Sunday, February 18, 2007

News: Students to Marines: Recruit This!

Students for a Democratic Society Storm Capitol Hill

Tom Goode

By Hannah Rappleye

On Jan. 27 at 5 A.M., five members of Students for a Democratic Society at The New School jumped into a van and sped off to Washington, D.C., to join thousands of other students in a day of protest against the Iraq war.

What they didn’t know at the time was that by the end of the day, they would charge the capital steps and storm into a local Marine recruitment center.

The anti-war march, sponsored by United for Peace and Justice, is estimated to have included 500,000 people. Around 50 chapters of SDS from around the country participated in the march.

When they arrived in D.C., the students congregated with the radical youth and student bloc at the Smithsonian Institute. Further away, at DuPont Circle, another group of SDS members met with the anti-authoritarian and the Black Bloc, a group that dresses in all black when protesting to avoid being identified by authorities.

Those that met at DuPont Circle marched separately from the thousands of liberals with placards that were milling around the mall. When they reached the capital steps, they stopped walking, grabbed hold of the barrier in front of them and began to pull.

As they ripped down the fence, the police descended upon the protestors. It would be the first of many confrontations with the police.

According to New School SDS founder and Lang freshman Pat Korte, when the other contingent heard people were getting “attacked” by the police, the youth and student bloc made the decision to march to the mall and “join in solidarity with the second bloc.”

“We met at the capital steps and the fence was already torn down,” Korte said. “It was a pretty amazing sight. There was a police officer on a megaphone and we couldn’t hear what he was saying because everyone was chanting over him, ‘Iraq is not alone, bring the war home.’”

The crowd around the broken fence eventually dispersed and the two blocs, now united, joined the main march.

But things were moving slowly, according to Korte.

“It was fun, it was militant,” he said. “But we thought that our efforts could be directed somewhere else.”

In what Korte called a “burst of spontaneity,” between 1,000 and 1,500 youth from various organizations ran to charge the capital for a second time.

As the groups hurtled up the steps, the police drove motorcycles through the crowd in an attempt to break it up. People began to scream chants at the police like, “Bush lied, people died! We won’t stop ‘till we get inside!”

“People were face to face with police on the capital steps and the police couldn’t do anything because there was a no arrest order,” Korte said.

According to Lang freshman Alex Cline, it was at that time when a small contingent of around 200 youth, including SDS members, the anti-authoritarian bloc and the Black Bloc, broke away from the group at the capital steps and, after talking to local residents, discovered the local Marines recruitment center.

“The march was beginning to wind down. But it was my first time in D.C., and I wasn’t ready to go home yet,” Cline said.

On the walk to the recruitment center, the group persuaded others to join them, including a group of skateboarders who, when told “you can’t skate if you’re in Iraq,” by one of the protestors, skated ahead of the group and reported back with the location of police and police barricades.

Cline said that as soon as people attempted to enter the recruitment center, the police became extremely violent.

“The bicycle police rammed them and started beating them with nightsticks,” Cline said. “Then somebody threw a rock through the window and the police took out tazers.”

As the police broke out the tazers, the group managed to arrange itself in a circle around the recruitment center.

“The police were surrounded,” Cline said. “They didn’t have the space to make any arrests, or the space to hold people. They grabbed a few people but basically let us go.”

After they left the center, SDS members held a vigil on the capital lawn and then got kicked out by police.

The presence of the Black Bloc—who confronted police at the center dressed in shields—and the outburst of violence that occurred at the center, sparked a debate among New School SDS members as they drove home the next morning.

“Because it was happening so quickly, these things just happen,” Korte said. “A few particular individuals are capable of manipulating a group of people. The thing we were discussing is how you make decisions on the spur of the moment.”

SDS members also talked through their overall strategy and debated whether violent action had any place within the movement they are trying to build.

“I’m not a pacifist,” Korte said. “But tactics need to fit into a broad strategy. So what is our broad strategy? Is it simply ending the war? Is it building a new, more egalitarian society? Or is it fucking shit up? Fucking shit up can fit into one of those as a tactic, but it’s not a strategy.”

Korte said that SDS is still in the process of both shaping their approach to organizing and determining what their ultimate goals are, but putting an end to the Iraq war and raising the consciousness of students at The New School—a university that is taking a turn towards conservative politics, according to SDS members—is at the top of their list.

Ultimately, what came out of the march, Korte said, “was the commitment to declaring more than ‘peace now, peace now.’ It’s time to step it up. We need to be like, ‘We’re gonna stop this motherfucker. It’s wrong, it’s illegal, it’s immoral, it’s illegitimate, and we’re going to stop it.’”

News: Dude Where's My newcard?

Security Calls for a "Fastlane Optical" Way to Pass

Elizabeth Arcuri

By Nadia Chaudhury

Instead of pulling out the old, oversized ID card to enter the school buildings, with New School's new "newcard," students and faculty will be able to waltz through the front doors without lifting a finger.

The catch? Soon, they will have to pass through a "Fastlane Optical Turnstile" set up at the front doors of every New School building.

The new security measure, proposed by New School President Bob Kerrey several years ago, is being implemented out of a general concern for security and is not due to any increase in theft, security officials at the New School said. Each turnstile, including installation, costs $35,000.

“It will be several months before they’re all there,” said Caroline Oyama, director of Communications at The New School.

Upon entering a New School building, students will pass through the turnstile. If the newcard is present anywhere on their bodies—in their bag, pocket, or wallet—the sensors will recognize the card and allow them to pass through. If the scanner cannot read the newcard, a bar will automatically drop in front of the students and they will have to sign in with the security guard.

“You’re not going to have to fumble, which is what drives everyone crazy,” Oyama said. “Being asked to show your card is hard on the guards, and people get very resistant when asked to do it.”

Jonathan Cruz, a security guard manning the front desk at 66 West 12th Street, said the goal is to “make sure everyone who comes into the buildings belongs here.”

The newcard was first introduced to the New School community in an announcement through on January 15th. The announcement was followed by several reminders in the Weekly Observer. An email was also sent to all GroupWise accounts on January 18th.

Despite this, many students and faculty were unaware of the new policy.

“I wasn’t sure if we had to have [the card] or if it wasn’t required,” said Lang sophomore Gleb Boundin.

Some students complained that they were chastised by security guards during the first week of school.

“Guards had been given instructions that they were supposed to accept all current forms of ID until they were told otherwise,” Oyama said. “It was certainly not intended to be that way.”

The newcard, similar to systems already in place in universities such as New York University and Baruch College, will work as both a pass and monetary card. Students, faculty, and staff will have access to all New School buildings, including dormitories. The card will also work for meal plans, laundry, and university libraries and will provide students with special discounts at local stores.

As an added bonus, the card will work on all vending machines within university property. Currently, however, students can only make purchases at New School cafeterias with the card. Money can be put onto the card through the Card Services office.

Parsons student Derek Kim designed the newcard and won $100 in a recent contest sponsored by The New School. The scanners are already in place at the 13th Street Residence Hall, 79th 5th Avenue, the Sheila Johnson Center at 13th Street and 5th Avenue, 66 5th Avenue, and 2 West 13th Street.

News: After Katrina, Parsons Designs & Builds

Laura Lyons

Thirteen Parsons architecture students recently designed and built a hybrid laundromat and information center to revitalize the community of DeLisle, Mississippi, devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The project, entitled "39571 InfoWash," has been fully operational since last September. It was the focus of a master architecture class called The Design Workshop, which teaches students how to design and construct buildings for non-profit organizations from a socially responsible perspective.

The “whole community” patronizes the InfoWash, according to David Lewis, director of the Graduate Program in Architecture. The space was designed to handle everyday concerns so the town can focus on re-establishing itself.

Architect Federico Negro, a DeLisle native and Parsons graduate, took the first steps in creating the InfoWash, shortly after Katrina hit in August 2005. After contacting several clients, including fellow DeLisle resident Martha Murphy, Negro quickly found enough people to bankroll the project. He is currently employed by SHoP Architecture, the firm that helped make 39571 a reality.

Other clients who funded this project were DeLisle Corner LLC and the Mississippi Katrina Fund.

The class began last spring and was facilitated by Lewis along with Parsons faculty Terry Erickson and Joel Stoehr. It was designed to function in two parts, beginning with drawing in-class blueprints and constructing minor objects like furniture. Students and professors worked collaboratively to broker zoning restrictions, client demands, and budget constraints into a viable design.

The second half began in July when all 13 students and two professors flew down to DeLisle to begin construction. They were given on-site training and worked up to 16 hours a day, six days a week over the next six weeks. They started work before dawn to beat the oppressive Mississippi heat.

"This was not a summer vacation," said Architecture masters' degree candidate Laura Lyon. "We hit the ground running."

Although DeLisle was not hit as hard as surrounding areas, it was nonetheless far from functional after the hurricane. Fierce wind, mold, and flooding up to three feet high significantly damaged residents' property.

The area, about 2,500 feet north of a bayou, was once home to a thriving fishing industry and ravishing wetlands, according to Lyon. Now, she said, it is littered with "dying trees and heaps of rubble.”
"It was tragic to see photos of how it had been before," she added.

When the students arrived, residents warmly received their visitors.

"We became a celebrated part of the local Saturday night karaoke scene," Lyon said, although she admitted that the group lacked sufficient vocal talent.

The students were "totally adopted into the amazing community down there,” she added. “We missed New York for those eight weeks, but I also find myself really missing Mississippi and the people there."

From the beginning, InfoWash was designed partly to re-inspire the community.

"The client was interested in something that looked elegant and refined in contrast to the devastation," Lewis said.

The concept breaks InfoWash into two distinct sections. The "Info" is part of the waiting area and offers reading material on insurance laws and rebuilding tips that change along with the community. Across a breezeway is the "Wash," a laundromat with four pairs of washer and dryer units.

From afar, its open, breezy design does not appear out of place in a tiny bayou town. The outer deck seems perfect for kids to play games after school while their parents spread the latest gossip.

Closer inspection of the InfoWash shows the students' clever attention to detail. Afternoon sunlight illuminates the information center through cedar panels that resemble stationary Venetian blinds. The efficient interior is made elegant by favoring open space over furniture.

Despite the cohesive and balanced mixture of design and practicality, the students did not consciously develop the project in any particular idiom. The finished product sprang from "negotiations with the client" and "close attention to materials," Lewis said.

The building stands across from the only functional public school in the area, and adjacent from a "business incubator," a temporary space that gives local entrepreneurs a place to maintain their livelihood while rebuilding their trade. This effectively relocates the town's center of gravity so rebuilding can continue more efficiently.

Parsons has one of the few architecture programs in the country that offer hands-on experience along with theoretical study.

"A traditional architecture education never gets much farther into building than creating models," said Lyon. "Many architecture schools used the disaster as a case study for innovative hypothetical responses, and some schools actually built prototypes or sent volunteer workers down to help, but this was a unique chance to combine the theoretical design and the real physical impact of a usable building."

Students in past Design Workshop classes have constructed an art gallery at Washington Irving Public High School in Manhattan and an athletic storage facility for the New York Public Schools.

Arts: Getting Lang on the Air

By Courtney Nichols

Once upon a time, a small and lonely extracurricular club at Eugene Lang fought ferociously to be recognized and funded by the school's administration. Their concept and goal was to disseminate the student’s voice to the public in the form of a bi-weekly publication. Not only would it publish news stories, but student profiles would also be a regular component, and problems facing classes and teachers would be acknowledged. The result is the fabulous document you’re now holding in your hands.

That was four years ago. Now the same predicament that faced Inprint is facing another potentially great Lang institution: a radio station. The New Radio Project was originally conceived by senior Amanda Black in 2005. However, due to what Black considers a lack of interest and poor communication, her idea is only now taking shape, in the form of a course intended to create a business plan for the college's own web-based radio station.

"After two years, we just want to see it through so that one day the radio station will not only cater to the entire university, but also to the entire country," Black said.

As a member of the 2-credit class, I have found that my 20 fellow classmates are eager to create a web-based station, but we do not know where to begin. Issues such as space, Web design, audience appeal and technology/education still need to be worked out.

The course is run by media studies professor Sarah Montague, who admits that the process of organizing a new media venture has not been without its challenges. "We need to be a little more coherent on who we, as a class, are," she said.

Another problem is funding. "At the moment we have no money," Montague said. "We are making the case why we should have the money." Though the exact budget estimate has not been released to the class from the administration, the classroom is indeed setting our standards and wishes high. One advantage is that because the station will be internet-based, it will not have to buy or contract for expensive transmitting gear.

Web-based broadcasting also means that the entire world would have access to the station's programming.

Though many members of the class profess to be passionate about the cause and say they have a broad ambition to get some kind of programming up by the end of the 2007 spring semester, no specific timetable has been developed.

Other students bemoan the slow progress. "Although I understand it's hard to get something so substantial off the ground I feel the class is moving at a snail's pace," one student, who declined to give their name, said. "Some people are idle."

Another frequent complaint: students were not given a syllabus or even a general idea of what the class entailed. Instead, each Friday, the students themselves decide the next action that should be taken.

Over the course of the first two weeks of class, giant decisions have been made and The New Radio Project is starting to take shape...but not on paper. No statistics have been written down and no general idea of financial issues has been documented. The students have decided to begin with a Podcast and gradually ascend to a web-based station since the students and Montague agree that the first step is "to address the things we can handle directly."

More parties and campus flyers will undoubtedly draw attention to The New Radio Project. Exact programming is yet to be determined, but it will definitely involve a mix of original compositions from students, news broadcasts and alternative music.

Many at Lang seem willing to listen but few have expressed interest in working on The New Radio Project. So, at this point, the project is in the air. It may never get off the ground, but on the other hand, it's possible that Eugene Lang students will someday rock out to the sounds of their own college radio station. And hey, if we can make NYU jealous, isn’t it all worth it?

Arts: Project Runaway

After 25 Years, Tim Gunn Leaves The New School

By Cait McGinn & Photographed by Sam Lewis

Students and faculty alike were running a very fashionable five minutes late at last Tuesday’s meeting, set for noon at the Parsons building in the heart of the Fashion District. Tim Gunn emerged, wearing a stunning pinstriped suit. He announced to his predominantly ripped-denim-wearing student body his plans to leave the school for an executive position at Liz Claiborne, Inc.

News of Gunn’s resignation first emerged in a memo on February 1st to students of Parson’s fashion department. The memo closed with an invitation to Tuesday’s meeting urging students to voice their questions and concerns, given the abrupt nature of Gunn’s departure.

Gunn started his career at Parsons in 1982 and attained the title of associate dean in 1989. In 2000, he became chairman of the Fashion Department. Those familiar with the department agree that Gunn has lead Parsons to its highly acclaimed and rigorous reputation as one of the top design schools in the country.

In 2004, Gunn was yet again center stage when he accepted a lead role in the Bravo reality series, Project Runway. The reality show documents a team of amateur designers competing for $100,000 to start their own clothing line and the opportunity to host their own runway show for New York's Fashion Week. Gunn played mentor to the designers and consistently delivered his now famous catch phrase, “Make it work!” It has made him an intrinsic link to fashion know-how.

Pushing the microphone and podium aside, Gunn spoke warmly to students and staff about his departure. In a sympathetic and charismatic way, he expressed his love and admiration for the school, his coworkers, and most of all, his students. “You’re like my kids,” he said.

Gunn admitted that he was caught off guard by Liz Claiborne’s offer for chief creative officer, assuming that he would always be at Parsons. He “was never going anywhere else short of being expelled,” he said. He reassured students that everything would be “business as usual” after he left, promising a smooth transition into the final months of the spring semester, despite his absence.

Gunn’s explanation of his mid-semester exodus was brief, and made it clear that he would be embarking on a great professional opportunity, urging students that the change “would be good for all of us”. In his memorandum to students Gunn expressed enthusiasm for his upcoming work at Liz Claiborne, encouraging students by stating that he would utilize his corporate placement to recruit Parson’s graduates. Gunn’s duties as department chairman will come to an end next month.

Students asked about the fate of the department and the uncertainties that come along with an administrative head stepping down without naming a replacement. Students also expressed concern about a lack of space because of classroom and workspace overcrowding and expressed disquiet over their anticipating disruptive months in search of a replacement for Gunn.

When asked who would be taking his place Gunn responded, “We don’t know yet.”

Editorial: What Did You Do Today?

During a crucial point in American history, students must advance change

By Peter Holslin and illustration by Jeremy Schlangen

Last month, the Democrats in Congress hammered out a string of policies to reform Washington’s corrupt practices, increase opportunities for the poor and eliminate decadent tax-cuts for the rich. But last week, President George Bush introduced his own spending policy. He says he can eliminate the U.S. deficit in five years by slashing funding for countless federal programs.

Yet last week, he also requested billions of additional dollars to fund the war in Iraq and proposed a massive expansion of the Defense Department's budget and the overall size of the military. Over the next few months, thousands of soldiers will be redeployed deep into dangerous Iraqi neighborhoods to face increasingly vicious sectarian violence. Congress is now mired in a frustrating debate over the future of the war.

All of this will lay the groundwork for America’s future. We, as students, will carry the burden: our safety, social security, health and education are at stake.

This issue offers examples of how students can contribute to America’s future. A special spread highlights the anti-imperialist and anti-racist efforts of Mark Rudd, a former leader of the Students for a Democratic Society and the radical SDS offshoot the Weathermen. A feature showcases the work of Parsons Architecture students in a Hurricane-ravaged Mississippi town. Leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society and a conservative student organization at The New School, Republican Roots, have also contributed opinion articles.

Many of these students have made great sacrifices and dedicated weeks, if not months and years, of time to their work. But advancing change can begin with something as simple as picking up the phone and calling your Senator or Representative. What matters is that we get involved now to build an egalitarian and responsible America for the future.

News: : Finding Rapture and Learning Tamil, All for College Credit

By Julia David

Imagine spending an entire semester under the warm Indian sun, devoting the day to practicing yoga or meditation, navigating your way though a torrent of swarming vendors and eating the spicy and mouth-watering cuisine every day. Now, imagine getting credit for it.

Wendy Biddlecombe, a junior at The New School, doesn’t have to imagine all this. She’s already there.

Biddlecombe is currently studying abroad at the Pondicherry University in Pondicherry, an old French colony in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Although she’s a writing major, Biddlecombe is taking classes like Hinduism and Its Practices, Yoga, Spoken Tamil (the local language) and South Indian Classical Dance.

School is very different in India than it is in the United States, Biddlecombe said. Classes are primarily lecture based, if the teacher shows up at all. A large amount of emphasis is placed on memorization and written tests. If you’re a study abroad student at Pondicherry University, though, things might not be so bad.

“Luckily, in my study abroad program we take a few classes designed for just the foreign students,” Biddlecombe said. “So teachers are relatively prompt and aren’t mad if we draw in the margins in our blue test books.”

But the school portion of studying abroad, although significant, is not the epitome of the experience: It’s the opportunity to be removed from the familiar and explore the road less traveled that matters most to those who study abroad.

Biddlecombe said she chose to go to India because, “It seemed like it would be exactly opposite from anywhere that I’ve ever been."

Indeed, the Indian way of life is vastly different to that of the western world. A foremost desire is to attain and preserve happiness, which is not necessarily achieved through wealth or fame, a very baffling concept to most people in countries like America, England, or Italy.

According to Biddlecombe, life in Pondicherry “moves very slowly” and can also be “very ridiculous and very hard to understand.” In Indian culture, women are regarded as inferior to men. Men do not look at or talk directly to women and if a woman is accompanied by a man, the person with whom she is talking to will only address the man she is with.

“When I got sick in Bangalore, our tour guide called a doctor who came to my hotel room," Biddlecombe said. "He looked at the tour guide who was with me the entire time, telling him what antibiotics I had to take, how often I had to take them, telling him what I should and what I should not eat.”

Back in 1989, Sarah Saffian, a journalism professor at The New School and advisor for *Inprint*, studied abroad in the northeastern town of Bodh Gaya in the Bihar region of India, where there was only one phone in the local post office. During her stay in India, Saffian, a junior at Brown University, lived in a Burmese monastery with 18 other students.

“I wanted to go somewhere as different as possible,” Saffian said. “That’s the point of studying abroad.”

Saffian participated in two retreats while at the monastery and experienced what it was like not to speak for four days, how to center all thought and concentration into one activity and find purpose in every action. She was also blessed by the Dali Lama.

It was a “step outside of my own experience," Saffian said, as if the autopilot most people allow guide them through life was shut off.

“When things are unfamiliar, it wakes the mind," she added. “Traveling is a different kind of learning.”

Biddlecombe would agree. Even common experiences, such as riding the bus, takes some getting used to, she said.

“Buses are very crowded and always blasting Indian music," Biddlecombe said. “The buses don’t have doors, and it’s not unusual for someone to climb out of a window to get off, or for men to use a ladder to climb up and ride on the roof. The women have to use the door at the back of the bus.”

Biddlecombe, like Saffian, did not go through her own university’s study abroad program. Students can go through different universities or independent organizations to study abroad in their desired country and their credits usually transfer back easily. Biddlecombe went thought IISAC, The International Institute for Scientific & Academic Collaboration, an organization based in Newark, New Jersey and not affiliated with a university.

And so, the question remains: has studying abroad in India significantly changed in the past 18 years? Yes and no. Today, internet and telephones are more accessible, giving students the ability to regularly communicate with their familiar world back home. Saffian believes this makes it difficult for students to fully immerse themselves in the surrounding culture.

“You’re observing yourself,” she said.

But, being in India, she said, a country full of vibrant colors and enduring spirituality, it’s hard to fully overlook what’s around you.

Saffian has not been back to Bodh Gaya since her study abroad experience. When asked, upon her return, whether or not a certain familiarity would remain, she replied by quoting Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “You cannot step twice into the same river.”

News: Next Semester, is NORML in the Bag or Up in Smoke?

By Liz Garber-Paul

Unless someone steps up soon, the New School's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will disappear at the end of this school year. Since its inception in fall 2005, the group has been the efforts of virtually one student, Brandon Rist, a senior.

“It’s pretty much just me doing everything myself,” Rist said.

Meetings usually consist of him spouting a recap of his efforts over the week.

“I’m sure it’s probably my fault, too,” he added. “I’m trying to generate interest. I’m trying to get people more involved in more of the process. Because I have a feeling, the way things are now, as soon as Alex and I graduate it will probably just fizzle.”

There are over 60 names on the group’s e-mail list, but that isn’t brightening spirits. Vice President Alex Waddell—who is graduating along with Rist at the end of the semester—doesn’t know what the fate of the club will be, either.

“I am hoping that somebody will step up and lead the organization, and there’s a possibility of that,” Waddell said. “But right now, we don’t know of anybody that’s willing to do that. A lot of people are really enthusiastic but they don’t want to take leadership roles.”

With a school full of activists (and a courtyard that smells “funny” a lot of the time) why isn’t anyone stepping up?

NORML was founded in 1970 to bolster public opinion in an effort to repeal the prohibition of marijuana. They are a national organization with 135 chapters and a membership that includes over 500 lawyers. Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and Bill Maher are also currently members.

Thankfully, in New York City, drug laws are not as severe as in other parts of the country. In New York, according to NORML’s *Guide to State Marijuana Laws*, a first time offender with 25 grams or less will face a $100 fine and a civil citation—the same treatment as a minor traffic ticket.

When Rist first formed the group, he saw the need to focus meetings to address the specific needs of Lang students.

“Originally we were planning on doing more lobbying and more on that sort of angle of things and realistically, there’s not much to complain about in New York,” Rist said. “We’re trying to refocus the goal to be kind of campus education. To let people know the different rules on the different states, and to better protect people who wish to smoke.”

Last year, they handed out cards around campus that detailed what to and what not to say if stopped by the police. It was their biggest undertaking, Waddel said.

Rist has a plan to draw interest to the club—and perhaps save it from his departure. Sometime this semester, he will invite former Baltimore police officer Peter Moskos to discuss the war on drugs. The Evanston, Illinois native spent 1999 through 2001 working the graveyard shift in Baltimore’s Eastern District (see HBO’s *The Wire*). He left the force, and received his PhD in Sociology from Harvard in 2004. He has since been a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Brandon found Moskos through LEAP—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition—an organization that believes drugs, like alcohol, should be controlled instead of criminalized. Moskos plans to speak about the way in which the War on Drugs is affecting minorities in urban environments. While the “war” is supposed to curb the illegal drug trade, the harsh laws have had adverse effects on already impoverished areas.

As of now, there is no set time for NORML meetings. Rist is working on scheduling a time for Moskos to speak at the university. Until NORML hammers out a plan for next fall, he urges students to be content with his advice: if a cop walks up to you, eat the joint.
"NORML: Up in Smoke?"

Unless someone steps up soon, the New School's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will disappear at the end of this school year. Since its inception in fall 2005, the group has been the efforts of virtually one student, Brandon Rist, a senior.

“It’s pretty much just me doing everything myself,” Rist said.

Meetings usually consist of him spouting a recap of his efforts over the week.

“I’m sure it’s probably my fault, too,” he added. “I’m trying to generate interest. I’m trying to get people more involved in more of the process. Because I have a feeling, the way things are now, as soon as Alex and I graduate it will probably just fizzle.”

There are over 60 names on the group’s e-mail list, but that isn’t brightening spirits. Vice President Alex Waddell—who is graduating along with Rist at the end of the semester—doesn’t know what the fate of the club will be, either.

“I am hoping that somebody will step up and lead the organization, and there’s a possibility of that,” Waddell said. “But right now, we don’t know of anybody that’s willing to do that. A lot of people are really enthusiastic but they don’t want to take leadership roles.”

With a school full of activists (and a courtyard that smells “funny” a lot of the time) why isn’t anyone stepping up?

NORML was founded in 1970 to bolster public opinion in an effort to repeal the prohibition of marijuana. They are a national organization with 135 chapters and a membership that includes over 500 lawyers. Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong and Bill Maher are also currently members.

Thankfully, in New York City, drug laws are not as severe as in other parts of the country. In New York, according to NORML’s Guide to State Marijuana Laws, a first time offender with 25 grams or less will face a $100 fine and a civil citation—the same treatment as a minor traffic ticket.

When Rist first formed the group, he saw the need to focus meetings to address the specific needs of Lang students.

“Originally we were planning on doing more lobbying and more on that sort of angle of things and realistically, there’s not much to complain about in New York,” Rist said. “We’re trying to refocus the goal to be kind of campus education. To let people know the different rules on the different states, and to better protect people who wish to smoke.”

Last year, they handed out cards around campus that detailed what to and what not to say if stopped by the police. It was their biggest undertaking, Waddel said.

Rist has a plan to draw interest to the club—and perhaps save it from his departure. Sometime this semester, he will invite former Baltimore police officer Peter Moskos to discuss the war on drugs. The Evanston, Illinois native spent 1999 through 2001 working the graveyard shift in Baltimore’s Eastern District (see HBO’s *The Wire*). He left the force, and received his PhD in Sociology from Harvard in 2004. He has since been a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Brandon found Moskos through LEAP—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition—an organization that believes drugs, like alcohol, should be controlled instead of criminalized. Moskos plans to speak about the way in which the War on Drugs is affecting minorities in urban environments. While the “war” is supposed to curb the illegal drug trade, the harsh laws have had adverse effects on already impoverished areas.

As of now, there is no set time for NORML meetings. Rist is working on scheduling a time for Moskos to speak at the university. Until NORML hammers out a plan for next fall, he urges students to be content with his advice: if a cop walks up to you, eat the joint.

News: Q&A With Bob Kerrey: Listen Up, Lazy Intellectuals

Numerous controversial speakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the radical academic Ward Churchill, have spoken at The New School. Inprint recently asked New School President Bob Kerrey about his desire to invite more conservative speakers to the university.

Inprint: The New School has hosted a lot of controversial speakers, including Arizona Senator John McCain, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and the latest, radical academic Ward Churchill.

Bob Kerrey: The New School should have controversial speakers. It needs more conservative controversial speakers. They are more willing to invite people with radical views on the left than to the ones on the right, and we need to invite both. I’m not talking about national socialism, but just ordinary conservatives like John McCain or Newt Gingrich. They’re hardly what I call “extreme conservatives.” You can’t engage in a political debate until you’ve heard from both sides.

I: Do you think some faculty, students and staff may have been embarrassed that students attempted to protest Newt Gingrich’s arrival last semester?

BK: It was embarrassing…there is a limited amount of stuff that I can administer to. It does begin to send an unhealthy message out that it’s okay if you have radical ideas but not if you’ve got radical ideas on the right.

I: Is there anyone you’d like to see come to The New School?

BK: Yeah, I’d like to see Antonin Scalia come to speak at The New School. We had Bill Kristol [founder and editor of the conservative magazine *The Weekly Standard* here. I’d like to see people genuinely concerned with the movement here. Part of the problem with denying conservatives the opportunity to speak is that you don’t know what their views are. It’s a slippery slope when you form a prejudice about someone and they’re reluctant to come and speak based upon your prejudice. It really changes what you can hear. And I find that I can read Bill Kristol, but it’s not as important as having him here speaking. I’d like to see and hear the world views of the US Military. Anything you get that’s an alternative experience to the one you’ve got is healthy. The one thing that graduates at a university need to have in the 21st century is the capacity to think critical and boy, that’s not easy.

News: What's the Haps?

By Liz Garber-Paul

Only a few weeks into the semester and you’re already buried under the books? Let Inprint hazard a guess: this week, you want to think about something that wasn’t assigned.

If you missed it last time, the film Death of a President is back at Two Boots Pioneer Theater. Death, which recently won the International Film Critics’ Prize at the Toronto Film Festival, is a fictional documentary about the assassination of George W. Bush, set in 2008. “The ‘documentary’ combines archival footage and carefully composed interviews, presented in a respectful and dignified manner,” says Newmarket Films, the production company. According to Hillary Clinton, “it’s despicable.” Go see for yourself on Feb. 17 and 24 at 11 p.m. and Feb. 19 at 7 p.m.

Can’t get enough of early German films? Go check out the art from the same period in “Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition features portraits from the short-lived but artistically rich Weimar Republic period that exemplify the “New Objectivity” movement. Check out the works of Max Beckmann, Heinrich Maria Davringhausen, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Karl Hubbuch, Ludwig Meidner, Christian Schad, Rudolf Schlichter, Georg Scholz and Gert H. Wollheim from now until Feb. 19.

Wish there were more *Moby Dick* in your life? Just because you can’t make it to the Whaleman’s Chapel—in actuality, it’s called the Seaman’s Bethel and still standing, by the way—in New Bedford, Massachusetts, you can still have an authentic experience in Brooklyn. Go to a reading of Father Mapple’s sermon at the Greenwood Cemetery Chapel on 25th St. and 5th Ave., most Saturday nights at 8 p.m. Arrive early and see the graves of such Greenwood Hall-of-Famers as Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Boss” Tweed and Leonard Bernstein.

Perhaps you want to know more about what your liberal arts degree can do for you. In that case, David Scoby, Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, speaks on Friday, Feb. 16. The author and professor, who wrote the acclaimed *Empire Study: The Making and Meaning of the New York City Landscape*, will give a lecture called “Civic Engagement and the Double-Crisis: The Public Work of the Liberal Arts.”

When it finally warms up one of these days, make your way to 27th St. and 5th Ave. to see two exceptional exhibits that opened last week at the Museum of Sex. The first, “Spotlight on the Permanent Collection,” uses the museum’s permanent works to explore eight themes: sex education, mapping sex in America, sex in art, law and public morality, sex in advertising, sex and technology, sex and entertainment, and the significance of the Museum of Sex in New York City. The second, “Kink: Geography of the Erotic Imagination,” is a guide to fetish communities that lets you handle the props *and* see what they’re used for. Call (212) 689-6337 for hours and information.

Op-Ed: During a National Crisis, We Need the Kids

Jeremy Schlangen

By Pat Korte

The United States is facing what is possibly the most serious crisis in national history. In the last four years, we have neglected international law, invaded two sovereign nations, murdered an excess of 650,000 Iraqis and according to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, sent more than 3,000 American soldiers to die while massacring hundreds of innocent civilians from Haditha to Najaf. We’ve also tortured and detained innocent people indefinitely without giving them access to a lawyer or a fair trial and left thousands of poor people-mostly of color- to suffer or die in the streets of New Orleans.

State governments and campus officials have hiked tuition and continue to shortchange, re-segregate and corporatize higher education. Yet, college campuses have remained relatively quiet. The majority of the country is against the war, yet the Bush Administration is “surging” troops.

Why has the former “University in Exile” not had a banner drop, or a student strike?

During the Vietnam War, the draft forced students to address issues like these. Many students of the New Left also felt allied with the Viet Cong. Whereas in Iraq, the resistance to the occupation is divided into various factions according to national, political, and religious lines.

In addition to these basic features of the Iraq War, the lack of student resistance is a result of current youth culture. Though the Iraq War is an imperialist conflict of aggression, not to mention totally disrespectful of international law, the masses of students do not understand the dynamics of the war, nor the political, economic, and cultural dimensions of the U.S.’s hegemony. Most Lang students are probably unaware of the total death count of this immoral, bloody and illegitimate war. This apathy is deeply rooted in all major social institutions: in the family, in the church, in the school, and in the workplace. Universities in general, and The New School in particular, are no exception.

Consider the $6 million contract The New School signed with The Department of Defense for the Parsons Institute for Information Mapping (PIIM) to create a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) graphic. BRAC is a system which “shows personnel movement for both military and civilian personnel.” Clearly the university has money and opportunistic politics on its agenda and the administration has no interest in preserving the radical legacy of The New School. The university's current agenda clearly does not foster the creation of a new generation of American revolutionaries. Luckily for campus administrators, the political poverty of New School students will prevent a seizure of control of their collective destiny.

My peers may take this as an attack on their personal character, but it is a call to action. It is a call to break away from the everyday routine of capitalist life. It is a call to rip the mask of legitimacy from the “liberal” university–an institution that provides just enough freedom so its subjects will not question its overall purpose and orientation. This is a call to revive the idea of student power–the idea of creating an institution dedicated to human liberation and freedom. This is a call to revive the culture of radical politics – a positive process which collectively creates an acceptable pattern of social relations that can serve to bring people out of their impoverished, isolated lives and into the greater community. This is a call to revive the most explosive idea of the last hundred years – Power to the people.

Pat Korte is a freshman at Lang and President of Students for a Democratic Society, a national student organization that focuses on participatory democracy and anti-imperialist issues.

Op-Ed: Anna Nicole Smith's Obituary Vs. Palestinians in Mecca

Jeremy Schlangen

By Cameron Paine-Thaler

When did tragedies become trends? I’m always amused to see celebrities throwing relatively large sums at the latest tragedy, helping bring the news to popular culture and boost their image because these celebrities are doing good for humanity. If George Clooney and Angelina Jolie support aid to Darfur, then you should too!

I’m tempted to stop and ask people wearing hip Darfur t-shirts if they discovered the genocide through the MTV campaign. I don’t want to say that raising youth awareness of issues beyond the latest celebrity breakup is a bad thing—but what happens when the media latches onto the next international tragedy? We’ll see new pictures, death tolls, some benefit concerts, and soon thereafter forget Darfur’s troubles, which continue regardless of whether the news continues to cover it.

Remember Tibet? Still controlled by the Chinese. Did people just forget once their “Free Tibet” bumper stickers peeled off their car? There is no longer discussion about it because other tragedies have usurped the role of good-to-support-cause in popular culture.

Most Americans have the attention span of a gnat, and our media outlets recognize that it’s impossible for the vast majority to focus on more than one catastrophe. As soon as the initial shock fades, every news outlet searches frantically for the next ratings-boosting tragedy. Do you remember what came before Darfur? To name only a few, there were tragedies occurring in Rwanda, Somalia, Israel, Kosovo. Most of these countries are still facing the same tragic events as when we had benefit concerts and quirky pins to remind us. People seem to only grasp what the media, with its strategic use of celebrities, propaganda and shock value, tells us to care about.

The hidden tragedy is that most Americans will forget to care about an issue if it isn’t headlined on MTV or CNN. I question the earnestness of people who may not have even noticed had they not been told to care.

The media has become manipulative to elicit a viewer reaction. They carefully place eye-catching pop-culture news headlines into the real news that goes un-noticed. After all, last Thursday, I heard, saw and read more about the death of former-Playmate Anna Nicole Smith than the national unity agreement Palestinian leaders of Hamas and Fatah signed that same day. This momentous international meeting didn’t even make the CNN headlines while Smith was the lead story on every nightly news program.

Evidently, while we spend time mourning an important figure like Anna Nicole Smith, we can simply look to celebrities and their charity dollars to take care of the rest. Let them be the activists of the world!

It still leaves a conundrum: Which is worse, dropping tragedies like trends or having half of the population not getting the information at all? Tackle that one, Angelina.

Op-Ed: Give Me Opinions or Give Me Death

By Justin Lane-Briggs

"Fair and balanced"? You know that's a laugh. Fox News has been its own punch line for years. But maybe the joke's on us.

At the very least, Fox's slogan has captured our imaginations and left us swooning to the ridiculous notion that journalism actually can be objective. Have we always been so gullible?

In these troubled, mud-slinging times, pundits and talking heads accuse each other of being biased, editors worry about too much editorializing the news, and the conservative watchdog group Accuracy in Media (AIM) has been specifically monitoring PBS programs for a "liberal bias" and "anti-American" sentiments. Even Tony Snow has been slammed for selling a slanted point of view from his White House podium. Come on, people, it's the White House! Of course the story's gonna come out skewed!

Lack of objectivity in the news is hardly newsworthy. Journalists have been making headlines for their pointed commentaries for as long as there have been headlines to make.

"Newspaper reporters and readers of the 1890s were much less concerned with distinguishing among fact-based reporting, opinion and literature," noted news historian Michael Robertson, in David Nasaw's biography *The Chief: William Randolph Hearst* of that preeminent paragon of publishing. Hearst himself is rumored to have helped start wars in foreign lands in order
to criticize the government's response to them in his newspapers.

At one time, papers proudly declared their political allegiances; Democratic readers knew to read reports in a Republican rag a little warily. But it's harder to fool a man who knows you're trying. Maybe that's why everyone's accusing each other of having opinions -- they're hoping to draw attention away from their own.

Now I'll admit, we still have magazines with an open and unapologetic approach to their editorial bent, like *The Nation* and *The Economist*, but these are relatively extreme examples. It's only a matter of time before they come with warning labels on the covers, reminding potential perusers that this literature MAY CONTAIN IDEAS AND OPINIONS.

With all this worry over who's telling us the whole truth and nothing but, we're forgetting the trick to reading what other people wrote: you gotta think about it afterwords. Perhaps I overestimate most people's ability to do that, but with all this concern about keeping opinions out of our press, it seems to me that readers of today must be even lazier than they were yesterday (if that's possible).

So let's get some exercise for a change. Try this. Next time you read an article, no matter how biased it might seem, take a moment, do some breathing, and ask yourself, "What do I make of this?" Now that you have your own opinion, does it really still bother you that the writer had one, too?

Op-Ed: The Dish: Righteous or Dubious? Students Debate the Value of RED's Charity Work

Liz Garber-Paul and Najva Soleimani discuss the commercialization of activism in preparation for Inprint’s activism issue.

LGP: I think that contemporary activism has become too focused on marketing. The object of activism has always been to create change. I think that goal is still the same, but the method has shifted. What used to be grassroots organizing and marching on Washington has become big business, like the Gap RED campaign. It’s all about what kind of marketing ploy will get your cause in front of the most people without anyone actually committing to the cause.

NS: I disagree. Most people today are not personally affected by world events. They can’t care because war or AIDS in Africa do not change their daily lives. We are isolated from these issues in such a cursory way that they aren’t real to us. Maybe having celebrities talk about issues is what it takes to make people listen. Corporations that support causes help to make important issues visible in our daily lives.

LGP: But, by buying into the media and using marketing as our main platform, we believe that it’s all about the glitz and who can stay in the spotlight longer. The only people who are actually heard are celebrities trying to get people to support large media campaigns, rather than actually go out there and do something to cause a change. It doesn’t seem like anyone is really dedicated anymore.

NS: I think there are a lot of people out there who care. The people who go out and buy the RED shirts at Gap are not necessarily the people who care, but at least they’re supporting a valid cause that may be lacking funds. These big businesses are the money behind the people who care.

LGP: I think that one human voice will make a greater difference than that many people buying RED cell phones. The problem isn’t that people are giving money to these causes. I think buying a cell phone that gives proceeds to fight AIDS in Africa is definitely a good thing. The problem is when people think that’s enough. Some people say, “Ok, I went out, I bought a RED t-shirt, I bought a RED cell phone, I did what Brad Pitt told me to do and now I’m a good person and I can go back to living my life.” Maybe if those people didn’t feel like buying a t-shirt was enough they would actually have gone out there to do something. Before there were marketing campaigns, people who wanted to make a change went out and did something. It’s not that the activists stopped caring, but the public will only listen to large corporations. There isn’t any attention given to individual voices.

NS: Certain people do think buying a t-shirt is enough, but would those people have done anything otherwise? At least by buying a t-shirt they are partially contributing to something.

LGP: But people only pay attention to the campaigns. They aren’t interested in the actual issues.

NS: They can’t be interested because the issues don’t affect them. During the Vietnam War people were in danger of being drafted. They were aware of it every day. Because there are no consequences of war for most people unless they are connected to someone in the military, national activism campaigns are now the only things that keep people aware of what’s going on in the world.

LGP: But why, in a world where we’re supposedly so connected, where we can see what’s going on all over as it happens, do we feel connected only to the causes that have the most media attention? At what point can the branding and marketing of causes end? When will we stop throwing catchphrase activism around and actually do something?

NS: When we are personally affected. When people feel that their own safe lives are invaded. But some people are still acting; there was a huge march two weeks ago with thousands of people saying they’d had enough.

LGP: Marching for peace is only going to get you so far.

NS: Do you honestly expect every person to get up and personally fight for a cause? A lot of people give whatever they can. You go about your life and if you have extra time or money to spare you move and make things happen, but sometimes you only do it on a small scale. Protesting is a huge commitment that most people can’t afford, but they can buy a special cell phone or t-shirt.

LGP: It reminds me of the early 90s when activism got really fashionable. It’s like the Seinfeld episode when Kramer was walking for AIDS but he wouldn’t wear the ribbon. They were actually raising an interesting point, as if to say, “I’m walking, I’m doing something, I’m not just going to wear the ribbon.” It’s better to do something than make a fashion statement about doing something. At what point are people going to say, “I’m not going to wear the Gap RED t-shirt or use the RED cell phone because what does it actually accomplish?” When will the activists actually act?

Op-Ed: The Elephant in the Room

A Republican at Lang Speaks Out

By Lauren Cuscuna

Today, the differences between a conservative and a liberal and between a Democrat and a Republican are pretty clear-cut in most people’s minds. However, all of the policy positions attributed to these ideologies are victims of context.

No current issue is ever analyzed to confirm that it actually follows liberal, conservative, democratic or republican thought. To express this point, I started a club last semester called “Republican Roots.” Creating it elicited gawking eyes and dropped jaws. Only a few open-minded students approached me to learn the intentions of my club: to re-evaluate the meaning and history of the words “republican” and “conservative.”

Historical figures from Machiavelli to Lincoln have painted the picture of republican ideology for ages and it has always been the rejection of a monarchy. Republicanism was founded on liberal values, advocating less government involvement, with personal freedoms of the highest priority and sweeping citizen participation at the highest necessity.

Now the Republican Party is all too democratic with social issues, supporting and attempting to enforce the majority opinion. While controlling congress, this party has allowed for more corruption than ever before in American history, offered dangerously extensive executive power, blunted alternative viewpoints, and invented a totally new kind of election process where citizen participation is completely obsolete. In short, they defecated on the ideology from which their convictions came.

Conservatism, the preservation of tradition and community, is another misrepresented word. Richard Hooker, an Anglican theologist, was the most articulate in explaining the rationale of conservatism: the traditions of the past were traditions of working countries, ergo, conservative thought will ultimately maintain the wellbeing of a society. Edmund Burke, the godfather of conservatism, clearly stated that the main law of this ideology was that there cannot be a concrete idea of right and wrong, and the traditions preserved must adhere to the needs of the present.

Liberalism is the support of individual rights. So a liberal argument would claim that abortion should be legal because a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body. A conservative argument would claim that the prohibition of abortion has proved ineffective in the past, and that it created more unwanted children, higher crime rates, worse public schools and overcrowded hospitals. Ultimately, it has been detrimental to the entire community.

It is easy to see why conservatism has become what it is today. Conservatives argue for the preservation of democracy, the institution of marriage, and unity in the church. However, these conclusions are reached illogically and ignore Burke’s number one rule, by choosing which components of the past to preserve before the needs of the present have been addressed.

The inequality in the distribution of wealth and the anticipation of an economic crisis calls for the Keynesian policies introduced during FDR’s New Deal era. Our country calls for action toward equal rights, as it did in the early twentieth century for women and the mid-century for African-Americans. We need to restore what this country was founded on and founded for: checks and balances and a voice for everyone. These are conservative values.

The Republican Party has maintained power for the past six years not because they have honed their convictions, but because they have mastered one technique: language. Support the troops means support the war, values means their values, conservatism means preserving traditions they idealized, and Republican means plutocrat. To so comfortably accept this abuse of language is only to aid in their corruption.

Widespread participation is required to repair the damage they have wrought on American democracy.

Op-Ed: Pardon Moi?

By Amber Sutherland

Why am I a jerk?

I'm glad you asked, public. I‘ve been wondering why you’re a jerk for some time now. After months of analysis, I believe I have discovered that your supreme "jerkiness" is a combination of several key elements. I want you to take it slow, so what follows are two of the most glaring jerk factors I have discovered in my research.

First, you have a ridiculous e-mail address. When I have to send a letter to, I don't bring my A, or Amber game, which is ordinarily characterized by respectful formality and what Nietzsche called "the spirit of gravity." I don't take you seriously, Mr. Captain, and as a result I send you an informal letter devoid of capitalized proper nouns and correct spelling. When you read this email you feel, even subconsciously, that you are being treated with the disregard normally reserved for a common pauper, which only abets to your jerky attitudes.

You are also too loud. Some people can be heard clear across the courtyard. If I wanted to know what is going on in your life, I would talk to you. Take a symbolic ride back to your formative years and channel your inside voice. The resulting mystery you affect may even make you appear enigmatic—and thus more appealing to others!

But, dear and darling jerks, lest you think Pardon Moi? is merely an excuse for this fair columnist to pass cruel and unusual judgments, allow me to assure you that this element is but a large part of my work. Another, much smaller but marginally important part is giving accolades to those of you who work tirelessly in the service of etiquette each and every day. You otherwise nameless, faceless people try to make life a little more pleasant for your friends and colleagues. I invite you to enjoy and be inspired by a new feature of this column, Great Moments in Etiquette History

This edition of Great Moments celebrates the brunette in my fiction class last semester, who leapt from her chair to fetch paper towels for a wayward student who spilled her coffee all over the table. Kudos, brunette. An honorary celebratory spirit goes to the short guy who let me hold the elevator on the fifth floor for well over a minute so I could wait for my travel companion. Bravo, short guy.

I also want to acknowledge those of you who have taken the time to write me with your etiquette questions and general praise. Your concerted efforts to improve your comportment are the first of many necessary steps to ridding yourself forever of your jerky ways.

Send your questions or great moments in etiquette nominations to

Op-Ed: East Activism in 7 Steps

By Kevin Dugan & photo by Sam Lewis

Some people at Lang use words like props. Like a bad Whose Line Is It Anyway? skit, they'll throw them around in all sorts of silly ways. "Activist" is one of those words. So, for the uninitiated, here's a step-by-step guide to understanding the mind of the Lang activist.

1. Symbolism is Hot: Forget useful protests: symbolic ones are totally in. Banner drops and handing out flyers are the m.o. du jour. If people don't agree with your catchy slogans, just proselytize them until they see the light.

2. Facts are like eyeliner. Less is more: "New School paid Newt Gingrich $50,000"? That was a great one, guys! You really had me going for a second! Hire a fact checker.

3. Fake it 'Til You Make It: Ain't no shame in it, we all know that not everyone can be Che. Join a group and before you know it, you'll go right along with the Groupthink.

4. No Need to Sweat It: Working for change is *so* 1919, and that was like 100 years ago! Talking works, especially with the friends you agree with. Some people call it masturbation, but hey, self-love ain't so bad when you're always oppressed!

5. Black is the New Black: Don't worry that all your clothes come from Burma, it's important to raise the flag and gather the troops! If you hang around enough protests, you may even get onto, and that means you're a real revolutionary.

6. Keep It Simple, Stupid: Just like your wardrobe, make sure your outlook is black-and-white. Everyone less liberal than thou is a fascist, so look out. They can be hiding everywhere--especially in your shower!

7. The World is Your Catwalk: It's a cruel world out there, and you have to show everyone that you're not afraid to look good. Wherever you are--Union Square, Bluestockings Books, your Latin American Studies class--dress to kill with an attitude to match.

Naturally, there are people who don't follow this criteria. They're just freaks, so stay away from them. Remember to keep the struggle alive. I mean, what else is there to do?

Arts: Hit the Stage with a Paintball

Diane Landro

By Estelle Hallick

Twins Alyssa and Laura Waldron grew up writing stories together and accidentally splattering paint on their mother’s rug in Pine Plains, New York. Now, years later, things are a lot less messy for the Lang juniors, as they gear up for another creative collaboration—their play, The Red Paintball, which will be featured as part of the Strawberry One-Act festival in New York in February.

The Red Paintball is a dark comedy spotlighting an “out-of-his-mind” Christian high school principal named Maxwell Morrison who is hit with—you guessed it—a red paintball as he is bicycling home from a meeting one day. The aftermath of the student prank is the main focus of the twenty-five minute play.

The project began as one of Laura’s class assignments in an introductory theatre class at their previous school, Dutchess Community College. It was a hit and chosen for an end-of-the-semester show, recognized with the college’s Writing Center Award that year.

“That was going to be it," Alyssa explains, "but the theatre club at school had a showcase going up in the city, and we offered The Red Paintball to their cause. When we added it [and it was performed], people got whipped into a frenzy."

The excitement did not end there. It was also well received at the Producer’s Club in May 2005 before being put to rest for a little while. But not for too long—upon their move to New York City, Laura and Alyssa revived Paintball when they decided to submit it to two festivals.

Consequently, the play was accepted into the 12th annual Strawberry One-Act Festival, a play competition that attracts hundreds of submissions from across the country each year. Forty are chosen to participate in the festival. From there, the plays are broken down into several performances where four plays are featured at a time. The winning play is awarded a grant and the chance for a full-length play to be developed by New York’s Riant Theatre.

Recently, before their big night, there was much to do—they had to finish casting (the lead actor is “amazingly hilarious”), directing (Laura’s forte), tweaking every word and (unfortunately) went on a last minute search for a light board operator.

There are the obvious expectations. “Oh jeez,” Alyssa starts, just as modest as ever, “[they are] semi-high, just because [the play] did so well last time and we’ve improved it.” Her favorite time of the night? “The best moment is definitely when [the audience] laughs, and I mean like, actual roaring laughter. That satisfies me so much.”

For these siblings, the need to create is one that will never be satisfied. Alyssa is hoping to finish a couple of the musicals she has started to pen and revisit the “craptacular pages” of a historical novel she began a few years ago. As for collaborative projects, Alyssa and Laura have embarked on a full-length play starring Maxwell Morrison, the Paintball character, which they say has gained some interest from a production company as well.

From stage to page, the possibilities are incredibly endless. Cue curtain.


The Red Paintball will be performed at the Strawberry One-Act Festival on February 17th at 7 p.m. at The American Theater of Actors, 314 West 54th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenue. Visit for the upcoming SpringFest production of The Red Paintball.

Arts: Venue Vendetta: Sidewalk Cafe

By Courtney Nichols

Attention all who thought that rebellion ended when the last punk turned 30: our generation’s revolution is happening at The Sidewalk Café.

Established in the 1980’s, this dive bar on Avenue A is the hub of the Anti-Folk movement, known for producing such talents as Beck, Regina Spektor, and Jeff Buckley. The mission of the venue is to "feed and entertain the local international populace and to get them drunk," Latch, the Cafe's one-named music and entertainment promoter, said.

This dimly-lit gem hosts local talent, often shunned from other venues, at no cover charge, and offers a famous open-mic night on Mondays that regularly sells out and runs into the wee morning hours. Rock artists, comics, jazz musicians, and singer/songwriters perform nightly to an audience that tends to be a "mix of artists and hipster cognoscenti," according to Latch.

Though the club has definitely "fostered community," the restaurant/bar does not have the technical capabilities to host the great artists they feature and the acoustics often suffer at the hands of belligerent drunks in the front room. However, don’t get me wrong, as Latch points out, The Sidewalk Café is "one of the few venues that people actually drop by just to see what’s happening."

That's understandable, considering how many acts have taken to the stage here as nameless faces and left as renowned artists. In a city that at times "does not understand the natural resource they have as an artistic center," as Latch puts it, The Sidewalk Café continues to be a glimmer of hope.

"There’s been a cultural movement or awareness that is always peculiarly American and this sort of tribe has had different names," Latch said, summing up the cafe's ethos. "Anti-Folk is a child of those revolutions and The Sidewalk Café is the home of that movement; a great place to get a warm meal and a cheap shot of whiskey." Well, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The winter Anti-Folk festival will take place February 9th through the 18th. Artists like Adam Green of the Moldy Peaches will perform. For more information, go to

Arts: Who Flew the Co-op?

Sam Lewis

By Julia Schweizer

For those seeking a more socially responsible grocer among NYC’s supermarket mega-chains like Gristedes and Associated, look no further than your local food cooperative. Traditionally member-owned and managed, co-ops offer healthy, locally grown products, often in bulk, and with prices cheaper than those of Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

Downtowners: Try the 4th Street Food Co-op, located at 58 E. 4th St. between Bowery and 2nd, open most days 11am-9pm. No membership is required, but members do get a sweet discount. Another plus is that this co-op is powered completely by wind energy.

Brooklynites: Check out the famed Park Slope Food Co-op at 782 Union St. between 6th and 7th Aves, open most days 8am-10pm. Though the required membership process is rigorous, the pay off is worth it—this co-op boasts some of New York’s best local and organic vegetables, fruits and meats.

Also in Brooklyn: The Flatbush Food Co-op is open daily 7am-10pm and is located at 1318 Cortelyou Rd. between Argyle and Rugby Rds. No membership is required.

Happy shopping!

Arts: Against Me! = Sell Outs

By Jon Reiss

Is it okay for someone to burn a nation’s flag and at the same time stuff their pockets with that same nation's money? If a band with a message sings for a major label, does their message become diluted or is it a step toward reaching more people? Why is it that we get so mad when one of our favorite bands becomes popular?

When indie rock first made its way into the mainstream, a funny thing happened. Bands that had spent their high school years writing about bullies and jocks beating them up began playing to crowded stadiums full of the very same bullies and jocks. When Rage Against the Machine became a big deal in mainstream music, people argued over whether Zack De La Rocha’s human-rights-oriented speeches between songs had any affect on the mindless masses who preferred the music as background for beer drinking and fighting. At the heart of it all is the “Underground” or “DIY Punk Scene.” When a band from such a scene grows too large to stay within such small confines, controversy ensues.

That, at any rate, is the story of Against Me!.

The band, (Tom Gabel, Andrew Seward, James Bowman and Warren Oakes), formed in Naples, Florida in the mid-nineties and became known for their clever and subversive anarchist lyrics. The band’s breakout album Reinventing The Axl Rose features songs like “Baby I’m an Anarchist,” in which they sing about throwing bricks through Starbucks windows, and the title track, where they sing about rock stardom versus hard working musicians who play for the love the music and the scene. “We want a band that plays loud and hard every night," Gabel sings, "and doesn’t care how many people are counted at the door/ They’d travel more than a million miles and ask for nothing but a plate of food and a place to rest/ Everyone will leave that the memory that there’s no place else in the world this is where they’ve always belonged.”

Against Me! delivered on their promises. Last summer the band played a benefit for the now defunct historic punk club CBGB’s. By the end of their set, the bouncers had fled and the stage was bombarded with kids. Finding the actual members of the band was like a Where’s Waldo. One kid had picked up a dropped guitar and in front of him stood Against Me!’s guitarist showing the kid how to play the song. Almost everyone stood side by side with the singer, singing along to the infectious chorus of the last song with everything in their hearts. However, there was a moment during the show in between songs when amongst the calls from fans requesting various songs, someone yelled “Baby I’m a Capitalist.”

In the past year, they’ve been voted “Most Controversial Band” by and graced the covers of loads of music magazines as a result of their jump from strong indie record label Fat Wreck Chords to a subsidiary of Universal. That landed them on the same label as Mandy Moore.

Early fans also disapproved when they demanded their first record on founder of Plan It X's Chris Johnston to be given back to them because they did not like the packaging. Plan It X is a label that subscribes fully to DIY punk ethics and charges no more than 5 dollars a CD. On recent Against Me tours, the band has been met with everything from protestors outside their shows to slashed tires.

“People ask me if I am an activist and I say, 'Yes, I am a musician.' I know this may sound cheesy, but I have seen the patterns and results, and I believe in punk rock," says Johnston, who also sings in the band Ghost Mice. "It saved my life [as] it has saved many others. It woke me up to a world I never would have known. There was a time about four years ago where they [Against Me!] were a highly inspirational DIY punk band that made people feel powerful and hopeful. They are no longer that band. The message got lost at the mall.”

Against Me’s New Wave will be out in late spring on Sire Records, when they will tour with Riverboat Gamblers and Fake Problems.

Arts: Five Best : Films of 2007

By Josh Kurp

5. Pirates of the Caribbean III: At World’s End (May 25)

Can Keith Richards get his “rocks off” as a pirate? This and other important questions (like, will it better than the second one?) will be answered in the third and final movie.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13)

Now that we know Daniel Radcliffe looks sexy with his shirt off, let’s all hope that Dumbledore’s Army will kick as much ass on screen as they did in the book. …Because that’s totally not a nerdy comment.

3. Grindhouse (April 6)

The trailer kind of stunk, but half of the movie is a zombie film by Robert Rodriguez and the other half is a slasher film courtesy of Quentin Tarantino. Need I say more?

2. I’m Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan (TBA)

Named after an obscure Basement Tapes-era song from 1967, this movie about Bob Dylan is directed by the guy who told the life story of Karen Carpenter through Barbie dolls. If this doesn’t sound awesome to you, I hope you enjoy seeing junk like Norbit.

1. The Simpsons Movie (July 27)

The longest-running sitcom in television history finally comes to the big screen. And I’ll be first in line to see it. So take that, kid at Lang who I always see in the courtyard wearing a Simpsons shirt.

Arts: Book: What is the What by Dave Eggers


By Kevin Dugan

Valentino Achak Deng was about eight years old when, in the middle of the night, he watched a lion jump out of the Sudanese brush and eat a boy named Ariath.

Valentino didn't know the boy, but they were united as "Lost Boys," children orphaned by the Sudanese genocide, who had been walking hundreds of miles towards safety in Ethiopia. His 18-year-old group leader, Dut, commanded him and the others to sit down and shut up lest the beast attack again. Soon after, a second boy ran off, only to find his neck caught between the lion's jaws. When the lion had its fill, the boys dusted themselves off and continued walking in silence, as they had been for weeks.

There are plenty of books that recount the horrors of Sudanese survivors, but Dave Eggers' phenomenal new novel What is the What goes beyond education. All proceeds go to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation which distributes funds to Sudanese refugees in America, rebuilds southern Sudan and funds Deng's college tuition.

What is a partly fictionalized first-person account of the real-life Valentino from the outbreak of the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983 to the present. Most of the plot focuses on him in transit from one safe haven to another, only to find misfortune when he is promised relief. However, even when he is running from falling bombs, getting betrayed by the army sent to protect him, or defending his apartment from muggers in Atlanta, his outlook is as humble as it is complex. There are no "good guys" here, no one you can easily root for, and even the worst of them are saved from easy demonizing.

For those turned off by Eggers' previous novels, such as A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and You Shall Know Our Velocity, you won't find the same pretentious postmodern posturing in this prose. Eggers sheds his own distinctive voice and convinces the reader that they are reading the story of an optimistic young refugee. That trick alone is worth the price of the book, but what makes this truly special is the emotional weight of nearly every line. Yes, Valentino tells tragedies that can make your jaw drop, but this reviewer walked away from What feeling that he has just as much humor to spread around.

Rating: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Arts: Music: Various Artists, L-Tunes

By Najva Soleimani

What do Tori Amos, Peaches, Kelis and Nina Simone have in common other than the female anatomy? They're all on L Tunes: Music From and Inspired by The L Word.

While every half-decent lesbian has been asked to pick which member of The L Word cast they’d most like to bed, there’s now a new token question for lesbians everywhere, “What’s your favorite song off the L Word soundtrack?"

It's a strong selection, and each song is as diverse as The L Word’s characters, from tortured writer Jenny to sexy home-girl Papi. L Tune shouldn’t be listened to all the way through as with a traditional soundtrack—it's not an easy jump from Da Brat’s lusty hip-hop “In Love Wit Chu” to PJ Harvey’s dirty-rock “Down by the Water” or Fiona Apple’s soulful “Sleep to Dream” to The Protoypes' French dance “Je Ne Te Connais Pas.”

Instead, think of it as a musical buffet. You probably wouldn’t date every member of The L Word cast, so why would you like every song on the soundtrack? Pick a few, and take them, I mean your iPod, to bed and leave the rest.

Rating: Call me promiscuous, but I’d do 9/14 of ‘em.

Arts: Music: Norah Jones, Not Too Late

By Alexandra Sourbis

Not Too Late
was released just at the right time, if you're looking for an interesting sound to be to be added to your MP3.

On January 30, New York City's own Norah Jones released her third major album Not Too Late. The album includes the pop and folk elements featured in her first two masterpieces, Come Away With Me and Feels Like Home, while adding a strong soul/jazz influence. It has definite potential and may swell Jones' Grammy collection from eight to nine. The album’s mellow sound leaves the listener completely satisfied, for not only are the instrumental aspects of the album mastered, but the lyrics are quirky, and songs such as “Little Room” and “Sinkin' Soon” are likely to make listeners chuckle.

When Jones is singing about oyster crackers and “wheels of cheese high in the sky,” it’s hard to take her melodramatic tone seriously. In early June, fans of Jones' will have the opportunity to see if this singing sensation will entertain in another realm of entertainment. This summer, she will star in Wong Kar Wai's *My Blueberry Nights* next to experienced actors Jude Law and Natalie Portman. Jones has shown so much musical growth and talent in *Not Too Late* that whether or not her acting career takes flight, she will continue to impress the music world with her amazing vocal and songwriting skills.

Arts: Film: Race to Execution

Race to Execution. Director Rachel Lyons. March 27th on PBS.

By Courtney Nichols

Rachel Lyons' Race to Execution documents the racial profiling, segregation and prejudice that engulfs death row sentencing and media coverage of crimes against white victims by black perps.

Sadly, because of our country’s own inadequacies, the judicial system is littered with flaws that go unseen by the public. For instance, a predominantly white jury sentencing a black defendant is 70% more likely to issue the death penalty than a jury that is predominately black or divided equally. In most cases, these injustices go unnoticed or unquestioned and continue to take place. Though the documentary ultimately becomes tangled within its own narrative, Race to Execution still highlights disturbing issues currently plaguing our jails and courtrooms and, hopefully, will bring to light racial disparities in the judicial system and the agenda of an essentially racist media. With the help of viewer-supported PBS, *Race to Execution* will reach a greater audience—one, ideally, that is willing to work to stop discrimination.

Rating: Angry? Get out there and make a difference!

Arts: Theater: All That I Will Ever Be

Joan Marcus

All That I Will Ever Be.
Director Alan Ball. At the New York Theater Workshop.

By Alexandra Sourbis

‘All That I Will Ever Be’, directed by Alan Ball, the same man who created the Emmy Award-winning series *Six Feet Under* and directed *American Beauty*, will be in theaters until March 11, 2007. It’s the story of an immigrant from the Middle East who has trouble identifying himself to others and loses the man that he loves upon discovering that his deceitful ways may have cost him his happiness. This is a show about being true to yourself and those you care about. Be sure not to miss it because it’ll have you sitting at the edge of your seat anticipating the main character’s next move. Although slightly predictable at times, the character development is so in-depth that viewers will have no choice but to leave the theater deep in thought and conversation. This play deals with the racial and gender issues of today, in a post 9/11 world where people need to constantly be reminded that words can sometimes be more harmful than violence.

Arts: Music: New, Frengers

Mew, Frengers

By Julia Schweizer

First released in Europe in 2003, Dublin indie rock band Mew's Frengers (a mash up of “friends” and “strangers”) has finally dropped in the US. *Frengers* kicks off with "Am I Wry? No." Dry? Yes. Static and chorus-driven, the highlight of the music is undoubtedly "Snow Brigade," which had me humming along before the end of the song.

Like And the Glass Handed Kites, the band's debut that earned them indie cred in the US, Frengers has some redeeming qualities. Jonas Bjerre and Stina Nordenstam’s quiet vocal harmonies on “Her Voice is Beyond Her Years” made me forget the collision of monotonous electronic riffs and overly breathy vocals.

RATING: Not quite good, but not quite bad. Gad?

News: Women of Color Speak Out

By Linh Tran

Lang has diversity issues. Around the school, administrators, faculty, students, and even the women’s bathroom stalls say so.

Nowhere is this sentiment expressed more passionately, perhaps, than at the Lang cafeteria on West 11th Street, where students from a Lang organization meet before, after, and between classes to discuss how they are affected by Lang’s lack of ethnic and racial diversity in the classrooms and in the faculty. They are called the Women of Color.

Composed mostly of Lang women who felt that they did not have a voice within the university,
the group formed in the fall of 2004 and became an official organization during the spring semester. Their purpose is to provide a space where women of color can speak out.

“Before we came together, there wasn’t a space for people of color to come and talk about the racism that happens in the classroom, to talk about things that affect us as a community,” said Jamila Thompson, a Lang junior and active member of the group.

“We were lonely, voiceless, ignored, and frustrated,” before Women of Color formed, said Amaya Noguera, a second semester senior. Sophomore Charnell Covert said she feels ostracized as the only ethnic voice in a classroom, and frustrated because she feels that she has to over-represent an entire group of people. Other members have had the same experience.

The group will host a number of events throughout the semester, including film screenings and literature
workshops, and will also start a newspaper called Habari Gani, Swahili for “what’s the news.” The paper is a joint collaboration with Columbia students and will be distributed on both campuses. The women will also bring back a health discussion series they hosted last semester.

“We really try to do things that are both political and engaging,” said Lang sophomore Charnell Covert about the series, that dealt with issues like preventing HPV and HIV/AIDS.

Last semester, the women also produced and put on a well attended play by Ntozake Shange, called, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Many of the group’s members performed in the play and the others helped with the production and advertising.

The event received positive reviews and this semester Sarah Lawrence College invited the group to produce the play at their college.

“This is our way to stake a claim in this university,” Noguera said. “To speak as one voice. To come together as one entity and gain power through that.”

The group meets every Friday at 6:30pm on the 4th floor of 55 W. 13th St.