Author Archive

Feb

14

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Valentine’s Day is about many things: romance, capitalism, anatomically-incorrect heart shapes… but most of all, kissing. First kisses can be sloppy, gross, fun, exciting, a weird mix, or all of the above. A few years ago, artist Sharon Pak released a collaborative project called Tell Me About Your First Kiss, and Deputy Editor Lila Etter was inspired. What follows are the results of many interviews with Columbia students, whom she spoke with at various locations on campus. We wanted to photograph people’s lips, of course, per the original project. But we couldn’t sacrifice anonymity for intimacy, so we photographed the locations where the interviews took place.

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1. Sitting on Butler Lawn

 

What was your first kiss like?

I was in a pool. He was a family friend of ours from California. We had just met that summer, the summer before my freshman year in high school. It was kind of awkward, just logistically. Well, also awkward in general. I was sitting on the edge of the pool, and he was in the water. He tried to swoop his arm around me and grab me so he could kiss me, but I fell into the pool and under the water. When I popped back up to the surface, he tried again, and this time it worked. Sort of. It was surprisingly dry, despite us literally being in a pool.

What was your first kiss at Columbia like?

Oh, it was at Carman. I was on my second Keystone Light. Yeah. I was sitting slash lying down on a bed, and I just kind of rolled over and started kissing him. Him being someone who shall not be named. Before I knew it, he was kissing my neck. He was so good at it I didn’t even notice. The hickey the next day, though, I definitely noticed. The mother of all hickeys. *Takes out phone and shows photo*

The kisses continue after the jump.

Dec

22

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Three semesters in and the view is still pretty nice.

The view hasn’t gotten old yet.

When the newness is gone, does the malaise set in? Halfway through and taking a break before Round Two, Bwog babe Lila Etter decided to prepare for the second half of her sophomore year by reflecting on the first.

It was a little over four years ago when I first learned the full definition of the word “sophomoric.” I had just finished my freshman year in high school, and during the first week of summer my dad made a (somewhat facetious) comment about how he couldn’t wait for me to become truly sophomoric. He made this comment in front of me, but directed toward my mother, who smiled, nodded, and said, “You’re right. If we already thought she was a know-it-all, she’s about to be downright insufferable.” My confusion was evident, so they humored me with an explanation. As a soon-to-be sophomore in high school, I was about to take on a new persona of increased pretension. Sophomoric, as in: one’s second year, but also as in: intellectually overconfident and conceited, while simultaneously immature.

I, of course, resented this accusation at the time, labelling it as premature and overly critical of teenagers. Hindsight really is 20/20, though. Reflecting on what I was like as a sophomore in high school and as a fifteen-year-old, I know now that I was no exception to any rule about adolescent attitude. I was outspoken and precocious, aware of my own intellect and ready to defend it at any time, whether or not the situation actually called for it. I favored obscure books I thought no one else knew. I felt wise beyond my years and enjoyed praise from adults affirming that I carried myself with the assurance of a “much older girl.” This sophomoric nature irritated my parents when it manifested itself as correcting their grammar, dismissing their advice, and refusing to believe that anyone knew better than I did – including the two humans who had created me. They’ve since forgiven me for this year (these years, more accurately) of juvenile hubris, knowing it’s worth it now that they can tease me for it. I still recall myself at this age and cringe sometimes, but then again, who doesn’t?

Even more reflections after the jump.

Dec

10

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I have all been there

We have all been there…

If you’re struggling with how to interact with other human beings – specifically, on public transportation – Bwog has some advice for you. Some of it might be good advice, other parts could be absolute crap. It’s up to you to find out!

Dear Bwog,

I have a regular babysitting job (shoutout Barnard Babysitting Agency) at Columbus Circle, so every Thursday evening I take the 1 train to 59th. Every so often, and lately very often, I run into someone I know on the train. These encounters are usually with people I vaguely know – a friend of a friend, a classmate from a huge lecture class I rarely ask for the homework from, or maybe an NSOP friend I haven’t spoken to since NSOP. They are almost always people with whom I have NOTHING in common… which means our conversations are rather limited.

If we get into the same subway car, and we’re only together for one stop, it’s fine. Totally fine. We make small talk, complain – or rave – about whatever class we share, and probably discuss the current weather. But if we have to ride the train together for more than one or two stops, we run into a problem, because beyond that, there’s not much to say. It soon becomes awkward, especially if the subway is crowded so we end up squished against each other and are forced to interact longer. I can’t make conversation for that long!

It’s eight stops between 116th and 59th. Up to twenty minutes of torture. What can I do to survive the ride?

Sincerely,
Clumsy Conversation

Dear Clumsy Conversation,

In the words of A$AP Rocky, “I know one thing: Anything is better than that 1 Train.” For CU students, that may be because whenever we ride the 1, we always end up running into each other. Our school is so damn small, and nothing reminds us more of that fact than bumping into an acquaintance on the subway. And when all you’re trying to do is get to your destination unscathed, the thought of having to force out a conversation with a sort-of-stranger is less appealing than all of your finals put together.

Despite the fact that this problem can feel like a desperate situation, you do have some options:

  1. Supplies! Bring headphones. Bring a book. Even bring your homework if that’s what works for you. This is really the greatest resource at your disposal. If you’re empty-handed, it can be awkward to convince the other person that you’re too busy to talk. On the other hand, if you’re holding Infinite Jest, said person will not question your choice to fully ignore them. Infinite Jest… or a smelly sandwich. Both tend to drive people away.
  2. Smile and try to maintain friendliness. This, admittedly, can be the most difficult because, depending on who it is, you may really just want to avoid them at all costs. We all have those days where we don’t want to interact with anyone, much less someone we vaguely know. But ultimately, we’re all just people on our way somewhere, and recognizing that can be helpful in creating comfortable interactions.
  3. Once the small talk runs dry, take the risk of pushing it further than that. Do your best to engage this person in deeper conversation: ask them about their studies, then their hometown, then maybe their childhood. Dig a little deeper. Look at this as an opportunity to get to know someone better. Who knows? It could blossom into something beautiful.
  4. If you’re not into that, do the exact opposite: ruin your chances at ever becoming closer with this person by freaking them out a little. Ask them a weird question that is way too personal, or straight up bizarre, and makes it clear you’re not to be trusted. They will most likely figure this out and move slowly away from you in the car.
  5. If all else fails and you really can’t hang, feel free to bail. Call your ass an Uber. We’ve all been there.

Hope this is somewhat helpful! Above all, don’t let awkward encounters detract from your 1 train experience.

xoxo,
Bwog

image via Bustle

Apr

28

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Bernadette Mayer in her self-proclaimed natural habitat

Bernadette Mayer in her self-proclaimed natural habitat

Bernadette Mayer is a stream-of-consciousness poet and writer from Brooklyn. Last night, she came to speak at Columbia for “A Reading and Conversation with Bernadette Mayer,” sponsored by the Heyman Center for the Humanities. Bwog sent Daily Editor and poetry enthusiast Lila Etter to listen.

Not only has Bernadette Mayer written over 27 collections of poetry; she has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, directed the St. Mark’s Poetry Project, and taught at various prestigious institutions across America, including the New School for Social Research, Long Island University, and Miami University. Ignoring all her numerous accomplishments, the event description simply read: “Bernadette Mayer will be reading from her newly re-released Sonnets.” So I knew little of what to expect in terms of my experience on Wednesday night. I walked up the stairs of Dodge Hall to the fifth floor, eager to see what the infamous 501 would be like. Although I love the Music & Arts library, often study there, and have been  invited to 501 for various Facebook events (mostly art gallery openings and writing workshops), I’d never made it to the room itself. As I walked into 501, I realized that no amount of buttons and pins on my backpack–promoting Bernie, feminism, Barnard Divest, etc.–could save me now.

I felt more out of place than I had in a while. In a crowd of at least fifty I was one of only a few undergrads. Nearly everyone was impeccably dressed. This is not to say that the audience members weren’t varied. Far from it. There were polished young women with ombréd, fringed bangs, pin stripe blouses, and perfectly applied lipstick. There were a few unshaven scruffy young artists with terrible hair. There were SoHo-ites with black leather jackets. There were even women about Bernadette’s age, with Meryl Streep-like dignity, dressed elegantly in loafers and colorful scarves.

Who else came to see the other Bernie?

Apr

10

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Low in all its glory

Low in all its glory

Nobody puts baby in a corner, sure, but what about putting a campus in a box? Myles Zhang, CC ’19, has done just that with one of his latest projects, which features a miniature Columbia inside a vintage cigar box. Myles has a blog and a YouTube page where he displays his photography, ink drawings, watercolors, and even sculptures. Now that his first year at Columbia is coming to an end, Daily Editor Lila Etter sat down with Myles to discuss his work, his inspirations, and what makes Columbia, Columbia.

Bwog: So, Myles, tell us a little more about this project.

MZ: The project was to create a small model of Columbia out of the small, little cigar box I found around the house. I had some time during summer break, so I decided to kind of conceptualize this idea and try to imagine how much of Columbia’s campus I could physically fold into the box, given the model. So I thought about it for two or three nights, trying to conceptualize where the structures should be located, where the courtyards should be located, such that the top of the box would fold down to the bottom half, and all the structures would fit snuggly together. All in all it wasn’t too difficult a project, because most of the conceptualizing was done beforehand, and the actual execution only took four or five days.

Bwog: What’s equally incredible are your ink drawings, sketches, and watercolors of campus. Which came first?

MZ: Actually, well, some of the sketches and watercolors came beforehand, then came the miniature model immediately before school started. And then over winter break I did that large watercolor of Columbia, the one with all those details.

But why a 3D model?

Feb

13

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Even better than a date on Valentine's Day

Even better than a date on Valentine’s Day

Last week, we sent Bwoggers Jessa Nootbaar and Jennifer Nugent to cover the CU Vegan Society’s second meeting of the semester. In keeping with Bwog’s tradition of foodie ClubHops (second culinary club of the spring semester and going strong!!), this week we’ve decided to go abroad: to France. Columbia University French Cultural Society invited us to learn how to make – and then, more importantly, eat – our very own crêpes. How could we refuse? Daily Editor Lila Etter got the chance to check out the club – and the crêpes. You may have missed the event, but hopefully the skills she picked up can help you make some crêpes of your own.

On Friday afternoon, after a long day of sleeping in and no classes, I really deserved a break. Lucky for me, I had been promised a real treat. The Facebook page proclaimed:

“Valentine’s Day sucks and you want lots of cheese and Nutella this Friday. Alternatively, you don’t know what to do with bae, so you take them to this romantic French crêpe workshop and win points. Learn more about one of the most famous culinary traditions of Brittany by joining us on Friday this week to make your own delicious savory and sweet crêpes. We will feature two French families’ signature recipes and have a variety of toppings for you to choose from, including ham and (of course) cheese for the savory crêpes and bananas, nutella, and jam for the sweet ones—and, of course, cider to go with the fruits of your labor and conversation with your fellow workshop-goers.”

We freaking love crepes

Feb

10

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Iconic.

Iconic.

Sarah H. Cleveland is Columbia Law School’s Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights, as well as the Faculty Co-Director of the Human Rights Institute. Her areas of expertise include National Security and International Humanitarian Law, Foreign Affairs and the Constitution, and International Law in U.S. Courts. Last night at 6 pm, she held a lecture on “Human Rights Connectivity and the Future of the Human Rights System,” and Daily Editor (and fellow human herself) Lila Etter was in attendance.

As I made my way up the steps of Low Library and entered the Rotunda, I began to notice that this was not just another lecture. I had thought that I was one of the early birds, and my plan had been to snag a seat up front by arriving a whole 20 minutes early. Little did I know, people had begun flooding in as early as 5:15 pm. The Rotunda was full by 5:45 pm, which is when I realized that the University Lecture only happens once a semester.

President Bollinger and Provost Coatsworth delivered two separate but equally-praiseful introductions for Professor Cleveland. PrezBo emphasized that there “could not be a more important subject in the world today than human rights,” and after affirming his love for the word “global,” he called Cleveland a brilliant mind and the embodiment of what Columbia stands for intellectually. Coatsworth was similarly complimentary, and for those who knew nothing about Cleveland up until this point (which I’m sure were very few), this opening may have seemed almost adulatory. I myself had known of only some of her numerous accomplishments, including her position as a beloved professor at the Law School, as well as her work with Amal Clooney at the Human Rights Institute. I arrived at the lecture already impressed. But when this semester’s University Lecturer was finally welcomed to the podium, it was immediately clear that she deserved the praise.
Read more about this once-in-a-semester opportunity, after the jump.

Feb

5

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The Hamilton knows what's up.

The Hamilton knows what’s up.

Two weeks ago, we finally acknowledged how fucking cold it was. Now we don’t know what’s happening with the weather. Is it snowing? Cloudy? Sunny? Windy? Raining? Since it’s only the beginning of February, anything could happen. But have no fear! The Bwog Staff has compiled a list of ways to stay warm for the rest of winter – ways you might not have considered before.

  • Put your coat on the vents at John Jay Dining Hall while eating
  • Or just spend your entire day in the back room of John Jay Dining Hall. It’s a sauna in there.
  • Spend a lot more time in the Hamilton elevator (excess body heat)
  • Walk over subway vents on Broadway
  • Stand on that vent behind Butler
  • Stand on that vent in front of Butler (like all the international smokers do)
  • Stand on that vent outside of the law school on 116
  • Stand on any vent?? Why are there so many vents on this campus?? We don’t question it. We love it.
  • Put ur gloves underneath your thighs while you’re sitting (then when you put them on your hands will be warm)
  • Win Ham4Ham
  • Stand outside Dig Inn for as long as you can before fainting from the overpowering scent of grilled chicken

More ways to keep toasty

Dec

9

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Look at you. Se sweet. So innocent. So naïve.

Look at you. So sweet. So innocent. So naïve.

In 2006, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love, a memoir detailing her adventures in three different countries and across two different continents. She spent four months eating in Italy, three months finding her spirituality in India, and the rest of the year falling in love in Bali, Indonesia. Fast forward to 2015: Bwog has decided to commission a new version of Eat, Pray, Love. For the first installment in a three-part series (Novice, Intermediate, and Expert), Daily Editor Lila Etter shares her rookie tips for eating, praying, and ~loving~ in Morningside Heights.

If only our dining halls looked like this...

If only our dining halls looked like this…

Eat:
You just got to college three months ago, and you’re still figuring it all out. Nobody expects you to have it all together just yet, and food is no exception. With that “platinum” (unlimited) meal plan that you – or your parents – are paying thousands a year for, how can you justify going off campus to eat? You’ve got Ferris Booth, John Jay, and Hewitt at your disposal, plus all those on-campus cafes! Let’s face it, rookie, you’re not yet advanced enough to go galavanting through Manhattan in search of that ramen burger, or that cronut, or that perfect cheese fondue. You barely know how to take the subway yet, much less find your way to a restaurant! So leave all that to the upperclassmen; you’ll get there eventually. For now, forget Magnolia Bakery, and settle for sitting under the Magnolia tree while eating some mediocre food from Hewitt. In terms of how to eat on campus, finding a balance is key. Don’t spend all your time in just one dining hall. Branch out! Before you settle into a routine that relies heavily on the Ferris pasta line, check out each dining hall. There’s three meals a day and three dining halls, so try to mix it up. And don’t forget to treat yoself every once in awhile, whether that means one of those heavenly breakfast biscuits from Ferris, some Frostline soft serve from John Jay, or some carrot cake from Hewitt.

But what about praying and loving?

Oct

21

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Bonus: Maeve Duffy's baby face on the promotional poster!

Bonus: Maeve Duffy’s baby face on the promotional poster!

This semester, The CU Players are tackling Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Things We Want. The playwright describes the show as a “dirty, sexy, suicide comedy,” and the cast seems to agree. The show goes up this Thursday night, October 22, at 8pm in the Lerner Black Box theater. But before the lights go dim, Bwogger and theater enthusiast Lila Etter got the chance to sit in on a rehearsal and talk to the cast and crew about their process.

Moments after sitting down in the corner of the rehearsal room (which happened to be a classroom in Hamilton that night), I heard the line, “Send her your puke!!!” screamed loudly by one of the actors in front of me. The run-through had not yet started. The warmup had only just begun and I knew I was in for a treat. The next line uttered by Eric Wimer, the director, as he and the cast prepared for their rehearsal? “I’m a big girl!” Next? “Whenever I look at the moon I’ll think of her.” These phrases, albeit less aggressive than the first, started to give me an idea of the play I was about to witness. Now knowing that those specific lines would appear at some point in the show, I was eager to get some context.

The play centers on three siblings – Teddy, Sty, and Charlie – and the ways in which they cope with the suicides of both of their parents. Ten years prior to the play’s opening, when Charlie was only thirteen, their father jumped out the living room window. Five years after that, their mother followed suit. Now the three twenty-somethings are living in the wake of their parents’ deaths, and each sibling has their own manner of combating their pain. Teddy, the eldest, uses a self-help guru named Doctor Miracle to stay afloat. Next in line is Sty, who turns to alcohol and carries around a bonsai tree as her own personal talisman. And for Charlie, the self-proclaimed “baby of the family,” it’s the rare addiction of love, or rather, of co-dependence. At twenty-three years old, he has just dropped out of culinary school and moved back home after a bad breakup when the play begins. When Teddy labels him as “recovering from a nervous breakdown,” Charlie’s correction is to call it a “heart breakdown,” as his real crisis is that of a broken heart. His first lines are a mumbled mantra of “Zelda, Zelda, Zelda, Zelda…” (the name of his lost love) and it soon becomes clear that Charlie is having a quarter-life crisis. As the siblings come together on stage, the play finally begins to take shape.

To get the full run-down on the run-through, click here.

Sep

26

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JackEliza

Holdin’ guitars, havin’ fun, bein’ cute.

Almost a full year ago, Senior Staff Writer and Video Editor Anna Hotter ventured to Williamsburg to see NYU-Columbia duo Jack + Eliza in concert. In light of it being the almost-anniversary of Anna’s post about this event, Bwogger Lila Etter headed to The Knitting Factory on Friday night to check out the band for herself.

As a first-year, I’m all too aware of my own naiveté. So when I was told about an upcoming concert in Brooklyn, I felt embarrassed that I didn’t recognize the band. It turns out, Jack + Eliza, NYU ’17 and CC ’17, respectively, are celebrated across both campi, and apparently it was only a matter of time until I’d find out about them. I was eager to jump at the chance to cover the concert for Bwog, as I would be checking three items (Brooklyn, The Knitting Factory, and my first concert of the school year) off my bucket list in only one night.

After taking the 1, to the 2, to the L, and subsequently walking four more blocks to Metropolitan Ave, we arrived at the venue with enough time to see the opener: The Britanys. In short, they did not disappoint. Between songs, my friends and I debated over which band they sounded most like. One vote was for Drowners, and although I could see the resemblance between the band’s guitarist and heartthrob Matt Hitt, I remained unconvinced. Someone else suggested CAKE, and it was easy to see why: Songs like “Are You Gonna Do It Right?” are sure to remind some of CAKE’s well-loved “Short Skirt / Long Jacket.” Still, I’m sticking to my guns; while listening to The Britanys, I was most reminded of old Arctic Monkeys songs. You know the ones. Back when Alex Turner was still crooning about lost loves, before he walked around with a leather jacket draped casually over his shoulder. That’s the Arctic Monkeys I sometimes miss, and the era that The Britanys made me nostalgic for. So yes, their lyrics included a few references to manic-pixie-dream-girl-esque figures, and yes, they drank cheap beer on stage and made terrible jokes. But the overall effect was one of watching cute city boys (wink, wink) have a blast with each other, almost entirely forgetting their own surroundings. Also, it’s worth mentioning that the guitarist had a Barnard “B” temp tattoo on his forearm, a quirk that only made me like them more.

Read more about Jack+Eliza after the jump

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