Moist air and broken bathroom vents in campus residences are causing unsafe breathing conditions and mold growth; causing some residents to get sick, according to several students.
Multiple complaints were made about the stuffy breathing conditions in Big Haus and the Olde; and now the conditions have gotten worse and students are reporting mold growth in their living space.
“I was suffering from memory loss, headaches, and I was passing out,” said Kelly Barbour, resident of a mold infested room in Big Haus. “I feel like it’s coming from the bathroom or through the walls.”
Barbour was living in Room A341 when she complained about the damp and wet smell, and said she had to keep her windows open all the time.
Broken bathroom vents trapped moist air from the showers inside the stagnant rooms, creating the perfect condition for mold growth.
After living in A341 for seven months, Barbour has been diagnosed with dermatographism, a skin condition stemming from long term exposure to an allergen. She reports that she suffers from itching and burning whenever something rubs against her skin because of the condition.
Barbour’s mold problem and subsequent illness are not isolated cases.
“We received notice of an elevated level of mold spores in the bathroom in Big Haus between rooms A341 and A340,” wrote Purchase’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Ernie Palmieri, in a campus-wide email.
Big Haus resident Megan Zulch was living in room A340 when she noticed her room smelled and was unusually stuffy.
“The smell was giving me headaches quite constantly,” she said.
“There is some evidence which suggest that exposure to certain molds may cause upper respiratory issues or allergic reactions,” said Palmieri.
Dr. Nancy Reuben, Medical Director of Health Services, confirmed that these symptoms are reflected in the reported cases of affected students.
Olde resident Katherine Coleman was living in apartment J62 when she noticed mold in her apartment and began getting sick.
“There aren’t big globs of mold,” Coleman said. “It’s in the corners and underneath everything.”
Sophomore Juliette Ferraro had slept over at Coleman’s, and claims that after just one night in her friend’s apartment she suffered from a chest cough and congestion.
“It’s impacted my personal life,” Coleman said. “My health got so bad I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t think, I could breathe properly.”
Palmieri had the company Quality Environmental Solutions & Technologies, Inc. (QuES&T) come to the campus and take samples of the air in all the buildings. According to the test results, there have been about six rooms that have a mold spore concentration of 1,000/cm3 or more; approximately matching outdoor concentration levels. This may indicate the origin of the mold.
Multiple rooms and bathrooms have since been closed in Big Haus due to the infestation of mold, and the residents of these rooms have been moved and are now living in safe and healthy conditions.
Palmieri told students that if they were feeling ill, they should go straight to Health Services, and report any observations of mold so that the problem could be stopped.
Summer residents were jolted from their sleep Friday morning, when a small airplane crashed into the trees just off the edge of campus shortly after 8:00 a.m., killing the pilot.
The pilot was Richard Rockefeller, of the prominent Rockefeller family, according to The Journal News. The local news source reported that his plane, a Piper Meridian single-engine turboprop, went down on Cottage Avenue soon after taking off.
“It was just before 8:30 a.m. when I pulled onto campus and saw a fire truck with its lights flashing heading toward Cottage Avenue,” said Christine Klint, the aquatics director at SUNY Purchase. “I was concerned, wondering what the truck was looking for. When I got into my office, I looked online and saw that a plane had crashed.”
Students and faculty were startled when the whooshing sound ripped through campus and ended abruptly in a loud boom. Minutes later, sirens blared toward Cottage Avenue, just on the other side of the trees from The Commons apartments.
“Waking up to an explosion is not normal,” said Purchase junior Jasmine Castronuovo. “It’s shaking, it sounds like you’re waking up in the middle of a movie. It’s not comforting at all. Once the delay ended and the Westchester airplanes started going over us again, well, it was a little unnerving.”
While campus dwellers waited for news on the incident, many people were frightened, and unsure of what had actually happened. Emergency responders determined that no one from the campus community had been harmed, but the road remains closed by a police blockade.
“We’ve all been joking for years about the planes flying over, that they’re going to crash,” said Kevin Downing, a junior. “Now that it actually happened, it’s really, really scary.”
Amanda Wylie is fed up.
Despite winning the election with 472 votes or 64 percent of the student body’s vote, Wylie, a New Media junior who ran for the paid position of Coordinator of Public Affairs (COPA) in the PSGA election, was disqualified for handing out campaign flyers during the polling period. The decision was finalized last Wednesday in the PSGA senate. Students were made aware of the incident on Wylie’s personal Facebook page and by an email sent from the PSGA president announcing the election results on April 19.
“This was a huge shock to me considering I gave my all into the election,” said Wylie. Wylie considers herself an asset to the school because of her active promoting of Hillel, SOCA, and Purchase Late Night.
Stephanie Bartolome, chair of the elections committee and a Liberal Arts and Sciences senator stood by the decision to impeach Wylie. Bartolome received two formal complaints with supplemental cell phone photos on April 17. The vote to disqualify her were unanimous after a long and serious deliberation on April 18.
“When we deliberate we only read the complaints and we have to trust their veracity,” said Bartolome. “The complaints made it seem that Ms. Wylie was deliberately or willfully ignoring the bylaw, so we decided eventually to disqualify her.”
Both Bartolome and Wylie agree that Wylie was not in the photos, which were taken at rehearsals for the SOCA Fashion Show. “I found an extra packet of flyers in my purse, which I then jokingly threw on the floor,” said Wylie.
Wylie specifically stated she couldn’t campaign anymore and that according to her, people at the show took it upon themselves to pass out flyers. Those people are in the photos, which Wylie described as "shaky" evidence.
Wylie brought her grievances to the Appeals Court on April 23 and the judicial board didn’t accept her appeal. She had explained to Bartolome prior to this appeal, that she felt unfairly targeted during the election.
“I think a lot of the people who are involved in this so called sabotage were part of the PSGA already and had their picks of who they wanted to win,” said Wylie. “Therefore specifically were trying to take me and Jossalyn (Collado) and Latisha Blackburn down.”
Although, she wouldn't divulge by whom and how many, Bartolome said there were a few other candidates who were given formal warnings for questionable campaign activities.
Wylie made her final appeal to the PSGA on April 30, which was thus dismissed. “The senators seemed really fed up with the whole thing and wanted to get over with as soon as possible,” said Wylie.
Jess DeMarzo, the current coordinator and the official winner of the position, had no comment on the situation. Wylie has no hard feelings about DeMarzo and thinks there has been some good outcomes of her work, but feels that she is lacking in promoting the clubs and organizations.
Wylie is folding her blog Poppin’ at Purchase by the end of the semester feeling that the DeMarzo should take the inititive to inform students about events on campus.
“I shouldn’t be doing somebody else’s job for free, while they’re sitting there in office getting paid to do something that I’m doing on the sideline.”
On the other hand, Bartolome is confident with DeMarzo because of her work this past academic year, including publicity for the fall 2013 special elections, which had the highest turnout in the PSGA history.
“One of the projects she has is to make sort of a freshman survival guide to be distributed to like freshman at orientation,” said Bartolome. “She’s going to keep doing what she’s doing.”
Bartolome trusted that the 2014-2015 school year would run well whether DeMarzo or Wylie were in the position and that the other elected officials will make it a great year for the PSGA.
“Every single executive board member has been either a club leader or has held a coordinator position before or has been a senator for at least a year,” said Bartolome. “They all know how the PSGA works and will be professional at all times.”
Wylie’s friends have expressed their outrage about the decision on Facebook and Wylie herself updated her personal Facebook page with updates and a photo of herself behind bars reading “#FreeWylie.”
“I really believe that this election has been very disgraceful in the way that people have treated each other,” said Wylie. “The PSGA has been extremely unfriendly when it comes to having new people in it that promote diversity on campus.”
However, Bartolome is pleased with diversity of the candidates, particularly Latisha Blackburn and Jossalyn Collado, who will be PSGA president and student activities coordinator respectively.
“I think it’s wonderful that women of color are being represented on the PSGA board,” said Bartolome.
May 1 was the day of many protests around the world, but Purchase witnessed its own public airing of grievances as students from the School of Film and Media Studies gathered in front to protest the sudden and unexplained dismissal of Robert Siegel, an Associate Professor of Film who has taught at Purchase for at least 24 years.
Choruses of “Justice Delayed, Education Denied!” and “We Need Answers!” were heard from protesters bearing “All For Bob, Bob For All” signs by the Student Services building as small clusters of students stopped in their tracks to the library to watch.
Professor Siegel was the Head Film Production professor for juniors and seniors of the program and taught writing to sophomores. He was removed in mid-April, five weeks before the end of the semester and a crucial period for the seniors he had been mentoring and advising about their senior film projects.
Although there has been neither reason nor notification given regarding his removal, students of the film department suspect that it is due to his having brought up their gripes with the administration.
Many students feel that the planned expansion of the program is flawed because of the overburdening of the faculty and the shortage of filming equipment. The lack of communication and transparency in the administration’s dealing with the students is also a point of contention.
According to senior and organizer of the protest, Tymon Brown, the expansion seems to be deteriorating the quality of the program as a whole. “We have a morbidly overloaded faculty; we have equipment resources that are stretched thin; we have 30 students in a 20 person classroom,” said Brown, “And it feels like this is all just a money grab.”
Protesters headed to the Great Lawn and relayed their bothers with the administration through a megaphone, facing President Thomas Schwarz’s office. They then marched to the music building, where the School of Film and Media Studies is housed, and chanted outside the offices of the chair of the program, Michelle Stewart, and program coordinator Chuck Workman.
To everyone’s surprise, President Schwarz came out of his office and met with the protestors.
“There’s no secret agenda here to do something negative to your program,” he said, as they gathered outside the Red Room in Student Services. “I know that some of you are angry, or that a lot of you are angry… All I can assure you is that this is not in any way some tip of some iceberg that is intended to undermine the program. We all think very highly of the program, we talk about supporting it, increasing support for it, so that’s what it amounts to. I can’t really comment anymore in terms of the details.”
Students brought up the issue of the surreptitious circumstances of Professor Siegel’s removal and the urgent need to have him back in time for the senior’s film reviews during finals week. His replacements, Charlotte Glynn and Brandon Harris, they said, seemed adequate, but do not have the bond and familiarity that Siegel had with the students.
“[She] does not know me at all as an artist, has never seen my work, I cannot give her scores to judge me by,” said senior Maria Uridia. “I can show her all the work that I’ve done, but what we’ve lost is not comparable to the other programs.”
Rather apologetic throughout, President Schwarz addressed the protesters and their questions for some 20-odd minutes, and said that he would “have a conversation” with Provost Barry Pearson about the matter.
Senior Robin Richardson was mildly encouraged by the President’s response.
“We didn’t really get any answers, but you know, baby steps when you deal with the administration,” he said. “Bob’s the reason I’m still here. Not having him at my review feels like my heart is breaking… I just feel like I’m being robbed of what I’ve paid for, what I deserve, and what I’ve worked so hard for.”
Students, faculty and community members gathered Friday, May 2 behind Campus Center North joining President Thomas Schwarz, faculty sponsor Matthew Immergut and Compost Master Anna Palmer in a ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the Rocket Composter.
The Rocket recycles food waste from campus food service sites and turns food scraps into soil with a two-week turnover rate. Professor Immergut began with a few words explaining the initiative and later, watermelon was offered, and the rinds were thrown into the Rocket to kick off the ceremony.
“It’s a good first step and it’s going to grow a lot,” Immergut said, “and I think that’s the exciting part of this program.”
The Purchase Compost Initiative continuously supports the colleges’ dedication to build on sustainability efforts that have already been taken into effect on campus, providing students with the knowledge and skills for composting.
On-campus dining sites produce an average of 2,000 pounds per week throughout the semester in its kitchens alone. Not only does the Rocket Composter divert this food waste from landfills, but it also allows for the reduction of methane gas from the atmosphere. In only two weeks, the Rocket turns food scraps from on campus food sites into soil rather than trash that will later be put into the on-campus garden.
The initiative began about three years ago with the objective of establishing a large-scale food composting system at Purchase with the intent of making food waste a reusable product. The vision also ties into research projects including issues about suburban planning, waste diversion, soil, and soil sampling. The last piece of this project is incorporating composting into the classroom.
Palmer, a junior environmental studies major, serves as the first “Compost Master.” Five days a week, she transports food scraps from the Hub via cargo bike that are separated by Chartwells employees. She sets up a 1-to-1 ratio of food scraps to wood chips, representing carbon and nitrogen.
“I am thrilled at how many students, faculty and staff came today because it makes me feel really supported and proud that there are that many people on this campus that are supportive of this initiative,” Palmer said.
There were many people to thank from the Purchase Student Government Association to the sustainability committee who had full support of the composting project.
“This is one of those great Purchase projects that starts with students and faculty” President Schwarz said. It’s quintessential of Purchase to be in the forefront of things that will hopefully change the world, and I’m very proud of them.”
Despite the pouring rain, Victor Couto walks with confidence at a fast pace. His red pop-up umbrella is held above his head and he looks straight ahead at his destination. Couto is bolting to the visual arts building to print out last-minute fliers for his senior project screening.
Confidently, he strolled into a computer lab, where, unbeknownst to him, a class was taking place. He asked a student in the room where he could get paper in order for him to print the fliers. Even though the professor noticed he was there, Couto continued on with his mission.
Couto’s journalism senior project is a documentary, “Saving Playland: A Rollercoaster of Reinvention,” which clocks in around 20 minutes, and will be screened in the Red Room on Friday at 5 p.m.
Couto worked at Playland for two years and chose his topic to answer the questions he had regarding the amusement park. He wanted to reach beyond the scope of Westchester and sought out to make a film relatable to Rye, NY and Cedar City, Utah, where he once had a flat tire.
Couto was also selected to be this year’s senior class speaker at graduation — and with great merit. He’s a non-traditional commuter student at age 27 who waited to go to school. On a spontaneous whim, when he was 21, Couto packed up his car and drove to Los Angeles where he stayed for eight months.
“I don’t regret any of it,” he said. “But to go on one paycheck on a whim was probably not the smartest idea.”
Couto came back with empty pockets and dedicated himself to school. After five years of taking classes on and off at Westchester Community College and SUNY Orange, he graduated with an Associate’s in Arts degree at SUNY Orange in 2010.
“He’s the hardest working journalism major I’ve ever met,” said Aaron Kass, junior sociology and journalism double major. “There’s something about him that exudes good work ethic.”
After completing the Baccalaureate and Beyond program at Purchase, a five-week summer program designed to help students at two-year institutions transition to four-year colleges, Couto applied to Purchase and Lehman College.
Couto’s fixation with challenges was clear when Lehman gave him a nearly instantaneous acceptance and he decided against going there.
“I thought, ‘This process can’t be this easy,’” he said.
Couto believes life is not about what you get, but how you get there.
“He threw himself into it,” said Ross Daly, Chair of Humanities and Couto’s senior project adviser.
In order to make his senior project process seamless, he probed the film department and found Iris Cahn with whom he did an independent study.
Nancy Kane, director of the Center for Production Services, has worked with Couto for over a year on this project and throughout his time at Purchase, helped him with digital equipment and Final Cut Pro.
“Victor is talented, focused, committed, and a pleasure to work with,” Kane commented, via email. “Victor’s video is one of the most impressive videos I have seen at Purchase over the years and I know it will open many doors for him.”
He filmed during the summer and endlessly reported, finding politicians and former reporters to give him documents and interviews.
“[Couto] is a really funny guy,” said Daly, “But he’s really serious about his purpose.”
It is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, and the sea of bodies crowding the main stage in The Stood is restless. They are swaying from side to side, chanting “Baaaased Goooodd, Baaaaased Goooodd” in near-perfect unison while the security team and Stood employees prepare the stage for the final act in this year’s Culture Shock lineup. The thick and unbearably warm air is overpowered by the stench of exhausted, sweat-coated flesh in the modestly sized venue, which is filled to the brim with Purchase students and their guests.
Sensing the discomfort of the crowd below, a security guard throws a cold bottle of water from the stage into the audience, which is caught in the center of the crowd, crushed open, and fervently sprayed over cheering spectators. Any time the slightest noise comes from the stage, the crowd lets off a burst of energy, eager for the performer to arrive. It is 11:43 p.m., and ear-splitting cries come from the crowd as Lil B, The BasedGod, appears on stage.
“Purchase, I love you. New York, I love you,” he tells the crowd, as he dances around on stage. “Swag, let’s do this. I love you. I appreciate all the people, all the beautiful people here.”
The crowd, which has been swaying back and forth all this time, begins to push each other with increasing force. The movement of bodies is coming from the center of the crowd out to the edges of the Stood, and then it is pushed back into the center, like a pulse. Those who were not moving in unison begin to trip and fall and are swallowed by the crowd.
“We’re here to have a positive, peaceful time,” Lil B tells the crowd. “So no fighting, everyone’s gotta respect everyone here.” Then the music begins to play, and Lil B opens with his first line of the night.
“I’m fucking your ‘ho.”
Brandon McCartney, 24, of Berkeley, Calif. was 16 when he began rapping and adopted the moniker “Lil B, The BasedGod,” two names which he is known for interchangeably. He got his start with the San Francisco Bay Area hip-hop group, The Pack, but in 2010 he began releasing solo albums, in addition to cultivating an original and hyper-popular social media persona dedicated to espousing his personal philosophy, “Based lifestyle.”
“Appreciate every single person,” said Lil B in 2012, at an unscripted talk at NYU. “Look at them like a golden, million-dollar baby.”
This atmosphere of intense love and ultra-positive vibes is at the heart of being “based.” The musician’s twitter is congested with positive, loving messages to his fans, compliments to other various celebrities, and retweets about himself from his 876,000 followers, whom he frequently follows in return.
“I think [his popularity] is in the accessibility of his music,” explains Dylan Green, a Purchase senior and writer who covers music. “It’s stupid on its face and doesn’t require much thought to be able to process, so people can lose themselves in it.”
Back at 10:30 p.m., several students are standing outside of Fort Awesome in the rain, collecting themselves and getting ready to head over to Culture Shock. One of them, a guy named Jackson, is wearing a stuffed toy octopus hat and a cape, and he is holding a large sign covered in a mess of papers that form a black and white collage of The BasedGod’s face.
“I’m not even as big of a Lil B fan as my friend who’s meeting us here,” he said.
As they begin to walk across the street to the Stood, his girlfriend, Holly Williams, explains why she likes Lil B.
“I hated him for the longest time,” she says. “But since I’ve looked more into his music and him as an artist…he is anti-rap rap. He makes fun of rap’s negative associations, and I like that.” As the group heads towards food vendors and carnival rides outside, Holly pauses for a minute, collecting her thoughts. “He’s kind of old news though,” she adds. “He got really popular like four years ago when I was in high school and has been around for awhile.”
Lil B career spans about eight years, and he claims to have released over 2,000 songs, in addition to writing a book at 19 and touring often. Given his celebrity status, booking The BasedGod was no easy task for the planners of Culture Shock.
The process was “very, very difficult” according to Purchase’s Major Events Coordinator, Raymond Chalme. “I first got in contact with him in May and didn’t settle until about February,” Chalme wrote in an email. “So it was quite a laborious process of negotiation!”
Lil B is jumping around on stage, punctuating each song with short speeches about the things he believes in, and the things that he’s grateful for. Throughout his set he covered topics ranging from welfare, same-sex marriage, and veterans, to how much he values his worn in sneakers, which he supposedly wears during every performance.
“These shoes, these legendary Vans, cannot be touched,” Lil B warns, stopping mid-song. “These shoes are worth at least $90,000, The BasedGod has bled on these.”
As his set continues the crowd’s energy continually increases, never dipping in enthusiasm. For the hour and a half that Lil B performed, dozens of audience members are lifted from the mass and thrust upon the stage like an offering. Most of them attempt to make physical contact with The BasedGod, but are quickly and brusquely removed from the platform by the security team, who remained onstage throughout the entire set.
One girl was lifted up in such an unsafe way that Lil B intervened and helped her upon the stage. She screamed with joy when he touched her. Lil’ B likes to engage the crowd while he performs. Sometimes, he’ll stop to shake hands with individual spectators in the front, and at other times he addresses everyone.
“Say I love life,” The BasedGod commands.
“I love life!” responds the audience.
“Say I love being alive,” says BasedGod.
“I love being alive!” says the crowd.
“Say BasedGod,” he says.
“BASEDGOD,” the audience screams, loud enough that the walls vibrate.
Liz Vacca is a Purchase sophomore, a musician, and a passionate fan of Lil B. Vacca jokingly calls themselves an expert on “Based theory,” a term they have coined.
“He throws stuff out there and gets it right back,” said Vacca. “What he does with the audience is like what you’d want a partner to do in a relationship. He says exactly what he needs, and then his fans are happy to give it back to him. He’s like; ‘say I love you Lil B’ then he gets ‘I love you Lil B’ …it’s funny but it totally works.”
Not everyone was enamored during The BasedGod’s set. Off to the side and leaning against the barricade that’s blocking him off from the side of the stage, Billy Murray has a displeased look on his face.
“It’s like he’s not even trying to perform well,” says Murray, a music reporter for the Purchase Beat. “He’s way off on so many of his songs. I’m not feeling this at all.”
On the other side of the barricade, PSGA president-elect Letisha Blackburn stands near the security guards and Stood staff with her arms crossed, watching the performance apathetically.
“I think he needs to pull his pants up,” is all she says, when asked for comment.
Lil B’s music is frequently criticized for being juvenile and tasteless; even by fans like Vacca, who says that as a musician they view his music as “objectively bad.” His lyrics include things like “Then I park my car, then I fuck your bitch/Eat that wonton soup, wet like wonton soup,” which is from his hit song, “Wonton Soup.” He also has a song called “Ellen Degeneres,” with a hook that just repeats the comedian’s name over and over.
“His music really does skirt the line between winking, self-aware humor and an honest commitment to his New Age gangsta persona,” said Green. “His music occupies quite a few different spaces in hip-hop today; one for fans to ironically enjoy the superficial things he raps about, and those who actually enjoy the music for entertainment purposes, and he plays to both at the same time. It’s never really clear whether he’s trolling or for real half the time.”
“Wonton Soup” is the final song Lil B plays this night. It is nearly 1:00 a.m., and he is taking his time to shake hands with as many people as he possibly can. People are squeezing as close as possible to the edge of the stage and barricade, all hoping to be closer to The BasedGod. There is a lot of pushing, grasping, shouting and the flashes of dozens of cameras going off at once. Lil B is telling every fan he encounters that he loves them.
“I think that there is enough mystique and hype surrounding him to make him a suitable choice for a headliner,” wrote Chalme, in the email. “I know people who went into the show not enjoying Lil B and were converted by the high energy performance. I personally want to thank the BasedGod for a tremendously #rare performance.”
As Lil B continues making his way out, with just a couple of yards of space left before reaching the exit, a girl wearing combat boots and a red bandana with a small black notebook in her right hand, nearly doubles over the barricade and touches his arm.
“How do you feel, BasedGod?” she asks.
He reaches out and pulls her in for a hug. He kisses her on the cheek, and says in her ear, “I’m doin’ great baby, I love ya baby.”
She turns her head in order to face the camera that’s taking a picture of them. After the photo is taken, Lil B cups her face with his left hand, and gently tilts her head, so she’s facing him again.
“Really,” he says, looking her square in the eyes. “I’m doing so great. Thank you baby.”
Music can unify a production, music can bring a production to life, and as Shakespeare said, “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it.” Like Shakespeare, Edward W. Hardy shares an intense passion for music and it is evident in his musical compositions and his most recent work in the off-Broadway production of “The Woodsman.” After studying years of music, Hardy knew his craft well enough to pair his violin expertise with theatrical pieces.
“It’s about creating the stage in front of you,” said Hardy as he discussed why he crosses over into theatre.
Hardy is soft spoken and has a heart-felt yet giggly laugh that makes those around him feel at ease. When Hardy plays a piece, he is adept at transporting his audience into another world with memories created by the sweet singing of his violin.
In the music conservatory, Hardy studies the viola, works predominantly with chamber music, and is a member of the orchestra. But he has an additional love, theatre. This brought him to the attention of the theatre company Strangemen & Co., a theatre company that comprises mostly Purchase conservatory graduates, according to Hardy.
This is where Hardy branched out from working solely with the Purchase Conservatory of Theatre Arts, and composed the violin orchestration in collaboration with Strangemen for their production of the “The Woodsman.” This production ran from Jan. 30 to Feb. 16 at 59E59 theatre.
“It’s just so funny how these people are really successful in doing their own thing and bringing it to Strangemen,” said Hardy, when discussing the theatre company. “Everyone went to school for one thing and is excellent at what they love. They bring what they learn to the show.”
Hardy found inspiration in the story of Tin Man, the central character of the production, but also from the director.
“I found inspiration from James, the director, who created and made all the puppets and stage design,” said Hardy.
Additionally, Hardy based some compositions off of his own life. Part of The Woodsman” is a love story between a woodsmen and a slave of the Wicked Witch of the West. When Hardy composed the 16-measure love theme, he said his girlfriend inspired him.
“To me, the best thing that I wrote in this play was that small little segment,” said Hardy.
James Ortiz, the director and creator of the production, is a former BFA Purchase student and co-artistic director of Strangemen & Co. Ortiz said that the production was looking to replicate the sound of the early American fiddle and he wanted to expound upon how the music reflects characterization.
“The angle that we took in depicting Oz is very much of how L. Frank Baum described it,” said Ortiz.
He went on further to say that Oz is the only American fairy tale that originated in this country, and that Baum’s life and background was an integral part of creating this world. The Civil War was a major part of Baum’s life and he also had a heart condition. This condition may have led him to create a character in need of a heart, explained Ortiz. It’s a rural and early American world.
“The idea that an American fiddle, possibly post Civil War and a solo fiddle, just felt like that was the best choice,” said Ortiz.
Recalling his experience with Hardy, Ortiz had only the most glowing things to say. “It was a dream,” exclaimed Ortiz. “The most fluid and easy working experience I think I’ve ever had.”
“I don’t know a thing about music really,” said Ortiz. “But what was great was that I would talk to him from a storytelling or character perspective.”
Hardy found the experience to be very transformative. There were phases when the actors did something very different and he had to adapt to the situation and changes in the story.
“The music adds a lot of emotion,” said Hardy. “I wanted, which James also wanted, the entire piece to breathe.” Hardy wanted each character to have its own theme. He said that the music helped to unify all elements of the production, such as the characters and ensemble “moving as one,” said Hardy.
This aspect was shown not only through Hardy’s music, but also through the sets that were made right in front of the audience. Hardy said that was what this play is all about, creating a whimsical scene without manufactured pieces. “[The audience] forgot I was there because they were so in-tune to what was going on,” said Hardy. “If you close your eyes you will still be able to imagine what’s happening.”
Ultimately, Hardy would like to work on Broadway or even on film scores and joked that if “The Woodsman” goes to Broadway that it would be his full-time job. That being said, he has made a creative mark doing what he loves.
Climate change is gaining immediacy in the international conversation creating a growing interest in the mixing of artistry and environmentalism. Scientists are not solely working towards awareness. Artists are also educating people by basing their work on ecology and environmental science.
Jasmine Yeh is a BSVA, Bachelor of Science in Visual Arts, junior at Purchase College. She bases her work on what she considers to be an important issue, climate change. With this innovative major, she is given the flexibility to do groundbreaking work in the VA and in other subject areas. But Yeh initially came to Purchase to pursue only environmental science.
“I came to Purchase as an environmental student because I am also really into the matters at hand today,” said Yeh. “I made the switch when I realized that my environment and my art weren’t separate worlds and I didn’t have to choose one over the other, especially here at Purchase.”
Yeh said that she is significantly influenced by her family in her chosen work. Her sister went to school to be a jewelry designer and her brother “tried his best to be a photo major,” she said. Yeh was influenced by the fact that her siblings were much older than her and that they practically raised her to always appreciate art. Yeh said, “It really shaped the way that I saw the world.”
British sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist Andy Goldsworthy inspired Yeh, especially with his limestone cairn installation at the entrance of the college. “His work is really influenced by nature,” said Yeh while describing why Goldsworthy’s work impacts her. “I really want to draw upon his ability to combine, to not have a distinction between art and science and nature and the environment.”
Yeh doesn’t utilize a specific medium in her work. “I’m still feeling out how I want to incorporate different mediums into expressing my concern, and my hopeful highlight on the global climate change issue and also a lot of other environmental impact issues,” she said. While Yeh may not work with a specific medium, she has not only dabbled in sculpture, but she has also done work in painting and ink. Yeh hopes to eventually specialize in sculpture and installation.
Yeh, much like the subject she loves, has a natural, unassuming manner that can quickly enliven when she passionately discusses her meaningful work. One piece in particular is intelligent in its innovation. Yeh simultaneously took geology and sculpture classes. From the knowledge she gained, she made a geode from plaster and bubble wrap. Her creativity doesn’t stop there. In order to capture the essence of a plant cell, Yeh used several canvas boards and green acrylic paint to individually document the cells of the organism.
Yeh wants her art to impact individuals in a way that scientific journals, which she finds aren’t always accessible to the average person, can’t. She believes that more people will gain a greater understanding of environmental issues through art.
With such ideals, she wants to work with either grassroots organizations, or even create installations for places such as the Botanical Gardens or The High Line.
The NYPIRG Project Coordinator Alex Wojcik agreed that art is elemental in helping people understand environmentalism. “It’s all about the visuals,” she exclaimed.
Wojcik explained that this concept not only applies to environmentalism, but also when grassroots organizations put together media advisories. The visual component is essential to drawing in journalists and curious individuals alike. She further explained that it is imperative, especially for students, to see a representation for fuller comprehension of the subject.
“Being able to show [information] in a way that affects peoples’ brains differently than just telling them the same info again and again is so important,” said Wojcik using the environmental campaign against fracking as an example.
Such a need for disseminating information for environmental education furthers Yeh’s vow. “I made a promise to myself when I switched from environmental science to BSVA,” said Yeh when illustrating her driving force and pursuits, “that I am never going to forget where I came from, and I’m never going to forget to keep the climate and the world in mind when I make my art.”
The Performing Arts Center’s Passage Gallery was shining a light on talent at Purchase from Feb. 18 to March 9, hosting several short documentaries submitted by film students for public viewing.
The atmosphere was open, urbane—almost like a painting gallery in Manhattan, aside from the snack table serving pretzels and chips. One large screen dominated the room, playing personal accounts and documentary videos on rotation.
For viewers who wanted to focus on one video in particular, there were several smaller screens positioned all around the gallery. Each had two sets of headphones as the video played on the screen.
Senior Alan Wertz submitted a project from his sophomore year, entitled “Cartharsis: an explanation to myself and others.” The film is autobiographical in nature, documenting his spring break in sophomore year. He narrates throughout the film, visiting both of his divorced parents separately. The seven-and-a-half minute film allows the viewer to empathize with a young man who has seen his home life fall apart and feels uncertain about his future as a result.
“It needed to happen,” said Wertz, describing why he made and submitted the video. His professor, who organized the gallery, reached out to Wertz in order to put it on display. Wertz worked alone on the piece, filming, recording sound, and editing the piece over the course of two weeks.
Junior Olivia Hampson shared a more uplifting story in her documentary “Never Jumping Back,” which follows the life of a former rehab patient who now works as a group therapist for her facility. “I think I learned a lot,” says Hampson, whose documentary has allowed her to share her experience and the lesson, “Never give up.”
“The setup paints a very intimate setting,” said film student Alanna Morton. She felt the gallery allowed visitors to engage with the documentaries on a personal level.
However, Olivia Hampson’s father said the setup was “accessible, over the period of time it’s up for.” With people coming and going—and documentaries no longer than 20 minutes—it may indeed reach more people than the big screen at the center of the room.
From an academic perspective, Professor Chuck Workman felt that he had nine “extraordinarily interesting films that look very accomplished” from his documentary class, in which students spend a year learning the documentary process and making their own works. He felt that this exhibition was a way to publicly showcase their work.
“Another thing,” he said, “is that it is great for the filmmaker. One of the things when you make an interesting film, that may not be a commercial film, you get nothing out of it, you get only your own gratification.”
He said that this desire for gratification is why filmmakers go to film festivals. He felt that this event would give the students an interesting experience as filmmakers.
Michelle Stewart, the chair of the School of Film and Media Studies, was impressed by the intimacy, and how the works focused on the stories and not the technical aspects. “There’s some really beautiful portraiture…and their technique is quite good,” said Stewart.
For almost all of the students, this was the first public appearance of their work outside of an academic setting. These students were chosen separately for the quality of their work. These documentaries did not have to exhibit the students’ lives, but a subject and a narrative they chose and prepared.
“They are using their film skills that will make a piece of film that will sustain,” said Workman. He said that the films were chosen almost arbitrarily, but they seemed to work in an intriguing manner.
“Personally, I’m very proud of it,” said Workman.
Staff Reporter Fallon Godwin-Butler contributed reporting.
The Performing Arts Center was packed with lights, colorful streamers and voodoo artwork on Feb. 15 for a pre-Mardi Gras celebration. An enthusiastic vendor sold authentic Louisiana cuisine and legendary musician Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., better known as Dr. John, performed an hour and a half concert.
Before the show, guests lined up outside in the cold weather to get a taste of authentic Louisiana cuisine out of a green truck owned by the colorful Gary Ptak, who goes by Chef Johnson of Mamaroneck. Customers ordered dishes such as andouille sausage with macaroni and cheese and red beans and rice, but many popular items like corn bread, ran out quickly.
“Truth is, we sold outta everything on the truck,” said Johnson. “But people mainly was flippin’ out for the crawfish and grits Johnson.”
Chef Johnson mentioned that he has always loved to cook and his enthusiasm for it showed even when it was freezing outside. “Ya gotta bring all this love, truth and goodness straight to the people,” said Johnson. “So to me it ain’t really cookin’, I’m making love: love, truth and goodness.”
He described New Orleans as “the greatest living museum on the planet” and said he’s a big fan of Dr. John’s music. “He way high up on my list of cultural and musical favorites.”
To start the show, a student-led jazz and blues band played their rendition on the classic song, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” to a crowd of about 20 guests. After the students finished, the band came on stage to take the spotlight. Then, trombonist and Dr. John’s music director Sarah Morrow posed a question.
“Did you have too much love that you needed a doctor?”
Dr. John, the 73-year-old-musician, came on stage to a huge applause. The musician walked with a cane and was wearing a red pinstriped suit, a black hat with feathers and a ponytail with braids. He sat at the piano which was decorated with a skull and started playing the New Orleans style blues and rock he’s known for.
Dr. John performed hits such as “Right Place, Wrong Time” and “Revolution” to a packed theater of adults and students who were thrilled to see him play. Two audience members even danced in the front row. In the middle of the show, the organist, bassist, trombonist and drummer each got to perform a solo. Dr. John even showed his guitar skills on the song “Let the Good Times Roll,” receiving a standing ovation to end their performance.
In the midst of their whirlwind New York media blitz, Russian performance artists and political activists Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot made a less publicized trip to Purchase College.
On Friday, Feb. 7, the two met with Suzanne Kessler, Purchase dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, who also serves as chair of the board for Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA), an organization that brings innovative arts programs to five prisons in New York. Also present in Kessler’s crowded office was Katherine Vockins, the organization’s founder and executive director, Kim Breden, a volunteer, and four students and two faculty members invited to observe the meeting.
Hunter Heany of the Voice Project, an American human rights organization, served as liaison during the trip and had originally contacted RTA as a means of getting the group to visit a prison. When that didn’t pan out, an informational meeting was scheduled instead. At Kessler’s suggestion, it was held at Purchase.
Their trademark vibrant balaclavas replaced by modest, black and grey business attire, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova sat attentively through the meeting with their hands in their laps, or taking notes. Due to their limited English comprehension, they remained mostly quiet, sometimes speaking with one another in hushed Russian or through Peter Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband, who served as translator and occasional representative of the group.
The Purchase visit came during a week in which Alyokniha and Tolonnikova appeared on “The Colbert Report,” made a speech at the annual Amnesty International concert after being introduced by Madonna, and visited with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Having refocused their attention on Russian prison reform since their 21-month jail sentences ended on Dec. 23, the punk personas they exhibited in their now-infamous performance “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away” seem to have vanished.
The pair’s ties to Pussy Riot itself have become unclear, as an anonymous post on the group’s LiveJournal page announced, “It is no secret that Masha and Nadia are no longer members of the group, and will no longer take part in radical actionism.” The letter challenges their neglecting “the aspirations and ideals of our group – feminism, separatist resistance, fight against authoritarianism and personality cult, all of which, as a matter of fact, were the cause for their unjust punishment.”
On Feb. 10, however, Tolokonnikova maintained that she was still a member of the subversive anti-Putin group. “Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can excluded from Pussy Riot,” she was quoted in the New York Times. “Pussy Riot can only grow.”
Only once did the duo’s estranged collective come up over the course of the conversation at Purchase. Discussing the possibility of which they could become involved with RTA, Vockins told them they might be able to serve as interns, studying “theater as a form of use in corrections… but nothing else. No Pussy Riot, no nothing,” evoking laughter from the whole room, themselves and Verzilov included.
Verzilov, himself a member of the Russian activist group “Voina,” played an active role throughout the course of the meeting.
“Right now we’re working to organize prisoner’s rights in jail that focus on these topics that Nadia raised in her letter and other topics like establishing cultural programs in Russian prisons because… [we] are longtime political actors,” he said, adding that they intend to continue utilizing performance art to attain their goals. “Performance right is something that goes parallel to [prisoner’s rights] so there are obviously plans to create a music video with these themes, but that’s something different than the NGOs.”
“They want to improve Russian prisons, that’s clear,” Kessler said after the meeting. “They want to improve the entire Russian prison system. They’ve got a very big, idealistic but yet wonderful goal.
Addressing the need and means for prison reform in Russia is now the main goal of both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who began speaking out while still incarcerated. On Sept. 23, 2013, Tolokonnikova wrote a letter describing the type of prison labor and mistreatment she and her fellow inmates faced in Penal Colony No. 14, a prison camp. There, she claims to have worked daily in a sewing shop for up to 17 hours a day, observed peers being denied medical treatment, and even witnessed death at the hand of the commonplace beatings prisoners receive.
“The letter she wrote from prison… basically, when she went on hunger strike October this year, became the most widely read written piece in the Russian language in the past 20 years. It gave incredible coverage to the prison problem,” said Verzilov, who believes that in terms of human rights, “Russian prisons right now are really at the point American prisons were [during the] ’50s, ’60s, maybe ’70s.”
Members of RTA said programs like theirs cannot be radical or politically charged, in order to continue their work.
“We don’t publicly criticize the prison system…,” Kessler advised the three on creating programs for arts-related therapy for prisoners. “And there are many opportunities to do that, but we don’t. You have to keep this very separate.”
“Do you give [performance footage] to other NGOs or people who do criticize [the prison system]?” asked Alyokhina through Verzilov. They were told that RTA does not.
Headed quickly off to the Federal Correctional Institution of Danbury—where staff had initially accepted in their request to visit but later failed to confirm—Verzilov encouraged his idea to take a shot at showing up anyways.
“This is something like the Russian methods, because in Russia when you do things, you almost have to feel like a performance artist,” he said while Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova posed for some final photos. “…You have of think of how to avoid things like the door being shut. You need a creative way to get through the door.”
*Editor’s Note: To promote this story further, The Purchase Phoenix decided to publish Alexandra Manning’s story in tandem with the Purchase Beat.
The practice room buzzed and 15 students vocalize, intertwining harmonies and melodies. Dynamic electric guitars, stadium drums, and rock ‘n’ roll music filled the extensive room, where young people sang out about the struggles of living.
Shontay Richardson, 22, arts management major is coordinating, directing and acting in a community performance titled “Spring Awakening”: The Benefit Concert. It will be held in the music building on April 11 at 8 p.m.
Set in Germany in the late 1800s, the pubescent characters in Spring Awakening strive to build a connection between them and the world around them. The characters struggle to verbalize the emotions inside of them, and instead they come out in catchy, cleverly written rock songs titled ”Totally Fucked,” “Touch Me,” and, “The Bitch Of Living.”
“Spring Awakening”: A Benefit Concert is funded through the self-promoting indiegogo.com, an international crowd-funding platform, and has already exceeded its goal of $3,000. The money raised is going to the Make an Impact Fund, which is Purchase’s senior gift from the class of 2014. It is a fund for Purchase students, if they have personal issues that need funding, for example a plane ticket home. For this show the money will also go to funding lighting, microphones and an orchestra.
The show focuses on themes such as abortion, and teen suicide, which are as prevalent now as they were in the nineteenth century. Richardson said the show has important themes she thinks should be shared with the community, “It starts dialogue,” she said. Click here to see video of some members practicing their songs.
Emily Gutierrez, 20, gender studies major, is a chorus member in the show. She said the transformation that is becoming an adolescent is something that’s universal to everybody, “Even with that time gap were still dealing with the same issues today,” she said.
The student-run show features Purchase students as actors, as well as a few cast members from surrounding communities. Sydney Parra, a Yorktown High School senior, plays Wendla the leading female in the show.
Richardson decided to incorporate people from outside Purchase into the production “to build those relationships and form those bonds.” Outside of the college community, Richardson founded an organization that would merge civic engagement and the arts, an idea she had as early as sophomore year. This idea would inspire her organization Haus of COSA and then the Spring Awakening concert.
Haus Of COSA stands for “creativity, opportunity, service, and achievement,” according to Richardson. She said, “Art has to impact the community in some positive way.” The organization advocates service, volunteerism and arts and takes a hands-on approach to improving their community. Members volunteers their time with organizations and schools in the surrounding area, according to Richardson.
The company’s hope with their projects is that communities begin to communicate more, even within families. Communication between parents and children is a major theme in the show according to Richardson. “Parents need to talk to their children and not keep them in the dark about things.”
Tyler Henson, 22-year-old, arts management major plays the character Moritz, a sexually repressed dropout in Spring Awakening. According to Henson, Moritz has these visions of legs and women that scare him. “No one has explained nature to him,” he said.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “Teach a child in the way they should go and they shall never part from it,” Henson said. He highlights that when we teach children; even if they don’t follow our advice at least they have a foundation. If we don’t teach our children they have nothing to even part from.
“This can actually bring families together,” he said. It shows a conservative way of living in comparison to a more open liberal way, according to Henson.
“There will always be that struggle of how we can relate to our youth”, Gutierrez said. She stresses the importance of bridging the gaps between the generations so the youth are more willing to express themselves openly she said, “Then there is that honesty and you can communicate and actually live successfully.”
The NCAA announced today, March 3, during the Div III Men’s Basketball: 2014 Selection Show, that for the first time in school history, Purchase College will be a host college in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship.
Purchase (25-2), the Skyline Conference Champions, will be playing Hartwick (18-9), the Empire 8 Athletic Conference Champions, in the first round on Friday at 8 p.m. Purchase will also be hosting the first round game between Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) (22-4) and Albertus Magnus (26-2), the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Champions, which will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
“I think that everyone likes to win the Skyline Championship,” said Linda Bruno, the Skyline Conference Commissioner. “But I think when you look beyond that, everyone’s dream is to go to the NCAA Tournament and win some games, and that is where you get some recognition.” After the Panthers won the Skyline tournament on March 1, Bobby Ciafardini, the sports information director and compliance director at Purchase College, said, “Ironically, a few years ago when we won the championship, after the fact, the NCAA approached us about hosting but at the time we weren’t prepared to host, and this time around we actually have requested to host.”
The bleachers were filled to capacity during the Skyline Conference Championship game and Ciafardini said there is a way to possibly fit in more people.
“There’s been some talk that they might add additional bleachers,” said Ciafardini. “You’re talking about a gym that can hold somewhere around 1,500-1,600. It’s possible that we could open up the capacity even more.”
Ciafardini reiterated that it is all up in the air if additional bleachers would be added, but if they are added, they would be located behind the scorer’s table and benches across the court from where the permanent bleachers now sit. The temporary wall that is put up behind the scorer’s table and benches would be removed to accommodate any added seating.
Even if no additional seating is added, Ciafardini is still positive about hosting the tournament, saying “If nothing else, to have somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 people here next weekend, and have our first NCAA tournament game, ever here, I’m pretty excited.”
After the Skyline Championship, Franklyn Mickens, a freshman guard, said, “If we host the NCAA’s it would just help us even more because we know our fans are going to come out and support us.”
The Purchase Panthers season came to an abrupt end on Feb. 8 when they were defeated by the Albertus Magnus Falcons 87-79 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“Albertus Magnus probably had about 40 percent of the crowd, or the stands filled,” said Frank Rossi of D3hoops.com. “It is tough to fill stands two nights in a row.”
The Panthers finished the season with a 26-3 record in front a less than capacity crowd. During their season, the Panthers were Skyline Conference champions for the fourth time in the last four years, hosted the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time, and won an NCAA game.
However on Saturday evening, Falcons fans had arrived in force, traveling from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut according to Falcons Head Coach Mitch Oliver. On the other hand, the sparse crowd and empty rows, at times, revealed the large upper portion of the orange “P” painted on the blue bleachers of Purchase’s seating section.
A crowd of 808 watched the Panthers fall to the Falcons, who were led by junior center Victor Ljuljdjuraj who had a double-double notching 24 points and 17 rebounds.
“After yesterday, since I told you guys I didn’t play too well, and you guys said I had good numbers, I had to come strong today,” said Ljuljidjuraj, who played wearing turquoise Nikes. “I’m happy with my performance, and especially my whole team around me that played today, played with heart, and the people who didn’t even play that were clapping on the bench, getting us into the game. It was just a team effort win.”
The Panthers were led by David Haughton, who recorded 18 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double.
However, the Panthers were plagued by foul trouble all evening, which hampered the ability of the starters to get into the flow of the game. Seniors, forward David Haughton, guards Jake Stevens III and Andre Nixon, and junior center Joel Neri all ended up with four fouls, one foul from the limit of five.
“Foul trouble, that hurt us a little bit. It hurt us a lot,” said Panther’s Head Coach Jeff Charney. “We didn’t play with three starters in the first half, almost half the first half.”
The game was close early before the Falcons took a 38-31 lead into halftime. The Panthers tried to come back and briefly tied the game at 43 early in the second half before the Falcons once again pulled away to never again relinquish the lead.
“What an incredible year. I know all of the guys and the coaching staff are disappointed tonight,” said Bobby Ciafardini, the director of sports information at Purchase College. “When Jeff [Charney] first took the program over, they were a three win team, and in the last few years, they have established a foundation of winning conference championships and going to the NCAA’s.”
After months of work, Purchase’s Athletic Department completed construction on a new turf field in the third week of November.
“When you do a construction project like this, there’s when you want it done, when the builders think it’ll be done, and somewhere in the middle is where you usually meet,” explained Chris Bisignano, the Athletic Department director.
With construction starting on graduation day of the spring semester, Bisignano wanted the nearly $3 million project to be finished by Sep. 1. However, the builders offered their rebuttal of a completion date closer to the second week of October. But now, the new field is “functional,” according to the director.
The diverse field can accommodate for many sports including baseball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, football, ultimate Frisbee and Quidditch.
Even with the late arrival of the field, it is expected to alleviate some of the issues the Athletic Department was facing over the years.
“For the last three of four years, our baseball team has not been able to play a home game here until the end of the season,” said Bisignano. “Some years, not at all.”
The existing baseball field was neglected due to the unforgiving effects of water. With a hydrophilic field that never dried in time, the baseball team usually played on other fields in Harrison County, like Silver Lake Field.
Besides providing a suitable home field for the Baseball team, it also helped maintain the Athletics Department’s philosophy of self-sustainment.
“Fields like this that we have, we rent them out,” said Bisignano. “And we’re able to generate money that goes back into the coffers of the college.”
In spite of the fact that the Athletic Department was financially backed by the college to create this multimillion dollar project, the director emphasized none of it came at the expense of students and their paid tuitions and fees.
“It’s not just for the athletes, it’s for the entire college,” said Bisignano, hopeful that the field would be a valuable asset.
For the coaches of the department though, the new turf field has more benefits than just money.
“I definitely think it’s going to be very helpful for the coaches for recruiting because it shows how we’re improving our facilities,” said Albana Krasniqi, the women’s softball team head coach. Even though the softball team prefers the old clay and dirt field, Krasniqi considers the turf “absolutely beautiful.”
The intramural players were the first ones to experience the revered turf on Nov. 24 during their Turkey Bowl event of eight-on-eight flag football. Despite their chosen sport, players enjoyed seeing the variety of lines that create borders for certain sports.
“You can play all different types of sports out there,” said Chris Lynch, a senior who participated in Turkey Bowl 2013. “It has so much different things going on.”
The department planned to use the field to host more events, including intramural, especially since it showed positive responses.
“It’s another great facility that our students, not just the athletes, get a chance to use,” concluded Bisignano.
On their home court, Purchase’s men’s basketball team, The Panthers, defeated the Maritime Privateers 72-50 on Saturday afternoon , putting them at 18 wins and one loss.
Junior forward Justin Person and senior guard Andre Nixon scored 15 and 14 points respectively to secure the win.
After the game at noon on Feb. 8, Nixon said, “It was a team effort. Everybody got a chance to get in today, so it’s always good to have that. It keeps everybody’s morale boosted.” He added, “there was never a situation where we were in doubt, like we were down or anything, so it was good that we just kept building on our lead.”
Joel Neri, a 7-foot-2 inch junior center, also added eight points and nine rebounds for the Panthers, who improved to 18-1 overall and 12-0 in the Skyline Conference, a college athletic conference that competes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III. Being part of the division means Purchase doesn’t offer athletic scholarships.
The Privateers, who dropped to 3-18 overall and 1-13 in the conference, were led by three double-digit scoring performances. Freshmen Brendon Halligan, Kevin Heine and Bobby Parlow racked up 13, 11 and 10 points respectively.
One of the advantages for Purchase was the average height of the No. 20-ranked Panthers’ starting lineup, which was 6-foot-6-inches compared to 6-foot-1 inch for the visiting Privateers. The Panthers out-rebounded the Privateers 42-28 amd had 19 offensive rebounds compared to four for the Privateers.
The Privateers had 22 turnovers and the Panthers had 11. The turnover and rebounding differentials led to 30 more shot attempts for the Panthers than the Privateers.
Strong three-point-shooting by Halligan, who went 3-5 from beyond the arc in the first half, kept the Privateers in striking distance. However, with 7:22 to go in the half, a three-pointer by Halligan, reduced the Privateers’ deficit to four.
Then, the Panthers went on a 16-0 run until halftime, which included six Privateer turnovers. The Panthers entered halftime with a 42-22 lead.
The Panthers’ lead ballooned to 54-26 with 16:02 left in the game when Jeff Charney, the Panthers’ head coach, started emptying the bench.
The Panthers, with 27 bench points, cruised to victory 72-50 over the Privateers.
Still, Jake Scott, the Privateers’ head coach, said he is pleased with the improvement of his young team. The Privateers dressed seven freshmen and four of them were starters.
The Panthers go on the road for three games before returning home to face Yeshiva University on Friday Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.
“It’s a team that’s a little bit on the weaker side this year and we played adequately. Obviously, you don’t get really up, up, up, but we played good enough to win and that’s the main thing,” said Charney.
In the wake of starting the fall semester without one member of its staff, some students on campus have complained of difficulty when trying to be seen by the Student Health Services (SHS) staff.
A nurse practitioner left in September to pursue other work in the city, bringing staff down to eight medical professionals, according to medical director Nancy Reuben.
Since the first day of classes after spring break, a new nurse practitioner has taken the empty position, Reuben said. Many students found it had been difficult or impossible to be seen by SHS this semester and last while the department was understaffed.
Julianne Waber, freshman, had congestion that was clogging her ears and called SHS around 4:00 p.m. on a Wednesday.
“Some lady picked up and asked what was wrong,” Waber said. “I was scared that I had an ear infection, she told me, ‘You should just take Mucinex.’ Then I asked if Mucinex would help my ears.” The woman on the phone merely told Waber that it would.
According to Reuben, sometimes a triage nurse will troubleshoot a patient’s issue over the phone. “They’ll try to talk through the person’s symptoms with them and figure out what the best course of action is,” she said. “But it’s rare that we would instruct someone to take over the counter medicine by phone. I’ll have to look into that.”
However, Waber’s trouble with SHS persisted. The woman speaking to her on the phone said it was too late to see Waber that day, but that she should call early on Thursday to schedule a time if the Mucinex didn’t work.
“I just felt like I didn’t want to call back at that point,” Waber said. “I have a class early on Thursday so I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Plus, the woman on the phone acted like an appointment should be the last option.”
Reuben said that Purchase SHS brings more simple cases physically into the office than other colleges’ health offices. “We see a lot of people with just plain old colds than a lot of health services,” she said. “Some departments will just triage these people, talk to them over the phone but we see them in the exam room.”
SHS initiated a new scheduling program two years ago that attempts to give patients same day scheduling, called Open Access. “We see the vast majority of students the same day that they call,” Reuben said. “It’s changed things a lot because we used to have people piled up in the waiting room all morning long waiting to do walk-ins.”
Sam Skinner, sophomore, had a relatively good experience working with SHS. However his visit to SHS last semester was so seamless he didn’t even use the new scheduling system. “I just walked in,” Skinner said. “I told them what was wrong and they gave me a little check up.”
Scheduling is still not guaranteed, however, according to Reuben.
Marcello Ramirez and Jeremy Begor-Gleeson, freshmen, helped a friend go to SHS for a muscle issue with his knee.
“They gave us free crutches which was pretty nice,” Begor-Gleeson said, “But beyond that they basically redirected us to the emergency room. They at least asked if we could get a ride there, or if they could call an ambulance, but from our experience and others’, most are just redirected to the hospital.”
Reuben responded that, “If another emergency comes in we have to prioritize that, and we would send someone else to the emergency room in that case. Any health center would do the same.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Ernie Palmieri said that SHS can only do so much, and that sometimes the ER simply has better resources than a college campus.
“We are limited,” he said. “The facilities are limited.”
The 9th annual edition of the Naked Issue is about to be published in “The Load.” Over 50 students came out to the Stood last Thursday to pose for nude photos and some students have also submitted their own photos to the newspaper.
According to Alyce Pellegrino, editor at large for “The Load,” the Naked Issue helps students embrace their bodies, but also to be content with them.
“Someone recently brought up recently about the term body neutrality,” said Pellegrino, who’s worked on the Naked Issue since her sophomore year. “It’s not necessarily loving your body, but being content with your body.”
Reactions to The Naked Issue are overwhelmingly positive, but still have its critics. “I’ve definitely been in classes before where the Naked Issue has come up and people will be like ‘Oh why, what’s the point of that?’” said Pellegrino.
“The Load” prints naked, but not sexual photos of students. “We make it clear that we cannot print pornographic photos,” said Pellegrino. Full frontal nudity tends not to be on the cover, but if it is, the magazine will be put in little slips.
Students are free to be as naked as they wish, pose how they want, and who they want to be pictured with. Some on-campus couples pose together and the ratio of male to females has been about even, though Pellegrino is reluctant to use those labels. “It’s also really difficult to judge that,” said Pellegrino. “You have people who don’t necessarily identify by those titles.”
Students, who have posed this year and past years, have had very positive experiences and felt comfortable with being nude in front of the cameras. Some have done it a few times.
Senior cinema studies major James Issacson, said it was his first and last time participating, because he will be graduating in May. He was inspired by his friends to participate and liked that he could control his own comfort in doing it.
“I wanted to participate in the Naked Issue because I finally felt that it was time to bring an idea I had my sophomore year to life,” said Issacson. “I also felt like it would be a unique experience in the life of nude modeling that I would otherwise never ever experience.”
Marcella Swarzc, a senior graphic design major, posed in her freshman, sophomore and senior years. Swarzc has modeled nude for drawing classes and photographers before so doing this came naturally.
“I have no problem being naked, but this was my first time doing a group photo,” said Swarzc. “We basically ate pizza and drank Malibu without clothes. It was a great time.”
Even Pellegrino has posed for the Naked Issue in her sophomore and junior years in group photos.
“I have never gotten fully nude, and I probably won’t do it this year,” said Pellegrino. She admitted it was intimidating at first, but luckily was being photographed by a good friend, so it made the process easier.
“I plan on doing again this year,” she said. “You know, going out with a bang.”
Long lines of students and faculty queued up to taste hot dogs, fries and sandwiches, ever since the fast food chain Nathan’s opened in the Hub this semester. Reactions from students have been mixed from guilty excitement to criticism that Purchase needs healthier dining options.
“Some stuff on their menu looks pretty good, but pretty disgusting at the same time, such as the bacon cheese fries,” said Stefan Oliva, a junior journalism major.
The new vendor glistens with gray tile countertops and video monitors displaying the menu, which includes Arthur Treacher’s seafood items, and a brief history of the chain. According to Nick Menillo, senior director of dining services for Chartwells, the TVs helped to speed things up. People could choose their meal while waiting in the snaking queue line that accommodated for more customers. For students, most of the menu options fit into Chartwells’ “ABC” meal plan.
“It’s geared toward the demographic here on campus, and it’s popular to this area,” said Menillo.
While he wouldn’t divulge the exact costs, Menillo said constructing the Nathan’s was expensive, but not very.
“In our business, anything under $100,000 is not a big expense.” The staff is being retrained to learn the new menu and the Hub managers helped to take orders. But, Menillo said that the lines will probably slow down as time goes by.
As soon as news of the Nathan’s was posted onto Purchase College’s Facebook page, it lit up with comments from some students who expressed that they want healthier options on the menus. Menillo said there are many healthy options and that some students don’t know about them. “We have the salad bar, we have the deli, we have Sono, those are all healthy options,” said Menillo. “So we have to have one fast food goodie.”
“The food is superior,” said Butch Meister, a sophomore chemistry major who prefers Nathan’s to the previous Coyote Jack’s. “And I can eat more of it, now that they have fish sandwiches and such,”
“The line is way too long though, they should really expand the kitchen to accommodate all the orders,” said Meister.
Other students like Paloma Becerra, a junior in anthropology, didn’t feel the addition was justified. “I don’t understand the point of Nathan’s,” said Becerra. “I feel like Purchase could put their money into fixing other things that need to be fixed.”
“I have mixed emotions,” said Andre Nixon, a senior journalism major. “I’m guessing down the road, it will become something we’ll all get used to.”
New information about Culture Shock 2014 has been released by Major Events Coordinator Ray Chalmé, regarding the Saturday night lineup of performers.
Rhode Island based noise-rock band Lightning Bolt will play Saturday night directly before ‘Lil B, at 10:00p.m. “I really wanted to add something just wild,” Chalmé said via text. “I guess we’ve got it now.”
Chalmé also described the host of food trucks and carnival rides that will adorn the Culture Shock grounds. In addition to the classic fried food truck that has appeared at Culture Shock in years past, there will be a handmade dumpling truck from Vermont and a creole/soul food truck, Chalmé said.
In addition to a Ferris Wheel, the Spaceship, Big Slide and Swings rides will be installed for the weekend, he said. The Spaceship is a different version of the classic Gravitron ride.
The guest policy for Culture Shock this year is similar to those in years past. Students can have up to three guests, who must be registered at one of the ResLife complex offices and must stay with their host at all times, according to Chalmé.
Rapper Lil B will be the Saturday night headlining act at the 2014 Culture Shock music festival, which runs from April 25 through the 26. The headliner on Friday night will be Brooklyn-based rap group Flatbush Zombies.
The Stood’s Cinema room was electric with the noise of excited chatter when Major Events Coordinator Ray Chalmé made the announcement tonight at 10:00p.m. The Culture Shock lineup will run nine acts on Friday and ten on Saturday. All main performances will be on the outdoor stage of the Admissions parking lot.
Friday’s lineup, before Flatbush Zombies, will include Kelela, Traxman, Milo and a comedy set by Neil Hamburger.”I’m really jazzed about this,” Chalmé exclaimed.
Saturday’s lineup, ending in a performance by the rising star, “BasedGod” Lil B, will include Speedy Ortiz, Terror Pigeon and Cakes Da Killa. For the complete listing of performance times and acts see below.
In recent years the festival has increasingly taken on a more widespread popularity as a standalone music festival rather than just a college event. However, the festival remains free for students and guests. Wristbands will be required for entry to the AfterShock after party that will happen each night at the Stood. Instructions to receive wristbands will be released shortly.
DJ Kaytranada will perform at Friday’s AfterShock, presented by the Hip Hop Club and on Saturday, Purchase-based DJ Cream Dream will perform, according to Chalmé.
Flatbush Zombies – 11:00p.m. – 12:00a.m.
Kelela – 10:00p.m. – 10:45p.m.
Traxman – 8:45p.m. – 9:45p.m.
Milo – 8:00p.m. – 8:30p.m.
Neil Hamburger – 7:15p.m. – 7:45p.m.
Dawn of Midi – 6:30p.m. – 7:00p.m.
Field Mouse – 5:45p.m. – 6:15p.m.
Pluto Moons – 5:00p.m. – 5:30p.m.
Palberta – 4:15p.m. – 4:45p.m.
Lil B – 11:00p.m. – 12:30a.m.
Lightning Bolt 10:00p.m. – 10:45p.m.
Speedy Ortiz – 9:00p.m. – 9:45p.m.
Terror Pigeon – 8:15p.m. – 8:45p.m.
Cakes Da Killa – 7:30p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Modern Baseball – 6:45p.m. – 7:15p.m.
Guerilla Toss – 6:00p.m. – 6:30p.m.
Wham City – 5:10p.m. – 5:50p.m.
Breakfast in Fur – 4:30p.m. – 5:00p.m.
Mikaela Davis – 3:45p.m. – 4:15p.m.
Hungry March Band – 2:45p.m. – 3:30p.m.
It has been over three weeks since the new MyHeliotrope student information system suffered a glitch which allowed approximately 80 on-campus apartment applicants to select housing out of turn, locking out applicants with better eligibility.
When faced with a group of angry students demanding answers and assistance on March 13, the Office of Residence Life needed to act quickly to remedy the situation.
“We have already identified and reached out to those students who chose out of order and removed them from their fall 2014 assignment,” said Denny Santos, Assistant Director of Residence Life. “We have already contacted groups who were ‘passed over’ and offering them an apartment space based on the appropriate credit requirements and go right down the line until all apartments are filled.”
Some students who were affected by the glitch found that Residence Life addressed their problems and are satisfied with the resolution they were given.
“On the actual day he told us to give up on an apartment,” said Nora Allison-Weiser, a current sophomore who was affected by the glitch. “But then the next day Chloe and one of our other house mates, Brianne Malloy, got a phone call informing us that we did indeed get an apartment in the Olde for next year.”
However, not all of the applicants affected by the MyHeliotrope mishap were as lucky as Allison-Weiser and her roommates.
“Me and my roommates weren’t able to select an apartment because of the glitch, so we were planning to split up,” said Natalie Allen, a sophomore who wanted an apartment for her junior year. “Two would go into athletic housing, and three would be pulled into an apartment by a girl whose three current roommates were studying abroad. They won’t let her pull us in, and they say that they will select her new roommates themselves.”
“Nothing has changed, we have nothing,” adds Allen’s roommate, Jamie Loesel, who is confused as to why this is still an issue. “If she has spaces, why can’t she be the one to choose who she wants in those spaces?”
When Allen and Loesel’s roster confronted Santos with their questions and concerns, he told them that they would just have to live in a residence hall for next year, and that there was nothing else to be done.
“It is important to note that we had 700 apartment beds left for last week’s selection and had over 950 students eligible to enter the room selection process,” explains Santos. “The students with the most credits were allowed to select first and so on down the line. Ultimately 250 students were not going to receive a selection due to their low number of credits.”
The two Junior Seminar classes went to the CBS News Broadcast Center in Manhattan this past Wednesday for a tour of the facilities and a meet and greet with several professional journalists at work. The trip was led by Professors Donna Cornachio and Magee Hickey.
On the tour, students were shown into the control room, newsroom and anchor desk where the “CBS Evening News” is shot. Students gazed at the cameras, reporters at work, and the desk with pictures of CBS journalists who lost their lives in the field.
While in the newsroom, students were introduced to Terry Stewart, the national editor for CBS who has been with the broadcast for 31 years. Stewart spoke from her desk to the group about her position covering stories from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.
Executive producer Pat Shevlin also spoke to the group about her work on the evening news and even offered career advice in the field. Shevlin informed the visiting students that CBS has bureaus in Washington, D.C., London and Beijing, and also detailed how news feeds go out to numerous television networks in the country and about how CBS received the news about the current missing Malaysian Airlines flight.
Since the pressing concern on students’ mind was finding jobs in the field, Shevlin offered some hope for students who will be graduating and mentioned that while it’s still hard to find jobs, it’s best to start local and to be determined and willing to take on many different stories.
At the main anchor desk, Scott Pelley, anchor and managing editor for the “CBS Evening News,” came in and was greeted with applause. Pelley spoke to the group about getting into the journalism field and the challenges that come with it.
“We need you, there’s no democracy without journalism,” said Pelley. “We need you to be good, the folks at home are depending on you.”
Pelley also spoke about his humble uprising in Texas and how he started his career in journalism at the age of 15, working as a copy boy for his local newspaper.
“I hope I can have a story like his someday,” said Cassandra Coppola, a junior. “It was a great insight to how us journalism students will hopefully live our lives someday.”
“Once I walked into the newsroom and I saw the huge cameras that they used, I was kind of amazed,” said Melanie Muzisk, a senior who also enjoyed Pelley’s speech.“He didn’t seem like he was speaking to us,” said Muzisk. “He was speaking to the world.”
Last week, four Purchase and two Sarah Lawrence students attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Hillels of Westchester. From March 2-4, students learned about Israel-Palestine peace talks and how to effectively lobby elected members of Congress.
“Snow might shut down the roads, it may have shut down the government, but it will never shut down those fighting for the right of Israel,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY – D).
Schumer went on to describe boycotts against Israel as anti-Semitic and spoke on Tuesday to New York delegates at the center.
Schumer was one of many well know politicians who came to speak in support of Israel. Sen. John McCain (AZ – R), Sen. Robert Menedez (NJ – D) and Secretary of State John Kerry attended as well.
The visit that received the most applause, and the most security concerns, was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who arrived on Tuesday, at which point additional security was added for the 8:30 start time. Netanyahu talked about sanctions placed on Iran, peace talks with Palestine and the boycotts of Israel.
“Israel is humane, Israel is compassionate, Israel is a force for good,” said Netanyahu in his direct style. “No country is more pro-America than Israel.”
In between the speakers, there were breakout sessions that focused on many topics related to Judaism and Israel, including but not limited to LGBTQ relations to Israel, Israel’s relations with East Asian countries, and female politicians talking about their experiences in Israel’s parliament.
“No one invites you to anything,” said Einat Wilff, who served as a Foreign Policy Advisor to Shimon Peres, speaking about how to get involved in politics. “You have to crash the party.”
The students who came seemed to enjoy the conference, as well as all the courses and speakers that the AIPAC had to offer.
“The thing I went to on terror funding was really interesting,” said Sivan Dor, a junior Economics major and political science minor among the Purchase students in attendance.
Avi Jorish, the founder of Red Cell Term Security Company, spoke about how terrorist organizations are funded and how the company is able to trace which banks these groups get money from.
“I did not know very much about either side of the issue going into the weekend," said Hannah Johnson, a senior among the Sarah Lawrence students attending, "but felt very empowered in my search for knowledge. This conference taught me to not be afraid to ask big questions, because no matter what one's view on any issue, someone else will believe otherwise.”
Tucked in an English Tudor style apartment building with gargoyles on the front lawn is a cozy Thai restaurant in White Plains called Reka’s.
Step down off the sidewalk, and guests are seated to a dining room with red painted walls, pictures of the Thai Royal family and photos of the owner’s family. The tables are lined with delicate folded napkins, china plates, gold forks and spoons, but no chopsticks.
Traditionally, Thai food is not eaten with chopsticks. “People ask for chopsticks and we tell them we don’t have them,” said Reka Souwapawong, owner of the restaurant.
Opened in 1987, it was one of the first Thai restaurants in Westchester County. Diners are treated to traditional Thai food, an impressive wine list and the warm hospitality from Souwapawong. She prefers her restaurant to be traditional and doesn’t follow trends. The restaurant’s “Thai Room,” with its low table and mats, seems more like a place to pray than to eat. Down a couple of stairs behind a door, is a garden of plants like lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. These ingredients are used in Thai cooking, however there aren’t enough plants to uphold the menu.
The menu includes traditional Thai dishes such as green curry and pad thai, but the restaurant also boasts unusual and upscale dishes such as crispy duck, escargot and a dessert called purple rice. Souwapawong learned this dish of naturally-purple rice and coconut milk from her mother and it has been on the menu since the restaurant first opened.
Even her pad thai is unique. It’s made with Thai vinegar rather than tamarind paste, emulating vendors in Thailand, according to Souwapawong.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu is soft shell crayfish from Minnesota, but it only recently reappeared on the menu. Many customers assumed it was from Louisiana. “When Katrina came, I stopped selling it because I didn’t want people to link it," said Souwapawong.
Another popular dish is the seafood basket consisting of shrimp, scallops, squid, cellophane noodles and vegetables. Customers would ask her, “What’s that? It looks like a bomb.”
The prices for the entrees range from $10.95 to $22.95.
“People don’t understand, Thai food has different levels, like American or French food,” said Souwapawong.
To maintain the supplies for the restaurant, once a week, Souwapawong receives groceries from New York City’s Chinatown, and goes to a local farmer’s market in White Plains. Occasionally she’ll go to the Restaurant Depot in Port Chester for fresh produce. Therefore, the operating costs depend on the business of that day, which include supplies, rent, licenses, insurances, paying taxes and employees.
The hardworking Souwapawong even owned another Thai restaurant in Mohegan Lake and an Italian restaurant in Katonah. “I have never even waited a table before in my life,” said Souwapawong. “When I first opened, people came from all over.”
She enjoyed running around and tending to her restaurants but it got to be too much and she closed her Mohegan Lake restaurant in 1992 and sold her Italian restaurant in 2012. “In one week, I got four speeding tickets,” said Souwapawong.
Nowadays with her sole restaurant, Reka’s has nine people on staff, including Souwapawong’s sister, Kay, who has taken on many duties that Souwapawong has scaled back on. They include taking care of customers, planning, managing and paying bills. She considers her crew “extremely family.”
Not just with her staff, Reka’s has a strong customer base. “Most of my customers are old customers,” said Souwapawong.
“We live in North Jersey,” said Sandy Kory, who has been coming to Reka’s since 1989. “We come all the way here to eat authentic Thai food.”
Karen Viola, who sat in the “Thai Room,” described it as very intimate. “It’s cool because, it feels more authentic,” said Viola, whose legs were tucked in a hole underneath the table, making it seem low.
Reka’s had a few famous customers like Liam Neeson, Dr. Ruth and Les Paul over the years, who she cooked for personally. But, Dave Colwell of the band Bad Company ate at Reka’s every night when they played a gig in White Plains in the early 90’s.
“We stayed open for them, no matter how late.” said Souwapawong, unfazed. “They’re my friends.”
Review: “Employee of the Year”
Sitting in the theater the lights fade out and a spotlight appears. A single actor stands in front. His costume is not elaborate, nor are any of the actors’ that follow. In fact, they look very much like street clothes. There are not any props. The actor simply uses his hands either in front or to the side of him, sometimes moving his body. The stage is empty save the actor and a white curtain. He says his name is Jay and he is 7 years old.
Employee of the Year is an intriguing work that premiered at The Underground Theatre on April 10. It is created by 600 HIGHWAYMEN under directors Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone and the performers were Theatre and Performance students.
According to 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s website, this play is about, “A story of youth, exploration and independence; a journey myth for today.” The play interchanged eight actors throughout its duration. Interestingly enough, whether a male or female performer, they all played the character of Jay in different stages of her life and even into the afterlife. There was a sense that after a life of struggle, she was finally able to find piece.
An interesting aspect of this work was its integration of performance art to create movement and guide the work along as Jay reached different stages in her life. Additionally, to end the work, the actors lead the front-row audience on stage creating intimacy between the actors and the audience. These aspects are apparently a cornerstone of this company.
According to their note on the program, 600 HIGHWAYMEN “construct expansive performances that illuminate the inherent poignancy and theatricality of people together. We are exploring a radical approach to making live art, constructing events that create intimacy among a group of strangers. Developed using creative methods ranging from the mainstream to the peculiar, our work is a rigorously tuned investigation of presence and humanity, not only in performance, but in process and aftermath.”
This performance certainly leaves the audience something to think about, but what that is will be left up to you.
The last performance is on Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.
“The Comedy of Errors” Review - March 8, 2014
What a laugh, what a riot, what a farce! In their swan song, the Senior Acting Company’s production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors was hilarious, charming and ironic.
“‘All the world’s a stage,’ Shakespeare says in another play, ‘and all the men and women, merely players,’” said Director Jenny Bennett in her director’s note. Bennett returned to Purchase after having directing last year’s Much Ado About Nothing. “We usually go through the world uninquisitive about our own given circumstances: in our experience of our own lives we are who we are because…well, that’s who we’ve always been!”
Bennett’s quote aptly summed up the meaning of this comedy. What defines an individual life? This play centers on the confusion of four characters, who just happen to be two sets of twins, separated in a shipwreck 25 years earlier — Antipholus (one of Syracuse and the other of Ephesus) and his slave Dromio (again, one from each place). The audience is initially introduced to Egeon, a merchant from Syracuse, who is arrested for traveling to the rival city of Ephesus. The Ephesian duke, upon hearing the old merchant’s tale of his shipwreck and his purpose to find his wife and their twin sons, grants the merchant time to collect the thousand-mark ransom to stay his execution.
Unbeknownst to Egeon, his son from Syracuse is also in the city, where his twin is a prospering citizen. This event is what leads the play on. Adriana, the wife of Antipholus of Ephesus, mistakes Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse as her husband and his slave. After that, the farce begins and confusion ensues.
Everything about this production gave sheer enjoyment to the audience. The staging was superb and the sound effects added to the rollickingly humorous elements of the work.
The fight scenes were done in a style that didn’t allow contact between the combating actors. Additionally, the actors, who were not a part of the scene, visibly sat on stage to create the sound effects.
Another aspect of this production was the mixing of gender roles, which provided irony in certain instances. The part of Luciana was one such role. In the first scene of Act II, Luciana was both ridiculous and hilarious, when the actor walked across the stage like a lovesick school girl saying, “Men, more divine, the masters of all these…Are masters to their females, and their lords..Ere I learn love, I’ll practice to obey.” This practice also harkened back to the Elizabethan period, when men were the only actors upon the stage.
While this company may be saying goodbye to the conservatory, they did so in an enchanting way.
This play ran from Feb. 28 through March 8.
Fall Performances: A Retrospective - March 6, 2014
Fall semester saw many performances. This post will focus on the play “Master and Margarita,” the opera “Hänsel und Gretel,” and the musical “Assassins.”
“Master and Margarita” or “The Devil Comes to Moscow” is a masterful piece set in 1930s Stalinist Moscow that was both moving and witty. This play is an adaptation of Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel by the same name, and was the Senior Acting Company’s first performance of the season.
The play’s staging enveloped the audience. There was action everywhere in the theatre – that included interaction with the audience and performing scenes in the back of the theatre. The play has two settings. One being in 1930s Moscow when a character portraying the Devil, called Professor Woland, comes to wreak havoc on the literary elite. The other, depicts a love story between the Master and Margarita.
The Master wrote a book on Pontius Pilate, which was condemned by the Russian government, but felt his life was incomplete until he found the love of his life, Margarita. Margarita, who is in a passionless marriage, thinks the Master is dead. Because her passion and purpose rests with the Master, she strikes a bargain with the Devil to find him.
This complex show demanded intricate performances by the actors, and was exceptional.
On November 13 through 17, Purchase Opera and the Purchase Symphony Orchestra presented Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel – performed in German with English subtitles above the stage.
It began with a lively and invigorating overture into the opera. Additionally, the performance was a dynamic blend of choreography, drama, and opera that centered on the moralism of the tale – salvation through goodness.
One of the most elaborate aspects of this performance was the set. It was incredibly beautiful and multi-layered. The technology that accompanied it included small lights in the shape of eyes – to give the illusion of a scary forest – and a boulder. This boulder was different because it initially posed as a prop for the forest scene turning into the witch’s oven with an automatic door and warm orange lights.
Sophomore Design Technology Major Bill Faram explained that the set is elaborate because it has to last for ten years.
The staging and costuming were also well done. This was apparent when he father entered by the left-hand side of the audience area, gliding his way down the side and across the front to make his entrance. This entrance created a bridge between the audience and the magical world created on stage.
The costumes were simplistic and a must for the authenticity of this performance. The only inaccuracy was the modernity of the father’s overalls.
In the end, this was a job well done for the opera and the spring performance will be highly anticipated.
The last performance critiqued is Purchase Musical Theatre Club’s Assassins on November 21 and 22. This Stephen Sondheim work is about assassins that attempted or even succeeded in killing U.S. presidents. This was a timely performance as Nov. 22 was the 50th anniversary of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President John F Kennedy. This is a “commemoration of JFK and achievements of other presidents,” said Director Jesse Penber.
Penber further elaborated on the musical, “Assassins is not about killing presidents. In the same way, assassinations are not about killing presidents…an assassination is murder, but it is more than one murder – it is the partial and vast murder of a thousand small hopes…”
This production was put on with the best intentions, and timely to commemorate history. In addition, the talent was exemplary. However, there were far too many technical problems for the show to be enjoyable. The staging was could have been much better and the musical accompaniment occasionally drowned out the actors’ voices.
It is confusing as to why there was decorative netting in the front with clowns and other fair like accessories – which posed the greatest problem, as the background was computerized images. The netting obstructed the images and, worse than that, they did not have smooth transitions. The audience could see the tool bar of the computer screen each time it changed.
At times, the actors were so far in one direction, portions of the audience were alienated. The plot was interesting, and the actors were talented, but too many issues took away from the entertainment.
In retrospect, the fall season was interesting and amusing. This spring’s performances should be just as promising, especially the talent.
Hooking Up - November 20, 2013
Every so often, we reach a time in our lives where we just want to live without labels and boundaries. Perhaps our coming of age has to do with the desire to learn from mistakes and ignore what people may think; perhaps it has to do with a stage of rebellion. Impending graduations, recent heartbreaks and a life-changing women’s studies class can make one decide to live without the strict rules that will get us to the 1950s ideal: get a boyfriend, graduate college, get married, pop out some kids, adopt a dog and you’re set!
Unfortunately for those of us in this millennial cliché, the idea of hooking up can be confusing and not only for those directly involved, but the secondary players as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to ask what someone meant by the phrase “hooked up” and its derivatives while they give a play-by-play of their Friday night.
Hooking up, for me, is basically doing any act that could be seen as a sexual invitation. Yet, puzzled kiss-and-tellers use it for everything from just a round of tonsil hockey to full-on knocking boots.
“I used to say it as sex, but I changed my mind,” said Eugene Posniewski, sophomore opera major. “You’d hear people talking about hooking up and then they say, ‘Oh, we just frenched.’”
Making matters worse, it isn’t just whatever base in the proverbial sexual baseball game we use it for, but also used to describe a certain relationship. If someone has been with someone in any sexual degree, they could be considered a hook up. It’s a weird gray area that I usually like to consider sexual purgatory.
Regardless, it is headache inducing to even try to articulate the confusion surrounding the culture we apparently live in.