PollerBears: What should we not be for Halloween?

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When we get to college, Halloween becomes a whole different animal. One day of celebrations spans an entire week, alcohol replaces candy as the hot commodity, and debauchery is somewhat inevitable. These days, there is also an exceptional amount of pressure to turn out in the “best” costumes; whether “best” means most creative, most culturally-relevant, or most punny depends on a person’s preference.

But we admit—there are limits to how far you can take your Halloweek costume choices. Some boundaries simply shouldn’t be crossed, and in some cases it’s just always too soon. We’re wondering which costumes you think are the most off limits, most insulting, or least politically correct; in other words, what shouldn’t we dress up as for Halloween?

What should we not be for Halloween?

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Alvin Lucier: Some spatial characteristics of sound waves

Last night, in Grant Recital Hall, a cellist held one continuous note for over 10 minutes. Written down in black and white, that doesn’t seem it would be that much of a feat, but to see it performed live was intensely mesmerizing.

One woman, Laura Cetilia, sat with her cello in front of several glass vases. These vases, suspended above the ground, contained microphones tuned to pick up various frequencies emitted from her instrument. As the piece progressed, I realized she was not holding one pitch, but continually adjusting the pitch slowly enough that it was hardly distinguishable. Occasionally, she was accompanied by the wave of another sound caused from just the right frequency being captured by one of the glass vases.  I broke my stare to survey the room and found I wasn’t alone in my trance. There were only a few empty seats in the hall, and zero people checking their cell phones.

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This performance was part of the Colloquium series sponsored by the Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments (MEME) department here at Brown. It was followed by a talk and Q&A with Alvin Lucier, the composer who wrote Music for Cello with One or More Amplified Vases and several other famous pieces that explore the physical and structural nature of sound.

Lucier has taught at Brown twice, but is known mostly in academia for his 43-year-long career at Wesleyan. As he spoke about the process and intent for the creation of his work, he name-dropped several musical pioneers as collaborators and friends. Among them: John Cage, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich. (No sweat if those names aren’t familiar, but I cannot recommend MUSC0200 enough if you want to find out who they are.)  Continue Reading


Sock and Buskin Presents: Hype Hero

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Despite the old school rap blaring as you enter Stuart Theatre and the traditional set with which you are greeted onstage, a drab government building overladen with mahogany and filing cabinets, Sock and Buskin’s new play Hype Hero is, above all, about modernity. It is simultaneously futuristic, current and archaic. It is a hyper-real representation of America, circa 2014.

Hype Hero, written by Dominic Taylor MFA ’95 (in typical open curriculum fashion, he also received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Brown) and directed by Kym Moore, is described by the playwright as “an afro-futurist Comedy of the Absurd.”

And absurd it definitely is. Everything is slightly off–the phone ringing sound effect is eerily hollow, soldiers burst on and off the stage, and the entirety of the first act takes place outside the Mayor’s (Crystal Kim ’16) office. The Mayor is a bumbling bureaucrat, a dictatorial, paranoid and ineffective leader in a dress wrought with sequins and ruffles. Kim’s portrayal is spot-on, channeling Elizabeth Banks in The Hunger Games and every political leader since Abraham Lincoln. 

But the show is not Kim’s. It’s Sarah’s, Kim’s “administrative assistant,” played with equal reserve and ferocity by Jordan DeLoach ’15. Her role as Sarah is complex, requiring her to navigate both cultural and personal allegiances while remaining in her office chair almost the entire show. DeLoach is both the most active and inactive member of the cast, symbolically as much as literally. Her facial expressions, physicality and vocal shifts (at times performing “propriety,” especially when talking to The Mayor, at others employing use of vernacular, depending on her audience) are integral to her construction of Sarah.

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Campus mourns the passing of student Sara Overstreet

This afternoon, President Paxson notified the Brown community of the untimely passing of student Sara Overstreet ’16. Overstreet, a junior from San Jose, California, was concentrating in English and International Relations at Brown. According to Paxson’s email, she planned on continuing her cross-disciplinary studies in graduate school and eventually working for a think tank or non-governmental organization.

We at BlogDailyHerald would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Overstreet’s friends and family. Any remembrances and photos of Overstreet are encouraged to be sent to blog@browndailyherald.com so that we may publish a memorial in her honor on our site.

In her email, President Paxson reminded the student body that the offices of Counseling and Psychological Services (401-863-3476) and Chaplains and Religious Life (401-863-2344) are always available to provide support to the Brown community. 


The Evolution of Halloween

There aren’t a lot of things that last from birth and through college. We don’t still get tucked in at night by our parents, have home cooked meals, swim in the shallow end, or brush our teeth twice a day (I’m not alone on this right?), but we still get excited for Halloween. Sure, the goal of Halloween changes from childhood to college. No longer is it about who can get the most candy but rather it is about who can GET the most candy (see what i did there). Instead of eating Twix and Snickers till we get sick, we drink Caldwell’s and Natty till we get sick. We still wear costumes, yet instead of dressing like our favorite disney character, we now dress like our favorite sexy disney character (I am going as Olaf from Frozen this year FYI).

Slutty Olaf

So maybe not all that much has changed, and that is fine because, like my uncle from South Carolina, I am scared of change. But Halloween for sure has evolved, from our earliest days of getting dressed in adorable baby-propriate costumes, to that time we went as sexy Shia Leboeuf.

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Shia

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Science Beyond the SciLi: Representation in Science

Though this is Science Beyond the SciLi, the issue of representation permeates the walls of the SciLi, the greater Brown campus and the rest of the scientific world. Read on to learn about some students’ perspectives on representation within the scientific community, from the SciLi basement to the Nobel Committee.

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Last weekend, the Brown Political Forum held a community forum to discuss “Representation in Science,” in collaboration with the Neuroscience DUG. A panel of five students, the “conversation starters,” reflected on their experiences in different fields of science at Brown and beyond through the perspective of their identities. The attendees also had the chance to break into small groups to discuss these issues and share personal experiences.

While minority groups, including women, racial minorities and members of the LGBT community, are underrepresented and disadvantaged in many fields, the statistics in science are particularly grim. Hispanics make up 7 percent of the STEM workforce, and blacks make up 6 percent. Women hold a quarter of STEM jobs, and in many fields this number is actually declining. I could go on and on listing the cold hard facts, but students’ personal stories are just as telling.

At the forum, the student panelists recalled experiences of professors and peers making judgments based solely on their identity.

Katie Byron was intending to declare computational biology as one of her concentrations, and she went to the concentration fair to discuss this with a faculty member. He responded, “Are you sure you’re up for taking all those math classes? Have you thought about just doing pure bio?” While the professor may have thought little of this afterwards, these kinds of comments are internalized and can bend the trajectories of students pursuing science.

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