Musicfest NW has the well-earned reputation for being Portland’s resident music festival, the only event truly worthy of PDX’s music-heavy culture. Around Reed, it has a somewhat different reputation: that thing with the bands that you want to see but you can’t because it’s the fucking first week of classes and you have to read Dante’s Inferno for Hum 210 and you don’t have the goddamn time for this shit. Well, never fear, all you beleaguered upperclassmen already drowning in work and wide-eyed freshmen too daunted by the bus system to venture out to find the Wonder Ballroom or the Roseland Theatre (But seriously, it’s impossible to get to the Wonder), someone went out into the world and saw those concerts for you. That’s right, yours truly shook off the responsibilities of classes, extracurriculars, and even basic human functions to bring you to the front lines of the best shows of MFNW. Wednesday
Deerhunter w/Lonnie Holly @ Crystal Ballroom
Bradford Cox, weirdo lead singer and bandleader of Deerhunter, has a reputation for being caustic, unstable, and fantastically weird in concert.
Reedies have a unique approach to fashion. If someone were to sit in commons for any amount of time, they would see the whole gamut of styles, from the monochromatic minimalists to the flamboyantly patterned dandies, from the sweatshirts of the Rugby bros and the robes of the Tir Na Nog-ites to the planned-out and perfected outfits of the fashionistas – and everything in between. Unsurprisingly, some Reedies have some thoughts on the fashion industry and how it affects everyday life, and have decided to do something about it. Bins Babes – a Tumblr run by Reed students – is making waves in the local fashion and arts world. Conceived by Alex Houston ’13 and her friends, Bins Babes takes popular looks from global runways and filters them through the chaos and crap of the Bins, creating a new aesthetic that simultaneously critiques, parodies, and celebrates the modern fashion industry.
“If you were waiting for the poem, that was it,” said Eileen Myles after reading the two lines of her poem, “Tree,” to open last Thursday night’s poetry reading. The comment was met by laughter from 60 or so people gathered in the Eliot Chapel, and set the precedent for an unpredictable hour of poetry, ranging from a lengthy poem discussing theology to a poem entitled “Paint Me A Penis.” Although the hallowed halls of the Eliot Chapel were slow to yield applause and snaps never once seemed appropriate, laughter was frequent, and the poet held her audience spellbound. Drawing upon a quote from Myles’s novel, Inferno: “Awards are the only currency American writing has to describe a writer’s work. It’s almost French,” Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Samiya Bashir went on to recount the many of the awards Myles has received, including a Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital, Arts Writers Grant, three Lambda Book Awards, a Shelley Award from the Poetry Society of America, and, most recently, a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a memoir, Afterglow. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she moved to New York in 1974 to become a poet.
A tale told by two idiots, with the sound – if not the fury – of the manic frustrations that face our generation, A Portrait of the Idiot as a Younger Idiot ran last weekend. Kyle Giller ’13 starred as the younger idiot, after writing the play last semester. Funny and self-referential, the production was an exposé of the little known battle between invasive crust-punks and naturalized Portlanders. A Portrait of the Idiot as a Younger Idiot, directed by Beth Dinkova ’13, opened with a monologue by the idiot as an adult. The stage was then occupied by Kyle’s adventures of finding mysterious unnamed women, starting an Iron Maiden cover band, and finding true love. After being kicked out of his mother’s house after throwing a totally riotous party, the young Kyle moves to sunny Portland, where he discovers that whippets are a thing and that “grunks,” “skunks,” and “brunks” Occupy Everything.
Six days a week, Carlo D’Amato ’16 attends Hum and lives at Reed like any other freshman. But every Tuesday, he spends eight hours at the University of Portland for Air Force Reserve Officer Corps Training. His weekly training involves a combination of drills, physical fitness training, and leadership activities. Reed graduates and Air Force Academy graduates are respectively the most liberal and most conservative alumni groups in the nation, according to an October 2012 survey by The Alumni Factor, a website that ranks colleges according to alumni performance. Despite this cultural and political chasm, D’Amato says that his experiences at Reed and at ROTC in Portland have been more similar than one might think.
Behind an innocuous door on the top floor of the Biology building is a state-of-the-art, 1,000 square foot, climate-controlled greenhouse. The greenhouse is warm and humid, with sliding tables on which small plants are beginning to grow, and orange lights illuminate the rooms day and night. Biology Professor David Dalton has been working at Reed since 1987 and has born witness to many of the changes to the greenhouse over the years. He says the greenhouse was originally just a “south-facing room” with cement benches that was built along with the Biology building in the 1950’s. The structure stayed the same until more additions were made in 1990. In 2001, with the renovation of the Biology building came a further expansion of the greenhouse and the “state-of-the-art” setup students enjoy today. The greenhouse now has four main rooms, and the lighting, temperature, and cooling are all controlled by a central computer.
The number of post-docs in Biology, Phycology, and Chemistry at Reed increased over the past two years, but their presence remains largely unnoticed. There are currently four post-docs, and one more is expected to arrive by April.
At Reed, Post-docs act as liaisons between students and facility, especially in the realms of research. In contrast, post-docs in research universities primarily deal with pursuing their own research to develop skills needed for their profession. While at Reed, the post-doc experience is non-traditional, as greater interaction with undergrads creates a mentor-mentee relationship.
Winter in Portland can make the entire campus feel like a monochromatic haze. But Jay Ewing, who is a Physics Department associate, uses a D.I.Y. full-spectrum lighting fixture to combat the malaise of the darker months. All intro physics students pass through Ewing’s lab, and many leave with a greater and more practical understanding of the physical world. As a staff member at Reed, one of Ewing’s main roles is to supervise the TAs of Physics 101 and 102. He describes part of his job as fostering a good employer-employee relationship with students.
Sunday nights, Eva Wiedmann sits in the library on one of the couches and compiles Missed Connections. She’s been in charge of the fate of the romantic longings, lost items and swap of belongings of Reed students since the beginning of this year. She says she likes being insider to the communication needs of the student body: “It’s nice getting emails throughout the day from people asking for Missed Connections. I know they’re not for me, but they make me happy to see everyone’s communications with each other.”
She got the job when the senior who compiled Missed Connections last year sent out a Missed Connection herself asking for a replacement. “I sent in this really heartfelt email about how I loved reading Missed Connections and I felt like I had this special connection with them, and I really wanted to keep them going,” Wiedmann says.
Every time a student receives cookies from home, a book from Amazon, or new shoes, they receive an email from a mysterious man who spells his name with no capital letters. Who is the man of mystery working in the GCC’s basement? Why the cummings-esque lack of capitalization? Can the Postal Service help you convey a coconut across the country? Staff reporter Isabel Meigs found out in in this slightly edited and condensed interview.
Picture eleven at night. Except “night” has become an arbitrary, meaningless word. The sun hangs by the horizon’s edge, dangling the false promise of darkness over the head of the city. In a few hours it will dip below the edge of the world and rise back up, the sky deepening to a blue without ever surrendering into the embrace of black night. It has been weeks since there has been any sort of true darkness, since you could go to sleep under a blanket of stars. The White Nights steal your sleep like a mischievous imp, begging you to come out and play before the eternal darkness of winter takes over. Staring out of a window on the eighth floor of a sixteen story monolithic concrete block, from a room that always smells faintly of dill, you can see the edge of the Gulf of Finland. You have forgotten what it means to feel comfortable. Living in someone else’s house, in someone else’s country, your tongue stumbling over someone else’s language, your body is your only home. Comfort is cage; you learn to do things that make you uncomfortable. You will never know the ways your body can move if you never try to stretch.