Oct

21

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Bwogger Sarah Harty reviews Columbia Musical Theater Society’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, directed by Nina Lam BC ’19, produced by Emeline Bookspan BC ’18, stage managed by Clare Bradley CC ’20, and choreographed by Harmony Maria Graziano CC ’19, with Anna Bryan CC ’18 as the Music Director. 

Is this what stress culture looks like?

Like most William Finn shows (he wrote the music and lyrics, with Rachel Sheinkin authoring the book), “Spelling Bee” is a bit ridiculous. Every character is overdramatic, stereotyped, and not very lifelike – they’re closer to something you’d find on a Saturday morning cartoon than sitting next to you in class. Every “Spelling Bee” cast and crew’s job is to bring spirit and humanity to these cardboard cutouts. Nina Lam’s production does this beautifully, filling the tiny Glicker-Milstein Theatre black box with laughter, tears, heart, and a harsh dose of reality.

The plot is simple enough, save for one flashback at the beginning, the entire show is set during the bee itself. The sympathetic but stern Rona Lisa Peretti (Anna Stacy, SPS ’17), the bee’s winner in its third year, serves as judge, along with Vice Principal Douglas Panch (William Cagle, CC ’20).
So who are the contestants?

Oct

21

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Chef Mike before taking this photo: “Let me put my hat on first, I’m naked without it.”

If you haven’t noticed from the multiple advertising campaigns on Bwog’s homepage, Columbia’s Sexual Respect Initiative is required for all new Columbia students to complete by October 29. While the program offers a range of ways to fulfill the requirement, Bwogger Ramisa Murshed took a peek at one particular event that involved, you guessed it, teaching students how to set up the perfect dinner date.

When I walked into John Jay Dining Hall for Columbia Dining and Sexual Violence Response’s joint program called “Ingredients for Healthy Relationships,” I wasn’t really sure what I was expecting. The idea behind the event seemed kind of bizarre to me, but in the end, I’m glad I got to experience it.

The facilitators and participants of the program, including myself, congregated in the area around Chef Mike’s Kitchen, and the participants signed in, grabbed some recipes and SVR pamphlets, and sat down at two thoughtfully decorated tables. The tables were covered with brown tablecloths and had orange (a shade that was a mix of pumpkin and blood orange) napkins, utensils placed the proper way, and glasses filled with ice (with a lemon on top!) for each person. Each table was also topped with two blue glass bottles of Saratoga Spring Water.

More tips and food after the jump

Oct

21

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Beautiful, shiny, and new!

Stonehenge. The Bermuda Triangle. The Berenstain Bears. While some of those greatest mysteries in the world have still been unsolved by humankind, the new and improved Columbia Student Mail Center, which moved into the space of Wien Hall this year, is not one of them. Bwog talked with Mike Pagan, Executive Director of Administrative Services (Columbia Mail, Print, and Transportation), to get some answers to our questions, and here’s what we found out:

  1. If you need to pick up an urgent item such as important documents or prescription medication after the Mail Center closes, you’re in luck: Student Mail “just launched after-hour lockers for access to packages and mail when the Student Mail Center is closed.” All you need to do is reply to your email notification when your package has arrived, before 3 p.m. on the day you want to pick it up.
  2. This year’s rush period was “very successful” for Student Mail, according to Pagan. Student move-in days are actually not the busiest time for the Student Mail Center, which in fact classifies the period of late August to September as a rush period. Pagan said that during this year’s rush period, “almost 39,000 packages were distributed, with pickup wait times below 2 minutes.” In comparison to last year, this was a 13% increase in package distribution!
  3. You weren’t hallucinating when you thought that the check-in kiosks changed locations. During rush season every year, students access the Mail Center via Morningside Heights drive, which “helps minimize traffic congestion in and out of the Wien Lobby” and facilitates transport of larger-sized packages such as mini-fridges and TVs. After rush period ends, students enter the mail Center through Wien for the rest of the year.
  4. The move to Wien was important for a number of reasons, the most important being the sheer increase over the years in the volume of packages shipped. The Wien Mail Center is 2,765 square feet, more than double the 1,200 square feet space of the old Lerner Hall package center, and thus accommodates this upward trend.
  5. Some other great changes have occurred as a result of the move: Students can now use some of the valuable space that Student Mail freed up. In addition, Wien allows both mail and package servie teams “work together in one location, improving productivity.” Pagan also cites the new location is as “better positioned to the delivery access point on Morningside Drive.”
  6. What might you see in the future of the Mail Center? This is one question we can’t quite answer. However, as he believes that the uptick in mailing volume will continue, Pagan said, “[The Mail Center team] will continue to evaluate needs and look for tech or operational enhancements to our service.”

Picture via Columbia Mail Services

Oct

21

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So this is an astronaut, still technically on Earth, walking along a ramp in the sky?

New York City is packed with amazing culture and inspiring art, but sometimes it’s difficult to break the Morningside-bubble and experience it all first-hand. “Where Art Thou” is a weekly guide to interesting and notable lectures, events, and performances for the literary/musically/theatrically-inclined on campus.

On Campus:

  • Continuing their Cinema of Resistance series, the Maison Française is hosting a screening of The Assembly (L’Assemblée) from 6:30-9:00 pm on Tuesday night. The film, directed by Mariana Otero, is about the Nuit Debout (Arise at Night) protests of March 2016 in Paris. These protests marked the first time that a grassroots political organization was able to create a “democratic assembly” protest. The film screening will be followed by a group discussion.
  • Thursday night, stop by Miller Theatre to see Mahan Esfahani perform Goldberg Variations, the 1741 Bach aria. Esfahani will be playing harpsichord to present this beautiful classical piece. Tickets range from $35-$55, which you can buy here.
  • This Friday night in the Sulz Parlor, come listen to the Barnard-Columbia Chamber Singers perform with the Elqui Trio. The Elqui Trio is a group of musicians with South American roots whose repertoire encompasses everything from classical musical to South American folk music. Together, the singers will perform an exciting array of South American songs. The show starts at 8 pm!
  • Next weekend (Oct 27 and 28) is the Columbia University Players Annual One Act Festival. This year, the three one-act plays featured are Boy Meets Girl (a love story about two five-year-olds), Heart’s Desire (two parents wait for their daughter to return home), and Removing the Glove (a coming of age story about being left handed). You can check out the Facebook event here!

Off Campus:

  • Opening on Sunday at the MoMA PS1 is a new exhibit by Carolee Schneemann called Kinetic Painting. Schneemann’s work throughout the late 20th century has explored “subjectivity, the social construction of the female body, and the cultural biases of art history.” The exhibit features many of Schneemann’s avant-garde paintings from the 1950’s to the 2000’s. The exhibit will be featured at the MoMA PS1 through early March.
  • Opening today at Postmasters in Chinatown is Serkan Özkaya’s We Will Wait, a reinterpretation of Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés. Posmasters calls Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés “an elaborately detailed and beautifully disturbing room—encompassing tableau, which could be peered upon through two peepholes in a wooden door, enclosing the illuminated scene within.” Özkaya has created a replica of Étant donnés, which you can find at Postmasters until November 25.
  • Yesterday at the Whitney, Toyin Ojih Odutola opened her first solo exhibition. This exhibit, titled To Wander Determined, is comprised of large scale portrait paintings of fictional characters imagined by Odutola herself. According to the exhibit description, “Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space, class, and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola continues her examinations of narrative, authenticity, and representation.”

Wild astronaut man image from CUP Facebook Page

Oct

21

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The original sad boy? Just look at that stony stare.

Happening in the World:  Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stated that his administration will unveil measures today to counter the Catalonian independence movement, after blasting it as “an unacceptable attempt at secession.” His statements come after a controversial October 1 referendum vote, in which of 43% of Catalonian individuals who took part, 90% voted for independence from Spain. (Washington Post)

Happening in the US: Video evidence has emerged to prove false the Thursday statements of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who accused Representative Frederica S. Wilson of bragging during a military ceremony about attaining $20 million for a South Florida F.B.I. building. Released by Florida newspaper The Sun Sentinel, the video demonstrates that Ms. Wilson never claimed credit for securing the money for the building, but only ever discussed her part in passing legislation to name the building after two fallen federal agents. (Sun Sentinel)

Happening in NYC: The mosaic coffee table of an Upper East Side family was found on Friday to be an ancient artifact from the Roman emperor Caligula. In the 1960s, the family had bought the mosaic from an aristocratic Italian family as an antique that was found on the shores of Lake Remi. Italian officials believe that the mosaic, composed of porphry cobbles arranged in colorful geometric patterns, likely comprised part of flooring of Caligula’s two “pleasure ships” during his reign, 37-41 A.D. Stay classy. (NBC)

Happening on campus: An open-to-public mural painting event, led by local NYC Latinx graffiti artists, will take place on Low Plaza today at 11 am. Hosted by a coalition of school and student groups, this event is an “interactive workshop” for all to join, with purpose of engaging the public in “a unifying activity of art that unites us all.”

Overseen: A Plimpton security guard practicing ballroom dance positions in the lobby as someone plays piano in the lounge. We’re all here for this wholesome content.

A Yahoo Answers question for your intellectual stimulation:

Peter Pan, is that you?

Oct

21

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Immediately after taking this picture, I tripped on the cobblestones

People care about public spaces, and maybe nowhere as much as in New York. Columbia’s most prominent public space, and definitely its most photographed, is the Low Steps.

Where other universities might have wide open spaces and vast lawns, Columbia students perch, like the characters of Gossip Girl on the steps of the Met, on a cold stone stairway. By day, the steps double as “Low Beach”—you can find people sunning themselves, hunching over their laptops, or eating their favorite Sweetgreen salad next to Alma Mater.

But what about at nighttime? Whenever I’m out on the weekends, I always see clusters of people sitting on the steps, huddled together against the breeze from College Walk. I’ve been those people a few times; once, after a brutal Latin class (it ends at 8 pm!), I had to go and meditate for a little while.

What I wanted to learn, though, was why people regularly chose Low Steps as their late-night place of congregation. So, having completed two of my three midterms and armed with nothing other than a pen and notepad, I left my dorm at 11:30 pm to get some answers.

Make friends with strangers below

Oct

20

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Sex sells… tickets for arthritis benefit!

Guys, in case you weren’t tapping through the Ivy League Snapchat Story in Butler last night, AOII had their philanthropy event, AOKaraoke, and it was wild. Bwoggers Victoria Arancio and Aliya Schneider checked it out.

See photos from the event at the bottom of the article!!

This year’s AOKaraoke event’s theme was Pillow Talk. In all honesty, the theme at first caused me to cringe: watching people try to sing in addition to trying too hard to be overtly sexual sounded like it would just make me really uncomfortable. Once the music started playing, my doubts and reservations were overpowered by Jason Derulo’s, “Trumpets” and Bruno Mars’, “Marry You.” Despite the event’s theme, intended to celebrate women’s ability to take control of their own sexual narrative, the performers—mostly men—proved to instead embrace their self-humiliation, objectifying themselves. It was messy. It was fun. My expectations were low. The event surprised me in the best way possible. I’ll give you the run down on all things karaoke: how the fraternities and sororities performed, what they sang, and more.

Get the full run down, including the salacious pics!

Oct

20

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“Yasss Queens”

Mary Stuart is premiering tonight and tomorrow as well, so go buy tickets while you can and experience this Victorian drama for yourself. More information and tickets can be found here.

When considering Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, many envision a woman donning a Victorian-era gown, sashaying through lavish palaces, and, perhaps, sipping tea in a well-maintained garden. Few imagine the queen as a prisoner, though this is how she spent the latter half of her life. Even fewer envision the queen in a full-leather outfit, exiting a prison cell after nearly 20 years of confinement, while hymn-like music plays in the background, and yet this idyllic vision is the final scene in director Gisela Cardenas’s adaptation of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart.

The show took place in the Minor Latham Playhouse, located in Barnard’s Milbank Hall. As I entered the theater, I was greeted by acoustic guitar, and soft, white lighting on the stage illuminated two of the actors. One held the guitar, and the other, facing away from the audience, seemed to be pondering a notion of great importance. With a sense of calm about me, I took a seat next to a fellow theater-enthusiast and friend, and within a few minutes, the show began.

The production centers on Stuart’s final days of captivity under Queen Elizabeth’s reign. Stuart, played by Lily Whiteman, a junior Theatre major at Barnard, is loud, bold, and unashamed of standing up for herself while she attempts to negotiate her way out of prison. Various friends and lords try to help the captive, but the threat of Queen Elizabeth’s wrath hangs over their heads, and for the duration of the show, Stuart’s future hangs in the balance.

Read more about the production after the jump.

Oct

20

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How do we find meaning in music?

The Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience kicked off this year’s series of seminars with “Music and Meaning,” a seminar designed to examine the ways we find meaning in music from an interdisciplinary perspective. Bwogger Ramisa was there.

The seminar began with a welcome from Pamela Smith, Professor of History and Chair of the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience. David Freedberg, Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Italian Academy, then briefly took the podium to discuss the history of these seminars before handing the podium back to Smith, who introduced the moderators of the seminar, Jacqueline Gottlieb, Professor of Neuroscience, and Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience.

Gottlieb began by introducing the topic of music and how it relates to neuroscience by providing two contrasting viewpoints. First, she stated, “Music is an essential part of our lives. Without music, life would be a mistake.” She countered this, however, with, “From my perspective as a neuroscientist, music should not exist.” She explained that nervous systems are adaptive systems to learn to increase biological fitness, and from this perspective, music and art are just signals that should be ignored like other stimuli that have little to do with biological fitness. Tying this topic into the idea of “meaning,” Gottlieb then defined meaning as what humans look for in everything; human beings have a drive for making sense of the world, constantly searching for predictability, which in turn becomes meaning. We, however, are struggling to find out what we find meaning in. Gottlieb left the audience with two questions. What do we find value in? And what makes things interesting and worthwhile to us? She then introduced how the speakers would address those questions.

The speakers address the question after the jump!

Oct

20

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I wonder if this is why the McBain fire alarms are always going off…

Tired of straight vodka chugged from the bottle because midterm season is stressful, oh so stressful, oh god why did I ever sign up for these classes? Well then, we’ve got the recipes for you. All you need to do is BYOB and swipe ingredients with the help of your swipe!

Cape Cod, or “I stole this watered down vodka from a frat and want to seem fancy”
● Your choice of vodka
● Cranberry juice stolen from Ferris (when it hasn’t been replaced by another apple juice dispenser)

Cuba Libre, or “I don’t want to call it a ‘rum and coke’ because I want to seem cultured”
● Light rum
● Coca Cola acquired from the John Jay drink dispensers

Screwdriver, or “I couldn’t afford a mimosa”
● Vodka
● JJ’s orange juice (with pulp) or a bottle grabbed amongst your 4 afforded snacks

Sangria, or “A food blogger told me to use ‘bold, fruity, dry Spanish wine’ for this and I don’t know what that means”
● Red, red wine
● John Jay apples and oranges
● Cane sugar from John Jay

More after the jump!

Oct

20

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one of the most serious of the bunch

Anonymous work from the Sexual Respect Initiative Arts Option

CW: This article discusses sexual assault as well as incapacitation and memory loss due to alcohol.

On Thursday, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Vice President Marjory Fisher sat down with a small group of students for one of many Sexual Respect Initiative workshops offered during October. All incoming students are required to participate in one of the many and varied SRI options. Fisher’s event focused on the topics of incapacitation and consent with particular attention towards alcohol, and how the university as an adjudicating institution thinks of the connection of those ideas.

Fisher’s first major point was that it is possible to have consenting, positive sexual interactions while using alcohol or other drugs. For Columbia and for the state of New York, intoxication occurs on a scale. While intoxicated people can give consent, incapacitated people are incapable of doing so. Incapacitation occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual conduct because they lack the ability to understand their decisions and make rational, reasonable choices. Signs of incapacitation considered by the university include dizziness, slurring, unawareness, and vomiting, among others.

Fisher also emphasized that even blacked out individuals may be able to consent under Columbia’s and New York’s definitions. Blackouts occur when the hippocampus cannot write memories, resulting in the inability to recall events in fragments or en bloc. Fisher shared anecdotes from her experience of men and women with no memory who were, by bystander accounts, totally lucid and aware during their periods of amnesia. Because memory-writing may be independent from other functions, Fisher explained that a respondent may not be able to use their blackout as evidence of their inability to consent at the time of a sexual encounter or assault.

However the state of intoxication may affect a survivor, respondents cannot use their drunkenness as an excuse for sexual assault. Even if a person was too drunk to determine if a partner could consent, the burden for committing Gender Based Misconduct comes when an individual “knows or should know” of the incapacity of another. If a reasonable sober person could tell that a survivor was incapacitated, then that shows to Columbia that their assaulter “should have known” and can be held responsible. Conversely, if the respondent had no reasonable way of knowing that someone was incapacitated (for instance, if the respondent did not see any alcohol consumed or observe any signs of incapacitation), that may make it challenging for Fisher to push forward with a case.

Even more takes from the Title IX coordinator after the jump

Oct

20

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Try reading this entire article without a David Attenborough accent. It’s tough.

Like spotting a gazelle on the plains of Africa, one Bwogger recently ran into former Barnard President Deborah Spar. And now, the moment it happened in breathtaking detail. 

At a recent engagement, I had the pleasure of running into DSpar, a figure as pivotal to Barnard’s history as the late magnolia tree. As she strutted down the block, her assistant in tow, pedestrians (including myself) were entranced by her aura. Could I stop this poised gazelle in her tracks? She sauntered away as quickly as she had appeared like a rare bird alerted to the gaze of its audience. Like seeing an ex-flame, I found myself perplexed: Do I pretend like I’m doing great without her? Or do I still strive for her approval? To be honest, my reaction was to simply think to myself, ‘I love her.

Whether you like her or not is a moot point–she’s the epitome of an icon, in that she represents a lioness that signifies both effortless confidence and a meticulously curated image. When she walks, you can almost see the ambition seeping out of her manicured hands. Though I had experienced this demeanor in a climate of aptly liberated millennial, DSpar was now in her natural environment. Surrounded by a group she described as her elite peers that run in her New York City social circle, this lioness was emboldened by her captivated entourage. This was not my DSpar who had served me french toast sticks in Diana, but instead an Alpha in a herd of her own species.

More on this rare sighting after the jump

Oct

20

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“This next one’s called Wonderwall”

Happening Around The World: US-backed militants declared total victory over the Islamic State in the Syrian city of Raqqa. The pronouncement was made in the same dusty soccer stadium where the ISIS militants made their last stand earlier this week. (CNN)

Happening In The US: Famed white supremacist Richard Spencer (read his profile in the Atlantic here) spoke at the University of Florida yesterday enticing many protests, including a performance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the black national anthem, on the school’s bell tower. (CNN)

Happening In NYC: The Westin New York hotel in Times Square is preparing a return of its $1,000 bagel, previously available for a limited time in 2007. The bagel will feature white truffle cream cheese, goji berry-infused Riesling jelly and golden leaf flakes and is only a tad more expensive than the average Nussbaum schmear. (Pix11)

Happening At Columbia: As today’s date is, in fact, 10/20, Notes and Keys are holding their Midsemester Concert called “ThrowNAK: The (10)20’s” which is themed around “celebrating flappers, women’s suffrage, and our favorite local speakeasy, 1020!” Is it too much to hope for a surprise appearance by Lin-Manuel?

Overheard: “Wait, if we’re just gonna be prostitutes, why do we have to go to law school?”

Bop of the Day: Digital Witness by St. Vincent

Oct

20

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(logo by pentagram design in collaboration with the ghost of frank lloyd wright)

If you have a Twitter account, you’ve probably seen your fair share of funny bot accounts. One of them keeps track of how far through the year we are (80% through 2017, as of today!) while another tweets every color. We here at Bwog were tired of automation not yet taking our jobs, and so we… uh… repurposed some code found on the Internet and created a verified automated smash: @notbwog.

Our child, uh, I mean the cold, unfeeling bundle of ones and zeroes that we definitely haven’t developed a personal bond with, posts around once every three hours. And while a good number of them are nonsense (just think of them as Sappho fragments, but hornier) a few of them could actually be Bwog articles. We’re definitely going to write some of these in the future.

Enjoy some selections from the bot’s nearly two weeks of near-sentience. Hopefully when Skynet takes over we’ll be remembered as some of the good humans.

1. Raise your hand if you’re feeling personally attacked. I know I’m not the only one. 

2. This paradoxical clickbait would definitely work on me.

3. Hey bro can you look over my cover letter? It’s just the word ‘cheese’ over and over. 

4. Is it a statement or a question? Either way, we’re here for it.

5. This isn’t an actual tweet. A robot wrote this. 

6. And finally, some insight into Deputy Editor Youngweon’s thoughts. 

Oct

19

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Jason (Hugo Wehe) and Medea (Grace Meriam).

Bwoggers Leo Bevilacqua and Gabrielle Kloppers review KCST’s adaptation of “Medea,” which was directed by Asya Sagnek, BC ’19, produced by Sophie Seidenberg, BC ’19, stage managed by Ally Han, CC ’19, designed by Breanna Beaudrault, BC ’19, and Kalina Ko, BC ’21, and with dramaturgy by Luke Cregan, CC ’19. 

Medea, one of the most celebrated Greek tragedies, is a tall order for any director. What Asya Sagnak, undertakes is truly ambitious and powerful; a story of a persecuted foreign queen who attempts to gain agency in a male-dominated world is pertinent to the current political climate. Sagnak and her creative team edited the long tragedy to about 70 minutes, highlighting the theme of displacement.

The Lerner Black Box was another appropriate choice for this performance, as Medea, Rose Meriam, CC ’19 was attempting to find a center, a home. At the Black Box, the set was bare but nonetheless symbolic. Medea’s “home” at Corinth featured a closet with plenty of her clothes, a few scattered chairs, a bedside table, and a lamp. The debris of domestic life were an effective means of bringing the story of Medea into contemporary circumstances, making it more digestible for modern audiences. Medea’s murderous behavior might initially be shocking; however, when the audience is confronted with her desolate and dark home, her solitude, pain, and impetus for murder are elucidated.

More about the performance after the jump

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