THAT’S PRETTY EXOTIC!
ecently, WEEKEND sat down with the coolest of cool Tangled Up in Blue side project: The Teaspoons. Set to release their last and latest album this summer, title open for debate but most likely “Teaspoons/ EP/thealbum/all my pets are dead,” the group gave WEEKEND a dollop of perspective on the recording process, the pleasure of folk music and the art of collaboration. With Tommy Bazarian ’15, Lauren Tronick ’15, Jenner Fox ’15, Jacob Paul ’13, Hans Bilger ’16 and Ethan Schneider ’14, the group exudes a grounded, substantive spirit. And, in interview with two of the members, WEEKEND got to hear about the joys of recording, song writing and going on tour.