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Dec

8

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Latenite in the hot seat

Latenite in the hot seat

Like the Seth Myers, David Letterman, and Jimmy Fallon variety, our campus got our annual dose of a late night show. Trading in the oversized leather chair next to the host for a meager audience seat, late night entertainment lover Julia Goodman tells of her experience at this year’s anthology. 

Latenite’s fall 2014 anthology was extremely entertaining, as always. While last semester’s showcase took on some more intense plays, this semester saw a return to the absurdist comedy Latenite has become known for. That’s not to say that there were no serious moments in the performance—though every show got laughs, there was also plenty of snapping for some of the more thoughtful beats of each show.

More so than in past years, this anthology felt like a very cohesive show rather than a collection of plays. Each act opened with a short, absurdist sketch that set the tone for anyone who might be unaware of what they were getting into. “A Sunday Drive” consisted of only two lines, but Adil Habib as Hip & cool Christian dad and Simisola Olagundoye as Jesus Christ delivered those lines perfectly. Half movement piece, half meditation on the driving abilities of Jesus, this show had a clear vision that director Chris Evans executed very well. The show was hilariously chaotic, and Olagundoye’s poised and stately Jesus held it all together.

The second act opener, “Teardrop Soup,” was even stranger—more performance art than anything else. The directing talents of Michael Rodriguez (or, as he’s credited in the program, Daniel Day Lewis) were put to excellent use with a show whose three lines served as the backdrop for a strange, ritualistic undertaking. No one in the audience seemed to understand this show at all, but that was entirely the point. Anyone who wasn’t there should regret the missed opportunity to see siblings Grayson and Alexandra Warrick cover their faces in red lipstick, while their butler (Shreyas Manohar) sobbed quietly to himself.

Self-deprecating humor & bizarre sex jokes

Nov

19

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titus andronicus

Culture yourselves this weekend!!!

This semester, the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe, better known by their acronym KCST, is putting on one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest works, Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare scholars Julia Goodman and Maud Rozee met with the production’s dramaturg, Jo Chiang, to discuss the show. Titus Andronicus will be in the Glicker-Milstein Theater this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are free and can be reserved in advance at the TIC.

Bwog: What’s the play about?

JC: Titus Andronicus is, first and foremost, in its original interpretation, a revenge play—or arguably, a satire on revenge plays. It can be argued that Shakespeare was making fun of the revenge plays of his time by making this revenge play so sensational. Someone kills someone that’s the family member of someone else, that person gets mad, and there’s a lot of killing and things in between to make up for it, and in the end everyone dies. So, that’s kind of the story. But there’s a lot of nuance about institutional violence, and there’s racism, and misogyny. There’s things besides just killing, and that’s what we’re trying to highlight.

Bwog: How did you choose this show?

JC: Every single year KCST has an advisory board meeting before the next semester—so in this case, it was last semester—where people present proposals for plays they want to do, their reasons why, and their vision. Sometimes they have people who are going to do design to come up with, like, “Here’s our aesthetic vision.” So Becca [Meyer, the show’s director] proposed Titus Andronicus. I was actually on the advisory board. You have to do two shows before you can be on the advisory board, but after that everyone’s welcome to sit in there. So I was in attendance to discuss it and decide. The general climate was that everyone realized how relevant this play was to this campus at this time, because it deals with sexual assault. Not just sexual assault, but the aftermath of sexual assault, the way women’s voices and stories are silenced or ignored, and the role that greater institutions play in perpetuating environments where these kinds of violences occur and legitimizing them. Because we found that so relevant, we thought this was a great way of showing that we can combine both politics and art. Sometimes people perceive theater as existing in a vacuum and we wanted to challenge that. So we almost unanimously decided on this play.

Bwog: Can you talk a little bit about what Becca’s vision was and how she presented it that got everyone in KCST behind the idea?

JC: It was tying it to current events, basically. One of the draws was that historically, Titus Andronicus has not been well received, so that’s part of the challenge as well. People either love it or they hate it. It is incredibly bloody, it’s very sensational. A lot of people think it’s overblown, over the top, and impossible to do well. Definitely in Shakespeare’s time, people just could not stand it. It’s part of that challenge, to take a play that is quite obscure, and not one of his major canonical works, and present it in front of an audience. And hopefully it can resonate.

Read about how KCST is relating the play to current events on campus after the jump…

Oct

20

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To the members of the Columbia community,

We owe you an apology.

This Saturday we received a tip regarding a “strategy document” that had been circulated to leaders of many Columbia student organizations. It was our understanding that the names included in the document were on the public record. Students who spoke at the Town Hall were instructed to speak their names and affiliations on the recorded microphone; the transcript of this recording will be released by Columbia shortly. However, it was brought to our attention by multiple student activists that there were individuals named in the document who did not speak on the public record at the Town Hall.

Due to a miscommunication, the post went up before we were able to confirm that all of the individuals listed in the document had their names on the public record. When we became aware that several students in the document had not spoken at the Town Hall, we immediately redacted all of the names of student activists in the post in the interest of protecting their safety and privacy.

Bwog exists, first and foremost, to serve the students on this campus and to provide a forum for safe, open discussion. In this instance, we have failed to live up to those responsibilities.

When Bwog was founded in 2006, it was primarily a source for stories that warranted immediate attention, such as free food alerts and breaking news. As our readership grew, we evolved into a preeminent independent source of student news and information. After the events of this weekend, we are reevaluating our responsibilities to the Columbia community and we would like all of you, our readers, to be involved in that process.

We would like to actively change what information is posted on Bwog, the factors that inform such decisions, and how we present that information to you. We will be meeting personally with many of the student activists who were most affected by this weekend’s events in order to get their input. In addition, we invite any student who wishes to contribute to the redefining of Bwog to send an email at editor@bwog.com, or to attend our open forum next Sunday, October 26th, from 8-9pm in the Lerner SGO.

We deeply regret the events of the past few days, but embrace the opportunity to look critically at ourselves and reaffirm our commitment to our readers. We look forward to beginning what we feel is a necessary process in ensuring that Bwog has a role in the Columbia community.

Respectfully,
Julia Goodman, Editor-in-Chief
Claire Friedman, Managing Editor
Maud Rozee, Internal Editor
Jake Hershman, Publisher

Oct

16

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Alma is always watching

Alma is always watching

Sometimes the Man can really get you down, especially here at Columbia, but not always for the wrong reasons. In light of tomorrow’s town hall on protest rules, we bring you an article from the Blue and White’s December issue on security at Columbia. This is the first half of the investigation written by Naomi Cohen.

Four years ago, before public scrutiny of Facebook’s privacy policy began and majority opinion about the National Security Association soured, a Columbia student posted a comment on his Facebook wall about Julian Assange. The comment was a joke about Gossip Girl. Non-political.

The student says that in a matter of hours, he received a message from Columbia University Information Technology (CUIT) in his Cubmail inbox. The message, he says, strongly suggested that he take down the post. Words like “Julian Assange” attract unwanted attention. Heeding CUIT’s words of caution, he took the post down—and asked to remain anonymous in this article. Associate Vice President for Media Relations Robert Hornsby wrote in an email that CUIT “does not monitor or review student Facebook pages” and couldn’t have sent the email. The student says the email was deleted in the switch from Cubmail to Lionmail—CUIT reserves the right to delete emails without notice. Hornsby wrote that a CUIT search for the email was “inconclusive.”

In the same year as the alleged email, the Office of Career Services at the School of International and Public Affairs drew fire for sending a similar warning. The email passed on advice from a SIPA alumnus in the State Department, who advised that mentioning Wikileaks on social media might jeopardize students’ prospects for employment with the state. Following public “alarm that the liberal bastions of academe in the US would be complicit in restrictions on access to the documents,” as reported The Guardian, the State Department denied that these restrictions even existed on its side. The advice was never meant for non-employees, said the State Department spokesman. Then-SIPA Dean and now-Provost John Coatsworth defended the email as a “cautionary suggestion.” He encouraged Columbia students to keep sharing their views publicly “without fear of adverse consequences.”

Students by now have been repeatedly reminded to be distrustful of transnational surveillance. The NSA, though, is not the only pair of watching eyes. Wherever students go on campus, whatever they write in emails, whichever sites they browse, whomever they text and call, and whatever other information they provide the school, Columbia is also systematically keeping tabs—and hovering closer and more unchecked than any municipal or federal institution.

More on the inner-workings of Columbia security after the jump.

Sep

25

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A Spectacular Sheep

Last week, an anonymous sheep Bwogger attended Bill Deresiewicz’s lecture on campus. Deresiewicz, author of the widely-read “The Disadvantages of An Elite Education,” is well known for his anti-Ivy-League stance (or, rather, his anti-sheep stance), making his visit to Columbia especially intriguing. Below is an open letter from a self-proclaimed “spectacular sheep,” addressing many of Deresiewicz’s main points.

Dear Mr. Deresiewicz,

Alright, I have to admit it. You’ve got serious balls touring almost all eight schools of the Ivy League telling students that their nearly 60k education is ultimately not worth it. We worked exceptionally hard to get here, and while that may have taken exceptional “hoop jumping,” it also took exceptionally spectacular motivation and drive. Life is a series of hoops and to be “successful” one undoubtedly has to be original and decently intelligent, but they also must master a certain element of manipulation of the game or “hoop jumping.” I do not think your overall argument is unfounded; in fact, I agree with you completely, and probably more than most. However, I think your question is more one of how do we balance “succeeding” at this sick game of hopscotch while also holding on to the ideals that founded these Ivy League institutions in the first place: learning, not only how to learn, but also for the sake of learning itself.

I think the question of how to derive meaning from education and, by extension, life, is an important one, but perhaps one that is above both of us. I also am unsure whether this was what you intended to say in your talk at Columbia. But I am not here to chastise you; that would be neither my place nor intention. I am here to applaud you. The issue you are tackling is one that could be argued to be direly in need of address. I think your issue, as mine and everyone’s should be, is with the institutionalized, bureaucratic secondary educational system. We unquestionably should have the opportunity to attend prestigious schools that have strong humanities backgrounds and extensive exposure to many diverse fields. We should be encouraged to pursue the arts and music and philosophy to make us better thinkers, better inventors, better humanitarians, better lovers. We especially should be more globally oriented with today’s society, learning more languages, more history and more global politics and economics. We should be given more time to realize our niche while we find ourselves mentally, spiritually and emotionally. But how do we create an exceptional education system that provides for both those who want a well-rounded educational experience to shape their future careers and also for those who are passionate and dedicated to fields they are sure they want to pursue?

Mr. Deresiewicz, I implore you: go into politics. Fight for that change you and I and countless Ivy League students want to see. You are raising such prevalent and progressive questions. However, I think telling someone they’re drowning when they’ve already started swimming is somewhat counterintuitive and unproductive. Everyone should be forced to question their actions and motives; introspection is healthy and sometimes necessary even though at times it may be difficult or unwanted. All, and maybe especially Ivy League students should be reminded of their commitment to being spectacular well-rounded scholars and not just hoop jumpers, but they most definitely should not be shot down because of their accomplishment of making it here. I know you’ve received mixed reviews on your book and talks, but the negative feedback is a natural defense mechanism for the realization of Ivy League students – and sometimes their parents — that you are right. But that that would also entail our own inadequacy and inferior education, something we’ve vested serious time, effort, and money into.

Maybe that stark slap of reality is garnering the attention you were intending, and if that’s the case, well done. So ultimately, Mr. Deresiewicz, thank you. Thank you for raising the issue, and I hope you succeed in bringing about effective change. As for me, with all this in mind, I am going to set out to be a spectacular sheep; one that is wide-awake and making the most of my Ivy League education.

Sincerely,

A Spectacular Sheep

woolly goodness via Shutterstock

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