The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Category: Arts & Leisure Page 1 of 6

Delicate Steve Triumphantly Returns

After a fabulous performance at Bates during Short Term 2018, Delicate Steve came back to campus for a second show on March 8th, 2019 in the Benjamin Mays Center. This time, Delicate Steve’s performance included tracks from his newly released album “Till I Burn Up,” which came out on March 1st. Both his Short Term and most recent show at Bates were presented by WRBC.

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I am ‘Proud to Present’ my Honest Review

We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915 written in 2012 by Jackie Sibblies Drury, is a difficult play to put on and perform. Its presentational, metatheatrical narrative accompanied by an ensemble dynamic creates a complex theatrical task for any director. The play itself is engaging, and provokes thought which might make audience members and readers feel uncomfortable. Under the direction of Timothy Dugan, Bates College Theater Department’s production does not shy away from the uncomfortable: it confronts the discomfort of the show and brings the audience along.

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Skin Care Routine of the Week: Lotions and Potions to Healthy Skin

Growing up, my mom loved to pamper my sisters and I with a facewash and some good smelling lotion before we went to bed. Eventually, as ridiculous as this sounds, I grew up and got my very own good smelling facewash. My dad calls the bottles of products my mom and I use “lotions and potions” as they quickly fill countertops in our bathrooms. I grew up valuing the time of day where you take special care and show a little extra kindness for the skin on your body. Especially growing up in the Rocky Mountains where days in the sun are long and intense, this kind routine full of lotions and potions is important!

My skin care routine has since evolved after countless adventures through stores filled with different products. But it has never has strayed from finding formulas that keep my skin happy and healthy, my complexion clear, and my confidence high. I have recently been using products from Tata Harper which is a company based in Vermont that creates formulas free from GMOs, toxins, fillers, artificial colors, artificial fragrances, and synthetic chemicals. I love all of the products I have used from the brand. Its fragrance is both relaxing and revitalizing and the products make my skin feel alive and healthy.

Every time I was my face, I start out by rinsing with water, sometimes warm, sometimes cold; and then dry it just enough so it stays moist. I do not usually wear a lot of make-up, so I never use a solution dedicated to only removing makeup. If I am wearing makeup I sometimes ignore the residue left behind, but often just use a q-tip to get the mascara around my eyes.

After I do the initial rinse, I use a regenerating cleanser from Tata Harper. This “potion” is an exfoliator but is gentle enough on my skin to be able to use it in the morning and in the evening. I put it on my dry skin and leave it for a few minutes. I dry my face after rinsing and then spray it with “Hydrating Floral Essence” from Tata Harper. Hydrating with this formula before moisturizing allows moisturizers to be soaked up as much as possible.

After the toner has dried I put on a Reparative Moisturizer and a Retinoic Nutrient face oil. I usually only do these two steps in the evening because both give my face a chance to heal while I sleep. In the morning I start with the same steps, but instead of the moisturizer and face oil, I put on a BB crème from the Body Shop that acts as a moisturizer and a refreshing start to the day. During the summer, I put sunscreen on daily as an additional step to the process.

I also use a lavender oil from Dr. Hauschka, which is a similar brand to Tata Harper. I often put the oil on my neck and chest before I go to bed, after I have done all of the other steps to my routine. I recognize that our skin deserves all the best, as it endures stress, sun, and all of the other parts of the day. This routine has become some of the most relaxing and revitalizing parts of my day. The “lotions and potions” that fill the bathroom counters are all put to good use.

Hozier Fails to “Take Us to Church” with New Album

When Hozier released his “Nina Cried Power” EP, and later his single “Movement” last year, it had been almost five years since the Irish singer-songwriter captivated the world with “Take Me to Church.” Upon listening to “Nina Cried Power,” as a Hozier fan, I was immediately excited to see what he was going to create with his newest album. But like movie trailers for a mediocre summer blockbuster, his EPs contained the best parts of his newly-released sophomore album “Wasteland, Baby!”

That’s not to say that the album is bad. Hozier is a fantastic and expressive vocalist; the single “Movement” is a clear example of the sheer ability and power the 28-year-old singer is able to harness. But, not even Hozier’s voice can lift the at times monotonous sound of “Wasteland, Baby!”

The album was written within the last year. The singer-songwriter spent much of his hiatus in his homeland of Ireland to reconnect to his former self, or the Hozier that came before the singer’s debut album, “Hozier.” Since its release, major societal and environmental factors (both good and bad) have shaped our world. Hozier, although not in the public eye, was keenly paying attention and conceptualized his album as “about enjoying taking part in a cultural wasteland or a moral wasteland.”

The album’s title, “Wasteland, Baby!” comes from the dread he felt watching the Doomsday Clock being moved to 2 minutes to “midnight,” due to unchecked climate change and looming threats of nuclearization. Hozier tackles this concept with a grace rarely seen in modern artists; melancholic and intimate, his lyrics read like poetry. In the title track he softly croons, as if almost underwater, “All the fear and the fire of the end of the world happens each time a boy falls in love with a girl.”

Political commentary and activism is nothing new for the Irish artist. His breakthrough hit wasn’t, as most people think, written about a relationship: “Take Me To Church” came from the musician’s frustration with the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church and its domination over the government and culture of Ireland. “Nina Cried Power,” a send up song to civil right activists like Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and Mavis Staples—who is featured on the album—is probably the best song on the album. “Wasteland, Baby!” also exemplifies Hozier as a well-read and intellectual artist; in the grungy, drum-heavy “No Plan,” he cites astrophysicist Katie Mack’s philosophy of the death of the universe, and in “Almost (Sweet Music),” he pays homage to American jazz legends like Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.

While Hozier’s writing is exemplary and there are a number of great songs on “Wasteland, Baby!” the album falters as a whole. The 14-song album feels bloated and the pacing is erratic. As he jumps from existential to optimistic songs, Hozier doesn’t let a consistent mood develop over the album. It opens explosively with the first couple of songs but Hozier struggles, especially in the middle, to make the 57-minute runtime feel diverse. I found it hard to remember most of the songs in the middle and they all seemed to blend into each other.

Therein lies my key issue with this album: the concept and the production of the album is superior, but aside from the singles, there’s nothing “new” on the album. Songs like “To Noise Making (Sing)” and “Sunlight” are not unique, they’re just rehashes of songs we’ve heard five years ago. Listeners hear a new sound being formulated on this album in some songs, but it feels that “Wasteland, Baby!” could have benefited from a heavy amount of editing and reworking.

Following Hozier’s meteoric rise to fame, the artist has the world looking to him to create. I think in a way, his skyrocketing popularity threw him off. The album feels at times like he’s singing about what he thinks people want to hear and not what he wants them to.

Not Just Rocks for Jocks

This past week, I sat down with Emily Erard-Stone ‘20 and Christopher Sargent ‘20 to talk about the newly formed Geology Club. The club was originally started by The Bates Geology Department and was then accepted as an official Bates club in January. “We wanted to be an official club in order to get more funding and make it possible for us to go more places and host more trips to get Bates students involved in the earth sciences” said Erard-Stone.

The club has yet to host any official trips but is currently in the process of planning a trip to Short Ridge this April which would start with chai and cookies before teaching students about the geology of the Maine coast. “We will start with short presentation of the geology of the coast in addition to the species and plant life, to present that to people who don’t typically do sciences or those who just don’t know that much about geology. After that we will go out into the field and show them the things that we talked about in the presentation” said Erard-Stone. “We are really looking forward to showing Bates students the fun of geology,” said Sargent. 

“It is really hard to get geology trips in the winter time, because [the club] is all outdoor focused. A lot of the different aspects of geology are covered up with snow this time of year, so we are looking forward to the trip in the spring” said Sargent.

In addition to the trip to Short Ridge in April, I asked the club leaders what they hoped for the future of the Geology club and it’s involvement with the Bates community. “I think the Geology club could be really big going forward because the Bates academic council just removed the L requirement for a lot of the humanities majors. We are hoping the club can help people at Bates get outside and have a general understanding of the outdoors” said Erard-Stone, “I became a geology major after taking just one class that got me outside and having fun. I have been interested in geology ever since.” In addition to creating events for Bates students, the club also plans to go to local schools and teach students about the outdoors and outdoor education.

Being that this is a newly created club, Sargent and Erard-Stone hope that involvement from the Bates student body will come from word of mouth. “Once we get going and people start going on our trips and seeing how fun they are, word will spread and take off from there. Geology is a fun subject and I think the trips will speak for themselves” said Sargent.

Club members will have the opportunity to understand geology and other important, related concepts. “The science part of geology is what you get in the class, but it is important to get people who aren’t interested in the science aspect of things involved and to know the importance of geology. We hope to create better communication between the science of geology and the politics of geology. I think when there is better communication and understanding of that, the politics have a better backing” said Erard-Stone.

“[The Geology Club] is big on focusing on the fun of geology, so everything fun that geology brings we hope to show that to the Bates community!” said Sargent. Be sure to check out the Bates Geology club today and be sure to keep an eye out for their April Trip offering! 

College Choir Explores Love and Fortune in “Carmina Burana”

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Bates College Choir’s spring concert. The choir performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, composed in 1935 and 1936. The piece is adapted from a collection of medieval poems from the 11th-13th centuries and retains the original Latin and Middle German text. You have probably heard the opening movement, “O Fortuna,” in Cheaper by the Dozen, a Paul Blart: Mall Cop trailer, American Horror Story: Apocalypse, various talk shows and ads, and more– and if you don’t believe me, there’s a whole Wikipedia page on it.

The piece is divided into five sections for a total of twenty-five movements. There is not a coherent story arc per se, but rather a series of ruminations on fortune, springtime, dead swans, drinking, gambling, and relationships. The lyrics represent classic medieval themes but still find relevance in today’s world. The music is inspired by the late Renaissance and early Baroque melodic styles. The choir was joined by Bates Music faculty Bridget Convey and Chiharu Naruse, on the piano, and Joëlle Morris, who sang with the choir. Sarah Drewal played the timpani drum and Mark Fredericks, John Maillet, William Manning, and William Wohler played additional percussion.

Much of the piece is sung by the full choir in four-part harmony, with several instrumental sections dispersed throughout. The piece featured ten soloists: Christian Bradna ‘20, Henry Buckley ‘19, Kathryn Cleary ‘19, Xavier Hayden ‘19, Andrew Mikula ‘19, Senyo Ohene ‘20, Auguste Perl ‘20, Noah Pott ‘22, Michael Somkuti ‘19, and Muskan Verma ‘21.

I really enjoyed the concert and the choir’s rendition of Carmina Burana. The choir sounded amazing, balanced, and had very strong dynamics. Because the text of the movements are not in English, it was difficult to make out in some places. Having lyric translations included in the program was certainly helpful– and rather amusing. For example, Bradna’s solo was sung from the point of view of the roasted swan on the tavern table, about to be eaten. The music being rather melodramatic only helps create the comedic effect.

From there, the choir transition into the fourth section, the courtly love series. Courtly love was a whole medieval subgenre aimed at the nobility. It featured often adulterous affairs between highborn ladies and queens with knights. In every case, the knight was in love, which at times was unrequited, with the woman more than anyone else in a form of almost god-like devotion. The tragic tale of Lancelot and Guinevere stems from this time, as does Tristan and Isolde. The fourth section plays up the courtly love aspect: the music is perhaps some of the lightest of the whole piece, and the lyrics focus on an implied courtly gentleman seeking to woo an implied courtly woman.

The concert was somewhat bittersweet as it was director John Corrie’s final performance with the choir before he retires at the end of the year. His final performance with the choir was a resounding success. The piece worked quite nicely for the current College Choir performers and was a pleasure to attend. It will be sad to see Corrie go, but I look forward to many more enjoyable College Choir performances in the future.

Motivation with Maru: Throwing in the Towel vs. Doing your Laundry (A Piece on Productivity)

“I’d get it one piece at a time…and it wouldn’t cost me a dime..” Oh hey! Didn’t see ya there! I was just singing “One Piece at a Time” by Johnny Cash, a fantastic song. I recommend listening to it if you have never heard it! The song from ‘76 tells of a man who works on a car-manufacturing assembly line who steals tiny pieces of the cars by bringing them home in his lunch box so that after many years he can eventually build his own car using the bits and pieces he has collected. Pretty neat. Now, how does this long introduction relate to productivity, let alone the title of this piece? Lemme explain!

Sometimes when we get overwhelmed and stressed, we put things off like calling our doctor from home, sending Aunt Martha a thank you, or doing our laundry. We let these to-dos (let’s think of them as dirty clothes) accumulate until our list of to-dos (which we can think of it as a hamper) is overflowing and we can’t deny the fact that we have to take care of beeswax, do a little of adulting, get it over with, and DO IT.

But what if we didn’t have to go through this? That sinking feeling of seeing all of those dirty clothes every time we came in our room always weighing on the back of our mind? Here’s where the Johnny Cash song comes in, “One Piece at a Time.” Let us strive to approach these back-burner-to-dos with a positive, one-piece-at-a-time-mindset. If we conquer one application, one email, one assignment, our “hamper” of “dirty laundry” will not only a, begin to shrink but b, become less intimidating the more we work through it.

If we allow our “hamper” to pile up with more and more tasks, not only will it take longer to conquer but it will also start to have a greater emotional toll on us. Knowing that we have “so much do to” will show us down. But if we tackle it “One Piece at a Time,” we can chip away the block slowly but surely to shorten our list of to-dos. Don’t throw the towel in, go git on the laundry grind and clean out that hamper!!

Wish all of y’all a very happy week and a most glorious Gala experience, let’s embrace this spring weather!!

All of my love,

Maru

Francine J. Harris, Literary Arts Live

On Thursday evening at the Musky Archives, Bates College welcomed the poet Francine J. Harris to campus. At 7:30pm, students came to listen to Harris read some of the works from her most recent book, Play Dead, that came out in 2016. Harris was introduced by Bates’s visiting poetry professor Myronn Hardy, who told the audience about his first time meeting Harris at an arts retreat. Professor Hardy spoke of how he had been captivated by Harris’ laughter and joy – even amidst the academic challenges of the retreat – and from that moment forward they had been friends.

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Solange’s “When I Get Home” Breaks Fresh Ground

Before immersing myself in “When I Get Home” this past weekend, I hadn’t heard much of Solange Knowles’ music before. “Cranes in the Sky” had popped up on Apple Music playlists curated especially “for me,” and I knew “Don’t Touch My Hair” was an immensely important cultural statement on behalf of black women. After seeing one of my favorite artists, Dev Hynes (who releases music as Blood Orange) sing Knowles’ praises with regard to her artistic ability, their personal friendship, and most recent album, I listened to “When I Get Home” straight through. I was so intrigued that I then watched Knowles’ new film of the same name, which was released as a companion to the album.

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In Defense of Over-Analyzing Art

I absolutely adore video essays. For those who aren’t familiar, video essays are a genre of YouTube content that analyzes media- mostly movies- in both an academic and humorous framework. For reference, look up the channels Wisecrack, Nerdwriter1, and Now You See It. A common meme within this genre focuses on how many creators, for the sake of either filling time or trying to sound smart, will over-analyze movies. They’ll pick apart every single easter egg, shot, or line of dialogue in a film and exaggerate, if not fabricate, its symbolic attributes.

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