The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Michelle Pham (Page 1 of 6)

Real talk

When I read Jake Villarreal’s article in a coffee shop in London, I had to take a minute to mentally repeat in a loop, “Preach.”

Like all situations and issues in life, there needs to be an acknowledgement of a problem before discussion of a working solution can take place. While I agree with Jake on various points, I want to further develop this discussion by focusing on the activists who partake in activism and the community in which activism takes place in.

Being abroad has led many epiphanies on Bates. Firstly, the small community and engaging education is what attracted me to the come all the way to Maine. The personalization and access to administration and professors is an incredible asset, which you quickly notice when you attend a school of 25,000 in the heart of London. Relationships you build in such an insular community are precious when you are thrown into the bustle of a global city.

Secondly, the work we do at Bates is well-intentioned, but most often, a significant portion of those who need to be exposed to these important issues the most are often left untouched by the messages. If you think about it, approximately 2,000 of some of the nation’s and world’s most brilliant, capable minds come together for four years seeking to be inspired, to create, and to learn. Are we as a school fulfilling this and providing our diverse cohort of students the sufficient resources to execute this vision of impacting and innovating in a greater world? I’m not asking this just to administration and faculty – but also to us, as peers and friends. The key tenet of activism is meaningful, purposeful work, which is something we want to cultivate here at our institution. In order for good activism to happen, we as individuals in a common collective have to be seeking for meaningful and purposeful work.

So much of what I envisioned Bates to be left me disheartened and disillusioned for some time. While I will be the first to acknowledge that I have grown so much as an individual and that Bates has been a large contributor to my development in many positive ways, a large proportion of the negative experiences have also led to the most important character developments.

I understand so much more about society than I ever did before, but it does not necessarily make me a happier human being – although it has led me to understand much of why people are unhappy and why bonds between people are so important. I studied Sociology and was given language and terminology to describe what I was experiencing in my day to day life at Bates: gender, race, sociological imagination, class difference, white privilege, male privilege, and the extensive list goes on. When you think about experience in these terms, are self-aware and able to distinguish the very real injustice that occurs on campus, the seeds of cynicism take root and start to grow in an open heart. I consistently wonder, is it just Bates or is Bates a microcosmic representation of a greater American problem, at large?

During my freshman year of college, I had a random white male at a party approach me at Yellow House, clap his hands together and utter a spew of racist ching chong mutterings at me. Then there were the more eyebrow-raising comments such as, “I’ve never slept with an Asian girl before, I’ve always wanted to,” on the occasional Saturday night on Frye Street. When you experience these things alone, it can be quite isolating if you don’t realize that it’s the structures beyond you that are being reinforced and a mere lack of education (ironically). You can often be misunderstood, labelled as “overthinking” it, or called the angry minority, which is quite frustrating and delegitimizes an experience that is still very true and alive in our supposedly progressive community.

It wasn’t just me who experienced these comments, it was a group of visibly different students who were keeping their discriminations invisible – as minorities are often taught to do when they hold the minority opinion. “Don’t cause disruptions to the system.”

Subsequently due to our freshman year experiences at Bates as Western-born Asian students, Kevin Deng and I started AASIA, a space for Asian-American and HAPA students. In retrospect, the journey to start AASIA was actually quite ridiculously hilarious.

There was much reluctance to have an Asian-American activism and solidarity group on campus in conjunction with Sangai Asia (which predominantly caters towards International Asian students, who have a wholly different experience from us). At one point, when I was meeting with an unnamed Dean to make our case, I was sharing how there was a growing Asian-American culture in music, to which he asked me with the most serious face, “Wait, there’s such thing as Asian-American music?” I did a double take and thought I had just been transported back to the 1960s. Said person illustrated my point exactly – there’s such a need for more representation and education on campus. There’s LA’s Dumbfoundead, Seattle’s Blue Scholars, the sweet-hearted Kira Grannis, electro house guru Steve Aoki, classical musician Yo-Yo Ma, the soothing Priscilla Ahn and Top 40’s Bruno Mars, to name a few. This lack of sensitivity, while surprising, is set amidst a backdrop where the Office of Intercultural Education has been undergoing such a tumultuous change in a time when it needs the most stability. We are recruiting students from a wider set of experiences and backgrounds at an unprecedented, historical rate for our college and yet we do not have the adequate infrastructure in place to support these students when they arrive through and leave our doors at graduation.

Yes, as a community, we like to brand ourselves as progressive, liberal, and Democrat, but how many of us are actually practicing this in our social groups and our everyday lives? The Class of 2015 has an overflowing amount of Economics majors who often aspire to work at Barclays and consulting firms such as Analysis Group. These students will potentially produce high incomes and give back to the Bates Fund – but how can we engage our future economic leaders to take part in combining social strategy and profit, which is where the future of sustainable business models are moving? How can we encourage students to take classes and truly engage with the content in Sociology (for example) – and care?

Before we can think about activism, we should consider the dynamics of the activists on campus, or rather – the dynamics of our students on campus. Are we united? Are we synchronized? Are we one in our fight against injustice? Without the core grounding of unity and recognition of different beginnings, activism is moot and disorganized. Why are there practically no Asians in the Women of Color group on campus? Are Asian women not women of color? And if they are, why aren’t we “labeling” ourselves as such. White males in their late teens and early twenties are one of the largest demographics for rap and hip hop, yet why do we see barely any white faces at any of the open mic and hip hop nights, but instead a sea of color? I know I heard Juicy J and A$AP Rocky blaring out of the men’s bathroom in 280, and it wasn’t coming from the one black male on my floor. How many friends in your social circle look different from you, have a different sexual orientation or come from a different faith?

Here’s a case for you: we have so much environmentalism going on at Bates that is predominantly spear-headed by white women. Yet, I’ve never heard the green movement utter this truth that a fellow minority friend mentioned to me, “The irony is that poor people recycle the most, because they can’t afford not to.” Activism needs to be inclusive of activists from all backgrounds, classes, and experiences. Just because you take up a cause does not mean you automatically understand all the nuances and layers to it – it is a continuous negotiation that we perpetually immerse ourselves in. bell hooks writes poignantly about it in her “Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center:” When the contemporary feminist movement began, many of its proponents argued that women shared “bonds of sisterhood” across race and class lines. This “essentialist” position as it was later called, presumed that the common experience of being born female in a patriarchal social structure transcended in importance and impact the very dissimilar experiences that divided women of diverse classes and race.” Causes and activism are very personal to each individual, and since we all have different experiences, this translates in different ways but is often lost in a conversation led by the dominant group.

The most disappointing realization is that so many people at Bates who are seeking to make change experience marginalization of their marginalization by those who are closest to them – who don’t quite get it or are unwilling to open their minds to acknowledge that there are still some serious problems taking place in our beautiful campus. Being critical is the first step to improvement. Admitting that something needs constructive improvement is not insulting to Bates, but rather a continued dedication to development and progression. As we are on the process of becoming true, we should focus on working towards being better, open-minded people who actively PARTAKE in building meaningful relationships with others. We should work on the activists first before the activism. It will make our cases all the stronger and our work so much more powerful when we can understand, empathize, and support one another. When you start seeing more of the world and meeting more of the world, there is more common ground between us than we all realize. It’s something that I love most about my friends and our community at Bates.

Ivan Reese ’17 brings simple and casual flair to ‘cat country

The Bates Student: What’s your name? Where are you from? What are you majoring in?

Ivan Reese: My name is Ivan Reese. I’m from Savannah, GA and I want to major in Politics and minor in Anthropology.

BS: What is your fashion sense?

fashionIR: I think that my fashion sense is simple. But I add just enough flair. I tend to shop at H&M, Ralph Lauren outlets, Dillard’s, and Hollister.

BS: Where is your outfit from?

IR: My button-down shirt is from Abercrombie & Fitch. The cotton blazer is from Burlington Coat Factory. My shoes are from Sebago and my jeans are 505 Levi’s. Lastly, my watch is actually a 6th generation iPod Nano. People always assume it’s a watch until I press the lock button and an Apple music logo appears. So then I have to explain how it’s actually an iPod that resembles a watch.

BS: What are your biggest style inspirations?

IR: I’d have to say my biggest style influences are the clothes on mannequin display in Dillard’s. That where I get a lot of new ideas on what I could wear.

BS: What are the winter staples in your closet?

IR: Many athletic sweaters and jackets, long-sleeve t-shirts, and Nike ACG boots.

BS: What is your most favorite purchase for the back-to-school season?

IR:  My most favorite purchase is my North Face orange jacket and Boulder Peruvian beanie. Coming from the South, I feel like I might freeze up here without my orange jacket, and the ear-flaps on my beanie are clutch.

BS: Do you have any thoughts on how your style evolves over the semester?

IR: I found myself wearing more warm clothes sooner than expected. I knew a point would come where I’d be bundled up because of freezing temperatures, but I didn’t see it happening in the first two months of the semester. It was October and I already had to pull out the jacket and scarf.

Orchid brings West Coast quisine to the east

Lisbon Street has long held the reputation as the strip of culinary delights for Lewiston-Auburn foodies. From the marriage of spices at Mother India to the upscale French offerings at Fuel, this area of town has been known for its up and coming rejuvenation of the local community. It’s not uncommon at Bates to see friends brunching at Forage or of the myriad of sandwich offerings at Marche.

orchid 2Most recently, one of Lewiston’s latest additions is bringing a taste of California sunshine and west coast dining to Maine. Orchid is a Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese fusion restaurant that recently opened its doors down the street from Fuel. This spectacular gem to the community has a wide host of fans who enjoy coming to the establishment for its wide selection of brews and the delicious dishes.

Upon walking into Orchid, there is ambiance of class and a warm atmosphere. The two owners, a husband and wife from San Jose, California, often greet guests at the door and offer personal recommendations to first-time visitors.

A few years ago, the couple moved to Lewiston to help a friend manage a restaurant, and they noticed that there was a niche for contemporary Asian fusion that could be filled. After some intense planning, the pair (the husband is Vietnamese and the wife is Thai) decided to return back to Lewiston to open shop.

Despite having a myriad of options on the menu, Orchid is able to maintain authentic savory flavors and the differences in cooking between the three distinct different Asian cultures. Due to Vietnam’s colonial period under the French, much of Vietnam’s cooking is lean and healthy – relying less on oil and more on fish sauces, peanut sauces and herb garnishes such as cilantro and mint. Popular Japanese-American cuisine comes in the form of sushi, which undergoes a different cooking method than favorite Thai dishes such as pad thai and green curry. The spices and oils used in each culture are incredibly versatile and country-specific.

Recommended at Orchid is the green dragon roll, the pad see ew, and a number of their Orchid specialty rolls. In addition to their entree menu, Orchid’s dessert menu is full of gems including a white chocolate creation with hazelnut drizzling and vanilla ice cream beneath the exterior. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of mochi desserts ranging from red bean to green tea flavors. The hospitality at this restaurant is top notch and visitors will find themselves full and content after an evening at Orchid. The owners are incredibly personable and will always be on hand for conversation at the bar or at your table.

Lisbon Street has long held the reputation as the strip of culinary delights for Lewiston-Auburn foodies. From the marriage of spices at Mother India to the upscale French offerings at Fuel, this area of town has been known for its up and coming rejuvenation of the local community. It’s not uncommon at Bates to see friends brunching at Forage or of the myriad of sandwich offerings at Marche.

Most recently, one of Lewiston’s latest additions is bringing a taste of California sunshine and west coast dining to Maine. Orchid is a Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese fusion restaurant that recently opened its doors down the street from Fuel. This spectacular gem to the community has a wide host of fans who enjoy coming to the establishment for its wide selection of brews and the delicious dishes.

Upon walking into Orchid, there is ambiance of class and a warm atmosphere. The two owners, a husband and wife from Southern California, often greet guests at the door and offer personal recommendations to first-time visitors.

A few years ago, the couple moved to Lewiston to help a friend manage a restaurant, and they noticed that there was a niche for contemporary Asian fusion that could be filled. After some intense planning, the pair (the husband is Vietnamese and the wife is Thai) decided to return back to Lewiston to open shop.

Despite having a myriad of options on the menu, Orchid is able to maintain authentic savory flavors and the differences in cooking between the three distinct different Asian cultures. Due to Vietnam’s colonial period under the French, much of Vietnam’s cooking is lean and healthy – relying less on oil and more on fish sauces, peanut sauces and herb garnishes such as cilantro and mint. Popular Japanese-American cuisine comes in the form of sushi, which undergoes a different cooking method than favorite Thai dishes such as pad thai and green curry. The spices and oils used in each culture are incredibly versatile and country-specific.

Recommended at Orchid is the green dragon roll, the pad see ew, and a number of their Orchid specialty rolls. In addition to their entree menu, Orchid’s dessert menu is full of gems including a white chocolate creation with hazelnut drizzling and vanilla ice cream beneath the exterior. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of mochi desserts ranging from red bean to green tea flavors. The hospitality at this restaurant is top notch and visitors will find themselves full and content after an evening at Orchid. The owners are incredibly personable and will always be on hand for conversation at the bar or at your table.

Correction 12-12-2014: In the previous report, The Student has wrongly identified the owner of Orchid’s hometown as Southern California. It should be San Jose, California.

Live the Lure of Circus Life through the Bates Circus Club

Have you ever wanted to run away and join the circus? Does this line sound oddly familiar—like maybe you read an announce email about it? Hopefully the answer is yes. As of this past October though, you won’t have to run away to find what you are looking for. Recently, Bates College has added one more club to its already extensive repertoire: Bates Circus Arts.

Bates Circus Arts was founded this past October by president Ali Haymes ’16, vice-president Kelsey Schober ’16 (myself), and treasurer Hannah Otten ‘16. It was created in an attempt to get more people interested in circus and all the art forms it entails. From juggling to aerials, circus takes a myriad of quirky forms that the founders of this club are excited to introduce to fellow Batesies. Weekly meetings are expected to start this week and will involve learning basic aerial skills, juggling, and some mild conditioning and flexibility.

Bates Circus Arts is the result of an independent study class made by Haymes and Travis Jones ‘13 during the 2013 winter semester. As part of their class, they brought two professionals to campus for a week long stay: Andrew Adams ’99, and Helena Reynolds. During their weeklong stay they held an open class for anyone and everyone interested in aerial arts. The class was a big hit among students and drew a large amount of attention; around 25 students showed up to see what they could learn from the two artists. They spent the workshop learning basic skills on aerial hoop, silks, and straps. The workshop drew a lot of interest and created a buzz among students (mostly from the dance department) who loved what they learned.

After Adams and Reynolds left, Jones, and Haymes began working on aerial pieces for the Winter Dance Concert as an end-project for their independent study class. After I became interested in the art form as a result of workshop, I joined Jones and Haymes in the class. If you were at the dance concert this past winter, then you saw these aerial pieces; Jones on the straps with a strong piece choreographed to Bon Iver, Haymes on the hoop demonstrating an unreal amount of flexibility and coordination, and myself on silks. These pieces created a lot of hype and after the show; we were approached by many students wanting to learn the art. This was where it all began.

Now, months and a lot of paperwork later, Circus Club has gone from being a vague idea to a reality. Says president Haymes, “I’m really excited about being an official club now…I hope that other people will fall in love with this art form as Kelsey and I have and that the members will improve as it continues to grow throughout the years.” If you want to join the club or are just interested in attending a meeting to see what it is all about, there will be a meeting at 7 pm on Tuesday, November 12th in Merrill in the indoor track area—just look for red silks and a hoop hanging from the ceiling. No skills are required! Whether you are a seasoned juggler or just want to learn how to do a handstand, we are ready to help. Bates Circus Arts may be new to Bates, but it offers something new and different to the clubbing scene—something you definitely won’t regret trying.

For more information, email Alison Haymes at ahaymes@bates.edu, Kelsey Schober at kschober@bates.edu, or Hannah Otten at hotten@bates.edu.

The Bates Cribs team scopes out a Pierce House double

Upon entering sophomores Alyssa Connors’ and Megan Lubetkin’s room in Pierce House, I was surrounded by delicious fragrances and a mix of soft, cool, and warm color tones. Within a moment of entering room, I was able to detect the very relaxing and welcoming feeling of the room.

Connors’ wall and side of the double is entirely warm-toned. She loves to travel, and her passion is reflected by the map of China that she had hanging above her bed, a token gathered from her high school semester abroad in China. Connors also keeps a fan that she purchased during the China trip atop her dresser, which goes very well with the color scheme of her side of the room.

photo 5One aspect of Connors’ side of the room that I particularly enjoyed is the oriental looking decorations. Connors has an oriental rug by her bed that she grabbed from her home, and the rug looks very good paired with the tapestry that is hanging up near the rug.  The tapestry was purchased at a flea market, and coincidently, Connors’ mother had the same tapestry in her dorm room when she was at college.  Connors explained that the matching tapestry with her mother, as well as the well-decorated room, was all unplanned.

The room is ideal for guests; Connors has a record player a keeps a box filled with records to go along with it, and Lubetkin has an entire array of teas, perfect for entertaining visitors. Lubetkin’s shelf in front of her bed has many jars of dried tea leaves and rubbing sticks that give off soothing fragrances and surely make for delicious teas.

It is obvious that Lubektin enjoys attending concerts, as her wall is covered with concert posters from bands such as the Black Keys, Head and the Heart, and The Grateful Dead. The posters all have a similar soft, cool-toned color scheme, which looks great against her wall. On the wall behind Lubetkin’s bed is an oriental blue tapestry that matches her bedspread.  Both sides of the room look very well put together and organized by color.

Overall, Connors and Lubetkin’s room gives off a cultured, calm, welcoming and relaxed vibe, making for a room that seems like a very nice place to live. The sophomores’ decorations are effortless but organized, and included standouts such as the record player and tea leave shelf. Connors and Lubektin show how easy it is to transform a seemingly ordinary Frye Street double into a cozy oasis for two.

International coffee house celebrates, showcases Batesies’ hidden talents

IMG_2576This past Friday in the Benjamin Mays Center, Bates College got a little taste of some international love from the International Club Coffee House. The night featured many exciting performances, ranging from Bollywood Dance numbers to some soothing acoustic music.

It’s no secret that Batesies are quite the talented bunch. Throughout the student body, there is a diverse range of passions and talents, and the international coffee house was a great way to showcase and celebrate many of the talents that are unique to their respective cultures.  “The international coffee house is a great way to unite all sorts of talents from around the world. I find that many students at Bates have lots of different talents that are not known to the larger Bates community, so the International Coffee House allows all aspects of the student body to come together and experience talents from cultures and interest groups that are not their own,” says Tara Das ‘16, the International Club event coordinator.

The event began with a Taiko performance by the Taiko club. “Taiko, meaning drum in Japanese, is a type of art performance that involves the use of traditional Japanese drums,” says sophomore Mi Hui Wong, a member of the Taiko club. The performance was more than just the beating of drums. It was rhythmic performance, almost choreographed like a dance. Wong mentions that Taiko distinguishes itself from other percussions because it depends on the movement and attitude of the drummers as well. The Taiko players interacted well with the audience, with one of the drummers going so far as to run through the audience in Tengu mask. The rhythm of the drums was captivating.

After Taiko, sophomore and International Club officer Detmer Kremer shared a poem with the audience. Kremer’s poem was written for a competition and it will soon be published. Kremer read it in Dutch, leaving the audience to interpret the meaning of his words through his voice inflections and body language. Despite the language barrier, the poem was beautiful and Kremer invited the audience to ask him after the coffee house about the meaning of his poem.

Members of the Bates Ballroom Dance team took the stage next, spicing up the ambiance with a dance number performed to Jessie J’s popular pop hit Domino. With their usual talent and flair, the ballroom duo delivered a fantastic performance.

International Club co-president Samreen Fatima ’16 was proud to watch the next act – her Bollywood dance class showcasing what they have learned over the semester.

Switching gears from dance to song, Hieu Nguyen ’14 stole the spotlight, signing a Vietnamese song about motherhood. His voice was powerful and operatic. Although Nguyen’s performance was a tough act to follow, Tomisha Edwards ’15 performed an improvised dance routine that was equally as impressive. Edwards’ dance combined modern dance styles as well as traditional African styles. Winding down the evening was Hoang Nguyen ‘16, who demonstrated his acoustic affinity, playing “Close to You” by the Carpenters. It was a mellow end to a lovely evening.

The performances at the International Coffee House were fun and engaging, with each act keeping the audience attentive and excited to experience a taste of a different culture. The International Club hopes to hold more events like this in the future so that the Bates community can come together and share in celebrate the diverse talents and cultures that enrich the campus.

Nigeria’s Fola Fasawe ’15 brings African patterns and color to Bates campus

In light of this week’s “Inside Africa” fashion show, The Bates Student was on the lookout for the presence of African fashions amongst our student body. Fola Fasawe ‘15 was a standout fashionista, blending her love of Nigerian Ankara fabrics with trendy American designs. Fasawe’s clothes always look like they are made for her body, mainly because a significant portion of her unique wardrobe is personally tailor-made with select fabrics. From colorful rompers to exotic patterns, Fasawe knows how to flatter her shape with a beautifully curated collection of clothes.

Nigeria has recently been making waves in the world of fashion with stars like Beyonce and Thandie Newton headlining fashion blogs for their support of Jewel by Lisa, a global luxury brand in Africa that perfects the art of signature embellishments on afro-modern luxury prints. In 2012, Bloomberg reported that Nigerians outspent Americans in London fashion markets. “Spending by Nigerians in U.K. shops rose 32 percent last year, according to Global Blue, which declined to disclose their expenditure,” according to Bloomberg.

Fasawe will continue to grace Bates with her exquisite clothing over the semester. Be sure to follow this fashionista’s smashing outfits.

The Bates Student: What is your name? What are you majoring in? Where are you from?

Folarera Fasawe: I am Folarera Fasawe, but most of my friends know me as Fola. I am a psychology major who is originally from Nigeria.

Fola FasaweThe Bates Student: How would you describe your fashion sense?

FF: I love looking cute and smart at the same time. My fashion sense is fun and I love to play with colors and patterns.

The Bates Student: Where do you shop?

FF: I shop everywhere. I have a huge love for shopping. I go to any store that I find clothes in.

The Bates Student: Where is your outfit from?

FF: My top is from Loveculture, My shoes are from Strawberries, My pants are from TopShop, and the accessories are courtesy of Forever21

The Bates Student: Tell us who your style icons are.

FF: I absolutely love Rihanna and Michael Kors designs.

The Bates Student: How do you stay warm in the winter?

FF: I just add a warm accessory to whatever I am wearing: a nice coat, scarf or tights and voila, I am ready to go.

The Bates Student: What is a closet staple for you this season?

FF: My winter staple is definitely a coat from Forever21.

The Bates Student: How does your style evolve throughout the semester?

FF: I try to stay warm as possible during the winter but also fashionable. During the spring, it is warmer and there are so many other clothing styles to play with which means more variability in my dressing. I really love fashion and I always have my diva moments.

Gabrielle Concepcion ’15 brings New York swag to Bates

fashion fotoGabrielle Concepcion ‘15 is a stunning fashionista on the Bates campus. Concepcion’s family is from the Dominican Republic and she is a masterful polyglot. A talented student, Concepcion is an aspiring doctor hoping to save lives in the near future. This past summer, she attended a pre-med program at Columbia University and came back ready to take on junior year and her MCATs. In addition to her heavy workload, Concepcion is a Diversity Outreach Coordinator with the Office of Admissions. In her spare time, she enjoys mini-activities with the Outing Club and spending time with her dog in New York.

The Bates Student: What is your name, major, and hometown?

Gabrielle Concepcion: My name is Gabrielle Concepcion. I’m from the Bronx, NY, and I am a French and Francophone Studies major on the pre-med track. I hope to become a doctor one day and to serve a lot of people.

BS: How would you describe your fashion sense in two sentences?

GC: I am most definitely laid-back and comfortable.

BS: Where do you often shop?

GC: I usually shop at New York & Company, Steve Madden, Macy’s, Forever 21, and American Eagle. I have the true American style.

BS: Where is your outfit from (accessories and shoes included).

 GC: My V-neck and my button-down shirt are from American Eagle. My riding boots are Tommy Hilfiger and my double wrap leather watch is from Michael Kors. Finally, my jeans are from New York & Company.

BS: Who/what are your biggest style influencers?

GC: Probably my mom and one of my really good friends Fadia Felfle. It isn’t rare for me to respond to a compliment with, “Thanks! It’s actually my Mom’s!” I usually go shopping with my mom, and we tend to buy things we can share; I absolutely love it. Also, one of my really good friends, Fadia, is always dressed up. It has kind of rubbed off on me, except that I’m more low-key about it, and I probably make much more comfortable decisions.

BS: What are some fall staples you have in your closet?

GC: Leather jacket, riding boots, oversized sweaters, and a couple of those native print sweaters that seem to be in style.

BS: What is your most favorite purchase for the back-to-school season?

GC: Definitely my oversized Fair Isle sweater from Forever 21. It is incredibly comfortable. All I have to do is slip on a pair of leggings and don my vibrant, red scarf to make the outfit pop.

BS: Do you have any thoughts on how your style evolves over the semester or over your time here at Bates?

GC: I think that as I start the semester I actually make an effort with dressing up. Once I start getting stressed out, if I happen to paint my nails, it’s a miracle. The cycle repeats whenever I come back to Bates after breaks. In general, though, I’d say this year it’s a bit better than last year. As a pre-med student, I usually get sucked into the idea that I have no time for anything—which is false. After reading a post about appearances on a pre-med blog this summer, I decided that I should probably make more of an effort with dressing up and take better care of my appearance. Stress shouldn’t be a reason to let your appearance go downhill; rather, your appearance and comfort should be two things that help ease your stress. My V-neck and my button-down shirt are from American Eagle. My riding boots are Tommy Hilfiger and my double wrap leather watch is from Michael Kors. Finally, my jeans are from New York & Company.

BS: Who/what are your biggest style influencers?

GC: Probably my mom and one of my really good friends Fadia Felfle. It isn’t rare for me to respond to a compliment with, “Thanks! It’s actually my Mom’s!” I usually go shopping with my mom, and we tend to buy things we can share; I absolutely love it. Also, one of my really good friends, Fadia, is always dressed up. It has kind of rubbed off on me, except that I’m more low-key about it, and I probably make much more comfortable decisions.

BS: What are some fall staples you have in your closet?

GC: Leather jacket, riding boots, oversized sweaters, and a couple of those native print sweaters that seem to be in style.

BS: What is your most favorite purchase for the back-to-school season?

GC: Definitely my oversized Fair Isle sweater from Forever 21. It is incredibly uber comfortable. All I have to do is slip on a pair of leggings and don my vibrant, red scarf to make the outfit pop.

BS: Do you have any thoughts on how your style evolves over the semester or over your time here at Bates?

GC: I think that as I start the semester I actually make an effort with dressing up. Once I start getting stressed out, if I happen to paint my nails, it’s a miracle. The cycle repeats whenever I come back to Bates after breaks. In general, though, I’d say this year it’s a bit better than last year. As a pre-med student, I usually get sucked into the idea that I have no time for anything—which is false. After reading a post about appearances on a pre-med blog this summer, I decided that I should probably make more of an effort with dressing up and take better care of my appearance. Stress shouldn’t be a reason to let your appearance go downhill; rather, your appearance and comfort should be two things that help ease your stress.

Feature Q&A: Urban Bushwomen dancers

The Bates Student: Tell us about the Urban Bushwomen collaboration with Bates College.

Mary Anne Bodnar: We had three former Urban Bushwomen company members at Bates to help pass on their knowledge of the piece. They all brought fun personalities to the rehearsal space and did everything in their power to ensure that learning this piece was not a stressful experience. The piece were doing “Walking with Pearl, Africa Diaries” combines three different dance techniques, so our guest artists made clear in the beginning that the learning process would be challenging because working with three movement qualities is like writing a paper in three different languages. It requires you to tap into different muscles groups and simultaneously demonstrate stylistic nuances in your movement.

BS: Tell us a memorable part of your rehearsal.

MAB: The excerpt of the piece “Walking with Pearl, Africa Diaries” is twenty minutes and it was completely daunting walking in to my first rehearsal. Having not practiced movement inspired by African diaspora in my life, I was very intimidated and afraid of not honoring the movement. There was so much material to learn in such little time! You want to learn all the material they teach you and do it excellently the first time, but in this process I had to be ok with moving pretty roughly through the movements for a week until I really began to learn the stylistic nuances of the piece. One memorable moment for me during the rehearsal process was realizing that the material was now in my hands. It’s a huge responsibility and honor to be handed down movement from such an accomplished company because you so want to honor those women who have danced the roles before you. Urban Bushwomen, however, places the individuality of dancers at the center of its company’s vision; therefore, I feel an overwhelming sense of freedom now to infuse the movement with my own personality. As a dancer, this is both liberating and scary because you must strike a balance between molding yourself to fit the movement and altering nuances of the movement to fit your movement quality. You must preserve yourself and the choreographer’s original intent simultaneously.

BS: Is there a special aspect to this particular dance troupe?

urbanbushwomenMAB: Part of the Urban Bushwomen company’s vision is community engagement. They have a BOLD network of dancers who are extremely generous with schools like Bates and who bring movement to us. This is how Bates connected with the company.

BSCan you tell me more about the upcoming Urban Bushwomen performance?

Rokya Samake: Walking the Pearl, African Diaries is the performance that I will be performing. It is about Pearl Primus, an anthropologist who focused on dance, particularly African diaspora dances. She did a lot of this in the south and in Africa. The leader of the Urban Bushwomen created pieces off of Primus’ writings and diaries. The performance itself is segments taken from different parts of the diary. For example, “Leaving Mother Africa” is one of the pieces. We act out what is being said. Bethel Kifle ‘14 will be narrating bits of the journal while we are dancing. It is a combination of music and prose.

BS: Do you have a favorite piece?

RS: It would have to be between “Leaving Mother Africa” and “Mask.” I would go with the latter. “Mask” is about the African mask. Essentially, she talks about if the mask were to come alive, what the mask would say to her in terms of ancestry and history. It’s very beautifully done because it shows us Pearl’s figure and her gaining all types of knowledge through dance. Overall, she’s done an amazing job of putting words to dance. Listening to the words and getting the visual presentation simultaneously is amazing, and also hard to do.

BS: What have you learned so far from this collaboration? Are there any memorable moments?

RS: I have learned about Pearl Primus. I did my own work about Primus and her work in Africa and it is phenomenal how she incorporated ethnographic study and dance together. The overall pieces were very interesting in finding roots. She was Trinidadian so this was her finding her roots which is a big part of African-American culture. We always talk about where our roots are from. Is it the south? Africa? America?

The Vibrator Play meets a vibrant audience in Schaeffer Theater

This past weekend, Bates audiences packed into Schaeffer Theater to experience the Bates fall theater production. Directed by Kati Vecsey, this year’s play, titled “In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play,” dealt with the some of the most awkward subject matter imaginable. Set in upstate New York in the 1880’s, the play narrates the practice of one Dr. Givings (Samuel Metzger ‘14) as he attempts to cure women’s hysteria with the use of an electric vibrator. Despite the physical symptoms produced by the vibrator, it quickly becomes clear that the source of this hysteria is a serious deprivation of love, thus the diagnosed condition cannot be cured with this enticing invention.

vibratorplayThe historical legitimacy of the play was clearly emphasized in the program notes, however audience members were still able to laugh throughout; our current knowledge on related subject matter makes the scientific seriousness associated with these events seem absurd. The play does not shy away from what would be awkward situations today, and the sometimes shockingly transparent presentation of these events left audience members with only option: “laugh it off”. The awkwardness steadily increases so that just when you think Dr. Givings couldn’t do something more bizarre, you find yourself giggling and sinking another two inches into your seat.

Despite this awkwardness, actors handled their characters’ dilemmas earnestly. They successfully inhabited the nuances on their characters, and by the end of the play they had successfully convinced audience members that the situations they found their characters in actually did happen in the 1880s. Any sense that this series of events might actually be a historical “sex farce about vibrators” has for the most part disappeared by the end of the play.

Sophomore Ashley Bryant commented, “I absolutely loved this show! All the actors played their parts beautifully – they really understood their characters and won the hearts of many in the audience!”

The cast of characters also featured Catherine Givings (Singha Hon ‘14) as the nearly-“hysterical” wife of Dr. Givings. Catherine’s lack of self control in social settings and her inability to nurse her own child makes her amusing and predictably flawed character. Her misfortunes don’t seem as tragic when placed next to other characters such as Elizabeth (Brittney Davis ‘14), who plays the role of the couple’s wet nurse. Elizabeth has recently lost a child to cholera shares how her son’s death caused her to question her faith in God. Mr. Daldry (Charles McKitrick ‘14), husband of hysteria patient Sabrina Daldry (Elizabeth Danello ‘14), offers delightful comedic relief through his awkward oblivion and inconsiderate comments about his wife, who receives regular “treatment” from Dr. Givings’ vibrating machine.

Walking into the play, there was some concern among fellow audience members that performance would be far too long for their attention spans. The play ran at two hours and ten minutes; however it doesn’t feel long until ten minutes before it ends. Right when you hope it starts to wind down, character flaws emerge and combust with one another in confrontational and emotionally-revealing scenes.

Davis’ monologue as the wet nurse Elizabeth towards the end of the play offered one of the most poignant performances of the evening. She sunk audience members deep into her dramatic Vibrator play fashion 4conundrum of simultaneously growing to love and hate the baby she nurses. Her reflection on her own emotional journey since Act I infuses the play with an appropriate solemnity that mitigates the comedy brought about by “treatment” scenes.

The script featured hilarious one-liners that reemphasized the absurdity of the time period. Artist Leo Irving (Gunnar Manchester ’15), who suffers from his own rare case of male hysteria, takes his tea black and explains that “sugar is for women and fat little boys,” prompting a big laugh from the crowd. Another scene, in which Mrs. Givings daintily exclaims, “sometimes I say whatever is in my head!” features such strong societal stereotypes of the 1880’s that you feel as if it has appeared in an SNL sketch.

The audience member’s experience could be characterized by endless puns (“electrifying” might be one, for those of you whose imaginations are failing at present), but this production was, if anything, impressively professional.

In contrast to last year’s “Big Love”, “In the Next Room” was performed in the larger Schaeffer Theater. Vescy acknowledged this change of scale in her program notes; “This is a huge show to produce for any theater, but it is a tremendous undertaking by a small department such as ours.” The set and costume design were very authentic, therefore the audience members hardly had to suspend disbelief. The mobility of the set was the most impressive aspect of the set design, and it importantly helped to isolate actors from the house setting in the final scene of the play. When the Givings couple leaves the home to enter the outside garden, the audience was surprised to see that the set pieces suddenly gave way and moved away from each other. Without the mobility of the set pieces, the scenic jump might have truncated the flow of dialogue or felt unbelievably easy.

The cast of the play was heavy with members of the Class of 2014, who proved to be an excellent group of acting talents. It will be a shame to see them, and their ability to convincingly play seemingly bizarre characters, leave Bates this coming spring. The scale and success of “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” however, gives Bates audiences confidence that there are many excellent productions to in the future, and many acting talents that are yet to develop.

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