In the midst of getting excited for this year’s ‘80s dance, you might be missing your graduated Commons crushes of years past. But in reality, he who will be missed most is not some 1984 US Olympic mustache bro, but, in fact, is none other than former Dean Keith Tannenbaum.
For the unaware first-years among us, K. Tannenbaum was the doorman to the party—the Dean of Student Life. As the head of Chase Hall Committee, he brought us Snoop Dogg and Oberhofer. He planned events like Block Party, which could be one of the best events of Short Term if we were capable of rallying whilst day drinking. He was an active participator in the notorious Paint Party, relentlessly gunning students in the face with thick colored paint, that did, in fact, stain your clothes.
On the lighter side, he also brought us the Village Club Series every Thursday, offering students a place where they could take a study break and listen to white men play stringed instruments. Last winter, VCS hosted Sister Outsider, two of the best slam poets in the world, while also giving students a chance to perform their own original slam pieces. VCS is a hallmark of the Bates Community.
While these are just some pieces of the legacy K.T. left behind, his true talent lay in his photography. If you ever needed to relive, remember, or regret, the events of “last night,” Keith’s photo documentation was always there on Facebook, waiting for you.
“That pizza was clutch.”
“There was a band?”
“Never again on the brick pillar!”
While remembering the humiliation and jokes at your roommate’s expense that this documentation provided, it is important to think about the photos Keith chose not to post. A silent salute goes to Chief Keith for keeping our secrets (and your first try at twerking) to himself.
While these are just some snippets, K. Tannenbaum’s antics were a source of eternal comedy to the Bates community. His bald head and thick framed glasses were only a piece of the Tannenbaum pie that served as a unifying force for social life at Bates. His shamelessly full-toothed smile was the smile that every Bates student wanted a selfie with, and in his own way, he served as a comic martyr for us to laugh with. We knew that our social experience at Bates was a little easier, a little more accessible, and a little more manageable with Keith there to let us into the party.
So, in between ravaging the last resources of Central Maine’s impoverished communities at Goodwill and brawling with the Papa John’s delivery guy at ‘80s for your own box, please take a moment to relive, remember, and regret Keith Tannenbaum: The Man Behind the Lens.