The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: April 4, 2018 (Page 1 of 3)

Gutterman’s Little Shop Delightfully Entertains

This semester, sophomore Julia Gutterman triumphantly directed Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors. The show ran from Friday, March 30th to Sunday, April 1 in Gannett Theatre. The show follows Seymour, played by Justin Demers ’18, a young man working at Mushnik’s Skid Row Florists. Mr. Mushnik, the owner of the flower shop, is played by Xavier Hayden ’19. Audrey, another employee of Mr. Mushnik’s, is played by Caroline Carreras ’19.

On the stoop outside Mr. Mushnik’s, Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronnette, played by Sarah Curtis ’18, Margaret Trombley ’18, and Becca Kraft ’20 respectively, sit and interact with passerby and the stores’ employees.

In an effort to attract business, Seymour purchases a strange looking Venus Fly Trap to display in the window of the flower shop. As a show of his affection for Audrey, Seymour names the plant Audrey II. As the show progresses, it becomes evident that Audrey II, played by Elliot Chun ’18, is animate as it asks Seymour to feed it human flesh.

Audrey II’s first casualty is Audrey’s sadistic and abusive girlfriend, dentist Orin Scrivello. In addition to her gender-bending performance as Scrivello, Maddie Rozells ’20 plays various other ensemble roles.

Presented by the Bates College Robinson Players, the show is a joy to watch and experience. The cast is energized and enthusiastic; they genuinely convey their excitement about Little Shop to the audience. The talent and work of musical director Sam Findlen-Goldman ’20 and choreographers Shae Gwydyr ’20 and Ellie Madwed ’20 are particularly evident in the performances of Curtis, Trombly, and Kraft as they guide the audience through Seymour’s trials and tribulations through top-notch harmonies and sharp dance numbers.

Demers and Carreras excel in their duets and solo numbers. Carreras breaks the audience’s heart in her solo, “Somewhere That’s Green,” as her gorgeous voice and vibrato convey Audrey’s dream of raising a family. Demers’ Seymour is endearing and lovably goofy, and his vocal range is incredible. The chemistry between Carreras and Demers is adorable, and the two sound marvelous together. The fan-favorite “Suddenly Seymour,” delivers, the audience is hanging on each of Carreras and Demers’ well-sung notes.

Demers and Hayden also make a phenomenal father and son pair, after Mr. Mushnik adopts Seymour in their song and dance number, “Mushnik and Son.” Hayden’s performance as Mr. Mushnik is heartwarming, clever, and hilarious. It is so genuinely fun to watch him prance across the stage, grumbling about Seymour’s mistakes, celebrating the shop’s newfound success with Audrey II, or advising Audrey to leave her no-good girlfriend, Scrivello.

Gutterman refreshingly updates to the show with her choice to cast Rozells as Orin Scrivello, a traditionally male role. Gutterman’s casting plays well in the show, and, more importantly, dispels the show’s traditionally skewed gender dynamics by placing a female actress in a powerful, yet evil, role. Though Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronnette are take-no-BS types of characters, the majority of the show’s female energy is usually centered around Audrey, who is unfortunately submissive and controlled by her abusive significant other. Rozells shone in the spotlight she made for herself as a female Orin Scrivello. She was intimidating while undeniably feminine.

From within his enormous plant-like contraption of a costume, Chun also shone as Audrey II. His quips were well-delivered, his tone threatening and ominous, and his mannerisms gave Audrey II her appropriately quirky personality. He also bellowed fantastically disguised as a homeless person in the show’s first full-cast number, “Skid Row.”

Gutterman’s Little Shop was a feel-good experience that was definitely worth seeing. I was grinning from ear to ear as the cast sang the show’s finale ultimo, “Don’t Feed the Plants.” I was lucky to be able to see the show this past weekend, and everyone involved with the production did an amazing job.

 

Club Spotlight: Active Minds

If you have been spending any time recently with Bates students, you have likely heard the echoes of the dreaded March anxieties and blues. Winter appears interminable, the stress from finals is undeniable, and the end of school year is in sight, but not quite close enough to touch.
But beyond these shared experiences of boredom and stress, college campuses face an unprecedented epidemic of mental illness, and student suicide has become a legitimate and pervasive threat. Bates club Active Minds is determined to counter these deeply troubling and tragic realities. I spoke with the club’s future co-president, Ted Burns ‘19, to get a better grasp of the group’s mission.

Madeline Polkinghorn (MP): What is Active Minds?
Ted Burns (TB): Active Minds is a student-led group on campus that focuses on raising awareness for and erasing the stigma around mental illness, but it’s also about being conscious of mental health in general.
MP: Why did you join Active Minds?
TB: I joined Active Minds, because of my own experiences with mental illness, but also just on a whim when I was wandering around the Club Fair in September. At the first meeting, I didn’t know anyone, but the environment was so fun and positive that I haven’t missed a meeting to this day! Everyone in the club is awesome.
MP: What kind of things do you guys do in Active Minds?
TB: We meet once a week for 30 minutes to chat and check in with each other in a very relaxed setting, but we also use that time to plan events on campus. Some examples of events we’ve done were the Self-Care Fair and the Share Your Story events. Both had great receptions and were really rewarding to be a part of.
MP: Do you have any personal connections to mental health?
TB: I’ve been taking medication for anxiety since 2015, and mental illness runs in my family. Needless to say, it has had a huge impact on who I am is a person. I also feel very strongly about getting rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness. It should be regarded no differently than the flu or a broken bone: It is an affliction that requires treatment.
MP: Why should Bates students join Active Minds?
TB: Bates students should join this club, because it has really cool people in it, and it’s very low-key. Even if you have no experience with mental illness, you should join, because you can help others who do in very achievable ways. My favorite reason to be a part of Active Minds is the fact that I’ve gotten to know great people that I never would’ve been able to meet otherwise.
MP: What are your future plans for Active Minds?
TB: I’ll be co-president of the club next year with Sara Dardis, and I’m really excited about the opportunities! We’re already talking about teaming up with Filmboard to start a discussion about depictions of mental illness in media, organizing panels with professors, as well as continuing to do all the excellent things we already do.
MP: What has been your most meaningful experience with the club?
TB: My most meaningful experience with Active Minds was when I shared my experience with anxiety at the Share Your Story event. It was incredibly moving to share such an personal story to a room full of people who wanted to listen, and the possibility that hearing my story might’ve helped someone made it that much more special. It was inspirational to hear others’ stories as well.

Men’s Lax Dominates Endicott College

It was an outstanding week for Bates’ men’s lacrosse team. Coming off a tough loss versus Williams, the Bobcats headed into a non-conference matchup versus the Endicott College Gulls with redemption on their mind.

The Gulls came out strong, putting four goals up, before senior captain Clarke Jones ’18 netted a goal with two minutes left in the first quarter off an assist from Brendan Mullally ’20. Endicott responded a minute later, putting the Gulls up 5-1 at the end of the first. The Bobcats would not go down without a fight, scoring in the second at 14:07 by way of senior captain Burke Smith ’18, and again a minute later by Matt Chlastawa ’20.

Halfway through the second, Bates had tied it up, thanks to goals by Matt Kelleher ’19 and Jones. It was scoreless for another four minutes. Then, Chlastawa found Jones for a nice goal to put Bates ahead by one. Less than thirty seconds later, Peyton Weatherbie ’21 scored his first career goal off an assist by Sean Clark ’20, bringing Bates up 7-5.

Endicott responded quickly with one more. However, another from Mullally sealed the second quarter up, with Bates sitting at eight to Endicott’s six after being down by four at the end of the last quarter. The Bobcats never trailed again for the remainder of the game.

The teams traded goals all the way through the third, but the Bobcats never relented. Jones put a pair on the board with eleven minutes left. The Gulls fought for two more at nine minutes left, but Kelleher responded a minute later off of Chlastawa. Endicott didn’t score for the rest of the game. Jack Scribner ’21 put another one up with five minutes left, and Chlastawa threw in one more for good measure. The Bobcats took the win with a final score of 15-10.

“After last Saturday’s loss, the team knew that we weren’t going to be given anything, especially in a conference like the NESCAC,” says Peyton Weatherbie ‘21. “That is why Tuesday’s game was important for us. It was important for us to get back to our fundamentals and get back in the win column. Now that out of conference play is over, we know that every game is a playoff game, and we are excited to take advantage of every chance we get to show other teams in our conference what we can do.”

That proved to be sound advice, as the Bobcats dominated in an away game versus the Hamilton College Continentals. Bates came exploding out of the gate, winning the face off and scoring the first goal of the match within the first minute by Curtis Knapton ’20. Bates scored two more before a response from the Continentals, an unassisted goal from senior captain Jones, and then one more from Chlastawa assisted by Parker Strong ’18.

Jones and Chlastawa are currently tied at the top of the conference with 33 goals, with Chlastawa topping the NESCAC with 59 points and Jones at a close second with 47 points. Bates responded to Hamilton’s only tally of the game with two more shots by Mullally and Chlastawa at 3:42, just shy of the last minute of the game.

The Continentals pulled out one more with just 26 seconds to go in the first quarter. The second quarter was completely dominated by the Bobcats, with Jones scoring back-to-back goals in the twelfth minute. Add to that one more by Knapton, Scribner’s first of the game and another for Chlastawa, and the score was 10-2 at halftime. Hamilton came back in the game after the break, putting up four goals and leaving Bates scoreless up until nearly the fifth minute. Jones and Chlastawa teamed up for one, which Hamilton quickly retaliated. The duo quickly put up two more to close out the third, first by Jones unassisted, then a buzzer beater by Chlastawa fed by Jones.

Bates extended their lead in the fourth to seal the deal, outscoring Hamilton 6-2, with goals from Dahnique Brown-Jones ’19, a pair by Mullally, one more from Chlastawa/Jones, one from Andrew Small ’19, and the first career goal by James Gruver ’21.

“It was a really fun and exciting game. Getting another NESCAC win means a lot to everybody on the team and is something we will absolutely build off of. I think we all are excited to keep proving what we are capable of this season and are working hard to keep moving forward,” says Drew Collins ’20.

 

A Tough Week for Bates Women’s Softball Team

The Bates women’s softball team has had an unbelievable start to the season so far. With nine wins total, captain Victoria Fitzgerald ’18 comments about what she thinks has contributed to the team’s success.

“Our trust in each other, ourselves, and the process has been a main contributor to our success,” she says. “In Florida we had some games where we had to work really hard under high pressure situations to pull off wins, because we had a strong confidence and trust in each other, ourselves, and the process.”

Even with great success, there are times where a team will fall. This was unfortunately the case during Friday and Saturday’s games for the Bobcats. On Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31, the team lost all three games to Trinity College.

On Friday, the Bobcats fell 9-1. Through three innings, the Bantams had an 8-0 lead. In the first inning, Trinity got things going when Erica Merullo started with a base hit before swiping second. The Bobcats threatened for a comeback in the second inning after a walk by Mary Collette ’21, single from Paige Ahlholm ’18, and bases loaded by Kirsten Pelletier ’20. Unfortunately, the Bobcats were left off the scoreboard for the time being.

The Bantams scored twice more from Thomas’s double to deep left center that scored Nicole Towner. Later, Thomas scored on a passed ball. In the third inning, Trinity took advantage of three errors made by the Bobcats, putting them in an 8-0 lead.

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Bobcats came back in the fifth when Andrea Russo ’19 led the inning off with a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Collette. Pelletier kept the Bantams from scoring in the home half, but the Bantams came through the following inning.

On Saturday, the Bobcats played two games against Trinity. In the first game, the Bobcats fell 6-5. In the first inning, Bates took a 2-0 lead on a two-single run with two outs by Collette. Soon, the Bantams went ahead 4-2 with run-scoring singles by Treglia and Courtney Erickson. The Bobcats then took the 5-4 lead but Trinity was able to tie the score when Thomas blasted her first career bomb. Although it was a close game, the Bantams ended the game 6-5 when Bantam’s Race punched the game winning hit.

In the second game, the Bobcats fell 4-3. Bates led the game 3-0 after three innings. Trinity’s Race singled and scored an unearned run in the fourth inning. Then, Trinity’s Treglia gave Trinity its lead of the game with her second and third RBI of the afternoon, winning 4-3. Bates’ Caroline Bass ’21 was 5-for-7 with three runs scored and two steals, and both Julia Panepinto ’20 and Russo had three hits in the twinbill.

Having lost all three games this weekend, Fitzgerald mentions that it was a hard moment for the Bobcats. “I would say that some of the hardest moments came from the games we played this weekend,” she says. “However, there were some great learning moments from those games. Coach Barnes actually referred to those games as two ‘learners.’ The team saw how competitive the NESCAC is, and how important it is that we do not let up at all during our games.”

Fitzgerald then remarks that this was definitely a learning experience for the team. “We didn’t come out on Friday as strong as we could and got a bit of a wakeup call with that game. However, I was impressed with how we bounced back on Saturday by putting together two great games that just didn’t go our way,” she says. “On Saturday, the team was extremely resilient; we battled in both games. Both games were really heartbreakers that could have gone either way. In our next series, the team is ready to come out strong in the first game and to build on that with the next games.”

With one of the best team dynamics Fitzgerald has ever seen at her time at Bates, the support and culture within the team will not only help win their best game, but hopefully also clinch a spot in the NESCAC playoffs.

The Bobcats will be playing Tufts at Thomas, MA on April, 4. They are hoping to add another win to their overall score for the season.

Mariam Jalabi Reminds Us “We Are Part of a Global Village”

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As this year’s speaker from the University of Maine Law School’s Justice for Women lecture series, Mariam Jalabi came up to our neck of the woods to talk about her life in fashion turned activism. Born in Damascus and growing up in the Golan Heights, Jalabi was surrounded by her family of activists throughout her life. Currently, she is the UN Representative of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, living and doing her activist work in New York.

Fashion and political activism seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. “It seems like such a big shift but really I approached fashion from a very political perspective,” Jalabi remarks. “I got into fashion because I believed that I could dress women in a more liberated and a more democratic way. Clothing is not just clothing; it’s not a piece of cloth. It’s actually a language that you use to represent yourself to the outside world. And the way women dress is a way they speak to the world or how society addresses them. It’s a code that we all use. I wanted to create something that was practical, that was comfortable, and that was very fashionable for women who wanted to dress in a modest way.”

She saw fashion, not merely as the clothes on your back, but as a conscious representation of yourself to the outside world.  In Islamic culture, there are certain norms in which women who want to dress conservatively are encouraged to comply.  But Jalabi started her own consultancy and worked with clients in places like Turkey and Saudi Arabia to help women transcend those norms.

Jalabi remarks, “And it was something that was my passion – to help women represent themselves in a better way to the world. I was also interested in women’s entrepreneurship programs that had helped them create their own lines, their own work, and their own embroideries and their own ideas of what beauty was. Because beauty is really in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is something that we create.”

For Jalabi, changing society was not limited to the fashion industry.  Once the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, Jalabi knew she needed to be involved and active while still running her fashion business. As she became involved in the movement and became a regular face at all the meetings she could, she started to notice that “…women were not represented at the level that I wanted them to be represented at.” So she kept going to the meetings, creating contacts, and speaking up to promote the narrative that she wanted to be heard.

In November of 2012, when the Syrian Opposition Coalition came together and asked if she would be their representative to the United Nations, Jalabi readily agreed under one condition.  “I will do it if we worked as part of my job to include more women and marginalized group in the effort to represent Syria and work with the UN,” Jalabi remembers.

Fast forward six years, Syria is still embroiled in this conflict and Jalabi is still engaged in this work.  At her lecture later that evening, “The Struggle for Human Rights: From Syria to Maine” she emphasized the seemingly never ending nature of the conflict and the necessity of including all people in finding a solution.

“You can’t create a solution for Syria without including the whole population,” Jalabi states in reference to women’s inclusion in the peace process. Women have been entrenched in protests from the very beginning.  Women engage in peaceful protests all over Syria and throughout the conflict.  Specifically, the Brides of Damascus were a group of women protesters in November 2012 who wore wedding dresses in the Medhat Basha market holding red banners calling for a peaceful end to the conflict.

Jalabi argues that the crisis in Syria echoes loudly throughout the world. “We live in a global village,” she argues.  Events on one side of the globe reverberate past what we can see and have longer effects than we will know.  Engaging in social action work right here in Maine can have positive effects the reach out farther than our borders.

Racism Is Embedded in Southern Food Culture

Most white folks who speak to me about Charleston, South Carolina tell me they’ve “heard so much about it!” “I’ve heard it’s really cosmopolitan, and the food is great, right?” they ask me. I’m not sure how to respond to that, in all honesty. I usually pause with hesitation, searching for a way to explain the racism that’s inextricable from its culture and atmosphere. Then I just laugh nervously and say “um…it’s an interesting place.” But what I really want to say is this: Charleston racism is similar to liberal racism–it’s built into the very structure of its institutions, and it’s steeped in respectability politics.

What’s respectability politics? I speak about the phrase in quite a few of my articles. In the context of this conversation, it’s the quiet nature of southern racism. It’s funneled through white southern expectations of civility–that is, chivalry, charm, and politeness. These expectations for civility are a tool that the white south ends up using to police and invalidate southerners of color. But, more than this, southern respectability politics permit white southerners to appropriate the POC (people of color) cultures. White southerners not only possess this financial power to enact appropriation, but also have the social power too. White culture rules the most (economically) highly valued areas of the city, and so this generally disempowers communities of color in accordance with the standard logics of white supremacy.

According to an article entitled “How Gullah Cuisine Has Transformed Charleston Dining” in Eater, “the rise of the Charleston restaurant scene in the last 20 years has coincided with a gentrification that’s brought with it higher residential and commercial rents, and changed the demographics of the city from being over 60 percent [B]lack in the ‘80s to being only roughly 30 percent black” as of 2014. In Charleston, white appropriation of Gullah food and culture has profited white businesses and accelerated gentrification. It has quite directly benefited white folks and not only disadvantaged but oppressed and exploited Black Gullah people. Gullah and Geechee people are the descendents of West African slaves who, according to historian Joseph Opala in an article published by the Freeman Institute, “worked on the rice plantations in South Carolina and Georgia.”

Charleston isn’t necessarily intent on repairing the injustices that it claims are isolated to the past. Its downtown area celebrates its colonial and racist past quite openly. The city has it all: streets called King, Queen, and George, horse carriage tours, and cobblestone roads. And to top it all off, Charleston hosts an appropriated food culture. It does so after already making open efforts to displace Gullah people while still attempting to utilize Gullah culture for the benefit of generating a cosmopolitan Gullah culture from which white southerners garner the majority of the profit. The town of Mount Pleasant is undergoing massive development, and one of the consequences of this is the displacement of Gullah people who live there and the businesses they run. Gullah people have historically constructed sweetgrass baskets and other grass-made objects. They have previously sold them in Mount Pleasant, but are now increasingly unable.

This displacement and structural oppression of Gullah people in many parts of the city cannot be ignored while white-owned restaurants are profiting off of Gullah Geechee heritage that, according to Afroculinaria, was nourished by the “skills, knowledge and blood” of Gullah ancestors.

 

The Spring Dance Concert Puts Forth an Incredible Program

It was Friday 7:30 p.m. after a long week and I could not wait to see the performers lineup at the 2018 Spring Dance Concert. I have attended most if not all of the large dance concerts at Bates since I arrived in 2016. The broad range of performances and styles never ceases to surprise me. I often see the dance concerts as the frontline of celebrations of student achievement, along with the Mount David Summit and the Arts Crawl. The 2018 Spring Dance Concert is a great example. In this concert, dance didn’t strike me as an end-point as much as it is a method for student research. All of the pieces were well grounded in the history of dance and movement as well as on contemporary discussions on culture and identity. One can see student achievement particularly in the senior theses choreographed by Sofia Elbadawi ’18 and Jorge Piccole ’18. These artists have come a long way in their Bates career. In their unique styles and discussions of culture on their own terms, both Piccole and Elbadawi’s choreography revealed the power of critical minds using movement to create and communicate complex ideas.

The 2018 Spring Dance Concert was divided in two programs, Program A and Program B. Program A started with “El Oh Vi Ee,” choreographed by Elbadawi in collaboration with dancers. The piece reflected much about social norms and personal feelings surrounding love today. The use of repetition was particularly interesting and complex during this piece in which even the saying of one letter could take on many different meanings depending on body language, movement, and intonation. It seems to me that Elbadawi perfectly balanced pedestrian movement in the piece, which was simultaneously intriguing and hilarious.

In sequence, “Shape the Groove” choreographed by Danielle Ward ’20 explored movement with a nice attunement to rhythm over the song Ghostwriter by RJD2. “Tell Me Again,” choreographed by Libby Wellington ’20 also intrigued with three very talented dancers on stage. Helen Carr ’21, Shae Gwydir ’20, and Dawrin Silfa ’21 conveyed a range of different moods with incredible clarity. Together, “Shape the Groove” and “Tell Me Again” interested me as formal explorations of movement. Following them, “Jezebel Dagger,” choreographed by Samuel Hersh ’18 put forth something that was more familiar to me. The performance used downstage light to project the performers’ shadows against a white screen, which created a powerful effect. The classy costume design and the simulacra effect of the shadows immersed me immediately in this piece.

“Connection Beneath, Colored the Same Within,” choreographed by Mickai Mercer ’19 presented a dance piece about skin and its connotations. Following the juxtaposition characteristic of postmodern dance, Mercer overlapped movement and voice to put forth concerns about skin, this entity that lives somewhere between the realm of biology and social life. “As It Is,” by Sara Hollenberg ’19 followed up with a performance that seemed at first deceptively simple, but then revealed technical complexity. The use of retrograde and the clarity of movement stuck with me. Another great performance followed: “Between Dinner and a Show,” choreographed by Shae Gwydir ’20. I found this piece particularly humorous and intriguing. The playful use of sharply performed pedestrian movement made of this piece one of my highlights of the night.

Closing the broad range of performances on Program A, “What Are We Dancing To” will stay on my mind for some time. Choreographed by Piccole, this piece focused on the social world that comes along with hip hop. The performance combined audio recordings with music. Seeing the dancers’ hip hop moves while listening to a person talking about authenticity escapes my power of description: it was powerful and intelligently arranged. Caleb Perlman ’19, one of Piccole’s dancers, talked to me about the piece a bit and told me that it is “both personal and universal in its message,” which is a great way to put it. In this brilliantly choreographed performance, one is reminded that dance exist in a complex cultural and social world that is worth consideration.

Having seen only Program A, I cannot wait to see Program B. Program B has four other intellectually engaging pieces; with a total of 12 unique choreographers, the 2018 Spring Dance Concert is an incredible burst of creativity and research.

Drew Murdock ’21 performs. JAMES MACDONALD/THE BATES STUDENT

Loving Yourself Even When You’re Loving Someone Else

We’ve all been there. You started out the night bursting out all of the lyrics to the classic Kelly Clarkson throwbacks and braved the frigid walk to a party. Then, you’ve spotted your Commons Crush—and things have gone from fun and flirty on the dance floor to hot and heavy in the dorm room. Or, maybe, you are spending the night with your long-term partner. You trust, love, and care for each other—why would you need condoms? You’re not seeing anyone else.

Whether it is a short or long term relationship, the same responses persist:

“I don’t like condoms”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“It doesn’t feel as good.”

“I guess you don’t really love me.”

And, regardless of how many times Salt N Pepa can say “Let’s Talk About Sex,” conversations about sex and condoms can be both intimidating and awkward. Sexual Education talks tell us that condoms are a clear safeguard from STIs and pregnancy. Yet, even with this knowledge, only 54 percent of college students report using condoms, and that number only decreases when combined with the use of alcohol and drugs.

Further, one in two sexually active people have STIs before 25 years old; one in four college students have an STI; and 80 percent of these people do not experience noticeable symptoms.

Using and talking about condoms is not only about sexual health, but it is also about implementing communication skills about your wants, needs, values, and standards; skills which are important both inside and outside of the bedroom.

So, if your partner does not want to use condoms, find out why and talk it out:

“I don’t like condoms.” Why not?

“Don’t you trust me?” Trust isn’t the point. People can have an STD without knowing it. It only takes once to get pregnant or pass an STD.

“It doesn’t feel as good.” With a condom, you might last even longer, and that’ll make up for it.

“I guess you don’t really love me.” I’m not going to ‘prove’ my love by risking my health. Do you really love me? Do you want me to feel safe? Condoms can help me relax and enjoy myself more; why do you not want that?

Often, when we think about condoms, we are thinking only male partners. But, condoms can be used for both male and females, in both heterosexual and queer relationships. Another example of when condoms are not used is during oral sex.

“Who even knows what a dental dam is?” I do. And I know that they are a way to transmit sexually transmitted diseases, orally. It is a thin, flexible square piece of latex that helps prevent the spread of STIs or other germs during oral sex. They are easy to use. They are also FDA-approved for safer sex. If you are unable to find a dam, you can cut the condom, and place it over the vulva for safer oral sex.

Additionally, even after talking with your partner, there is the fear that they will still not want to use a condom. In these situations, the woman can use a female condom, instead.

“Why do we need to use a female condom?” “Won’t that be unconformable for you?” The female condom is bigger than a male condom, but it is not uncomfortable. Female condoms are able to offer convenience and control. They are small, discreet and portable. Female condoms let you take charge of your health. Therefore, even if your partner does not want to wear a condom, you can still protect yourself.

Condoms are about more than just sexual health: they are about consent, security, comfort, and communication. And, if after a clear, direct conversation your partner is still refusing, maybe it is time to take some advice from Queen B and tell them: Boy, bye.

 

An Interview with a Bates Alumnae: Abigail Abbott ’17

Sure, it’s posted on the face of every Bates brochure; job outcomes after graduation from Bates College are near perfect. A staggering 99.5% of the class of 2017 reported being settled. But do we actually see this affect back on campus? In my experience, yes. I sat down with Abigail Abbott ’17, an Education Fellow at the Bates Museum to discuss just that.

Bates Student (BS): First, could you tell me a little about your position and how you came to land in it?

Abby Abbott (AA): As an Education Fellow at the Museum, I work with Anthony Shostak who is the Education Curator, and I help him with all the educational programming that we do here at the museum. I help him with all the outreach to local K-12 schools, for example at Auburn Middle School we go in and do week-long printmaking workshops, and we’ll also offer workshops throughout the school year here at Bates. That’s one part of my job, and then I also work on reaching out to Bates students. I am trying to figure out ways to get students more involved with and more aware of the Museum. We have done things like holding a paint night or printmaking workshops, in hopes that it will sort of ‘spread the word’ about what we offer here and how the Museum works for Bates students. I also manage the Museum’s Instagram account, and we will have professors bring in their classes to look at works from our permanent collection. There are many different facets to this position and things that I am kind of tapping into.

I came across this job…I think I might have seen it when I was applying for different positions my senior year. I figured it would be a good fit for me, a good post-Bates job (even though I’m still here), something to kind of transition from being a student to learning about the arts and learning about education and other jobs within a museum, and it has been very helpful thinking of what I want to do long-term.

BS: So when you came to Bates, what was your thinking for your career path?

AA: I did a lot of back and forth. When I first came to Bates I knew that I loved art, and then I took a few education classes and I really loved that, so I was thinking about ways to merge the two, but then I was also a psych major, and that also came into play. I was starting to lean more towards doing research about well-being and then I realized that art was my passion and I really enjoyed sharing that with other people, whether that was through teaching or producing my own art. I wanted to be in a position that allowed me to explore different opportunities in both fields. I am still struggling with figuring out what path I want to go down, but you never know what opportunities will arise so you just have to be open minded.

BS: Ok now a couple fun questions, what was your favorite class that you took as a student here?

AA: Oooh that’s tough there are so many! I have two favorites. One that led me down the route of education was “Perspectives on Education” with Mara (Prof. Mara Tieken), she’s an incredible teacher, and I learned a lot from her. The other one would be, I’m forgetting the exact name of it, but it is with Professor David Cummiskey, Philosophy of Health I think. That one was incredible because you learned about how different cultures approach health care and it’s so different from everything I was studying in art.

BS: Okay two more favorites, favorite work of art and favorite thing in Commons?

AA: Oh my gosh, I have so many. I feel like it always changes for me. A consistent favorite is Edgar Degas, some of his pastels are just incredible. The artist that I am working on an exhibition for right now, Dahlov Ipcar, is amazing too. She has these incredible paintings with geometric patterns and animals that she basically painted from her imagination. Commons…just everything. One of my favorite desserts is the chocolate no bake cookies — so good. I also love the nuggets that they do. Oh and I miss the omelet bar, I wish I could have that back in my life!

 

 

 

 

 

Bleachers Bring Down the House at State Theater

If you haven’t heard of the band Bleachers, you’re missing out. This group, led by ex-fun. front man Jack Antonoff, recently came to Portland’s State Theatre for a colossal concert experience. The band, on tour this year with their 2017 album Gone Now, shared music, jokes, and personal anecdotes under lights Friday, March 30 for a crowd of thousands.

The band started with track two off the album, “Good Morning.” The strong drums and piano gently introduced the theme for the rest of the concert: energy. As the group transitioned into more tracks from Gone Now, they carried the energy level and excitement they started with. Many of the songs the group performed highlighted their particular 80s pop/rock vibe; “Everybody Lost Somebody,” “Let’s Get Married,” “I Miss Those Days,” and “Don’t Take the Money” all used synths and harmonies reminiscent of a John Hughes film soundtrack.

While the majority of the performance emphasized the 2017 album, several tracks from Strange Desire were played; “Wild Heart,” “Rollercoaster,” and “I Wanna Get Better” are all some of my favorite works by this group and I was happy to hear them performed. The group also played “Carry On” made famous by fun. and “Alfie’s Song” released by Bleachers earlier this year.

One of the most surprising aspects of the performance was the saxophone player, Evan Smith of Portland, ME. He played a prominent role both in the songs and in the stage presence of the group. His riffs and melodies helped carry the band’s songs from Gone Now, as most of that album uses a saxophone in the band.

While the band’s energy and sound were all upbeat, the lyrics and personal anecdotes shared throughout the performance were much more somber. “The pain of waiting alone at the corner/ Trying to get myself back home/ I gotta get myself back home soon” embedded in “Everybody Lost Somebody” demonstrate that even the upbeat, pop-y songs have dark roots. When trying to hear what a crowd member was yelling (“Do you want to get a drink with me?”) Antonoff revealed that he was on medication to manage his depression and consequently could not get a drink or even smoke pot with the person who yelled. He later implied that the management of his illness has been tumultuous and challenging, but a source of lyrical inspiration.

The group closed off their set list with three high-profile songs, “You’re Still a Mystery,” “I Wanna Get Better” and “Don’t Take the Money.” While the first and third songs listed recount experiences in romantic relationships, “I Wanna Get Better” harkens back to the personal struggle Antonoff (and many of his friends) underwent in their management of various mental illnesses. As the title suggests, the narrator of the song tells the story of someone dissatisfied with themselves; the resolution is “I put a bullet where I shoulda put a helmet,” a reference to a choice many people dealing with mental illness elect.

While much of the concert was all cheers and band banter, I picked up on the darker undercurrent resultant from the inspiration of each song’s emotional lyrics. Bleachers were truly masterful in their performance. They both demonstrated their excellent musicianship while also hinting at the inner struggles bandmates and audience members alike share. If you are looking for subtle yet gripping lyrics and a pop-rock sound, look up the band on your music app of choice; I promise you will not be disappointed.

 

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