// FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013
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WEEKEND MIXED A PLAYLIST
THE BULLDOGS IN CALIFORNIA
MAKE SOME FOR RELATIONSHIPS
Five of our writers scored the little events that define our days in college.
A big win on the West Coast means momentum for Yale football, but will they keep it up?
Eleanor Michotte argues that the “I’m too busy” excuse doesn’t cut it anymore.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
GIVING MOOLA TO THE MAISON // BY AKBAR AHMED Do you like nice things? I do. I try to fight it. I tell myself I don’t really need my hair product. I don’t really shop anymore, aware that I have far too many clothes that cost far too much. The new battlefront is dining out. I have a perfectly good meal plan — I’ve resolved to stop blowing it off by using Durfee’s to stock up on Diet Coke and later grabbing takeout. Then there’s my Bumble & Bumble purchase yesterday, and the incredible new blazer I got three weeks ago. Mea fucking culpa. Even committed to my present battle, I’m now realizing that I’m kinda down for Indian food. Sophomore year, I muploaded a Yale dining label for “cod loins” — perhaps the answer to consumerism is a subversive, sarcastic foodstagram? Much of this behavior is about personal circumstances: I grew up privileged, and I’m blessed, in WEEKEND-speak and real-world terms, to have a family that doesn’t question much of my spending. My self-loathing about buying nice things is also rooted in my experience. A resolved Marxist since I turned 12, I despise structural privilege and the idea of constantly bowing to corporate interest by handing over ca$hdolla as and when instructed. But I’m still certain that we as a culture — even non-brats unlike
myself — afford pretty things too much weight. We do it each time we Instragram gourmet food or post some preppy perfection /confection we’re craving — we make it special; we give it power. We identify these things as possessions to aspire to in our daily conversations: “I really want the gold 5S for my next birthday!” When we tell ourselves that the product is sacred, we cut ourselves off from the choice of whether to consume it. Sarcastic as some of us are about other people’s fetishizing the product, a small part of each of us has the urge to do the same. Somehow, suddenly, we know we want it. More than that: it’s become a ‘need.’ The limiting factor is our resources, not our endless, artificially constructed desire. I’m not convinced that we really want, or need, a lot of the pretty things we stress out about getting. Some folks tell us that we can learn as much from New Haven as we can in Yale classrooms. In that spirit, allow me to point you towards a new object lesson in how wants, needs and consumerism can be conflated all too tightly: Maison Mathis, my new neighbor on Elm Street. The Maison is really pretty. It’s got an attractive French/Belgian vibe, which I know just drives Americans wild. It’s quite a nice place to study or meet with someone. The walls are just so white, and the windows
The Female “I” // BY JANE BALKOSKI
In her memoir “I Love Dick,” Chris Kraus writes that young women who wish to be taken seriously do not use the first person. I do not use the first person. The first person is immediate and raw and I’ve never even liked the look of it. The uppercase “I” is too tall and the uppercase “I” demands an honesty I cannot provide. A woman who writes about herself is easy to dismiss and even easier to diagnose. Her talent is incidental, secondary, irrelevant. It’s just a symptom of psychosis, they say. We rarely separate the woman from her “I”, I think, and when we read her pieces we cut through form and go straight for the content. We pathologize. The woman isn’t a writer — she is a woman writing. She’s building castles and moats and armies with words. She’s crazy and she’s scared. Readers demolish her castles and wade through her moats and slaughter her armies! Prescribe a few pills, the writing might stop. No one wants another Sylvia Plath. In high school, I thought I would act for a living. I’m 19 now, and know that I won’t be able to — but I remember the rehearsals, the costumes and the stink of sweat. I remember the advice our director gave. She cared a lot about body language. On stage, we hovered near chairs and took faltering steps, and the ambivalence drove her mad. “It just looks so awkward!” she’d exclaim. “When you’re on stage, you’re always standing near a couch or a stool. You look like you’re playing musical chairs or something, like you’d better have a place to sit when the music goes off or the lights go out. Don’t do that. The audience gets uncomfortable. The audience wants you to either sit down or get up, but don’t stand with the backs of your knees against the seat.” I often feel as though I never learned to choose, as though the backs of my knees are still up against a seat. I can neither sit down nor walk away: I squat somewhere between fiction and nonfiction. And so I write in the third person mostly. I fashion ciphers with names like Anna and Clara and Sue, each one sad and plain and shy. I am a young woman who wants to be taken seriously — please do not tell me how to be. I spent a lot of time with my old English teacher this summer. We walked around the park and talked about Woody Allen. She wanted to discuss women in the modern age, and so I said a few cautious things
F R I D AY OCTOBER 11
about blind sex and self-hate. She blushed and stammered. She confessed that she’d only just discovered the Brazilian wax, and the idea was appalling. “Porn is the problem,” she said, and I smiled. Clara and Anna and Sue would have smiled, too. We also talked about a story I’d only just finished, a short piece about a girl named Bess. Bess has trouble with the male gaze. Bess thinks about the men who’ve “wanted to undress her.” Bess might be me. I let my teacher edit until the story was tight and spare. But my teacher is good friends with my mother, who heard I was writing again and said: “Jane, I love your work. Could you send me the story?” I sent her the story, and the next day we drank coffee and I left California. We never spoke of it again. That Sunday, the Sunday before classes began, my sister came up to visit. She took the MetroNorth from Grand Central, and we got pizza and beer and talked about her plans and her new apartment. Mom had called Kat a few days ago. She wanted to talk about me. “I don’t think Jane’s having fulfilling, consensual relations with guys, pumpkin. I read that thing she wrote and just felt so sad, you know? I wanted to tell her right then and there that she doesn’t have to go down on anyone. D’you think she’ll figure it out?” Even though the story contained no trace of that tricky, female “I,” my mother read each “Bess” as if it were Jane. Perhaps mothers will always find clues to our secret lives in curious places. Perhaps she’ll continue to collect fragments, cobbling together an intricate, imperfect idea of my life from emails and essays. But I am a young woman who wants to be taken seriously. And in “I Love Dick,” Chris Kraus writes with an “I.” She rolls around in her feelings like a pig in a mud bath. But the feelings aren’t messy or dirty when you’re as discerning as Kraus, Kraus who reappropriates the language of lit crit to examine and legitimize her own fixation. (She’s fallen in love with Dick Hebdige, a popular sociologist.) Kraus subverts a feminine trope with masculine rhetoric. But still I fear that my own “I” is trite. I am not Chris Kraus. I write with small words in small rooms, and I am only brave enough in the briefest of moments. Contact JANE BALKOSKI at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Yale British Art Center // 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dat inaugural oolong.
so big. Consider, for a moment, that artfully placed rose in the center of each table. But the point of a coffee/ dessert shop is coffee and dessert, you know? And on this score, Maison Mathis hasn’t just disappointed me — it’s broken bougie hearts from High Street to Howe. The espresso is decent, but most of the desserts, including the vaunted waffles, really aren’t worth the $5-$6 one is asked to shell out. Nothing this place is actually supposed to get us to consume is a product we might really want (at least after a first try of it). That means the Maison offers something we really neither want nor need. The relationship it wants to cultivate is subtle, more cunning. Here is something we are meant to ‘want’ because it has all the trappings of other luxe things we’re big on. The substance ceases to matter. This is a cunning move, one suited to the demographic many Yale students belong to — or think they should belong to. It’s also one conspicuously out of place in a central shopping street in this city with higher poverty rates than much of the nation. That doesn’t matter, though, because apparently we can be trusted to think we ‘need’ this business around.
I don’t hate Maison Mathis. I don’t think it’s truly all that evil, and I’m not (as far as I know) a serious Marxist crackpot. It just strikes me as an especially disturbing way to exploit a mindset I wish I and those I care about on this campus could break free of. The Maison is not alone in tapping into our artificially inflated sense of what we need. Last week, I broke my boycott of Gourmet Heaven — drunk and starving at 4 a.m., I told myself the protest
wouldn’t be harmed by a couple of purchases. I told myself I ‘needed’ it and I broke a picket line. Somehow, I forgot that some of the men on duty apparently live in one room owned by GHeav’s owner and are overworked and under-paid. And I let my decision be made for me by what I thought I ‘needed.’ Contact AKBAR AHMED at email@example.com .
// ANNELISA LEINBACH
Behind the Red Light: What Prostitutes Taught Me About Being a Woman // BY KAROLINA KSIAZEK Maybe it was just that prostitutes were already on my mind, but the clicking of my heels seemed especially loud in the Red-Light District today. Ten minutes ago, I was still recovering from a sweaty all-nighter with a last-minute reading response. My last load of laundry had mysteriously left my clothes smelling like crotch. I hadn’t shaved in over a week. The dim classroom made me feel like what I was: an overtired college student reeking of sleep deprivation. In the Red-Light District, that overtired college student looked like a prostitute. The fear started with the sound of those shoes, but then I thought, maybe my jacket too, and maybe my eyes. A promoter in a long black trenchcoat outside of Casa Rosso (bringing you live sex shows since 1969) gave me a nod and a jolly “Hoi!” I responded as I always would, with a chipper “Good morning!” Only afterwards did I realize what things looked like. I started to get whispers, whistles and catcalls. I tried to walk lightly, avoid men’s glances. Even on an early Wednesday afternoon, I felt the stigma of a woman walking alone in heels, the centuries-old cultural weight of my boots’ click-click-click on a cobblestone street. Amsterdam’s Red-Light District is so central and spread-out that you pass through it on your way to just about anywhere. A girl my age walking by is probably a student returning from class at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. That was certainly the case for me. Of course, I also happened to be looking for a prostitute. Even though I’d only been awake for a few hours, I’d already talked to one prostitute that day: a guest speaker in my class on the Local and Global Complexity of Prostitution. The woman was the founder and director of the Stichting Geisha, a foundation that works to secure better working conditions for sex workers in the Netherlands. “I loved my job,” she’d told us. “I was an S&M mistress for 20 years. I love to figure out what turns people on. Men would tell me what they liked and
I got to be creative with that.” It can be hard to believe that a prostitute could enjoy her job. Even my fairly liberal classmates were incredulous, though they heard it straight from the mouth of somebody who knows more about prostitution than any of them ever will. “I just have trouble believing that she’s not a victim,” one girl said in the discussion section later. I get it. The thought of sex as a full-time job isn’t appealing to me either. But anybody that’s worked full-time knows that few things can be fun when you do them full-time. Prostitution certainly comes with a wide array of occupational hazards, but so does any job. Millions of people across the country pursue careers they don’t enjoy, just for the money. What makes prostitution so different, other than the stigma it permanently imprints on him or her? The money’s certainly different: I paid 50 euro to talk to the second sex worker I met today, way more than most people in the world can make in 20 minutes. After wandering through the De Wallen district, I finally passed to the other side of a red window and walked up the narrow staircase to the room where she works. That’s about where things got boring. I’d imagined a prostitute’s room to look like a sleazy motel, with mirrors on the ceiling, red velvet curtains, and old wooden shutters over the window. But the bed didn’t even have sheets. There was a mirror, a small table where she tossed my 50-Euro bill, and a change of clothes hanging on the wall. When we sat at the table, she (let’s call her Ashley) hugged her knees to her chest and started talking with such little hesitation that I knew she’d been through this a few times before: “It’s not a bad job. I like it. It’s 50 Euro for twenty minutes. But it’s not twenty minutes fucking obviously; it’s five minutes undressing, five minutes sucking …” It’s not that Ashley was boring. She was just normal. We ended up talking about her country, Bulgaria, and where the best vacation spots are there. When
my time was up, she gave me three kisses on the cheek and a hug. It felt like meeting an aunt I haven’t seen since infancy. After a month in Amsterdam, I’m still struck by how normal and real the girls in the red-light windows are. Seeing them makes me wonder why people have such low regard for prostitutes. It’s easy to understand why forced sex trafficking is bad; nobody likes exploitation and rape. But in countries like the Netherlands, where women do have the legal freedom to choose prostitution over cleaning houses, why do we still treat sex workers like pariahs? Why is prostitution a career so hated that both men and women use “whore” as the ultimate insult for a girl? How is prostitution different than any other kind of service a person can sell? I don’t have an answer. I am inclined to believe it has to do with the ancient morality attached to a woman’s vagina — the vag is a sacred organ and anyone willing to give it up too easily must be the very definition of social degradation. People just don’t feel that a prostitute can be anything but a victim. I can’t help but question whether most of us really believe that women have agency over their own bodies. I could be wrong. After all, a few years ago, I too would have assumed that all prostitutes are victims, beggars, or junkies. They were a different type of person than I was. But today in Amsterdam, I walked past the Bulldog Coffeeshop and questioned what it would mean to bring my Yale education here. What if prostitution made me happier than the popular post-grad plan of going into investment banking or consulting? It’s okay if that thought makes you uncomfortable. It’s just important to should ask yourself why it does. Editor’s Note: Due to an editing error, a draft of this view was published in WEEKEND without prior approval of the author. The News sincerely regrets this error. Contact KAROLINA KSIAZEK at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Inventing new positions on the administration
Deputy undersecretary to the office of the college dean’s STEM advisor is a real thing, right?
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
HOW YALE COURTS LARGE GIFTS // BY YUVAL BEN-DAVID AND MATTHEW LLOYD-THOMAS A couple of minutes before 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 30, an email was sent to nearly 300 Yale employees on the ninth floor of 157 Church St. The email was from their boss, Yale’s Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill. Expect another email shortly, it said, and expect big news. At 9:01, University President Peter Salovey sent an email to all of Yale. It announced a $250 million donation. The gift, for the construction of two new residential colleges, came from mutual fund billionaire Charles Johnson ’54. It was the largest in Yale’s history. Most of the development staff knew that a large gift was coming in — an approximation of the sum had been billed into last year’s financials. But they did not know the exact amount or name of the donor until the rest of the University did. Knowledge of the donation, which had been in the works since at least last winter, was restricted to a small group of development staff and high-level University administrators. In fact, the gift was the project of one man in particular: former University President Richard Levin. Over the course of his tenure, Levin built a strong friendship with Johnson — in part over their mutual support of the Johnson-owned San Francisco Giants — and helped solidify the billionaire’s commitment to giving to the University. Last Monday’s gift is the result of that relationship. As president, Levin worked closely with many of Yale’s most generous donors as he spearheaded a university-wide push to further fill Yale’s coffers. During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the development office brought in $543,905,260 in gifts — this year’s total, given a $250 million boost, will likely be far higher. Approximately 95 to 99 percent of this money comes from the top group of donors, said O’Neill. This cohort represents one to five percent of all who give. Large gifts support some of the most vital aspects of Yale. The Yale Alumni Fund, an unrestricted pool from which the University can draw for whatever it needs, frequently underwrites financial aid, facilities renovation, teaching and research. Other donations, of which Johnson’s is a notable example, are given with specific intent, such as the renovation of Bass Library or the creation of academic programs like Grand Strategy. The Levin administration convinced donors to part ways with $1 million, $5 million, or $100 million. But did all that money translate into
undue influence? Under Levin, the administration developed a strong base of alumni donors, with whom Yale’s senior administrators maintain relationships. In doing so, Yale has aligned donors’ visions to its own. And so, for the last 20 years, the answer was an unequivocal no.
sky’s the limit. Within each cohort, development staff work in geographic regions, although all the staff are based in New Haven. Each regional cohort is also assigned a small part of New York state, the source of a tremendous proportion of Yale’s donations.
157 CHURCH, 105 WALL
“PETER AND MARY ARE BOTH MASTERFUL AT THIS AND I’M STILL LEARNING, AND DEVELOPMENT IS TEACHING ME.”
Eli Yale. John Sterling. Edward Harkness. Paul Mellon. These names scaffold our lives here: we walk through, under and over them daily. “If you think about the history of Yale, it’s always been this way, going back to Eli Yale himself, whether he classifies as a major donor or a principal donor or a cosmic donor” said Professor John Gaddis. “There’s always been this tradition of giving.” Ed and Sid Bass. John and Susan Jackson. Stephen and Denise Adams. Whitney and Betty Macmillan. Edward Evans. Charles Johnson. They have not altered Yale in the way that those four Olympian donors did, when the institution was smaller, less complex and easier to redefine. But these more contemporary names frame our time at Yale as well. No gift appears out of thin air — it has to be coaxed and shaped by the university. The development office is ultimately responsible. You can hear O’Neill’s conviction in Yale’s mission when she talks about the 26 years she’s spent at Yale. From her office on the ninth floor of 157 Church Street you can see the names: Harkness tower, chief amongst them. O’Neill’s staff seeks to build relationships, the objectives of which are threefold: convince the donor to give as much as possible, convince the donor to put few restrictions on the funds and then convince them to come back, this time with an even larger check. The office “tracks” about 300 donors. Most employees are responsible for a set group who give repeatedly and generously. But just how much is generous? The simple answer is $100,000. According to O’Neill, aside from reunion and annual giving, there is little organizational emphasis on seeking out gifts less than that. Above that threshold, two major donation groups split the office: “major gifts” — up to $5 million — and “principal gifts” — where the
fundraising can be difficult for him. “Peter and Mary are both masterful at this and I’m still learning, and Development is teaching me,” Polak said. “They hold my hand a fair amount and teach me how to do things, give me pointers on what I did right and did wrong afterwards.”
PROVOST BENJAMIN POLAK O’Neill says that about 250 of the donors are considered “major” while 60 are “principal,” but the distinction is permeable. If the development staff member does a good job, a donor with enough resources will eventually make the jump from major to principal, in which case the staff member often stays with them. “Could you see yourself doing something that would be truly transformational?” O’Neill said the development office asks its donors. “For some people our role is to help them see how they could do that.” But for many of Yale’s most important donors, the office they interact with is not at 157 Church Street, but 105 Wall, Woodbridge Hall — the office of the president — Warner House or other administrative buildings across campus. It is in relationships between Yale’s most generous donors and senior administrators that most large gifts are born. They originate in conversations over cocktails and dinner at alumni events, phone calls and one-on-one meetings. “Typically, Peter or I or Mary talk to them,” Provost Benjamin Polak said. “We always ask what they’re interested in supporting and we’ll say the ideas we have and make it a conversation.” But while the administration’s approach appears uniform from the outside, different administrators find themselves at different points on the development learning curve. Polak is a fast-talking Brit and, like Levin, a former chair of the economics department. Still, he admitted that
Sterling Chemistry Lab
Polak’s worry about this initial insecurity makes sense. In the long run, getting donations has everything to do with personal relationships. Music School Dean Robert Blocker got to know Stephen and Denise Adams during his first year at Yale in 1995. In 2005, the couple anonymously gave $100 million to the School of Music, at the time the University’s largest-ever donation. Blocker said the idea for the donation grew slowly and with the help of a series of administrators. “I’ve always felt that everyone at an institution is a development officer,” Blocker said. “We all have a stake in this that’s really important.” These relationships with donors take place primarily with administrators. Professors, or those directly benefited by the money, work with the administration on what to do with a gift, but don’t know exactly how many shared cocktails it took to get there. Professor John Gaddis, the codirector of the University’s Grand Strategy program, which was also supported by a gift from Johnson, couldn’t pin down the details of how exactly Levin got that gift. “We only have the barest inkling of the work that goes on in that regard,” he said.
DID THE GRAND STRATEGISTS HAVE A PLAN?
Another Johnson donation, given together with Nicholas Brady ’52, secured Grand Strategy’s future, but the program didn’t always have
financial independence. When Professor John Gaddis came to Yale in 1997, all he had was a quirky idea. He rallied professors Paul Kennedy and Charles Hill to help him build a class of students competitively culled from every corner of the University to study, and practice, the art of statecraft. It would run January to January and with a summer component. Today, the prospect of a penniless Grand Strategy may seem silly. Few programs at Yale can rival the cultish devotion the course receives. No other class has attracted as much sustained national attention or fueled as widespread a copycat spree. Grand Strategy seems as firmly anchored in Yale’s collective psychic life as Freshman Screws and President Salovey’s moustache. But what is now the class’s strength was orginally a bar to its continued stability. Grand Strategy is stubbornly interdisciplinary. Gaddis, Kennedy and Hill insisted on a broad focus, and defied the University’s practice of distributing funds by department. “When there are ideas [like Grand Strategy] that are not confined to or based in an established department, then they have got to look for money, because the departments aren’t going to fund them,” professor Hill said. “They’re going to have to fund themselves.” At first, the program had no endowment. According to professor Gaddis, start-up funds came largely from foundations. But Gaddis didn’t mind that the program started without the administration’s guiding hand. Levin, he said, “never had a vision that said, ‘We will create a Grand Strategy program 10 years into my presidency.’ The vision was more to leave room for faculty to experiment, to keep an eye on collaborations that work and, where they have proven they can work, find ways to support them.” World events threw that waiting period into fast-forward. Following the tragedy of 9/11, the need for international security and leadership programs like Grand Strategy fell into SEE DONORS PAGE 8
Class of 1954 Science Center New Colleges
E.P. Evans Hall
F R I D AY OCTOBER 11
Various classrooms // 1-3:30 p.m. Some of Yale’s best professors will be putting on lectures for alumni. Time to learn who were the section assholes of the 1950s.
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Pretending to be in that lost old rich alumni’s a cappella group/frat/ secret society First he’ll be asking you how to get to Woolsey Hall. Then he’ll be bankrolling your latest start-up!
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
SNOW SCRIPTS // BY MADELINE DUFF The pictures he uploaded were not chronological. Instead of instant images, they rang out from his archive of experience as delicate grams of sound. His verse seemed liked, too. Other listeners within the marble walls sometimes murmured approval from their seats. Hitchcock’s “Psycho” tore him out of his seat when he was just a kid and the film took New York City by storm. In a poem honoring Henry Hudson’s discovery of the New York harbor, the last lines of “The Great Gatsby” melted into his final product. He once had a manx cat named Jeepers and “Cats” the musical, did you know, gusted out of T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” This is the poet John Koethe, as told by John Koethe. This Tuesday afternoon, the verse writer serenaded his audience with self-titled “memory poems” in front of a flickering spotlight at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. I listened as l i b ra r y curator
Nancy Kuhl provided a graceful introduction, but then Koethe proceeded to track a profile of his own life, in his own style. Kuhl said with Koethe, the “tension between intimacy and public memory falls away,” and indeed, he conjured a link between his words in the air and the other chapters of life in progress. “The years were pages,” he said. In one selection, he likened poetry to snow. Koethe, who has written nine books of poetry, spent his undergraduate days at Princeton and graduate years at Harvard. Behind the podium, he certainly stood as a master — of simile, cold weather and the flakes of language he lets fall, covering and illuminating a range of nebulous subjects. In his first poem, “Sally’s Hair,” he describes the titular as object as “like living in a lightbulb.” In another poem titled “16A” after a graduate school apartment, the narrator qualifies: “but that’s history, real history, not this private kind.” Thinking of his words, my mind drifted to a framed illustration that I have at home, one that
depicts two figures in a snowstorm: a young boy following in the footsteps of a bundled man. The caption in the foreground reads: “In his master’s steppes he trodde.” It is a John Hassall, and I have not imagined it in a little while. Hearing poetry as snow conjured thoughts of my own private history. Toward the end of his reading, Koethe shared a poem precipitated by Elizabeth Bishop’s “In the Village” and a reverence for Proust. Sounds linked the time lost between words — a clang, a bell. It had been after the poem “Alfred Hitchcock” that I noticed Koethe’s reflection in the glass behind him, in the case with the two massive books and flickering spotlight, and then again diagonally to the left of that phantom, traveling into the monument wall. In both panes, his back faced his listeners, his students, as if my perspective were from the opposite side of the space. Minutes later, I caught the phrase: “Meaning lies beneath it or beyond it.” Meteorologists could never have predicted such a timely, tender
snowfall. If Jimmy Stuart was “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” Mr. John Koethe could be the poet who knows enough. He is the poet who rolls meaning and history into one, aiming across time at the unknown drifting through Jeepers’ stare, and further back, toward Fitzgerald’s green light. On social media, stories are told on a vertical track. Below yesterday’s recipe link are last weekend’s wedding pictures and the most-read New Yorker or Buzzfeed articles. They may be outlined, but sometimes it’s difficult — even dangerous — to chart someone’s private history through public statements. That afternoon, Koethe gave his listeners this chance. In pages of verse, Koethe gave them passwords to the years of his life. Catching flakes of his past somehow made everything a little clearer for a spell. Contact MADELINE DUFF at email@example.com .
// MARIAH HARRIS
New Art Disturbs an Old Space // BY EMMA PLATOFF
At New Haven’s Sumner McKnight Crosby Jr. Gallery, art fans are being shocked out of their complacency — or at least that’s what Hayward Gatling, the curator of “Disturbing the Comfortable,” would say. His show, which includes works of various media done by artists ranging from 17 to 65 years of age, draws inspiration from the words of graffiti artist Banksy, who said, “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” From its content to its location, “Disturbing the Comfortable” breaks convention. The exhibit’s paintings, photos and sculptures are displayed in a space that is part-gallery, part-office. The contemporary works line both sides of a hallway sandwiched between office cubicles, extending into a large and otherwise bare conference room. All around, office workers continue to perform their daily tasks. At first, this juxtaposition is jarring—why should collages and copiers cohabitate? But perhaps this tension is intentional: a traditional office environment is interrupted by provocative modern art, just as innovation must always disturb tradition. In this way, the pseudo-gallery setting follows the exhibit’s theme. With his surprising choice of venue, Gatling already has his viewers where he wants them. Once viewers have taken in the space, their attention can move on to the works themselves. Jahmane’s “MLBK JR,” for example, is a mixed media piece reminiscent of a political cartoon. A majestic image of Martin Luther King Jr. stands powerfully beside a Burger King logo that reads, “Martin Luther Burger King Jr.” King’s mouth is open, and a spiky red speech bubble — of the breed that should belong to a superhero exclaiming “POW!” — says “Feeding the Struggle One Meal at a Time!” Works such as Vito Bonanno’s “Borat Stories” and Dooley-O’s “Hanging Men/ Strange Fruit” also suggest uncomfortable racial undertones. In the foreground of “Borat Stories,” a simple, cartoon version of Borat frowns. The haphazardly-colored background is punctuated by interjections such as “warning!”, “I love you” and “Borat poop in a bag.” In Dooley-O’s piece, dark figures hang by their necks alongside decrepit signs that read “equal rights” and bear peace symbols. These works, like “MLBK JR,” force the viewer to confront unpleasant realities — they are a reminder that, despite how far the Dream has come, race remains an uncomfortable subject for most. Other pieces, like Alan Neider’s “Ad and Jewelry-3,” present a not-sosubtle commentary on materialism. A young, bearded man drawn in charcoal lies on the floor, face twisted towards the viewer as he is crushed beneath a wom-
F R I D AY OCTOBER 11
ALL THAT IS YALE
Activism and innovation come to New Haven in “Disturbing the Comfortable”.
an’s black stiletto boot. Superimposed over the boot-wearer’s legs are massive, bejeweled rings is made of silver, platinum and gold fabric. Beauty is also aptly explored, and dismissed, in Neider’s “Portrait-5.” Like one of Lichtenstein’s blonde faces, the painting is composed of almost careless-looking splashes of paint on a background of fabric and twisted wire. The comfort the viewer finds in the subject’s pouty-lipped, blueeyed beauty is disturbed by the unevenness of the background: Beneath the paint, haphazardly placed wires add anatomically incorrect texture to her complexion. With their use of unconventional materials and raw subject matter, Neider’s works fulfill the exhibit’s goal of challenging expectations.
GATLING ALREADY HAS HIS VIEWERS WHERE HE WANTS THEM. Other works, however, puzzled more than they disturbed. The exhibit is advertised as a radical departure from conventional artwork, but some pieces fell short of that promise. In Kwadro Adae’s “Vertigo,” for example, six large, humanoid creatures stand in various orientations. These figures, done entirely in blue, red and purple, appear to be frozen in unidentifiable dance positions — it’s intriguing, but not provocative. Similarly, Trevor Lyon’s “Olives” was disturbing only in that its supposedly status quo-disrupting message is impossible to decipher. The black-and-white photograph depicts a close-up aerial view of olives splashing into a martini glass — a beautiful piece of work, to be sure, but perhaps not a standout of the “new art movement”, that Gatling trumpets. Gatling’s show presents an engaging collection of works — some thematically discomforting, some made troubling through their media and some that fail to disturb altogether. These pieces, set in an unusual gallery space, span the spectrum of both success and failure in contemporary art. Contact EMMA PLATOFF at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Woolsey Hall or the University’s YouTube channel // 8 p.m. A musical celebration of our grand old university. We are everywhere the light touches.
// ALLIE KRAUSE
Two months from now the kid next to you in the gym will know you saw our 23rd President as he was sworn in.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
SPEAKING BY THE NUMBERS // BY SEBASTIAN MEDINA-TAYAC Below the small sixth floor office of Mark Abraham ’04, residents strolled through the weekly farmer’s market on the New Haven Green. It was Wednesday afternoon, and the leaves of the looming oak trees were beginning to color. Abraham surveyed the scene from his large window. For the past three years, he has spent the majority of his waking hours studying these people — tracking, analyzing and sharing data about their schools and workplaces, their roads and hospitals. He sees the view for its details: the width of the road, the height of the trees and the number of streetlights on a block. “It’s hard not to see the numbers,” he said. Abraham is the executive director of DataHaven, a nonprofit organization that publishes reports, synthesizes data and helps other nonprofits apply for grants. In the way of meeting a group’s informational needs, there is little that DataHaven can’t do. Two weeks ago, the organization released an 86-page report entitled the “Greater New Haven Community Index 2013.” The project brings together census, state and Yale data with original survey data including DataHaven’s 2012 Community Wellbeing Survey, the largest of its kind to be conducted in the region. While the report insists that it is not “comprehensive,” those who have worked with its findings found the word difficult to avoid. “What DataHaven is doing now is using the index to create and inform community discussions,” said Jim Farnam, leader of the Connecticut Data Collaborative and a mentor of Abraham’s. “The key is linking data to action.” *** If, as Farnam suggests, data analysis turns the wheels of communitybased change in New Haven, then for the most part, Mark Abraham is its motor. In addition to being a kind of onestop shop, DataHaven is also “a oneman show,” said Georgina Lucas, DataHaven board member and deputy director of the Clinical Scholars Program at the Yale School of Medicine. Abraham is the only permanent employee of DataHaven, and with the exception of one or two periodically rotating assistants, he is responsible for all of its activities. As these co-workers come and go, Abraham often occupies two of these desks on his own. Eyes calmly scanning his two monitors and the documents spread out before him, Abraham has the demeanor of a Buddhist monk. “Mark is incredibly perceptive,” said Jim Farnam. “He presents things in a low-key but effective way.” It’s not surprising that he spends his days in a quiet office analyzing data. It is a utilitarian space adorned only by a neighborhood map of New Haven, leaning against a white wall; his soft voice and calm disposition suit this habitat well. His work impacts New Haven in the same quiet, important way, informing policy and discussion city-wide. In a city like New Haven, government agencies and civic organizations collect data on various community indicators such as education, health, crime and unemployment — this amounts to countless spreadsheets and reports, often tucked away in databases and filing cabinets. Leaders, organizations and individuals need this information as they try to understand how best to tackle the challenges the city faces. That’s where DataHaven — Mark Abraham — comes in. Principally, he gathers all this raw data into one place, puts it in a useful format and distributes it for the community to use. “We democratize information so neighborhoods can use information specific to them,” he said. “We want
to promote community building around data use, so neighborhoods, not just officials, have access to their own data.” But DataHaven’s reach has not always been so expansive. In 1992, it began as the Regional Data Collaborative, a small upshoot of a national movement to make data available to the public and encourage collaboration among databases. Yale research scientist Cynthia Farrar ’76 founded the group after growing increasingly frustrated with “the lack of good information on key factors across different service sectors and across time.” At the time, she said, it had been “a loose-knit group of organizations and initiatives.” It moved several times — once to Yale’s campus — before settling into Abraham’s current location.
“THERE’S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF US DATA NERDS WHO REALLY WANT TO HELP THE COMMUNITY.” PENNY CANNY Bob Santy, a managing partner of the Connecticut Data Collaborative, recalled that before DataHaven, there were few data utilities available in the city. “I think they guessed a lot,” Santy laughed. “Connecticut didn’t have a very robust history of using data to inform policy choices.” The Regional Data Collaborate grew out of the intention to show correlations between issues in New Haven, specifically tracking the overall health of the city. Historically, the organization has informed public health efforts in New Haven, DataHaven Board President Penny Canny ’79 MPH ’83 GRD ’83 said. Four of the Community Index’s eight co-authors represent public health organizations. In 2010, before he came to DataHaven Abraham was working for an architecture firm in city. In his spare time, he analyzed census data “for fun,” Canny said. Growing up around efforts to reduce lead poisoning and air pollution in his hometown of Syracuse, NY, he was exposed to the importance of environmental factors in public health. He studied urban planning as an undergraduate, focusing on data collection. Three years after graduating from Yale, Abraham returned from New York in search for a more accessible community. Starting out as a research assistant, Abraham quickly grew into his role as executive director. Since his appointment, Abraham has revamped the organization’s website, hired additional support and led community outreach efforts to help residents better understand data. “There’s not a whole lot of us data nerds who really want to help the community,” Canny said. *** New Haven county schools are the 33rd most segregated schools in the country. Eighty percent of New Haven’s low-income third graders read at levels below the state’s proficiency goals. In New Haven, one in three black children die in their infancy. The
national infant mortality rate is one in eight. These statistics, which were reported in the 2013 Community Index, paint a complex portrait of New Haven development. In his preface to the Index, Abraham writes, “The research in this report […] enables us to see, as a community, things that we might not otherwise see, and do, together, things we could not otherwise do.” The report seeks to “encourage more cooperation on issues that are usually studied separately, but are closely related in the big picture,” Abraham told the News. Touching on trends in education, socioeconomics, race, health and employment among others, the index features perspectives from local figures such as Mayor John DeStefano, Yale School of Public Health Dean Paul D. Cleary and Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson. On the other side of its operations, DataHaven’s second major function in the community is to help nonprofit organizations apply for grants by giving them data that illustrates the needs the organization is addressing and the efficacy of various actions and solutions. “We save organizations the time they would’ve spent looking for data, and give them one-on-one assistance to decide what data to use,” Abraham explained. When DataHaven came into existence, Santy said, there was no easily available source of data for nonprofit advocacy groups, many of which required the same information to apply for grants. One of the organization’s current clients is Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS). NHS Community Building Specialist Stephen Cremin-Endes said the group uses DataHaven’s services to supplement their grant applications — both for their subsidized housing development projects and to sustain the organization itself. “I’m always impressed with his commitment to going to community meetings and spending time with people. Deep down he’s really interested in making sure New Haven is the best that it can be,” CreminEndes said, adding that Abraham is always willing to pick up last-minute phone calls. In 2008, Abraham received an award from the Environmental Justice Network for coordinating the New Haven Safe Streets Coalition, a group he has been involved in since he moved back to the city. Inspired by a leg injury that had made him aware of how challenging it is for people cross wide roads with high curbs, he used data to lobby Yale to work with the city on improving pedestrian safety. On the Internet, Abraham has become a celebrity of sorts, Farnam pointed out. Tweeting under the handle @urbandata, Abraham’s 140-character quips about urban development issues have garnered him 23,795 followers as of print time. But for all of DataHaven’s expansion of coverage and regional prominence, it remains just a small entity in the national network of data collaboration, Farnam said, pointing to larger organizations like the Boston Indicators Project. It also remains an individual operation, with Abraham only hiring assistants when a grant or fellowship comes through. “We need more staffing,” Lucas said. “We need to raise more resources to illustrate our value to more stakeholder groups.” For now, though, Abraham continues to carry both the organization and its community on his back. “It’s a good view of the Green,” Abraham said, looking out the window. “You can still recognize people’s faces from here.” Contact SEBASTIAN MEDINA-TAYAC at email@example.com .
F R I D AY OCTOBER 11
THE WELCOME CENTER
Beinecke Library // 8:30-7 p.m. Come pick up your highly exclusive inauguration welcome packet, if you have one that is.
The inaugural mace It’s 47”, any questions?
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
The stumble back from Woads
// BY ALLIE KRAUSE
o you wish that your life was a musical? Do you develop separation anxiety from your iPhone earbuds during section? WEEKEND has you covered. We developed a collection of playlists meticulously tailored to every aspect of your Yale experience. Now, whether you’re chatting in the dining hall or recovering from Toad’s, be assured that you will never have to live without music.
It’s 12:55 a.m. on a Wednesday night. You’re out with the crew, the team, the posse. “Livin’ on a Prayer” blasts out of the speakers and you scream (not sing) the lyrics at the top of your lungs until the very last note is long over. You are filled with the joie de vivre that only Bon Jovi can provide. It was, you conclude, a good night. Or was it? As you soul-search on the way back to your empty bed, embrace your status as the stereotypical Woads-goer and groove to these end-of-thenight jams. Stop moping and start embracing those warm Yorkside-induced
A Playlist For Your Worst Moments // BY AARON GERTLER Sometimes, you wake up and realize life is a seething pit of agony and also you’re late to L1 Spanish. Or you’ll ask someone to Screw and they’ll say no. At that exact moment, it will strike you that we are dust specks in a vast, uncaring universe. For those days when KBT Cafe runs out of your favorite sandwich and you feel especially aware of the fact that someday the world will bear no trace of your existence, I present: the Despair Playlist. Avicii — Wake Me Up First, we’ll need a morning song. Preferably one which includes grinding electronic noise, as a reminder that we are all slaves to our machines. And we’ll mix in some nonsense lyrics to really drill home the fact that, due to the massive gulf between your innermost feelings and the words you have to describe those feelings, nobody will ever truly understand you. Lorde — Royals You’ve eaten breakfast and read the paper, and now you burn with hatred for the inequities of our civilization. There are photos of starving children on the front page of a paper that also reports on Apple’s newest moneysucking device. You need a soundtrack for the bloody revolution you wish you had the guts to lead — but no one writes those songs anymore, because what rich person would buy them? Instead, listen to yet another catchy pop song written by someone who claims not to care about wealth, but who will soon be wealthy anyway.
Swedish House Mafia — Don’t You Worry Child You got a B on your DS History paper, and you feel you’ll never escape mediocrity. You shake your five pages to the sky, begging God to explain the meaning of your tortured existence. This song is for those times when your realize that whatever (or whoever) governs the world does so with your downfall in mind. Heaven has a plan for you, and that plan is that you will grow old and die, like everyone else. Avril Lavigne — Girlfriend You see him dancing, and he’s beautiful. You want him more than you’ve ever wanted anything. He doesn’t notice you. Had you met at a dinner party, you’d have charmed him with your abundant wit and marriage would have been in the cards, but this is Toad’s. He lives off-campus, and you will never see him again. For the long walk home, enjoy a multitracked chorus of shrieking harpies and bask in the knowledge that love, as you imagine it, is only a hopeless fantasy. So, whatever.
feelings. Because you know what? It was a great night. #woads4eva “Whiskey’s Gone” by Zac Brown Band When you listen to the excellent Zac Brown Band, you realize how gosh darn unacceptable it is for Toad’s to close at 1 a.m., even if it is a weeknight. Unlike ZBB though, you will be leaving or a very large Toad’s bouncer may have to forcibly remove you. “212 Margarita” by The Hold Steady You stumble tipsily out the door of Toad’s, slightly tripping over the stairs, ears ringing and heart thumping. Your head begins to fill with questions and regrets. Why does everything here shut so early? Should I have gone home with that freshman? How many penny drinks did I have again? I don’t want to go back to my room. Wait, where do I live?
But as soon as The Hold Steady’s raw guitar chords reach your ears, you know everything feels right, because you, too, are green and misleading. And you’ve definitely had too much tequila. “Somebody to Love” by Queen If anyone can find you somebody to love, it probably isn’t Toad’s … But somehow this upbeat song with a vaguely upsetting message makes you feel better about life. That, or the fact that you’re headed for a good ol’ slice of Yorkside pizza. “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn So what if you weren’t the guy/ girl they were taking home? You can just keep dancing on your own. And you rock at dancing on your own. Even if people are staring at you while you get down Saturday Night Fever-style on York Street. Contact ALLIE KRAUSE at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Brunch with TSwift // BY CLAIRE ZHANG “Jump Then Fall” by Taylor Swift “Teardrops On My Guitar” by Taylor Swift “Better Than Revenge” by Taylor Swift “22” by Taylor Swift “Holy Ground” by Taylor Swift Sunday morning, the weekend is over. You’re sitting at one of the little Davenport date tables by the window with your best friend. You’ve piled pancakes, banana fritters, scrambled eggs, quiche and bacon on your plate. This weekend’s been a roller coaster of emotions. It’s time to feel all the feels and spill all your heart guts. No one will understand you better than sweet, darling Taytay Swift. Start with “Jump Then Fall,” one of her signature lovey-dovey tunes, as you gush, starry-eyed, about this new crush you met last night: “I realize your laugh is the best sound I. Have. Ever. Heard!” You two should be together, all the signs are pointing to it! Then, when you find out that he just started dating some other girl, it’s time to cry along to “Teardrops On My Guitar.” He may be taken, but he’s still all you think about at night – the only thing that keeps you wishing on a wishing star. At this point, your best friend should be trying to pep you up with some angry T-swizzle. “Better Than
Contact AARON GERTLER at email@example.com .
Will’s Feel Good Time Mix!
Revenge” will help you unleash all your pent up sass and rage. The kid who stole your crush had to know the pain was beating on you like a drum! She underestimated just who she was stealing from! You know you’re being unnecessarily mean, but who cares, you’re upset! Your best friend should now be planning a recovery sleepover party full of dressing up like hipsters and making fun of your exes. Forget about the midterms and the readings and the paper deadlines! You will dance — happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. (I don’t know need to tell you which song this is, right?) But you can’t help but reminisce about that imaginary romance with your new crush. “Holy Ground” is the perfect track for those heartstringtwisting, bittersweet feelings of loss and longing. Tonight you’re gonna dance for all that you’ve been through, even if you don’t wanna dance unless you’re dancing with that special someone. You’ll keep dancing anyway, because it’s kind of impossible not to dance to this song. (Note: Five songs is too short, Claire will be happy to make a Tswift playlist for every kind of feel if anyone requests it.) Contact CLAIRE ZHANG at firstname.lastname@example.org .
// BY WILL ADAMS
“Domino” by Jessie J “Price Tag (feat. B.o.B)” by Jessie J “Do It Like a Dude” by Jessie J “Wild” by Jessie J “Wild (Remix feat. Big Sean)” by Jessie J This is an awesome mix of some of my favorite songs, and I hope you like it too! It can be played in many situations, but I think it works best for studying for midterms, working out, walking up Science Hill, walking to Yorkside, running through East Rock, right before falling asleep, brushing your teeth, tanning on Cross Campus, hanging out in the Calhoun buttery (the Trumbull buttery works too), when your society meetings get boring, a cappella concerts, visits to the art gallery, during office hours, during lecture (but only if you’re taking it Credit/D!), practicing cello, auditioning for a play, when you’re in line at Toad’s and eating alone in Commons. The best part about it is that all of the songs are by Jessie J! She is so great and talented. Also, unlike other pop stars, she’s really nice and caring, and she would never force someone to make a mixtape consisting of only her music and tell people about it and how great her voice is and how she is a force to be reckoned with and just you wait Rihanna
S AT U R D AY OCTOBER 12
you’re gonna lose your throne real quick once her new album drops in the US! The order of the songs is super important. The mix kicks off with “Domino” because that’s such a fun, upbeat song that is definitely not a Katy Perry rip-off because Jessie J is so much better than her. Then there’s “Price Tag” which is really fun and has a good message (which Lorde is totally copying now!). “Do It Like a Dude” is also a fun song, because it’s gender-subversive and much better than when Beyoncé did that. My favorite part of the mix is the end, because there’s “Wild” and then a remix of “Wild” with Big Sean. It’s great because you get to see the different sides of Jessie J, and it just reminds you that she is the best artist alive right now and no one can tell you otherwise except Jessie J, but she would never do that because she cannot tell a lie. Enjoy the mix!
Booktrader blues // BY HAYLEY BYRNES
Contact WILL ADAMS at email@example.com .
Cross Campus // 10 a.m. In which Handsome Dan XVII cedes his blue-studded collar to Portia Salovey, First Dog of Yale.
// ANNELISA LEINBACH
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Facial Responsibility
“Although I loved my mustache, it was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. I hope to regrow the mustache in Fiscal Year 2012,” Salovey told the News in 2009.
S AT U R D AY OCTOBER 12
COCKTAILS & DINNER Beinecke Plaza // 6 p.m.
They tell us this “festive gathering” is invitation-only, but we’re all about breaking down barriers.
So you want to write an English paper. Capital “E” English, that is. But before you are crowned the next David Foster Wallace, you have to write an analysis of “Moby-Dick” and parse the significance of Ishmael and the whale. For this task, furrowed brows and Moleskines notebooks are required. Book Trader vegan scones highly recommended. Begin the descent into midterm paper madness – and as you do, wallow and weep to these musical gems. They’re downright Borgesian. “Life’s a Beach” by Django Django Who wouldn’t want to be an English major? Like, you’re
touching the human soul. Way better than groping the human heart, am I right? Chill with deep thoughts to the tune of “Life’s a Beach.” Now start thinking about that damn whale. “Your Fine Petting Duck” by Devendra Banhart I bet Devendra would have been an English major. With that hair! Hum along and buy your vegan scone. Crack open the Moleskine. When he lapses into German, bask in your musical worldliness. Now commence with the wordiness. “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes So, vegan scones *taste* like vegan scones. And, really, why does everyone have the same Herschel backpack? And … what does the whale mean exactly, did some-
one mention that in section? Wait, there’s Harold Bloom outside. Reveal midriff, and then chase him to clarify. “Miss Misery (Early Version)” by Elliott Smith Turns out it was just an old man with a cane. You ripped your shirt for nothing! Recover and mope to this tune from “Good Will Hunting.” And, who’s kidding, you are definitely Will. Just look at that half-page you’ve just cranked out, there’s definitely some hidden genius in there! Greenwich might not be South Boston, but … details. “Asleep” by The Smiths ‘Nuff said. Morrissey 4 Lyfe. Contact HAYLEY BYRNES at firstname.lastname@example.org .
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Emotional Intelligence
Karma’s a bitch and our new President knows it.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
BIG NAMES, BIG BUILDINGS DONORS FROM PAGE 3 sharp relief. The course instructors had originally planned to run the course every other year. But “the mood of the country, the intellectual scene, was such that we couldn’t not do it every year,” Hill said. And, as its profile grew, many alumni began to perceive Grand Strategy as the revival of Old Blue values. “We attracted the attention of old Yalies,” Kennedy said. “This had been what they studied in Yale in the thirties and forties, and had disappeared in favor of social studies and history-from-below … They saw this as a kind of resurrection.” The program went down especially well with two Yale College alumni. One of them was Charles Johnson. The other, Nicholas Brady, had been Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan. In 2006, the two made a combined donation of $17.5 million as a “wasting endowment” to finance the program — then in its sixth year — for an estimated 15 years to come. The program’s three founders offer slightly different stories of how this gift was finessed. Together, their versions combine into a Russian doll of social connections, a sort of X-knows-Y-knows-Z. If we accept the metaphor, then one thing is clear: President Levin was the doll that held it all together. “What happened is that President Levin very carefully watched what we were doing, without saying anything, and once he was satisfied that this had legs, then he began talking to donors without our knowledge,” Gaddis said. “We’d say, ‘Please, Rick, raise some money for us,’ and he’d just smile.” Perhaps it’s fitting that, as in realworld diplomacy, the gift negotiations had multiple tracks. Levin may have been the only one talking money, but he wasn’t alone in the conversation. Professor Hill was acquainted with Brady from their time in government under the Reagan administration, when Hill was working in the State Department and Brady was running the Treasury. Hill told Brady about the Grand Strategy program, and Brady pulled in his old friend and golf buddy, Charles Johnson. And then there’s another layer: former University Secretary Sam Chauncey ’57, a Yale legend credited with pulling the university through the mayhem of the 1970 New Haven Black Panther trials. Kennedy said it was Chauncey who sat in on the class and later infected Brady with his enthusiasm for the program. Now it is Brady, as one of the program’s benefactors, who sits in on the occasional Grand Strategy class. But for all that investment, Hill said Johnson and Brady are “entirely hands off.” And Gaddis confirmed that when Brady handed over the check, he did so with only one condition: “Teach common sense.”
COURTSHIP AND QUARRELS
The university’s work bringing in major gifts has created successful programs and buildings, but when the few give so much, it’s easy to imagine them having undue control. It’s up to Yale’s administration to makes sure that gifts align more with Yale’s goals than the desires of potential donors. Legal contracts and cocktail conversations aside, O’Neill said outof-line priorities are unlikely to come up in the first place because most major donors attended Yale, and specifically Yale College, themselves. An alumnus of Yale College is far less likely to want to give $50 million for an undergraduate business program — well outside the university’s liberal arts ethos — than someone who did not spend four years in New Haven, O’Neill said. One with a several-year-long relationship to senior administrators would have an even better idea of what would be relevant. “If you have no connection to the University but you’re tremendously wealthy and generous, it may take more time to figure out how Yale works,” O’Neill said. And these connections pay off: “We raise much
S AT U R D AY OCTOBER 12
Sterling Law Building Sterling Memorial Library
Harkness Auditorium Sterling Hall of Medicine
more money from alumni than a lot of our peers.” A more common challenge for the development office is ensuring that gifts conform not only to the University’s current priorities, but also to its future plans. Developing the direction for a gift is a constant back-and-forth — donors often want to see their money fund a particular thing, or aid in a particular university initiative. For Yale, though, the best donations are those with the least of these restrictions. In the 19th century, donors endowed research on hot air balloons and professorships that focused on railroad engineering. Those funds, many of which have grown over the years, pose a major challenge to the University: how can a gift legally intended for a thing that is no longer relevant be used now? Polak says that lawyers can be creative — that gift for hot air balloons, for instance, might be used to study space travel. An institution with the lifespan of Yale, 312 years this week, has to think about how it will fund itself not just now, but in some distant future. The Yale of 2113 will be fundamentally different, just as the Yales of 1913 or 1713 bear little resemblance to today’s university. “We want the indentures to be written as broadly as possible. Suppose someone gave a gift in 1750. We want that gift to still be appropriate in 2013 and we want to describe the gift, particularly if it’s an endowment gift, so it can be relevant forever,” Polak said. “That’s a challenge.” The university never wants to be stagnant, which has led to the recent creation of gifts with self-limiting mechanisms. The Brady-Johnson endowment for Grand Strategy, for instance, is wasting, meaning that it will draw down to zero over approxi-
mately 17 years. Because of budgeting, though, the fund will likely last for 24, according to Kennedy’s estimates. By the time that endowment expires, Kennedy says, Brady, Johnson, Gaddis and himself will most likely be “pushing up daisies.” And, as Gaddis says, “it’s healthy for a program to reconsider itself every few years.” By planning this way, the University won’t have to figure out what to do with an irrelevant gift 100 years from now, because the money will have long been spent. But the question of what is relevant sets off heated debate among Yale faculty. Despite Levin’s 2000 commitment to invest $1 billion in Yale’s sciences, a large number of the science faculty feel ignored by the development process. Sidney Altman, a Nobel-prize laureate in Chemistry and former dean of Yale College, bemoaned the lack of attention his field receives from donors. “Nobody’s raised any money for us for a long long time,” said Altman. He called the situation “hopeless” and believes that Salovey’s presidency will make no difference. In an email to the University Monday, Polak announced plans to build a new biology building. But, the email said, he did not expect it to be giftfunded, which means the university must borrow to complete the project. Some parts of the University may be wanting for funds, but the administration occasionally turns away gifts that just don’t work. In 1995, then-president Levin returned a $20 million gift to Lee Bass, a relative of Ed and Sid Bass, four years after he gave it to Yale. The original intent of the gift had been to create an intensive one-year program in Western civilization, which at the time many compared to Directed
Studies. For three years, the program’s creation moved slowly. But in late 1994, it looked as though the program was finally near realization. And that’s where Yale and Bass hit a roadblock. Bass wanted to oversee which professors would teach in the program, a condition that then-University director of public information Gary Fryer called “simply unheard of” in the Yale Herald at the time. Discussions quickly broke down, and Levin sent Bass his check back.
THE BEST DONATIONS ARE THOSE WITH THE LEAST OF THESE RESTRICTIONS. The “Bass fiasco” as it came to be known, was a major embarrassment to the University only two years into Levin’s term, evidencing a failure in the development process. Nearly 20 years later, he says it is his single largest regret from his time at Yale. “It worked its way to an endgame in which he made an unreasonable demand on us,” Levin said at the News’ 135th anniversary celebration in Apr. 2013. “I really screwed up there.”
A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
Over 20 years, former President Richard Levin built up an astounding series of relationships with donors. Yale has Levin to thank for gifts that expanded financial aid, renovated the University’s facilities and expanded its international presence. And Yale students, regardless of how they feel about the new colleges, can look to Levin as the source of the Johnson donation. But University leadership has shifted. Levin, although he still has relations with donors, is now in a
GROVE STREET CEMETERY TOURS
Contact YUVAL BEN-DAVID and MATTHEW LLOYD-THOMAS at email@example.com and matthew. firstname.lastname@example.org .
277 Grove St. // Hourly from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Dead Shall Be Raised, and so shall your spirits!
volunteer role and transferring his contacts over to Peter Salovey. Polak is now provost, and Dean Mary Miller’s term is nearing completion — whether she will stay on as Yale College Dean is uncertain. Salovey has occupied his office in Woodbridge Hall since Jul. 1, but he has been focusing on fundraising since well before then. All of the senior administrators and deans interviewed for this article described the transition to Salovey as smooth. As provost, dean of the graduate school and dean of Yale College, Salovey gradually gained fundraising expertise. Levin groomed him for his new job over the last five years, and he no doubt picked up some of the former president’s talent. Right now, O’Neill says, Salovey is spending time getting to know donors — a tough task given his commitment to being more visible on campus. He often leaves on Sunday night — when no one will miss him — for development trips to alumni across the country, returning to campus within a day. When Levin came into office 20 years ago, relations with alumni could not have been much worse, and development suffered as a consequence. Over two decades, though, he reshaped University giving, which in turn allowed him to reshape Yale. Unlike his predecessor, Salovey will inherit a stable Yale when he dons the President’s Collar on Sunday in Woolsey Hall. In the months and years to come, it seems unlikely that he will act much differently from Levin in the fundraising realm; Salovey is a student of Levin and Levin’s model works. The ultimate question, then, is what he will do with all that money.
The Inaguration 15
“Cupcakes will be served”
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
YALE FOOTBALL: REBUILDING A DYNASTY“ONE GAME AT A TIME” // BY GRANT BRONSDON
When the Yale football team arrived at JFK airport last Thursday, a visage of 65 towering men wearing coats and ties, a sense of readiness pervaded the atmosphere. For the players, it was an unusual setting: rather than cramped on a dingy bus, rolling up and down the East Coast, they found themselves about to embark on the team’s first cross-country journey in recent memory. Their plane was set to arrive in Santa Maria, Calif., in mere hours. Upon landing, they would travel some 30 miles north to San Luis Obispo, where they would set up camp in preparation for their Saturday match against the Cal Poly Mustangs. The players were steeped in something of Yale history: in the team’s illustrious 141-year arc, it was just the third time the Bulldogs would face a squad in the Golden State. For this group of Elis, however, institutional memory did not provide the best sendoff. With last season’s dismal 2–8 finish fresh in mind, a sense of uncertainty toward the next few days seemed apropos. Yet the players crowded around the airport gate seemed unfettered, wearing confident smiles and relaxed postures as they prepared to board the plane. Indeed, the opportunity to take on a nationally ranked football squad, to announce Yale’s rebuilding efforts to the Ivy League and to the country at large, was much cause for excitement. Because for the 2013 Bulldogs, this weekend represented far more than a sunny departure from New Haven’s chilly, grey October — rather, it presented the chance for the team to redeem the missteps of years past, to put to the test head coach Tony Reno’s master plan. *** The Bulldogs’ presence in JFK that Thursday afternoon may seem a novel sight today, but it wasn’t that long ago that Yale football players were travel veterans, often crisscrossing the nation to battle — and defeat — college football’s most prominent teams. With 27 national championships, and as alma mater of the “Father of American Football,” Walter Camp, Yale has more total wins than any school not named Michigan. But as newer programs have picked up speed over the last decades, Yale has lagged behind: the team now stands mired in a six-game losing streak to Harvard, attempting to claw back to respectability after a mere
S AT U R D AY OCTOBER 12
two wins last season. Home games are routinely played in front of an audience of 50,000 empty seats, with many Yalies proud to tell you they’ve never been to the Yale Bowl. But early this summer, hints abounded that the 2013 season could signal a turning point. Tony Reno, hired as head coach in January 2012, used the offseason to institute a sweeping set of changes to the team, both in playbook and spirit. And so far, it’s working: using a brand new no-huddle offense — a strategy to quicken the Bulldogs’ tempo and wear down opponents — Yale secured a win in its season opener at Colgate, following suit with a 15-point victory over Cornell. For Reno, however, these victories are rooted not just in better execution of plays, but also a change in team culture. The Cal Poly game represented a chance, in Reno’s words, for the team to bond, to put to the test the emphasis on camaraderie he’s been attempting to cultivate within his players.
BUT EARLY THIS SUMMER, HINTS ABOUNDED THAT THE 2013 SEASON COULD SIGNAL A TURNING POINT. Throughout the trip, this emphasis was evident. During those short moments of downtime, players prodded each other for advice on their fantasy football teams, chided teammates for attempting to catch up on schoolwork, and enjoyed the California sunshine while swimming in the hotel pool. Even with this general sense of ease, however, Reno was quick to reassert the importance of the journey at hand, encouraging his players to adopt a “business trip” mentality for the days ahead. Under Reno’s careful eye, each day was structured by the minute, beginning with 8:00 a.m. staff meetings and ending with a strictly observed bed check at 10:00 p.m. On game day, players departed for Cal Poly dressed in coat and tie, with kickers and punters expected on the field first — at 12:24 p.m., to be exact. Nobody strayed from the plan. “It’s a new era, I guess you could say,”
said defensive tackle Jeff Schmittgens ’15 with a smile. *** On Friday, instead of completing their final pregame practice at Cal Poly’s stadium, Coach Reno chose to hold the first half of the walkthrough in a less obvious venue — the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn. Against a backdrop of rolling hills, palm trees and a bright yellow Denny’s sign, the team ran plays in helmets and jerseys, far from the potentially wandering eyes of the Cal Poly coaching staff. Though the location itself was atypical, Friday’s practice was emblematic of Reno’s larger coaching philosophy: sharpening Yale’s competitive advantage, even if it means practicing alongside a handful of hotel guests’ cars. These new spins on practice strategy perhaps stem from his age: at just 38, Reno is the second-youngest coach in the Ivy League, allowing him to rethink a system to which more senior coaches may feel inevitably married. But Reno’s greatest talent might be found not in his ability to design masterful plays, but rather, in his ability to recruit the players who carry them out. For Reno, Saturday’s game readily fulfilled this reputation. Victor Egu ’17, one of Reno’s key recruits who spurned offers from Berkeley, Oregon and Notre Dame to play for the Bulldogs, stunted the Mustangs’ efforts at one of the game’s most crucial moments. With 11:03 left in the game, following an interception from Yale quarterback Hank Furman ’14, Egu sacked Cal Poly’s quarterback from behind, preventing the Mustangs from scoring off of Yale’s blunder. But it was safety Cole Champion ’16, part of Reno’s first recruiting class, who especially made his presence felt on Saturday. According to Reno, Cole had “never played safety before in his life until he came [to Yale].” But when pitted against the Mustangs, Cole rose to the occasion, leading all players with fourteen tackles. He also had a hand in three Cal Poly turnovers: a fumble recovery where he alertly dove on a poor pitch from Cal Poly’s quarterback, an interception cutting short a Cal Poly drive, and a second interception that halted the Mustangs’ last gasp and effectively clinched the win for the Bulldogs. Egu’s and Champion’s efforts exemplify well the extent of Reno’s recruiting
prowess. Reno’s personal recruits, however, were not the only players to turn in game-changing performances, pointing to another facet in the team’s overall rebuilding phase: Reno’s ability to further mold, and form relationships with, players who came to Yale under the auspices of Tom Williams. “One more year of the new coaching staff has given us the opportunity to buy into Coach Reno’s system,” Schmittgens said. “One more year of familiarity with the program, bringing in a lot of good underclassmen to build the program — that has definitely brightened the outlook of where we’re at right now.” It’s an attitude that was clearly in force on that crisp California Saturday. Upperclassmen stood tall alongside Reno’s handpicked players, finally comfortable with the new staff’s style after a full year of practice. Juniors and seniors contributed big plays on both sides of the ball, and in the fourth quarter, when every play’s importance is magnified, the veterans stepped up to the challenge. With less than nine minutes left in the game, the Cal Poly faithful were rallying one last time, standing and screaming at full volume. The mercury showed a temperature well above 80 degrees, not including the effects of playing football in full pads. And Yale faced a crucial third down, deep in their own territory, clinging to a seven-point lead. Furman remained unfazed. He rolled left, pump faked a throw, and then launched a beautiful rainbow deep downfield, where wideout Deon Randall ’15 managed to settle under it. The crowd was silenced. Any remaining doubts about the Bulldogs’ newfound resolve was quashed a few plays later, when Furman converted a third down into a touchdown by way of a diving Chris Smith ’14. Yale fans erupted, and the raucous cheers of the coaching staff rang clearly, penetrating even the walls of the insulated press box. For the parents, relatives and supporters, all wearing white shirts commemorating the game, the final score reflected a crossroads for Yale football. At 24–10, it was a satisfying outcome for the Bulldogs’ first pilgrimage in recent memory — and perhaps one unexpected, too. Celebrations were certainly in order, and even Reno allowed a smile to crack through his typically stoic demeanor. Undergirding the excitement, however, was a more sobering realization:
Yale leads the kickoff against Cal Poly.
for this group of players, moving forward, Yale’s legacy depends on much more than one California victory. “We celebrated on Saturday night, but we were back focused on Dartmouth on Sunday,” offensive lineman Luke Longinotti ’16 said. “It was obviously a signature win, but 10 years from now this single game isn’t going to be what turned Yale football around.” Furman had a slightly different spin. “We haven’t been good in a while, so everyone is in good spirits,” he said bluntly. “We’re at the point where we decide if we want to be a good team or a great team.” *** After a long flight, every single person that stumbled into JFK Airport at 4 in the morning was ready to get back to campus and sleep. As the team waited for their bags near baggage carousel #4, however, Reno called everybody together for one last huddle. He delved into the team’s schedule for Sunday — which included trekking back to Smilow Field Center within six hours of returning to campus — and then briefly complimented the offense and the defense. But his focus quickly shifted to the team’s next game against the Big Green, a nod to his personal mantra of taking victory “one game at a time.” “Dartmouth is a very good football team. Their backs are against the wall, and they need to win this game,” Reno asserted. “This is a must-win game for us.” Reno’s words took on a new significance, as they resounded with a team now wholly familiar with and confident in his vision as a coach. He signaled to captain Beau Palin ’14 to gather the team for the weekend’s final huddle, and stepped back as the players drew together. A sense of anticipation coursed throughout, and any semblance of celebration was long gone — the players instead heeded their coach’s advice, turning their eyes fully to next Saturday’s challenge. One game at a time, indeed. Contact GRANT BRONSDON at email@example.com .
Old Campus // 9 p.m. “See you at the after-party!” he said with a wink.
// GRANT BRONSDON
Because anything more than that wouldn’t be classy.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
THE REVOLUTION WILL BE TELEVISED // BY MICHAEL LOMAX Television was always my first love. Don’t get me wrong, I love great movies — it’s why I write this column. But most young kids don’t tend to see a lot of them, typically watching the same small handful of films over and over and over again. Case in point: I’ve seen “The Lion King” anywhere between 21 and 2001 times.
MICHAEL LOMAX CINEMA TO THE MAX But as all kids soon discover, TV is different. In fact, it’s a wild smorgasbord bursting at the pixilated seams. And like emaciated gluttons at a buffet, when you get ahold of some new show that piques your interest, you devour it: between torrenting/streaming and this ridiculously astounding televisionon-steroids device called Netflix, you can literally inhale entire
seasons in a concentrated punch. My roommate did something like that with “Game of Thrones” — he watched the first season and a half in one day. He didn’t walk right for a week. Great movies do the same thing. You see a film like “Amour,” and next thing you know, you’re sitting in the dark for three days questioning the concept of darkness itself. In other words, movies can really trip you up. But even the greatest ones rarely go past three hours: that’s like the magic number for the best epics. Television, on the other hand, just goes and goes, sometimes stretching over hundreds of episodes, giving writers the space necessary to map out characters over multiple seasons. Ideally, this leads to one impressive arc after another. The end result, if it satisfies the trajectory of the series, is pretty much the same thing as that emotional bite found in the best films.
What’s surprising is how many people are suddenly beginning to figure this all out. “The Sopranos” was an early example, holding the torch for “The Wire,” “Lost,” “Dexter,” “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Game of Thrones,” and everything else out there that’s good — and believe me, there is a lot. These are real narratives — ones with larger, more meaningful purposes, far from merely episodic — that, for anyone interested in character development, are something of a Holy Grail.
AFTER ALL, THERE’S A REASON SHOWS DON’T LAST FOREVER. But this style of television has its pitfalls, to be sure. As seasons pile up, arcs can get stale. Characters can become unbelievable. Sto-
ries can fall flatter and flatter. After all, there’s a reason shows don’t last forever. They have to end eventually, and it has to end the way the show deserves. “The Sopranos” and “Lost,” for example, captured huge critical success, but fell apart in their final episodes, leaving a genuinely sour taste in the mouths of its several doting followers. There’s also the issue of commitment. An audience can forgive a bad first 20 minutes of a two-hour film, sure, but if you’re going to throw filler at us for the first third of a television series, good luck keeping us around for more. It’s a doubleedged sword: television might have the room for boundless character and thematic exploration that films may lack, but at the end of the day, TV shows have to hold their own for far longer than a two-hour flick — instead, it’s a years-long battle. At the end of the day, the reason we marvel at a film is because of its constraint. A great film is a
right-handed haymaker that levels you with emotion — either comedic or depressed, or somewhere in between. But with the advent of on-demand, all-you-can-eat television, we’re faced with a new take on the moving image: a beautifully fluid prizefight. The audience tunes into each episode, week after week (or hour after hour, if you’re on a marathon), and gets swept back up in the ongoing journey. Both films and TV tell similar stories, but the nature of the telling is what separates the two, and the latter certainly has much uncharted territory left to explore. Even so, I don’t think one is better than the other, nor do I think one has more clout. Ultimately, cinema and television are two halves of the same coin, and no matter which side falls on a given night, you won’t see me complaining. Contact MICHAEL LOMAX at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Drinking in Autumn With Sangiovese
Squeezing You In
// BY BRYCE WIATRAK
Last Friday night, I plonked myself down in Trumbull, where — good Yalie that I am — I was grabbing a meal with a friend. To be honest, I was feeling pretty grim about the whole thing. The dessert table had done a vanishing act, and when I’m promised brownies and get no brownies, I get sad instead. But it wasn’t the lack of desserts that really got on my proverbial tits that evening; it was something else, something that’s been bothering me for the past three years now. Something I don’t quite understand, and yet still find terribly depressing. And that something was the way my friend, as she was telling me about this new guy she was hooking up with, paused over her soup and added, almost proudly, “I’m just far too busy for a relationship right now.”
When I noticed the leaves changing on Cross Campus as I ran to class this morning, I was thrilled that fall, my favorite season, had finally arrived in New Haven. To me, fall calls to mind scarves, butternut squash soup, the return of my beloved television shows — as well as Sangiovese, the grape that made me fall in love with wine.
BRYCE WIATRAK WINESDAY California wineries are starting to embrace Sangiovese, but the grape variety’s true home is Italy, primarily in Tuscany. Sangiovese is the grape responsible for Tuscany’s famed Chianti as well as the highly celebrated, but pricey, Brunello di Montalcino. Pairing Sangiovese with classic Tuscan cuisine, you really get a sense for “la dolce vita,” but even drinking it with Papa John’s can make for a perfect college night in. Today, I’m drinking two bottles of Tuscan Sangiovese: La Pieve “Chianti” 2010 and I Piaggioni “Rosso Toscano” 2011. As I sip, I will guide you through the not-socomplicated practice of proper wine tasting. My mother likes to think she is Italian (she’s not), so growing up, Chianti was always the wine of choice in the Wiatrak household. For many people, Chianti conjures the image of a rustic, dimly lit Italian restaurant and a straw-covered squat bottle, often later repurposed as a candlestick dripping with wax. Nostalgia aside, there is a lot of schlock Chianti on the market, so this isn’t necessarily what you want to look for when buying a bottle. That being said, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get good Sangiovese. Both the La Pieve and the I Piaggioni cost $15 at The Wine Thief, and certainly give you your money’s worth. Before we even pour the wine, a few words on proper stemware. As convenient as it may be to drink your wine out of a ceramic mug or even straight out of the bottle, drinking out of an actual wine glass can make a world of difference when tasting. Riedel is often considered to produce the finest stemware in the world, with a specific wine glass designed for every grape. I have two of their basic red wine glasses, and they’re fantastic, but I also have a set of six I bought for $4.79 at
S U N D AY OCTOBER 13
IKEA that get the job done. Always hold the glass by the stem or the base, because if you hold it by the bowl, you’ll end up heating the wine and dimming its flavors. Raise the glass of wine against a white surface and observe its color. This Chianti is actually a rather opaque, garnet color (darker than most Chiantis), but it does get lighter toward the rim. The Rosso Toscano is just a few shades lighter, clearer and more translucent, with an even wider rim. From this analysis alone, I would predict that the Rosso Toscano would be a more delicate wine, and the Chianti would be fuller bodied. Now that you’ve examined the wine with your eyes, it’s time to do the same with your nose. Critics say that the majority of wine tasting is actually smelling. To best smell a wine, try swirling it beforehand to release the wine’s aromas. Swirling wine in the glass is a skill I have yet to fully master. They say the action is in the wrist, but if you fall on the less coordinated end of the spectrum, a solid trick is to set the glass on a table and spin it in little circles. Then really dig your nose into the glass and take a whiff. The Chianti has a bouquet of ripe Bing cherries, basil and other dried herbs. In contrast, the Rosso Toscano smells spicier on the nose, with a secondary note of orange peel. And at last, the main event — the drinking. When you taste the wine, check and see if the flavors you just smelled carry over to the palate. In the Chianti, the cherry flavor definitely remains, but the spicy earthiness really takes charge on the tongue. Subtle notes of dark fruit enter the arena as well. With the Rosso Toscano, you get more of what you expect. The citrus notes lend to a more acidic wine, with a pleasant touch of nutmeg on a gentle, lingering finish. Although the tasting process may seem daunting, the more practice you get, the more sophisticated you’ll become when dissecting a wine. Of course, you’re still drinking, so the idea is to become less stressed, not more. So sit back, relax, and welcome our New England autumn in all its glory with a glass of Sangiovese. Both the I Piaggioni “Rosso Toscano” 2011 (Tuscany, Italy) and the La Pieve “Chianti” 2010 (Tuscany, Italy) are available for purchase at The Wine Thief (181 Crown St., New Haven) for $15. Contact BRYCE WIATRAK at email@example.com .
// BY ELEANOR MICHOTTE
ELEANOR MICHOTTE CRIT FROM THE BRIT To be fair to her, that’s a particular something we’ve all heard often before. We’ve heard it from friends and suitemates; lovers and strangers. Lots of us, given how often it’s bandied about, have been on its receiving end. And that sucks. It sucks to realize that you’re the last, most expendable tick on someone else’s To-Do List. It sucks to have a person you care about imply that, yeah, sure, they’d love to get around to loving you. But what with other pressing campus commitments — you know, like not doing their reading, bitching about their TF, pooping in other people’s laundry — they just don’t think they’ll be able to squeeze you in. This is a very Yale problem, I think. Nowhere in the real world do people say they’re too busy for a relationship. They say that they’re not ready for one or only looking for a bit of fun, that they’re moving away, that they’re still moving on. Fair enough. But no one says that they’re too overscheduled for a relationship. You know why? Because that would be ridiculous! It would be like saying that they’re too well-dressed to be dating someone else: just as self-aggrandizing and just as untrue. Yes, girl in Global Affairs with three leadership p o s i tions, it’s untrue for you. Y e s , boy in a landed society who edits a major publication, that goes for you too. And believe it or not, YDN, this is a case in which you are not an exception. Each and every one of us on this campus, just like each and every person on this green earth, does in fact have time for a relationship. You know how I know that? Because I know that we all have to eat, walk places, drink coffee in Blue
THIS IS A VERY YALE PROBLEM, I THINK. NOWHERE IN THE REAL WORLD DO PEOPLE SAY THEY’RE TOO BUSY FOR A RELATIONSHIP. Now, before you mistake me for that creepy snag-a-husband-at-Princeton lady, let me clear a few things up here. I’m not trying to say that a relationship should be the ultimate goal of your Yale experience, nor that trying to nab yourself a lady or gent should always be prioritized above the other amazing opportunities here. Plus, I know a lot of people don’t want to be dating anyone, thank you very much. That’s excellent! I’m glad you are not Bridget Jones, weeping into your Cherry Garcia in the wee hours. I salute you! I’m just saying that we do have time. We all have time. If you care enough about someone, you can always make the time. Sometimes — often — the problem is just that we don’t want to — but if so, then we should pull our heads out of our own backsides and just say it, rather than flattering ourselves at someone else’s expense. It’s that old chestnut about being good people. I know my friend is a kind, caring, considerate person, and so are most p e o ple here. But I also think it’s too easy at Yale to get caught in the whirlwind of worrying less about how we act, and more about how we measure up. G u y s . That’s sad. Let’s not do that. Besides, trust me on this: if James Franco, even whilst he was acting, directing, teaching (and Ph.D.ing on weekends) could find time to play the field at Yale, so can you. Contact ELEANOR MICHOTTE at firstname.lastname@example.org .
From Yale Law School to Woolsey Hall // 1 p.m. Pres. Petey! Mighty is he! President to be. Strong as ten regular men, definitely!
State, and — eventually — sleep. Well, guess what? All of these things can be done with another person! If you often do them with the same person, and you like that person, you can be dating! Problem solved. Plus, if you do all of those boring necessary things, and you’re dating, you can make out whilst doing them. Bonus points! It’s the romantic equivalent of getting a free gift when you buy your textbooks — and I know you like free gifts. (So do I, so in exchange for my having fixed everything, please send me some, c/o the WKND lounge.)
Keeping it real
Retreat from the celebrations for a while to get a little quiet time. WEEKEND hears East Rock is stunning right now.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
Middletown and the Paradox of Belonging // BY THERESA STEINMEYER On Thursday night, I spent three hours in Middletown, an “ordinary place” in an “ordinary time.” Built on the ruins of two other towns, it claims a main street called Main Street, its own public library and a handful of questionable Native American legends. The citizens of Middletown are talkative, endearingly awkward and friendly enough. They tell me that I’m welcome here, along with the “breathing”, the “beautiful” and the “blue.” But the thought of belonging within Middletown’s quaint, white picket fences — initially, I’ll admit — sounded ridiculous to me. Middletown, written by Will Eno, is centered on the story of Mrs. Mary Swanson (Marina Horiates ’15), who moves to Middletown with her absent husband and the dream of starting of a family. As director Kyle Yoder ’15 promises us, it is a play filled with questions. Why do we get library cards? What was your first memory? What does it look like when someone falls down a black hole? Middletown’s population introduces itself through this sort of inquisitive small talk. It’s cute at first, and then a bit dull, and by intermission, it starts to feel eerie. And from the first moments of the play, the scenery has me on edge. Why, if these people spend their time planting trees and reading about gravity and eating sandwiches with near-strangers, are their pristine houses and fences and mailboxes bathed in shadows? While the cast
of Middletown welcomes me again and again, I can’t help but fear that there is a threatening shift in tone waiting to drop.
MIDDLETOWN SEEMS DETERMINED TO SUCK ME INTO ITS COMMUNITY. The locals blur the divide between audience and stage with genuine warmth. Performers step naturally out of Middletown to address the audience and share bits of their stories. Middletown’s librarian, played by Anya Richkind ’16, does this beautifully when she reads her town’s Native American legends, pausing to guide us by defining what it means for something to last for “many moons” or for a woman to be a “blushing mother.” These are the moments when I am most able to accept Middletown. Sometimes, Middletown’s citizens seem to be trying so hard to be normal that they lose credibility. I struggle to believe their small talk, wrought with nervous gestures and wandering silences and verbal fillers. The more that Middletown attempts to embrace me, the more unsettled I feel. Middletown seems determined to suck me into its com-
munity, but I dig in my heels. I lose interest in its questions and start to ask my own. Could I really belong here in Middletown? I don’t want to belong. I want to believe that life at Yale has made me worldly, that my life is meaningful, that I am anywhere else but in the middle. And that’s when I start to wonder why the prospect of belonging to Middletown bothered me so much, and how, if I rejected this town, did it manage to make me cry? Middletown is not about library cards or black holes or memories, as the program seems to suggest. It’s not about sandwiches or legends or those white picket fences. If Middletown were really about answering those simpler questions, we could choose not to belong. Instead, Middletown is a play about
fear, loneliness and love. It gives us permission to admit the things that scare us, and reassures us that we are never as lost as we think we are. And above everything else, it’s a play about love, a force stronger than the gravity that grounds us, even in the middle. You can visit Middletown for yourself this weekend, and experience the warmth of its welcome. You’ll hear lots of questions, which Middletown promises, and maybe some answers, which it doesn’t. But more importantly, Middletown will force you to ask your own questions, those you will be struggling to answer long after the last round of applause dies away. Contact THERESA STEINMEYER at email@example.com .
// IHNA MANGUNDAYAO
A Perfectly Cast “Miscast” // BY STEPHANIE ADDENBROOKE
On the surface, “Miscast” makes no sense —the show’s concept is such that actors perform roles that no casting director would ever dream assigning them. By definition alone, it seems like it would be a poor gimmick. After all, there is a reason why “Cell Block Tango” is performed by a group of scorned women, and why “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is sung with a testosterone-fueled punch. But “Miscast” rejects these stereotypical inflections entirely, instead showing that atypical voices can give these numbers the same spine-tingling feelings we know them to have. The idea of “Miscast” comes from the annual Broadway gala of the same name. The gala has seen Jonathan Groff perform “If Mama Was Married,” from “Gypsy,” and Sierra Boggess transform into Javert from “Les Miserables.” In a similar twist of events, those in Calhoun Cabaret this weekend will witness, amongst others, Tom Stilwell ’16 become the sultry Mama Morton from “Chicago” and Christian Probst ’16 reveal his inner Elle Woods in “Some Better Thing” from “Legally Blonde.” There are few differences as stark as the ones presented in “Miscast,” and each of them are joyfully celebrated. Frankly, I was surprised. I thought I would cringe at stereotypical renditions of Broadway classics, performed by actors who could likely never do the song justice. After all, how could I anticipate that “I’m Not that
Girl” from Wicked would still bring a tear to my eye when sung by a man? Such is a nod to director Samantha Pillsbury ’15 and, ironically, her keen eye for casting: the voices seemed oddly appropriate for the roles they seek to fill.
A DEMONSTRATION OF THE INCREDIBLE VOICES PRESENT ON YALE’S CAMPUS. “Miscast” is, thus, above all, a demonstration of the incredible voices present on Yale’s campus. Nine of the actors have stepped right out of the world of a cappella, with cast members coming from Whim ‘n’ Rhythm, The Duke’s Men, Mixed Company and Shades. And with that in mind, it is understandable why 90% of the show is sung. The music is the center of the show, and any dialogue is more like a commercial break for the actors. The actors host the show, introducing each performance and providing quirky banter between scenes. Unlike a normal musical, cast members do not adopt a specific role, instead telling off-the-cuff, comedic anec-
dotes. We are left to guess how much of them are true, leading me to believe that it would be funnier to watch this if you knew each cast member individually. While Pillsbury succeeds in the difficult job of showing how the songs chosen differ from the cast members singing them, the seemingly unscripted musings of the actors provide some useful explanation as to why the show is so “Miscast.” “Miscast,” ultimately, defies its very premise. Rather than being faced with a random assortment of both singers and songs, we are presented with something far more thoughtful and intelligent. The show strikes a compelling balance between exaggerating the “miscast” aspect of the song and staying true to its original spirit. The overall production of each song captures the essence of what would be expected from a sophisticated musical chorus—consequently, the show moves from being a simple cabaret evening to a distinguished show from the Yale Drama Coalition. So, for those of you lucky enough to be holding a reservation, be sure to use it. “Miscast” will make you laugh out loud, warm your heart, and let you believe in the fantasy we all have — that we do not have to do, or be, what everyone tells us to. Contact STEPHANIE ADDENBROOKE at firstname.lastname@example.org .
// KEN YANAGISAWA
S U N D AY OCTOBER 13
Hillhouse Ave. // 3 - 5 p.m. Party with the masses, because everyone is invited.
WEEKEND RECOMMENDS: Pomp and circumstance
The music, the processions, the needless enthusiasm -- it’s not something we always get to enjoy.
YALE DAILY NEWS · FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2013 · yaledailynews.com
2 0 ‘ Y K S L O P GABE
FROM THE YALE WHALE TO HOLLYWOOD // LEAH MOTZKIN
Q. Could you talk a little about what your path has been like since leaving Yale, how you decided to go into production and directing, and what the experience of starting your own company was like? A. I didn’t have any film background, and I didn’t know anything about film. I wanted to initially see how far I could take hockey career. I played here on the varsity team, and when that started coming to an end, I took a different path. I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. I was a political science major, but I didn’t want to be a politician or lawyer. My dad’s a businessman, my mom’s an art dealer, so I had a good, diverse family background in my formative years. I liked entertainment always, but I knew nothing about it. It was only towards the end of my senior year that I figured out what I wanted to do. My roommate was actually doing a lot of sketch comedy and writing, and that turned me onto the creative life as a profession. So after that, I just started reading everything I could about movies; I got a job as a PA [production assistant], and took some improv classes. I just absorbed everything I could. It’s not common to start this way — as a producer and then become more creative, but I felt that that was a sort of natural path for me to get my feet wet. I obviously worked odd jobs — I worked at a talent agency, I worked for producers, I worked for a film financier — to absorb all I could. But when I started a company with my brother, we knew very quickly what we had to do: get the best material we could and work with the best people. About a year and a half after we started Polsky Films, we made “Bad Lieutenant,” which is a property that we developed and found and got a real high level filmmaker to make. To learn from a guy like Werner Herzog was priceless. Then we just started finding material and developing it. Ultimately, we made three or four movies and
decided that it was time to direct because you have more creative input. When you hire a director, they take over from there creatively. Not only did we want to find material and develop it, but we wanted a say in its creative influences. We found a piece of material called “Motel Life” that was brought in by a couple of writers and had never had anything done with it. We just fell in love with it for obvious reasons: It’s a story about two brothers. It’s a very intimate story that was creative and unique and emotionally powerful. It’s not a big movie. It’s contained and relatively manageable. As two brothers, we could sell the idea of directing this movie. So then we had to cast it, raise the money and get all of that stuff. We had to get the right actors to help us sell it and also deliver a performance that we need. We cast Emile Hirsch, who was our first choice and an excellent actor. Q. What is it like working with such high profile actors and how did you initially attract them to your piece? A. It definitely helped that we had worked with some big actors in other movies. It wasn’t like, “oh my god Emile Hirsch, Dakota Fanning!” By that point it wasn’t intimidating anymore. We had already had projects with Will Smith, Sean Penn and Nick Cage. It is just like anything — you become a professional. You have to work with honor, honesty and class. You work with the actors to create a character; it doesn’t matter who they are. Not all people are the same, and every actor is different, so you have to handle them and their personality in different ways. Q. How would you characterize your directing style? A. I’d say we are always about material and preparation. The directing style is obviously get fascinating performances that are powerful however you got to do it. For this specific
story about two brothers, my brother and I chose to direct it together, which will probably not happen again in the future. But for this piece, the style is collaborative — let’s do this honestly together. Q. Given that you and your brother are beginning to go separate ways professionally, what upcoming projects are you working on? A. I am working on a documentary. I am very interested in documentaries as well as feature films. We made a documentary called “His Way” about Jerry Weintraub that was nominated for an Emmy. The next thing I’m finishing is a documentary about one of the greatest sports dynasties of all time: the “Red Army” hockey team, told through its captain. The story is about how hockey mirrored the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. It’s a social and historical tapestry as well as a personal journey for this guy. I haven’t perfected the pitch yet, still finishing the movie, but it’s an amalgamation of a lot of my background because my parents are from the former Soviet Union. I played hockey and I kind of know of this world and story, so it was something I wanted to explore. I’m starting to write the next thing I want to direct. Q. What do you look for in the material you want to write about? A. I am looking for stuff I would like to direct. The company has the rights to the Einstein estate, for instance. If we had gotten that now, I’d like to write it and direct it. At that time, I didn’t know. Very smart, powerful properties have great characters that make you leave the theater feeling as though you’ve just gone through something not only entertaining and interesting but that you can apply to your own life and be inspired in some way or other. Q. Speaking of inspiration, do you have any advice for students who are interested in entering the show
thing, because it is a powerful fuel.
A. There’s a lot of rejection. Those lessons I also learned at Yale. You just have to keep fighting. It’s a tough business — probably every business is tough — but I would say that there are a lot of great moments, even if 90 percent of them aren’t great. You just hope it’s worth it at the end. There’s not a singular “way.” My way is different than their way or whatever. You just have to keep fighting as long as you have that fight in you, you know? Try to listen to people. Take honest feedback and be open. Figure out what it takes, and then do what it takes. It’s complicated, and it takes different things for different people. Just be true to what you’re good at, and go after it.
Q. How do you envision the future of the film industry, especially in light of speculation about the death of the importance of the superstar and the popularity of television?
Q. Who are some of your greatest influences in your work? A. I think it’s a milieu of performances and just moments — not only in cinema but also from history and life. If you read biographies, people who do innovative things that are able to really reach your souls. Guys like Werner Herzog, because we made a film with him, are a huge influence but also Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O’Russell, the guys who are always making Oscar-contender type movies and pushing the boundaries; but more so it could be anybody that inspires me — like my girlfriend or dad or mom. You grab little things here or there from everybody. I would say that an important thing, like at Yale, is that people can have influence on you unintentionally. People who have rejected you are very influential. Without going into specifics, you shouldn’t take rejection as a negative
A. Really good question because I don’t know. All I know is you try to not go with the herd — “we got to go digital,” “we got to get a YouTube channel,” “TV is huge.” You have to try to do what you want. You don’t want to be obsolete, and you do what is profitable at that time as well. If there’s only money in television or digital, you have to know what’s going on. But obviously people are doing really great things for not that much money and a lot of it is really impressive. It’s a very competitive world and you always have to be on your game and know what’s going on and adapt. People are consuming media in a different way and people’s attention spans are lessening. You need to catch them, maybe make your films a bit shorter. I like to pace things a little bit differently. As for television, there are more shows and fewer movies, and all of the movies that are made are huge. Independent business is sort of weird because no one wants to distribute those films. No one really wants to put money behind them so then a lot of filmmakers are moving into tv, music video, commercials — wherever you can make a living. Some things are going to slowly fade away; other things are going to transform. You have to know what’s going on without chasing everybody. Contact LEAH MOTZKIN at email@example.com .
YOU JUST HAVE TO KEEP FIGHTING AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THAT FIGHT IN YOU, YOU KNOW?
roducer and director Gabe Polsky ’02 came to campus this past weekend in order to promote his newest film “The Motel Life,” starring Emile Hirsch and Dakota Fanning. After graduating from Yale, the former Men’s Hockey star’s career in show business has skyrocketed. First, he founded his own production company, Polsky Films, with his brother. In 2009, the company produced “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call—New Orleans,” directed by Werner Herzog and starring Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. The company’s 2011 documentary about Jerry Weintraub, “His Way,” was nominated for an Emmy. Recently, Polsky has begun to focus on directing and, ultimately, writing. While on campus, Polksy sat down with WEEKEND to discuss his life path, his directing style and the future of Hollywood.