Monday, November 27, 2006

Puzzle: Test Your L.Q.*

*Lang Quotient

News: How ‘Bout Them Apples?

Sustainability Committee Bobs Local in the Courtyard

Bite this: Sustainablity Committee VP Rachel London snags a Hudson Valley apple.

Written by Julia Schweizer & Photographed by Kaitlin McQuaide

      “Put your head in deeper! Push it up against the side! Bob!” demanded Rachael London, the vice president of the Lang Sustainability Committee and referee of an apple-bobbing contest held in the courtyard on November 15.
The contest was organized by the Sustainability Committee to raise funds and highlight their current campaign to get Chartwells, the New School’s food service company, to provide local food options on campus. In keeping with the goal, the apples floating in buckets of ice-cold water were locally grown and bought from the Union Square Greenmarket.
      The event encouraged students to have fun partaking in a fall pastime not often experienced in New York City.
      According to James Subudhi, president of the committee, local food means fresher food. “Local food reduces carbon dioxide emissions by reducing the distance your food travels from farm to table,” he said.
      Local food also supports small, non-corporate farms, Subudhi said. Furthermore, he added, “local food can be used as an educational tool, because it teaches consumers about where their food comes from.”
      In the courtyard, there were homemade baked goods and soup (all made with local ingredients) as well as handmade sock monkeys for sale. Passersby were enticed to stop and chat about the benefits of local food with committee members and drink free hot apple cider.
      One unexpected visitor was New School President Bob Kerrey, who agreed to sign the committee’s petition to get local food on campus.
      “I quickly explained the health benefits of local food, then talked about the benefits of stimulating the local economy,” said committee member and Lang senior Ryan Wood. “From the start, he was very willing to listen and quite supportive of the whole idea.”
      Kathleen Breidenbach, Associate Dean at Lang, and Joel Towers, Director of the Tischman Environment and Design Center, also showed their support by signing. These signatures appear next to over 100 other New School students and faculty members.
      The Committee plans to present the petition to Chartwells when they have completed additional research on local food.

Arts: Baptism by Fire: Justin Kirk

Justin Kirk On Acting & Bicoastal Living

The actor on campus.

Written & Photographed by Nadia Chaudhury

      Standing in front of The New School on a Monday afternoon, Emmy-nominated actor Justin Kirk looks just like a regular student—hair arranged messily, hands in his pockets, standing slightly hunched with a stylish rip in his jeans.
      Kirk is probably best known for playing AIDs-stricken Prior Walter, whose boyfriend abandons him, in the HBO miniseries Angels in America and his part as the sex-obsessed, pot-smoking brother-in-law Andy Botwin in Showtime’s TV series Weeds—who, among other things, teaches his youngest nephew how to masturbate into a banana peel. Currently, he is promoting his newest film, director Jeff Lipsky’s Flannel Pajamas, the story of the rise and fall of a relationship. In person, Kirk is similar to his acting persona—unabashedly delivering smart, sarcastically tinged laugh lines, all the while exuding charm.
      We begin the interview in the Gigantic Pictures’ downtown office. I tell him I’m majoring in poetry. “Nice, so this will be a very poetic interview,” he says. “Feel free to twist my words.”
      Justin Kirk grew up in Washington state and attended elementary school on an Indian reservation—“I was just a kid, so I don’t have great sociological insight,” he says. Then he moved to Minneapolis, where he enrolled in the Children’s Theater School. From the beginning, Kirk says, he felt like he wanted to be an actor. At the age of 18, he moved to Los Angeles and then ended up in New York, where he did theater. Currently splitting his time between Los Angeles and New York (he comes back at least once a year for work), Kirk says he “loves Los Angeles for all the reasons you’re not supposed to like it. I’m a kind of person that doesn’t need to be doing stuff, so I don’t mind being stuck in traffic and staring. I’m sort of a daydreamer.”
      “There’s something just really sweet to me about people from everywhere who have come to this place with their big dreams, and they’re going to roll the dice and it’s going to happen,” he says about LA. “And a lot of people find it depressing, but I think it’s kinda cute.” He laughs. “The difference is that in New York, life is thrust upon you. In Los Angeles, you have to search it out. I couldn’t leave my apartment [in New York] without running into some asshole that I knew, whereas in Los Angeles, you gotta have a destination, and you have to get in your car to go there.” But, he adds, “I find myself in New York a lot. You can’t get out. In the beginning, I was really burnt out [by the city], but each time I come, I realize I do miss it a lot.”
      In Flannel Pajamas, Kirk plays Stuart, a man whose profession is to entice unknowing tourists to Broadway shows by fabricating elaborate stories. He embarks on a relationship with Nicole, played by Julianne Nicholson, the eager-to-please girlfriend with a slightly neurotic family. Stuart is “a guy who seems to have a plan for his life and in the world of relationships, [when] he meets Nicole,” Kirk explains. “He thinks [she] is pretty perfect for him and fits all the things he wants, and starts hammering her into the hole of that plan that he has.” The character, he adds, is “confident and also insecure. It’s sort of what actors are. A mix of egotism and insecurity.”
      Kirk clears up one confusing aspect of the film: how Stuart and Nicole meet. It is, he says, not through their therapist (as most viewers are led to believe) but their dermatologist—a detail that greatly changes the audience’s perspective of the movie. “The question of why they were going to a dermatologist,” he jokes, “is equally important,” as to what hidden, psychological issues the characters might have.
      He recalls his most famous role, in Angels in America, as “such an ordeal.” The play (Angels in America) was the play of my generation of New York actors,” he explains. “Actually, the first play I did on Broadway was across the street from Part Two [Perestroika] of Angels in America, and our play was not a huge hit, and they had huge lines.”
      “It was a burden to say the least. The legacy the play already had when we started was immense, and then added to it was Meryl Streep and Al Pacino. There was no question that people would be watching it while we were making it, so that felt a little scary,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot from it, I will never have the same sort of fears and torture that I had making it, cause it was sort of like baptism by fire, which was a good thing.”
      Kirk says he’s obsessed with with political television and blogs (especially during the months leading up to the elections) and with music. He sings a little bit of Wilco to me (“I know we don’t talk much”) and recommends The Replacements. As we leave the office and wait for the elevator, he asks me how I am getting back to school. The subway, I tell him.
      “I can give you a lift,” he says. After looking for his driver and car, we are off, and that’s how Kirk winds up having his photo taken in front of The New School.

Above photograph provided by Gigantic Pictures

News: For the Worried, Vulnerable or Just Plain Drunk, a Safe Ride Home

Co-founders Oraia Reid and Consuelo Ruybal pose beside one of their group’s late-night chariots.
Photograph provided by Right Rights

By John Zuarino

      Ever drunkenly wanted a free ride home from the East Village to Williamsburg or Greenpoint? Just call Right Rides on a Saturday night and they’ll make it happen.
      Recently expanded to cover 19 neighborhoods in the city, Right Rides offers a free ride home on Saturday nights for women, transpeople and gender-queer individuals from 11:59 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
      The service began as a direct response to an August 2004 increase in assault on women in northern Brooklyn, according to Oriana Reid, co-founder and executive director of Right Rides. It was originally limited to Greenpoint and Williamsburg due to the lack of volunteers owning cars.
      But in late 2005, Right Rides received nonprofit status, and they acquired three Zipcars. Without having to worry about having a car every Saturday night, Right Rides has been able to expand their service area as well as implement new services for the community, including neighborhood safety meetings, self-defense classes and the new Safe Walks program, which offers a seasonal escort to anyone uncomfortable walking home alone.
      Right Rides has three teams running cars every Saturday night. One team runs each car and each team consists of at least one person identifying as female.
      “Having at least one female team member increases the level of comfort for passengers,” Reid said. “Especially since the program started as a direct retaliation to female assault.”
      The organization has 75 volunteers. This way, Reid says, volunteers will only have to sacrifice a few hours every four to six weeks, driving through Right Rides’ designated service areas.
      Since its inception in September 2004, Right Rides has brought more than 500 riders home safely.
      “The couple who drove made me feel really comfortable,” Eliza Biondi told Inprint after using Right Rides one Saturday night. “They were just really laid back and friendly. When they dropped me off, I apologized for not having any money on me, but they told me that their policy was to not take a penny. I appreciated that immensely.”
      Launched in 2004, The Safe Walks program operates from April to October. A team of two on bicycles accompanies callers on their walk. Teams cover a 10 to 15-block service area or a 15-minute walking radius. In 2006, its first year of operation, Safe Walks had five teams in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
      According to Reid, some of the challenges Right Rides faces include the struggle to stabilize the operation and retain a full staff. This is difficult because an organization that offers free services to the community must be led by volunteers who believe in the cause.
      Prospects to expand to the Bronx and Harlem are currently in motion, but this can only be achieved by acquiring more Zipcars and more volunteers. Since volunteers do not accept tips, donations can be made through the Right Rides website at

Need a Ride Home?
Here’s how the service works: You stumble tipsily from a bar and realize that A) you have no money and B) you don’t feel comfortable walking across two neighborhoods at 2 a.m. Call the dispatch number at (718) 964-7781 and wait for a Zipcar to take you home.

Right Rides currently offers pickups and drop-offs in the following neighborhoods:
Brooklyn: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Gowanus Canal, Red Hook
Manhattan: East Village, Lower East Side, Chinatown
Queens: Long Island City

News: Profile: For America Project, Sekou Sundiata Rethinks American Identity

Sekou Sundiata on the fourth floor Skybridge of the Lang building.

By Robert Hartmann & Photographed By Monica Uszerowicz

      There is a certain kind of gravity to Sekou Sundiata. Over six feet tall, with a deep, measured voice, Sundiata, a writing professor at Lang, moves and speaks with a challenging presence that quickly attracts attention, especially in the classroom.
      Recently, in his America Project class, Sundiata discussed a performance piece that his students could create as a final project, and then asked, “do you want this to just be a show or do you want to shake things up?”
      It’s with this active approach that Sundiata has been running The America Project for the past several years. The project, a series of public engagement activities which explore concepts of American identity, culminates this year with a new class at Lang and his latest performance piece, The 51st (Dream) State, which enjoyed a three-night run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in early November.
      “The inspiration came from my trying to understand the post-9-11 world,” Sundiata said in an interview with Inprint. “The basic questions are these: What does it mean to be an American at this time of unprecedented American power and influence in the world? What does it mean to be a citizen? Will the exercise of imperial power in the world cost America its soul?”
      The America Project, organized by Sundiata and consisting of campus and public events like poetry gatherings and dinners, facilitates community discussions of these questions, he said. He gained inspiration for The 51st (Dream) State while holding events during his year-long residencies at Lafayette College and Stanford University from 2004 to 2006. There, he developed what he calls the “research-to-performance” method.
      “It is a method of capturing language and images that may or may not end up in the script, but usually shapes my thinking as I build the work,” he said.
      Having returned full-time to Lang this year, Sundiata is continuing The America Project by teaching a class of the same name. Participants in the class discuss the meaning of citizenship in a nation with a complex mixture of races and nationalities, and study a range of writing on American identity, including James Baldwin’s “The Discovery of What It       Means to Be an American” and the Declaration of Independence.
“This class raises my consciousness in regards to the power dynamics that play out in our society between race, religion, class, gender and sexual identity,” said student Rebecca Rosoff. “By gaining more awareness of the injustices and privileges that stem from these divisions, I have a firm foundation on which I can think critically about my role in this country.”
      Students in the class studies Sundiata’s research-to-performance method, using his work as a model. They will participate in several group projects, including a performance piece, an anthology of class writings and a study guide for similar classes.
      While existing on a much smaller scale than The 51st (Dream) State, an hour and a half long theater piece, class projects are intended to follow its example by opening the discussion of the class up to the larger Lang community, Sundiata hopes.
Deeply concerned with the concept of the writer in the world, Sundiata has been balancing academics and art for decades. An African-American born in Harlem, Sundiata graduated from City College with a BA in writing and then performed poetry with live bands while working as a public school administrator. In 1986, he became The New School’s first writer in residence.
      Now 58, he has written poetry for various mediums, including the album longstoryshort for Ani DiFranco’s Righteous Babe Records and a solo theater piece called blessing the boats, chronicling his battle with kidney failure and his survival through an organ transplant.
      The 51st (Dream) State, his latest project, is an ambitious work. Sundiata performs poetry on a stage dominated by a large video screen and surrounded by a live band with multiple vocalists. The piece works as a dreamlike experience, with poetry interspersed by jazzy musical interludes and interview footage of Americans discussing their relationships to multiple national identities, like Japanese, Indian and Palestinian.
Sundiata’s questions about modern America connects the entire work.
      “I wanted to work in a way that would include different voices grappling with the same issues because of the public nature of the questions,” Sundiata said about the range of content in the piece and his collaborations with music director Graham Haynes and video editor Sage Carter.
      Sundiata said that the goal of The 51st (Dream) State is the same as that of the entire undertaking: to get America to analyze all its voices and perspectives.
      “I’d like the audience to feel implicated by the questions the show asks,” Sundiata said. “Implicated enough to ask themselves the same kinds of questions.”

News: Positively Bob: Dylan in the Classroom

By Josh Kurp
      “You can hear the school bell ring,” sings Bob Dylan in his 2001 song “Floater (Too Much To Ask).” “Gotta get up near the teacher if you can/ If you wanna learn anything.”
      Although Dylan wasn’t talking about The New School, The New School is definitely talking about Dylan. Every Wednesday night in 65 5th Ave., 25 students meet with Professor Robert Levinson for a course named “Discussing Dylan.”
      The class has become so popular that some of the most important figures throughout Dylan’s career come to speak, including multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson of The Band; Jacques Levy, who co-wrote many of the tracks on Dylan’s 1976 album Desire; photographer Elliot Landy, who took the picture of Dylan on the cover of Nashville Skyline; and most recently, D.A. Pennebaker, director of the Dylan documentary Dont Look Back.
A typical class begins with watching a video clip of Dylan, followed by “Bob 101,” a way for students who are relatively unversed on all things Dylan to catch up on his history. Then comes the guest.
      One of the more exciting visitors for students this semester was Peter Yarrow, a member of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, who joined the class on November 1. He began the night by playing Dylan’s “When the Ship Comes In,” then talked about his personal relationship with Dylan.
      At the Newport Folk Fest in 1965, when Dylan famously switched from acoustic to electric guitar, he was originally supposed to close the festival but instead was made to play earlier, in the middle.
      Dylan was furious at Yarrow, who sat on the festival’s committee. According to Robert Shelton, author of the Bob Dylan biography No Direction Home, after playing three electric songs and getting booed off the stage, “Dylan and the group disappeared offstage, and there was a long, clumsy silence. Peter Yarrow urged Bob to return and gave him his acoustic guitar.”
      Shelton adds, “As Bob returned on the stage alone, he discovered he didn’t have the right harmonica.”
      “What are you doing to me?” Dylan demanded of Yarrow.
      To this day, Yarrow speaks of this event with a tinge of sadness in his voice. “No amount of begging was going to change Bob’s mind,” he said at one recent class.
      Levinson’s technique for finding guests is simple.
      “Before the class began, I went to the index in every Dylan biography I could, picking people out, and finding ways to contact them,” he said.
Levinson’s interest in Dylan began in 1961, when Dylan was playing in coffeehouses around Greenwich Village, including The Gaslight and Café Wha? near Washington Square Park.
      “The Village was a fifteen cent subway ride from where I lived [in Brooklyn], so I could sit in ‘basket houses’ without money,” Levinson said. “As long as I didn’t mind not being able to pay when the basket came around, I could look at the girls from NYU.”
      “Then one day, Bob comes in and BOOM, you just knew this guy is different from everyone else,” Levinson continued. “You had to be dead to not realize Bob.”
      Since then, Levinson has been devoted to Dylan, spreading the word through his class at The New School, his radio show “Positively Dylan” on WHPC and his writing in Isis, the “Magazine for Dylan Enthusiasts.”
      “I enjoy ‘Discussing Dylan’ because it exposes me to others who share similar experiences with Dylan and his work,” said Frank Beacham, an adult member since the course’s beginning in fall 2002.
      “I view Bob Dylan as a window through which to learn about music and culture,” he added. “The class is an important part of that.”
      Beacham also views Levinson as an effective teacher because “he puts all the various viewpoints regarding Bob Dylan out in front of the class and lets the chips fall where they may,” he said. “He does not impose his personal viewpoints on his guests. He lets them say their piece whether he agrees or not.”
      The class was temporarily in a lawsuit with Dylan’s lawyers because it was viewed it as an intrusion upon Dylan’s life. Once Levinson described the class and they saw its educational value, Levinson said, the lawsuit was quickly dropped.
“So, we know that Bob’s at least aware of the class,” he said.

Neighborhood Profile: He Sells Soles on St. Mark’s Place

Written by Julia Schweizer & Photographed by Kaitlin McQuaide
      St. Marks Place, an East Village street once home to such influential musicians and thinkers as Thelonious Monk, G.G. Allin and Emma Goldman, now seems to attract patrons of Subway, SuperCuts and a score of cheap sushi joints.
      For the last 12 years, however, Belarusian cobbler Boris (who chose not to reveal his last name) has found a home on St. Marks where he buys, sells and repairs shoes 7 days a week, for the lowest prices possible. Boris, affectionately known as the “shoe guy,” affords the $4000/month rent of his 100 square foot shop by selling up to 50 pairs of shoes a day for about $15 a pop. Previously enamored with the St. Marks crowd, he says through a thick Russo-Brooklyn accent that now, “it’s just all kinds of hicks from all over the place.” So why not jack up the prices and capitalize off the tourists like every other vendor on the block? “Shoes for everybody!” says Boris with a wide smile upon his face. He adds that he makes shoes, “all the kids can afford—so tell your friends!”
      Duly noted. The shop is located at 1 St. Marks Place near 3rd Avenue.

Arts: Q&A: Janeane Garofalo

Written & Photographed by Yony Leyser

      Inprint caught up with actress, comedian and professional cynic Janeane Garofalo to talk politics during the CMJ Festival in early November.
Inprint: What do you think about focusing on the war in Iraq while putting social issues, like abortion and gay marriage, on the back burner?
Janeane Garafalo: I would say the country is not doing it, I would say the conservative voices that dominate that media narrative are doing it.
It is not an essential concern of the average citizen nor should it be part of the government. There should be a separation of the church and state and the social issues, which are just red herrings to distract people from the war.
The gay bashing, the anti-choice movement, the anti-stem cell, anti-science, anti-intelligence movement of the theocrats, and the corporatists who use them…that’s not the country, that’s the corporate media, conservative-bias media and the Republican politicians.
I: What do you think about the responses of the music and entertainment industries?
J.G.: Well I think their response is great, as it’s always been. There are always a lot of musicians and comedians who are fantastic social critics. That’s always been the way it is. It’s not always in the mainstream maximum rotation, but Green Day moves millions and millions of units with American Idiot. There are documentaries that Michael Moore makes that are huge blockbusters.
I: What do you think of CMJ?
J.G.: I don’t know. I just got here.

Arts: Our Very Own: Lang Bassist Tours the Balkans

By Chelsea Werner & Photographed by Avi Tepfer

Bass player and Lang senior Benjy Fox-Rosen started his musical career in high school in Los Angeles, where he played traditional Jewish devotional music with friends. Years later Benjy’s passion for folk has reemerged in The Luminescent Orchestrii, a four-piece string folk band with Balkan influences and, occasionally, melancholic lyrics.
Q: How did you meet the band?
A: Three years after a party in Bushwick I heard Lumii was looking for a bassist from someone I met at that party. I have been in the band for about 9 months.
Q: What’s challenging about being in this group?
A: It’s the most physically demanding gig I’ve ever had. There’s no drummer so there’s a lot of slapping of the bass to get a percussive sound. As a new technique for me, it’s very tiring.
Q: What was your favorite gig?
A: In Leeds, England at The Common Place, an activist community center. I tapped into a punk energy for the first time and got people dancing.
Q: What is your song writing process?
A: Rima Fand (one of three violinists) and Sxip Shirey (guitarist) contribute the original music. After playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Rima went to Macedonia and Sxip, Sarah (fiddler) and I went to Serbia. We traveled to the Balkans to hear the music and learn songs. We play traditional eastern European songs, but we don’t play them traditionally.
Q: Who are you billed with?
A: We generally split the bill with other bands from the Balkan scene. We’re playing with Romashka on Dec 10th at Union Pool in Williamsburg.

Look out for The Luminescent Orchestrii’s third album in February 2007.

Arts: Who Needs Chelsea? Secret Robot Rules

The inner sanctum of Secret Project Robot.

By Najva Soleimani & Photographed by Monica Uszerowicz

      Where are you if there is a mirror on the bed with a rolled up dollar bill and a random man asking if there is “any cocaine” to go with it? You’re not in a drugged out Langer’s apartment. You’re on the waterfront in Wlliamsburg, at 210 Kent Avenue, home to the art gallery Secret Project Robot.
      The mirror, the bed and the dollar bill are all part of the House Show, an exhibition created by six artists who collaborated to make what one observer called an “awesome” faux apartment. The show, curated by the artist J. Mikal Davis, includes everything from a living room containing a couch you can draw on to a filthy bedroom featuring photos thrown on a mattress and lewd paintings on the walls.
      The other half of the Secret Project Robot space is an exhibit entitled Welcome To The Masters, which displays work by Chris Uphues, Jason Robert Bell, and Arthur Jones. Uphues stacked and painted liquor boxes to look like a drunk robot, and Bell used stilts to create a wall-sized Simpsons painting. Jones, a graphic designer at Dirty Found Magazine, set up a slideshow of naughty pictures and passed out surveys about sexual preferences.
      In keeping with their eclectic aesthetic, the artists/curators of Welcome To The Masters planned to offer rice-krispy treats and pork rinds for the opening on November 18th. Of course, the artists had eaten all of the treats by the time the guests arrived—a not-so-surprising turn of events at this unconventional gallery.
      Secret Project Robot was started two years ago by Rachel Nelson and Eric (known only by his first name), when they were searching for a cheap studio/venue for their own art. They say the place is intended to “let people do whatever they want.”
      With its cozy store designed by artists and hosting insane installations, Eric says Secret Project Robot doesn’t exist by the “you have to sell” principal of other galleries. He firmly believes in art unhindered by commercial prospects—in other words, art for art’s sake.
      Uphues says it’s great to “come up with an offbeat idea and actually have a venue to show it in.” Eric mentioned he had no idea what the “three monkeys” were going to do with the space, but that’s part of the fun of having artists curate their own shows.
      Davis, artist/curator in the House Show, said he had a few nervous breakdowns making his pieces and putting the gallery together. When he heard the criticism “I can do that” about his exhibit, he was unflustered. “If they can, they should,” Davis replied. “That’s what got me painting.”
      “I’m so glad this place exists,” Davis says of Secret Project Robot. “We don’t have to go to Chelsea anymore.”

Arts: Theater: Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens. Playing in Booth Theater through Jan. 14th.
By Almie Rose Vazzano
One can only hope that the Broadway musical adaptation of the cult documentary “Grey Gardens” will spawn a new genre of theater. Imagine “Grizzly Man: The Grizzly Musical,” featuring songs such as “That Damn Fox Took My Hat.” Grey Gardens works mostly when it mimics the film—the songs are brilliantly transformed from movie dialogue. You could just rent the documentary, but you’d miss out on a song about why Edie wears skirts upside down and an alternate ending.
Rating: A staunch musical. S-T-A-U-N-C-H.

Arts: Film: Family Law

Ham-Fisted Family Film Bids for Foreign Oscar

Derecho de familia (Family Law). Director Daniel Burman. Starring Daniel Hendler, Arturo Goetz. Opens December 8th.

Photograph provided by IFC First Take

By Liz Garber-Paul

      Think monotonous story line, marital arguments that have been played out a thousand times on Everybody Loves Raymond and a cliché scene of a young father forgetting his own pop’s birthday. Now think of how you’d rather spend your time.
      Daniel Burman’s new film Family Law is the story of Ariel Perelman Jr.’s relationship with his father, Perelman Sr., and his toddler son, Gaston. When Perelman Jr.’s office building closes for a month, he doesn’t tell his wife and spends his time visiting his father’s work and his son’s school. It dawns on him that his primary role has changed from son to father. Burman attempts to show all the parts of Perelman Jr.’s life: law professor, ethical lawyer and family man. The film, which is Argentina’s official Academy Award entry this year, uses Perelman Jr. as an all-knowing narrator to tell the tired story.
      In trying to show everything, the film tells nothing. It comes off as montage: a series of clips from an ordinary life. To show his insecurity, Perelman marries a student. To show his shifting sense of responsibility, his office desk is covered in pictures of his wife and son, but those of his father are hidden in the drawer. To show his acceptance of being a father, he participates in the father-son swim class, despite his fear of half-naked men.
      According to the director/producer/writer, the film is supposed to show how men change from son to father. But slowly, it becomes an onslaught of nostalgic anecdotes disguised as scenes and offers nothing new to the question of what it means to be a man in modern society.
      While actor Daniel Hendler gives believable emotion to the main character, the script leaves much to be desired. There is no understatement here—just scene after predictable scene that, while sometimes amusing, leave the viewer with one-dimensional characters and a story so simple that even little Gaston would get it.
Rating: five hairy men in a swimming pool

Arts: DVD: Strangers With Candy

Strangers With Candy
By John Zuarino
For those who were reluctant to see it in theaters because it would be “just like the TV show,” Strangers With Candy is finally out on DVD, complete with deleted scenes. The extended prison sequence in which Jerri parties with her inmates, then stabs one with a shiv, is classic. If the idea of a three-minute Iris Puffybush music video makes you queasy, save it on your Netflix queue. But if you can’t wait to hear Amy Sedaris talk about Sir Ian Holm sliding down a banister, then shell out the $20.
Rating: 4 prison riots

Arts: Music: Various Artists, Jewface

Various Artists, Jewface
By Courtney Nichols
Not for the goy at heart, Jewface is a profoundly bizarre compilation of Yiddish-themed songs from the ‘30s and ‘40s. Tracks like “My Yiddisha Mammy” and “Under the Matzos Tree” leave you craving hot tongue on rye with a side of half-done pickles. Gargled jazz voices belt lyrics concerning shvitzing grandmothers and verklempt Max and Morris’s search for love in a shiksa world. At times, the songs are a bit archaic and redundant, yet from one Jew to the next, this album is definitely worth every gelt. Rating: Tsegait zich in moyl.

Arts: Music: Tenacious D, Pick of Destiny

Tenacious D, Pick of Destiny
By Najva Soleimani
      Tenacious D fans all around: I’m sorry. Pick of Destiny, in its own words, “totally sucks, motherfucker.”
      The first two tracks, Kikapoo and Calassico, get the head nodding. But if the music sounds familiar, it’s because Tenacious D sings over recognizable melodies sampled from artists like Nirvana and Dandy Warhols. This Tommy wanna-be rock opera follows the story of a boy leaving home to find Rock n’ Roll, in which Tenacious D uses more expletives than Limp Bizkit, and with about as much wit. That’s just shameful.
Rating: Queen does it better.

Arts: Music: Stranger Than Fiction OST

Stranger Than Fiction OST
By Hannah Papageorge
This has a little of everything: some indie rock, Brit rock and reggae, like Spoon’s catchy O.C. hit “The Way We Get By,” and British punk rock band The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment.” There is one random French song. Brian Reitzell, who has done music for Sofia Coppola’s films, composed a few innovative electronic tracks with Britt Daniel. Then there are The Upsetters, with their smooth reggae. But with the vast variety of musical styles, the soundtrack lacks continuity.
Rating: Grab the Marie Antoinette Soundtrack instead.

Arts: Music: Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards

Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
By Josh Kurp
      There’s been talk lately about the resurgence of older artists like The Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. The fact that Tom Waits isn’t mentioned just proves he never lost it.
      This 56-track collection of songs, cut from other albums or from outside work, is a mix of Chuck Berry grooves, beautiful ballads and spoken word cuts that can only be described as “Waits-esque.” Sorry, Kafka.
Rating: Great to listen to with your (rain) dog or swordfishtrombone.

Arts: Theater: School for Wives

School for Wives. Playing at The Pearl Theater through December 24th.
By Amber Sutherland
Moliere’s comedy of errors, School for Wives, is supposed to tell the story of a young woman made pure by dint of being deprived of an education. The Pearl Theatre Company, however, production turns it into a slightly more erudite version of Neil Simon’s Fools, where characters are not innocently ignorant, but rather just plain stupid. Don’t skip Wives entirely, though: the holidays are right around the corner and it might be perfect for visiting family wanting a little “culture.”
Rating: My own miseducation.

Arts: Exhibit: Brice Marden Retrospective

Brice Marden: A Retrospective of Paintings and Drawings. MoMA through January 15th
By Chelsea Werner
      Spanning forty years and two floors of the MoMA, the minimalist drawings and abstract paintings of 68-year-old Brice Marden bring to mind the father of abstractionism, Wassily Kandinsky. Brice Marden’s first retrospective is more than a look at one artist’s work. It’s a landmark in documenting the progress of visual arts through and beyond Modernism.
      Marden’s work through the 1960s progresses from four-part grids of white, black and grey, to canvases cut in half by these same bleak colors, to solid color canvases that absorb as well as reflect light, such as Patent Leather Valentine (1967) or the soft-green panel of Nebraska (1966).
      Inspired by Jasper Johns, many of the monolithic images of solid greys, blues and other colors have the idiosyncrasy of an inch-wide strip of bare canvas at the bottom, where drips from the process of painting can be seen in contrast to the completed piece.
      The most crowded room at the exhibition held Marden’s newest paintings, displayed for the first time. The Propitious Garden of Plane Image, Second Version and Third Version (2000-2006) are each six panels long. The colored panels—some red, yellow, green and purple—interact with the winding calligraphy that Marden uses in many of his paintings from the mid ‘80s onward.
      Though given more complex images to absorb in paintings like 11 (to Leger 1987-88), the depth and meaning of Marden’s paintings can more clearly be perceived through minimalist works such as Star (for Patti Smith, 1972).
      At the preview, it was clear the audience was excited to see Marden surrounded by all of his artwork. Heads turned to look at one very understated man in a black beanie with grey hair, whose only comment was, “I used to own all these paintings once.”

Arts: Best Five Songs: For Other People

By Josh Kurp
5- “Jello Biafra” - Wesley Willis - Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
Ever wonder what a 350-pound schizophrenic singing about the ex-lead singer of the Dead Kennedys sounds like? Well, he sounds like a crazy person you’d meet on the subway.
4- “Howlin’ Wolf” - Muddy Waters - In Concert
A tribute from one great bluesman to another, Muddy sings, “I get so bad sometime/ I be jumping from limb to limb.”
3- “Bob” - Weird Al Yankovic - Poodle Hat
Weird Al, while parodying Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” finally settles the long-standing debate if a whole song can be done in palindromes (example lyric: “Go hang a salami/ I’m a lasagna hog.”)
2- “Oh Yoko” - John Lennon - Imagine
We here at 5 Best only consider Yoko an “artist” in the most technical definition of the word, but this song almost makes you see what John saw in her.
1- “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” - Van Morrison - Saint Dominic’s Preview
Van The Man proving once and for all that white people can get funky.

News: Lang Introduces Tenure

By Linh Tran
      The Provost’s office recently gave a mandate for all divisions to have a set of standards for tenured positions by the end of the fall semester.
      The New School for Social Research is the only division that currently offers tenure. So, this is a landmark decision in the history of the university.
      Tenure guarantees professors job security and a greater degree of academic freedom to design their curriculum and conduct research, among other things. Offered at most colleges and universities, it is recognized as a stamp of accomplishment.
      The university currently has tenure-track and tenure at the New School for Social Research and renewable term contracts at Lang, Parsons and The New School for General Studies. Tenure-track professors are eligible for tenure but have not applied for the position. Renewable term contracts at undergraduate divisions last five years and can only be renewed once.
      By the end of the fall semester, tenure standards will be in place and they will be considered and approved by the office of the provost.
      “Whatever happens at Lang, everyone on the faculty cares deeply about teaching,” said Neil Gordon, chair of the writing department and member of the Lang Appointments and Personnel Committee. “That is the essence of Lang’s identity.”
      Tenure will provide a more stable and available faculty line-up for students, said Lang Dean Jonathan Veitch, during a Dean’s Forum two weeks ago.

Op-Ed: Pardon Moi?

Today’s Polite World, Explained
By Amber Sutherland
      What can I do to make a good impression when I’m meeting people?
      I cannot over-emphasize the importance of a good handshake. My boyfriend’s a big wheeler-dealer, so I have to meet a lot of jerks and I notice at least half the time that their handshakes are clammy, weak and otherwise unpleasant.
      Imagine you are holding an unopened bottle of champagne or sparkling white wine by the neck. That is about the degree of pressure you should exert. Not so gently that the bottle will slip from your fingers and crash to the floor, thus ruining the party, but not so firmly that you’ll break it with your big, brutish claws.
      Look into the eyes of the person you are meeting and repeat their name. “It’s delicious to meet you, Julio.” This is a little trick I learned from the classic book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. People love to hear their own names and it will help you remember, so that 10 minutes later you don’t have to resort to feigning camaraderie by calling them “captain,” or “lover.”
      I noticed recently that Neil Gordon, Chair of the Lang Writing Department, has a fab handshake. Observe him for a demonstration.
      How can I be a good guest while traveling over the holidays?
      Being a guest in someone’s home is more stressful than hosting. I was only a little mournful when a dear guest recently shattered a very sentimentally valuable snow-globe in my apartment. But I still cringe when I think about the antique plate I knocked over at a boyfriend’s parents’ house in England.
      Starting conditions are everything. It is very nice to bring a small gift as a token of your appreciation. Perishable goods like specialty chocolates or Pynchon novels are customary.
      Remember, your hosts are essentially inviting you to live in their home for a given period of time. Try not to take advantage of this generous gesture by relying on them for anything else. You aren’t in a hotel—bring your own toiletries. Most people don’t keep a mini-bar in the guest room, either, so don’t forget your $12 jellybeans and mini-bottles of vodka and gin. I always keep a few in my purse.
      Leave a thank-you note once you’ve stayed your welcome. I wrote about thank-you notes last semester, so you can search your glossy scrapbook of this column for a reminder.

Send your invitations for the Hamptons to

Op-Ed: Base Pay? In the Restaurant Biz, it’s a Scam

By Leijia Hanrahan
      For many, waiting tables is a hold-over—a classic stop on the path to Hollywood stardom or a part-time gig after class. Others depend wholly on food-service to support themselves. Wages for tipped workers, however, are notoriously some of the least reliable around. Depending on the establishment, patrons, and prices, a server can make significantly more than their companions at, say, the local sporting goods retailer...or they can make virtually nothing. Or sometimes, literally nothing.
      Let’s get some facts straight: it is legally required that tipped workers be paid an hourly base wage by their employers. In New York City, the legal minimum amount for that base pay is $4.30 per hour. Really. In my research for this article (and, for that matter, in my everyday life) I didn’t encounter a single server who was paid that much.
      Certainly, in my time waiting tables, nothing that close has ever been offered to me. But I have encountered several people who receive no base pay at all, and must rely solely on tips. Mostly, employers get away with this by having everything “off the books”—that is, not keeping any record of how an employee is (or isn’t) paid. Whether they receive just tips or merely a base pay that is well below the legal minimum, it is almost impossible to successfully sue if a server walks out with cash at the end of the day instead of a check, because almost any legal process requires records, tax forms or some kind of paper trail.
      Getting paid is a fickle process for servers. To a manager, a “slow day” means a smaller profit for the week or a handful of food products that have to be thrown out. To a server, a “slow day” can mean an angry landlord or a hungry child. Leah is a waitress at a small café in Queens, and while she is only supporting herself, she finds that making ends meet can depend on something as fickle as the weather. “If it’s raining, people eat in. There goes $50.”
      And just because people come in, it doesn’t mean that a server will make a reasonable amount of money. “It’s not just employers,” Leah says. “These assholes come in who don’t know how to tip. I make two bucks an hour from my boss. I’m counting on people to be decent human beings and not stiff me. If they can afford gourmet sandwiches for the whole family, they can afford an extra five bucks for good service.”
      From all of this, one might wonder why anyone would want to be a server in the first place. The truth is, in a packed city with a tight economy, food service work is often the only option. “I was looking for a job for two months before I landed this one,” Leah says. “And I mean, like searching really thoroughly. I can’t sleep on a friend’s couch forever. I had to take what I could get. And this was it. At least I make rent pretty regularly.”
      So to all patrons of dining establishments, remember: if your tip comes out to less than 15% of the bill, you’re stiffing a hard worker who probably isn’t making much otherwise. With the tip, you’re not sending any kind of message to the restaurant—you’re buying someone’s groceries.

Op-Ed: The Fix: Front-Row Seats at the Terror Show

By Jen Kolic
      When you’re living on little more than C-SPAN, whiskey and strong coffee, you tend to be a little uppity to begin with, but three very interesting pieces of news have recently surfaced that have made me more excitable than usual…
      First of all, a civil rights group and a dozen detainees are suing Donald Rumsfeld over treatment in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, in a German court. The lawsuit names Rummy and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, among others, as the main architects of U.S. policies that have essentially legalized torture. Why Germany? Ironically, they have universal jurisdiction over human rights abuses…
      Prosecution says that if they fail there, they may try courts in other countries. The Germans already turned them down last year, saying it would be better to try the case in the United States—which is crap. Held here, the trial would be so highly politicized and lengthy that the public would lose interest halfway through. I’m sure Bush could whip up some legal acrobatics that would put him indirectly in charge of the whole show, anyway…
      (Remember: here, being right doesn’t count unless you have the muscle to back it up.)
      The second exciting story is that the C.I.A. acknowledged the existence of two classified documents: a directive, signed by President Bush, outlining C.I.A. detention and interrogation methods and an analysis from the Justice Department detailing acceptable interrogation methods. The Agency is still crying “national security,” insisting it can’t actually release the documents, but even the admission of their existence is a big step toward a return to Hope and Decency…
      And finally, Jose Padilla is back in the news. You might not remember him, because he’s been rotting in a military prison for over 3 years, waiting for the government to decide what exactly he’s done wrong. First he was planning a dirty bomb attack, then he was just generally conspiring with those wily “al-Qaeda types.” Now, they say, he’s at least been sending them money…
      The case is on shaky ground. Padilla’s been detained and “interrogated” according to those new and improved methods outlined in the CIA documents, which are allowed in the new military tribunals. But Padilla’s being tried in plain old criminal court, where evidence obtained that way (i.e. hearsay and coercion) can’t be used.
      This could go both ways at once. Padilla may get something resembling a fair trial. But whether or not they actually have enough evidence to convict, the feds could use the case to “prove” that regular criminal courts are too restrictive for terrorism cases…and so the Wheels of Justice turn, and the Terror Show goes on…When you’re living on little more than C-SPAN, whiskey and strong coffee, you tend to be a little uppity to begin with, but three very interesting pieces of news have recently surfaced that have made me more excitable than usual…
      First of all, a civil rights group and a dozen detainees are suing Donald Rumsfeld over treatment in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, in a German court. The lawsuit names Rummy and Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, among others, as the main architects of U.S. policies that have essentially legalized torture. Why Germany? Ironically, they have universal jurisdiction over human rights abuses…
      Prosecution says that if they fail there, they may try courts in other countries. The Germans already turned them down last year, saying it would be better to try the case in the United States—which is crap. Held here, the trial would be so highly politicized and lengthy that the public would lose interest halfway through. I’m sure Bush could whip up some legal acrobatics that would put him indirectly in charge of the whole show, anyway…
      (Remember: here, being right doesn’t count unless you have the muscle to back it up.)
      The second exciting story is that the C.I.A. acknowledged the existence of two classified documents: a directive, signed by President Bush, outlining C.I.A. detention and interrogation methods and an analysis from the Justice Department detailing acceptable interrogation methods. The Agency is still crying “national security,” insisting it can’t actually release the documents, but even the admission of their existence is a big step toward a return to Hope and Decency…
      And finally, Jose Padilla is back in the news. You might not remember him, because he’s been rotting in a military prison for over 3 years, waiting for the government to decide what exactly he’s done wrong. First he was planning a dirty bomb attack, then he was just generally conspiring with those wily “al-Qaeda types.” Now, they say, he’s at least been sending them money…
      The case is on shaky ground. Padilla’s been detained and “interrogated” according to those new and improved methods outlined in the CIA documents, which are allowed in the new military tribunals. But Padilla’s being tried in plain old criminal court, where evidence obtained that way (i.e. hearsay and coercion) can’t be used.
      This could go both ways at once. Padilla may get something resembling a fair trial. But whether or not they actually have enough evidence to convict, the feds could use the case to “prove” that regular criminal courts are too restrictive for terrorism cases…and so the Wheels of Justice turn, and the Terror Show goes on…

Op-Ed: Got A Gripe: Getting in the Door, With and Without Your ID

By Sophie Friedman
      What’s up with needing a swipe card to get in to the 11th St. building, but just being able to stroll in on the 12th St. side?
      Numerous calls to the security department went unanswered and unreturned, so to get some answers, I went to speak with Larry, a guard and frequent figure behind the security desk in 12th St. Larry curtly informed me that “You can’t walk in this building without an ID.”
      No less than 20 seconds had passed when a student walked in. Larry, always on his guard, said hello and waved. I asked him how this student just walked in without an ID. “How do you know I don’t know him?” Larry angrily asked.
      Last year, students were supposed to get white keycards that would swipe us in on 11th St. I admit that I promptly lost mine. I was told the new student IDs can swipe you in, but I have tested more than one. They do not work.
      The school is concerned about our safety, but locking us out on one side of the block while the other remains open is pointless and frustrating.

Op-Ed: Quit Blowing Smoke

By Josh Kurp
      There’s been a lot of talk about regulating smoking in the Vera List Courtyard. But it’s not 1943. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you. That’s why you can’t do it in offices, restaurants, and even bars. But why should this ban extend to an area that’s technically outdoors?
      Eric Garrison, The New School’s Health Educator, told Inprint that students are complaining of the offensive smokiness in the courtyard and that because of more and more outbreaks of “HPV, genital warts, asthma,” these students “don’t want to be around smoke.” The last time I checked, I didn’t see a perpetual layer of smoke hovering over the courtyard. Smokers know the risks and, just like having sex, it’s a personal choice. And for you non-smokers worried about “secondhand smoke,” I say: Don’t stand near the smokers!
      The major issue is this: Where would the smokers go to smoke? Let’s say during the normal between-class rush, there are roughly 60 people in the courtyard. So, in addition to the people who already smoke outside by the street, do we really want 60 extra people clogging the doors and sidewalks? Plus, let’s also remember that the students would have to be 20 feet away from the school so they’d either have to move across the street or move down the sidewalk. The only person or place that would benefit from this would be Murray’s Bagels.
      The other option is to split the courtyard into smoking and nonsmoking sections. This would basically amount to herding smokers into a pen like cattle. And it wouldn’t work. If the courtyard were divided into sections, the non-smokers would still migrate over to the smokers because that’s how being social works.
      This is New York City and if we can’t smoke outdoors in a city famous for its smokers (Humphrey Bogart and Groucho Marx chief among them), where else can we?

Op-Ed: A Tower Falls: the Demise of the Record Store

By Samantha Schlaifer & Illustration By Jeremy Schlangen
      Fast-walking New Yorkers pass the corner of 4th and Broadway, home of the recently bankrupt Tower Records, without stopping to pay it a moment’s respect. The mega-store’s demise was sudden and all that remains is a liquidation sale and some shoppers attracted by the 70% discount. Lunch hour browsers don’t seem aware that the bankruptcy of Tower Records has some grave implications for the future of music.
      While I don’t feel the least bit disappointed for the downfall of the chain itself, I am afraid of where the music industry is headed. Clearly, Tower’s bankruptcy—all 90 stores will be closing by early 2007—is a byproduct of a music industry that caters to click-of-the-mouse convenience. If the domino-effect theory holds true, the demise of Tower will soon be followed by future liquidation sales in smaller, independent music shops. Fantaja Thomas, Tower Records’ customer service employee of two years, says confidently that people aren’t upset about the closing, “because all the music we have here people are just downloading for free or almost free on their computers.”
      But isn’t that the exact reason why people should be distressed? Sure, we can download entire albums from the comfort of our homes and upload them onto our sleek gadgets in a matter of seconds. Yes, we can even save money and have less clutter in our apartments by downloading. Plainly, the increasingly practical, technocratic society we live in puts a premium on time and efficiency. But our obsession with high-speed living has traded in a music scavenging tradition for the convenience of staring at a computer screen.
      I grew up with my musician father telling me about the times when Jimmy, Bruce and all the neighborhood kids would crawl on down to the record store right after school. They would scrape together their lunch money and spend the afternoon tapping their feet. Those records soon became tapes, which then became CDs.
      Years later, I was at the used CD store after school doing the very same thing. And while the mediums of music have continuously changed, up until recent years, record stores have remained the primary middle-man between artists, labels, and the consumer.
      The nostalgia of shuffling through alphabetized, genre-arranged albums may seem silly, but it is the time-consuming, browsing experience itself that hones one’s musical palate. iTunes and may offer “user ratings,” but it is the in-store, real-life exchange between one music-enthusiast to the next that has the power to expand one’s taste beyond their intended selection.
      The record-rummaging pastime is something that cannot be replaced by the expediency of our digital society. Unfortunately, what once served as a home base for small music communities will most likely turn into an irritating “good old days” story our generation tells its kids.

Op-Ed: Admins Should Think Green for the New 65 5th Avenue

By Ryan Wood, outside contributer
      In the announcement of the flashy new fifteen-story tower soon to occupy 65 5th Ave, there was no talk of environmental accountability. There wasn’t the slightest mention of it anywhere in Executive V.P. James Murtha’s letter in the Annual Report, nor in the subsequent Inprint article.
      Given the state of the ecosystem and the recent emergence of some very impelling issues, I believe it is quite hypocritical for a university that purports to champion social justice to so casually overlook stating the environmental policy of its “signature” building. From my perspective, social and environmental responsibilities are closely entwined and mutually interdependent. You can’t talk about one and not the other.
      Admittedly, nothing has been said either way about how ecologically conscious the current construction plans are. It may be that those involved in the planning effort intend to utilize the greenest building practices currently possible. But the fact remains that the issue has not been publicly raised by the administration, so it must be raised here.
      Based on Murtha’s letter, it is clear that progressive aesthetics, modernity and high technology take precedence in this new building’s design. These are all important elements, but I believe they must be developed within a framework of environmental and civic awareness. I suggest that we build according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) specifications, a widely adopted measure of sustainable design and construction practices.
      A structure which fares well in this certification system tends to have more open space, more natural light, cleaner air, increased water conservation, efficient waste management, a well-developed recycling system and vastly increased energy conservation. For reasons that should be plainly obvious to most forward-thinking New Schoolers, achieving a high LEED certification would be a positive step in the direction of sustainability.
      Advertising this accomplishment could set a precedent for other institutions to follow in our footsteps. This is the definition of “progressive.”
      If you want to contribute to shaping something that will be here long after you leave, here’s your chance. Remember: it’s not just the physical walls of the classroom that are at stake here, it’s the tenability of the values put forth inside. Let’s come to a consensus on what social responsibility means to us as an institution, then let’s put into practice what we preach.

Editorial: Hark! The Tenured Angels Sing

By Peter Holslin
      The majority of Eugene Lang College’s academic departments have only a handful of full-time faculty members. In part, this is because the school depends on a body of part-time faculty members who can elucidate students with their unique real-world experience. Unfortunately, most of these professors don’t stay for long.
      That poses a dilemma for a school that is twenty years old and rapidly developing new programs like “Science, Technology and Society” and Journalism while reshaping what used to be Social and Historical Inquiry and Arts in Context. Without a dedicated full-time faculty, creating solid programs is more difficult. Students also have a harder time building relationships with professors who leave before they graduate.
      Thankfully, the university is now working through the details of introducing tenure. Establishing tenure is a smart move, because everyone benefits.
      Tenure guarantees that full-time professors will not lose their jobs after their contracts expire. It ensures job security and academic freedom—a professor cannot be fired for arbitrary reasons or because of controversies—and provides pay standards and medical benefits. Students can get to know professors better and professors will be less likely to be lured away from The New School by other institutions. Nor will they have to worry about how to pay their rent when the next semester comes around.
      Not everyone likes tenure. In 1994, in a famously brazen move, Elizabeth Coleman ended tenure at Bennington College, a liberal arts college in Vermont with about 725 students, where she serves as president.
      Coleman’s move was part of a series of actions—firing a third of the school’s faculty, trading in its seven different schools for a university-wide structure and hiring only practicing artists, writers and musicians—that earned the ire of university institutions and associations, but staved off tuition hikes and brought in students. In the spring of 1994, Bennington had only about 400 students and tuition was $25,800 a year. Now the enrollment is nearly doubled and tuition is, relatively, not much higher, at $34,340.
      Abolishing tenure may be a workable option, then, for a college in financial crisis. But it is detrimental to one in the middle of a growth spurt, like Lang.
      An Inprint staff member who had attended Bennington last year said the school has trouble retaining talented faculty. Lang has seen its share of defections, too. A good example is Tracy Dahlby, Inprint’s former faculty advisor and a journalism professor, who decided to leave suddenly this summer after getting a tenured job offer at the University of Texas, Austin.
      Rob Buchanan, our new advisor, is an able replacement that we are happy to work with. Nevertheless, Buchanan’s full-time faculty contract only lasts for one year and doesn’t offer the job security of a tenured position. This puts the budding journalism program on an unstable foundation.
      That’s why introducing tenure is a crucial move for Lang.
      The Provost expects the university’s divisions will come up with standards for tenured positions by the end of this semester. Ideally, Lang will begin offering tenured positions soon after. After all, the earlier we can hold on to our favorite professors, the better.

News: No Lights? No Stage? No Problem

Student DIY Dramaturgy
By Ben Kelly
      Devin Murphy, LJ Regine and Phoebe Tyres, three of the Lang Theater Collective's five board members, sat with [i]Inprint[i] recently in the Theresa Lang Community Center. Here, on November 17th and 18th, the group staged Fall Fire, their third production. The hall is rectangular and lined with columns—not an ideal space for dramatic performances.
      “We sort of managed a way to make it into a space,” said Murphy, who directed one of the production's four plays and wrote another.
      “It's almost more fun, in a way,” Regine chimed in. “We don't have a theater, so it's more organic.”
      With no budget or designated space, the LTC have taken a renegade approach to dramaturgy. They rehearse in empty classrooms, host parties to raise money, and write, direct and act in all of their shows. They say their methods give them more freedom than they could have working within the Drama Department.
      At the same time, without the support of the school, LTC has had to overcome both their own financial setbacks and the Department's skepticism, just to get Fall Fire on stage.
When they formed in the spring of 2006, the LTC considered becoming a school-sponsored organization. But, the school wanted them to change their name from the Lang Theater Collective to the New School Theater Collective. The group refused.
      “They wanted us to be inclusive to the university,” Murphy said. “Not that we aren't. The university is welcome to get involved. But we're running this out of Lang.”
      The decision to reject organization-status cost the LTC the chance for school funding. It was after the LTC had chosen the Fall Fire scripts from a pool of thirty student-written pieces and cast the actors that problems began.
      The first: they didn't have a space to rehearse. The board members described combing the school for places to practice.
      “It was sort of fun,” Tyres said. “We'd just hijack classrooms, call each other up, and say 'I found a spot.'”
      The collective was able to book the Theresa Lang Center for their production. But there were problems with the community center. The room has no stage lights—and, for that matter, no stage.
      “We were told it was the 'crown jewel' of the New School's performing spaces,” Regine said. “We didn't find it to be that, exactly.”
      The collective made do, borrowing lighting kits from Knowledge Unlimited, which lends New School students film equipment. A stage, though, was a more intractable problem.
      The collective approached Kathleen Briedenbach, associate dean at Lang, to ask for a stage, props and other support. They got this email in return: “I'm afraid we're not going to be able to honor most of these requests. The theater program already has a budget for productions, and this show is not included...I know you have put a lot of energy and time into this, but I am concerned about going forward with the show, especially since you are not a recognized student group.”
      The email was a low point. But canceling Fall Fire was never an option. Instead, they asked the Lang Student Union for help, and were awarded five hundred dollars.
      The shows went on, with a few hitches. The LTC decided not to use a stage, which obscured some of the plays' action from the audience. Still, the audience loved the show. And the group grossed six hundred dollars, which will go towards their next production.
      “I'm happy with the way things worked out,” Tyres said. “It gave us the drive to do this. The only way to learn how to do this is to do it, on our own.”

News: A Year Later, University and Union Still Married

By Hannah Rappleye
      As the sky outside grew dark, Joel Schlemowitz, a long-haired, nose-ringed film professor at The New School for General Studies, sat under a framed photograph of Tiananmen Square in a small office on University Place answering phone calls from part-time faculty members.
      Schlemowitz is president of United Auto Workers Local 7902, Adjuncts Come Together (ACT-UAW), the union that represents part-time faculty at The New School and New York University. After a year of negotiation and an averted strike in late October 2005, ACT-UAW ratified their first contract with The New School. The union now represents over 4,000 faculty members at The New School and NYU.
      “This contract gives us rights we had not had before,” Schlemowitz said. The contract includes course cancellation fees, paid academic leave, multi-year contracts, baseline course loads and a specific process for filing grievances against the administration. Joining the union is not mandatory, according to one part-time professor at Lang and member of ACT-UAW. The New School has a union-shop agreement and members pay dues to the union.
      The contract was a long time coming. Part-time faculty, who make up 86% of faculty at The New School, first held union elections in 2004. But the university administration filed objections to the election, which led to delays. Finally, in September 2004, The National Labor Relations Board certified the union. Faced with the threat of a strike, the administration began negotiations later that fall.
      Despite their acrimonious history, the administration and union agree that their relationship has been mostly cordial since the tense negotiations last year. In fact, according to Lang Associate Dean Kathleen Breidenbach, the contract has been touted in the Chronicle of Higher Education as a model for other universities to follow.
      “If the faculty is well served, the students are well served,” said Eliza Nichols, Vice Provost of The New School. “There is a lot of good in this contract.”
      “Job security was really one of our most important goals and one of our most significant achievements in this contract,” Schlemowitz said. “For part-time faculty it can be the most insecure type of employment imaginable. I feel what we are doing is sort of a progressive reform of a system that has had a lot of growing disparity.”
      However congenial the relationship is now, members of the union say they must be constantly active in protecting the rights set forth in their contract.
      “The piece of paper that is the contract is just a piece of paper unless there are people behind it,” said Jan Clausen, a writing professor at Lang. Clausen was recently elected to serve as a trustee, responsible for handling the union’s financial records. “Some people don’t agree with the terms of contract but we are finding that in order to get those terms followed, we have to file a certain number of grievances,” she said.
      Common grievances include professors not receiving the class load they expected or not getting reimbursed for a dropped class. In the first step of the grievance process, a faculty member meets to discuss the problem with their department chair and a union representative, called a shop steward. If the problem cannot be resolved, the faculty member then meets with the administration.
      Nichols said that one of the administration’s main concerns during contract negotiations was how to work with a faculty represented by a third party that is not necessarily concerned with students or the quality of academic programs and curriculum.
      “The thing that was most important to the institution was maintaining our rights to manage the institution and not to give over management of an academic institution to a union,” she said.
      According to Nichols, implementing the contract has proved to be complicated because the administration could not plan for the contract until it was agreed upon.
      “We couldn’t say, ‘okay, how are we going to do this,’ until October 31 at six in the morning,” she said. “That was a year ago. That is not a lot of time.”
      Some problems that the contract has raised include setting standards for professor evaluations and determining the base loads of classes.
      Implementing the contract also leads to structural complications. Before the contract, The New School was organized on a divisional structure in terms of hiring and overseeing part-time faculty. Now divisions like Lang, which has a smaller ratio of part-time faculty and fewer students, where department chairs have less curriculum and staff to manage than other divisions, must cooperate with others as one central university. This has made the contract difficult to implement across the board.
      “We have to look at it from a unique perspective, which means that we have to put in place uniform systems that are fair and equitable across the university,” Nichols said. “That may come into conflict with local practice.”
      Officials frequently meet with the union to discuss grievances or work out structural problems. The Provost’s office put together an ACT-UAW implementation group last winter that is made up of human resources, general council and divisional representatives in order to work on implementing the contract.
      The group meets once a week and requires quick decision-making in order to “collectively come up with practices that none of us has done before but will work for all of us,” Nichols said.
      Having union representation for the part-time faculty benefits the university, according to Clausen. In the past, well-liked professors would often leave the university because there was no guarantee they would have classes the next semester or year, she said.
      “It will contribute to the continuity in the faculty,” Clausen said. “Potentially, it creates a part time faculty that is more invested in the institution.”
      The contract also forces the administration to be transparent and democratic in its dealings with the faculty, Clausen said, which allows academic freedom to flourish.
      “Knowing that you won’t be just tossed out on a whim makes people feel more free to actually advocate,” Clausen said.
      A union does, however, have the potential to cause problems, especially within a university that lacks financial resources, like The New School, according to Nichols.
      “I am not saying this is reality, but if people’s time is taken up meeting over grievances to a degree that is unreasonable, we will have to change how we staff and how we resource,” Nichols said. “And that means resources will be taken away from supporting faculty and students in other ways.”
      Students could also be adversely affected, Nichols said, if faculty are protected by the contract without being held to high academic standards. However, the contract does allow university officials the right to determine the qualifications of its faculty, she added.
      The contract expires in 2009. Until next year, the administration will not be able to determine what parts of the contract they would like to change, because creating structures to implement the contract have to come first.
      Union officers are also hesitant to say what they would like to see added to the contract because it depends on what the membership as a whole decides. Some ideas, however, are increased benefits for online faculty and greater access to health benefits.
      Now, the union is focusing its efforts on strengthening the union membership. They are organizing union events, strengthening solidarity with the NYU unit, and “developing a group of activists who have some stake in this,” Clausen said.
      “There are a lot of people that might not feel a sense of connection with the institution because they are only here a few days a week,” Clausen added. “But, it’s like any form of democracy. There is an enormous amount of work to be done.”