Who Needs Real Buildings?

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If you managed to swing by the hooplah that happened by the steps earlier this evening, perhaps you were welcomed by Weezer’s Pinkerton album blaring from a laptop while 15 or so students were dancing under the tented sheets. Perhaps you were also offered a loaf of bread by some guy in a Mardi Gras mask, waving it in the air like a glowstick at a 90’s dance party. Or maybe you came by earlier, when a bottle of confetti was released into the air like champagne at a new year’s celebration.

For those who missed all the fuss, around 11 PM a bunch of kids gathered by the steps for “Fort Nite,” where they revisted childhood and created a party out of linens and other miscellaneous materials. A little bit after 1 AM however, Columbia security showed up to shut the show down, claiming that the sheets were creating an obstruction, the lights were a fire hazard, and that students should have alerted the university before throwing the event.

“People sit and smoke hookah on the lawn, so why can’t we do this? What the heck?” commented one participant. Students tried to save the party by telling security that the event was all about using public space as a place where the community could take part. “Yeah, but this is a private space,” one of the two security guards reminded them. On a side note, Bwog also noticed that one of the sheets being used had “BLIGH…” painted in red in large red letters (the sheet wasn’t completely unrolled) though the students involved claim that the event was independent from any expansion-related student groups.

Anyway, sheets or no sheets, the students decided to keep the party going a little longer before eventually retiring the event. More power to you, guys. More power to you.


More photos after the jump.



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  1. This  

    was probably the best thing I've done at college this year.

  2. bart

    ::obligatory snarky comment::

  3. i dont  

    like that they were defacing the walls.
    even if it wasnt real damage, i dont think they should be scratching or writing things on the walls. thats starting to cross the line to vandalism

  4. Rudolf Rocker  

    hipsters?? we were skanking to the clash. non-ironically. yeesh. also, that was the most beautiful of nights. thanks to all who came. also, the walls were "defaced" with chalk. your grandmother could erase it. relax.

    friends, for two hours last night, one small patch of grass became a temporary autonomous zone. pirate utopia exists! know this: we can make it anywhere...

    • HAHA  


      fuckin' hilarious.

      • dont worry  

        of course they're hipsters, the thing is you can't really be a very good hipster if you go around saying "yea im a hipster, and i do things because theyre seeminly ironic and that must be sooo cool"
        he's just being a good hipster by denying how hip he really is

      • duh  

        a rude boy. duh.

      • Anonymous

        i know this if a while back, but i wanted to respond to #8, the one who made fun of the clash etc.
        it is impossible to listen ironically to "the only band that matters." everything about their music and their mission was sincere. they took up causes - anti racism, labor rights, anti war.
        also, on skanking, it is an unironic dance? why? because it is the opposite of that shuffling thing you do when you're not living out loud. skanking is the anarchic letting loose of limbs, the spasmodic celebration of living as a body and feeling the groove.
        yeah i know that's a touch Romantic, but if music doesn't bring that out in you, then what will?

    • yes but  

      while my grandmother may be able to erase it, she shouldn't have to. maintenance shouldnt have to either. you did it, you clean it. you dont ask anyone to wipe your ass for you, why should they have to clean any other mess you make?
      also, theres a 50/50 chance it is impossible for my grandmother to clean it depending on which one you meant since one is dead

  5. eraseable chalk?  

    thank mckim, mead, white -
    chalk only comes off of certain surfaces.

    were we graced with a brick-heavy campus (cough harvard cough), you revelers would have been in far more trouble...

  6. $40.000/year

    Forty K a year tuition = maintenance cleans it.

    • too bad  

      forty k a year can't make you considerate.

    • elitist  

      The above commenters are right. We pay $40,000 a year and the entirety of it goes to whatever cause or person we happen to be bitching about at the moment! I demand better results from my $40,000!

      Why do we have to pay for food at 212? They have our $40,000 already! Isn't that enough?

      I'm not throwing my garbage in trash cans anymore either. For the $40,000 I pay directly to those fatcat custodians every year, they can pick up my fucking garbage and should smile at me while they do it!

      And another thing, I pay those fucker security guards $40,000 a year! How dare they stifle my creativity and prevent me from growing as a person by letting me have a makeshift fort for *only* a few hours! I have half a mind to find that security guard and ask him for my $40,000 back.

      All the menial workers on campus have had it too easy for too long. I say we stop giving them each our $40,000 until they start doing something useful, like kissing our boots as we strut around campus filling the air with our delightful scent of upper middle class entitlement.

  7. well  

    forty k a year may be more than they're paid. why make them do more work? they're busy already.

  8. Id Brigade  

    I have an idea, instead of debating whether or not one qualitifes and meets the prerequisites for being a hipster because they like the clash, why don't we engage in a critical discourse about Public/Private Space, why the University has no space for people to engage eachother, why sidewalk chalk is so threating, etc. What is the difference between chalk "vandalism" and a 50 foot advertisement for shave cream? Why is one okay and the other not, especialy since one has a positive message? Why are we not allowed to make forts in the quad and make the space our own? Why is it sad for maintenance to wash a 30 foot section of wall, and not sad for them to have to reseed and remanure and whatever the fuck they do to that ridiculous lawn like 2o times a semester. If you're not down with having a great Temporary Autonomous Zone and reclaiming a bit of space for yourself, rent out a room in some fancy hotel, don't drink alcohol cuz its illegal like vandalism, don't dance to good music, and talk about future career options with other squares. GO OUTSIDE AND CREATE!

    • A Few Answers  

      A) Advertisements are paid for and allowed by the billboard owner. Vandalism is not, hence the difference.

      B) Maintenance shouldn't have to clean the wall because, as you showed, they are busy as hell with other stuff keeping the campus looking nice. Just because I clean my room doesn't mean you should be entitled to fuck it up yourself and expect me to clean it up as well.

      And to those who complain about 40k a year, I'm sure that's why mommy and daddy are shelling out that much cash for you: so you can make forts and write on walls in chalk. Such snobbery is disgusting

  9. why is no one  

    talking about Israel-Palestine!???

  10. 40K

    I pay for a maid service to clean my room. Maintenance cleans outside. Menial workers? Those custodians are fatcats. $9 hour to do what? Spray chalk with a goddamn hose--I'd trade places any day of the week, man, any day. Especially given they all have subsidized housing, healthcare etc.

    • elitist  

      Exactly! Fucking fatcat $9/hr custodians strutting around rubbing it in our faces that we are getting trained for cushy high paying jobs while they get to have all the fun doing manual labor. $9/hr is enough, man! Raise a family or find disposable income on your own time. When you're on *my* campus, you should be cleaning up *my* inane chalk drawings!

      • Don't kid

        Forty-thousand entitles you to certain privilages. Like having a bunch of semi-retards clean up your shit. Why else would we hire them? It's a college campus! And since these guys do get free houses, healthcare etc $9 an hour pure disposable income isn't all bad for what is essentially fun with hoses.

  11. disillusioned

    all the posts on this board pretty much lay out why I love/loathe Columbia.
    You're all smart as anything, obviously, you make that abundantly clear, but at the same time, you are so self-important.
    Get off your high horses for a minute. Think about what you're arguing about.

  12. what?  

    free houses? free healthcare?
    what the fuck?
    and how is that nine dollars an hour disposable income? they dont have to buy food? clothe their kids? worry about their retirements?
    im so fucking glad im only here for a few more days and then i get to be surrounded by normal people in the real world

  13. ZOMG

    OPPRESSION! Stop oppressing the the maintenance staff with your paradigm of privelege you white middle class elitists!

  14. participant

    Hey there everybody. I've just read what all of you have written, and I feel pretty rotten. The whole point of this event was to inspire people to get together and build something TOGETHER. It was about community as much as it was about reclaiming a space that, I believe, should be open to the public regardless of whether you pay forty thousand a year or whether you pay nothing because you're on financial aid (which many of us are), or whether you're a passer by from downtown, or whether you live up the street in the neighborhood. The event was for everybody in this community because YES, we are all part of a community. Of students and of neighbors. As far as I can tell, there was nothing negative about this whole process. I saw people working together to have a wonderful time and build something, and appreciate the space around them--right down to the very last moment when people worked together to clean up every sheet and piece of tape, and move the bin of free clothes over to the trashcans for people to look through the next day. It makes me sad that so many terrible things are being said about an event that was meant to be about creation and community. I'm not trying to change your minds. You feel however you feel about it. But I hope you know that the point was not to start arguments and anger people or make more work for people. And I don't think that's what ended up happening. For those of us who were there to the end, it didn't end that way. It ended right where it began: on a very positive note.

    • Thanks

      Thanks, now go clean my toilet. How do you like that temporary autonomous zone?

    • Flapjack Slim  

      thanks for that. the entire process was as radical as it was respectful. the engagement with columbia security ended with a handshake. it seems that the only negative reactions have emanated from a select few of those who did not participate. ostriches: remove your heads from the sand, please.

      • Wimps

        Not that this should come as a surprise, given that you listen to Weezer--but you're supposed to stand up to campus security. Throw bottles. Yell at them... God, you guys are such pussies, no wonder Columbia ahs a 52% virginity rate at graduation. SEAS is 78%. Barnard 0%

  15. Right on.

    Okay. What's your address. I'll be there as quick as I can to clean your toilet. That's what brotherhood is all about, friend.

  16. I Love  

    I love the argument over maintenance workers having to clean chalk drawings, when it would be common sense to realize it's going to rain sometime before graduation, and the chalk will wash away on its own. It's not like it's a negative slur of any kind. You guys are Dumb.

    • Rain

      Yeah, why clean anything? Eventually it will rot, rust or erode.

      You must stink.

      • Is that a joke?  

        Because it's not funny. Chalk isn't Uranium, it doesn't have a million year half-life. Usually maintanence just lets it fade away unless there's a pressing event of some sort that would be offended by seeing the word "Forte." You failed to use your common sense, as the poster you replied to had suggested, and therefore, you failed to use your critical thinking. If I was your professor, I would probably fail you based on the ignornace of that comment alone. And if I was a Dean, you would be expelled for the same failure.

        You're done son!

  17. Liar

    Well I just went to the 116th subway station with every intention of cleaning your toilet and I couldn't find it. Are you sure that's the right address? I checked right under the cardboard boxes filled with open-mindedness and the spirit of possibility for change and betterment, and the other gifts from the senior class of '68, but there didn't seem to be any working plumbing. Or perhaps a kindhearted spirit cleaned them up after you shit all over them in an attempt to express your misplaced cynicism....

  18. Check the stairs

    Check the stairs then, the urine smell could use a scrub.

  19. also  

    letting the chalk run and wash away with rain water into the watershed is a slap in the face of the ecosystem.
    isnt mother fucking nature a part of our happy harmonious community?
    whats up now bitches

  20. seriously?  

    If you are arguing about the half life of chalk you need to reevaluate your life ASAP.
    You should have came out and partied with us instead of debating the harms our party had on the "ecosystem" of the lawns beside LOW STEPS.

  21. moral of story  

    hipsters hate whales and dress ugly

  22. fun  

    guys, they just wanted to have some fun.... stop being so anxious

  23. nantucket nectar  

    hey, where's the picture of my red plum juice?

  24. and!  

    boy hipsters dont have balls, or maybe they have one. and its small.
    how else could they wear those damn pants right?

  25. pink triangle  

    hipsters don't listen to weezer...i've heard of them.

  26. duh  

    hipsters listen to weezer ironically!

  27. Another Participant  

    I assure you there was nothing ironic about forte night at all. I left Butler at one in the morning, stressed and exhausted. Nonetheless, I decided to stop by the dance party to see what was going on. It was fantastic! People were simply dancing, smiling, and laughing. I only vaguely knew one person there and by the end I was unselfconsciously dancing with everybody there. I wish all events were as unjudgemental, inviting, and unironic as this one. It had great music, friendly people, and free food. Kudos to the organizers; it was a random night I'll look fondly on.

  28. mmhm  

    this night was glorious. it was a breath from the stupid drunkards who throw up in the staircases, the stale butler air, the elitist white tents on the overpriced grass, organized bullshit like 1020 or everyone eating at cafe swish, people were liberated and dancing like ants on sugar log, people were enjoying strangers' company, the chalk will wash off with air--PLUS THE WALLS ARE COVERED BY GRADUATION CHAIRS, it was a joyous release. and about weezer. my mom listens to weezer, the hipsters of the hipsters listen to weezer, and most of you probably have a weezer song on your itunes whether it is coupled with the arcade fire or with kelly clarkson. so dont be baffoons and live a little. it is about space being utilized not monopolized. that is what is up.

  29. hipsters  

    rebellious hipsters stickin it to the man.

  30. wrar.  

    were they making an ironic political statement with the blight ? almost clever.

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