Archive for September, 2009

It’s Been Awhile

Monday, September 28th, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

Last weekend was fairly quiet for Wash. U. sports. There was only one varsity game on Friday night with the women’s soccer team triumphing over Division I Southeast Missouri State University 4-1. Senior Caryn Rosoff  continued her offensive tear with yet another hat trick, her second in just as many games. UAA conference play will be interesting starting this weekend against Emory University. The forwards including sophomores Emma Brown, Lee Ann Felder and Rosoff seem to be a cohesive offensive unit now.

Volleyball took a complete break from practice after last Wednesday’s victory over Fontbonne University. They resume practice today so I look forward to seeing how they do at the first UAA Round Robin at Rochester this weekend.

Men’s soccer bounced back from their first loss of the season with a 1-0 win over Greenville. I’ve been seeing a lot of players scoring their first goals recently. It just shows how each player is a threat.

Men’s tennis continued their dominance of the ITA Central Regionals. Senior John Watts picked up his fourth individual title while juniors Isaac Stein and Max Woods captured the doubles title.

Women’s golf ended a very successful fall season with a second place finish at the Millikin University Fall Classic. The Lady Bears pulled off a two stroke victory over regional rival Illinois Wesleyan.

Football will have a season defining game this weekend against Rhodes College at home.After the 46-0 rout at the hands of Wittenberg University a few weeks ago, the football team needs to make a statement in order to salvage the season.

W.I.L.D., the semi annual concert is also this Saturday so it’ll be curious to see what the fan dynamic is like.

Ahead in Student Life coverage:

  • Interviewing the Bear mascot
  • More alternative story formats
  • Columns
  • And a lot more

Stay tuned for more exciting news


Monday, September 28th, 2009 | Student Life Staff

Approximately five years ago, I watched a man wake up in a jungle, run as fast as he could towards a beach, and survey the terrible carnage that was waiting for him once he got there. Luckily, this was not a real-life experience. I was watching the opening moments of “Lost.” “Lost” has shaped my television viewing experience, but sadly, it will be ending this May. ABC has been searching for the next “Lost” for a long time, and I think they have finally found in Thursday’s new show, “FlashForward”.

Thursday’s pilot episode opens with Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) waking up from a terrible car wreck. As he climbs out of the car to stand up, there is nothing good to see. Every single car on the highway has crashed, sirens are going off everywhere, and people are on fire. Like “Lost,” it is the aftermath of a completely terrible accident.

Soon, we watch most of our main characters going about their lives before the crash. We follow Mark into Alcoholics Anonymous and watch an unknown man on the verge of killing himself. We learn that Mark is an FBI agent, and his wife, Olivia (Sonya Walger) is a surgeon. And then, we see the crash happen.

But it’s not an ordinary crash. It’s a global disaster. Every single person on the planet passes out simultaneously for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Millions of people die. During the blackout, we see into Mark’s consciousness as he experiences a memory. It is April 29, 2010, and someone who wants to kill him is chasing him inside his office.

April 2010 hasn’t happened yet, obviously, and that is where the title of the show comes from. During the blackout, most of the main characters experience a flashforward to this one moment in time. Those who saw nothing should be worried. Mark remembers that during his flashforward, he was trying to solve a particular case: what caused the flashforward itself.
“FlashForward”, like “Lost”, is a serial drama that focuses on many characters whose lives will all eventually intersect. As we meet the main characters, we begin to see the far-reaching effects of what the flashfoward means. Demetrei (John Cho), Mark’s partner, saw absolutely nothing when he blacked out. Olivia saw herself in love with another man who she has not even met. Some people saw good things in the future. Others saw nothing of particular importance.

It is rare for a pilot episode to captivate my attention as quickly as this did. In only 42 minutes, it introduces a handful of characters and many storylines. The cast all seems perfectly suited to their roles, and even though Joseph Fiennes and Sonya Walger are foreign, their American accents in this show are flawless. Like “Lost,” about a million questions were asked, but “FlashFoward” actually started to answer them. By the end of the pilot, we learned what most of the main characters had flashed about, and I’m so interested in finding out how they will get there. “FlashForward” seems like it is going to end every episode on a cliffhanger, which is frustratingly awesome. At the end of the pilot, we learned that there was one man in Michigan who didn’t succumb to the blackouts. Who is he? Why did he stay conscious? Hopefully, the show will answer these questions soon.

“FlashForward” made a few blatant references to “Lost,” clearly trying to pick up the same audience. They showed a billboard for Oceanic Airlines as well as a kangaroo wandering around downtown LA, belonging just as much as that polar bear did in that jungle. Olivia’s portrayer, Sonya Walger, plays Penny on “Lost,” and I’m sure most “Lost” fans will be excited in a few episodes when Dominic Monaghan (Charlie) shows up.

From the pilot, “FlashForward” appears to be asking some really important philosophical questions. Does fate exist? If we know what is supposed to happen, can we change the future? What does all this mean? I, for one, am very excited to find out. “FlashForward” airs on Thursdays, 7 central, on ABC. You won’t regret tuning in.
-Andie Hutner

simulacra and simulation (of simulation of simulation of simulation…)

Thursday, September 24th, 2009 | Dennis Sweeney

Katie’s question about whether the wire versions of human frames or the actual people looking at them better represent the human form intrigues me. For a quite other form of art that approaches this problem, check out the recent video of students’ reactions to Wash. U.’s ranking as number four university in “Quality of Life.” The concept of the videocamera has pretty much made everybody, following Baudrillard‘s exaggeration of Jameson‘s “image world,” representations of themselves. Sincerity dies.

Does art, like Katie’s wire people, do the same thing? Might it have this kind of deleterious function, causing people to wear makeup and work out and keep their elbows off the table and, more harmfully, to project an insincere image of themselves, so that they can be like Michelangelo’s David or (if they’re weird) Matisse’s dancers?

Certainly, all our actions are planned and projected. Ok. But maybe certain art makes us too aware of that projection. We begin to have to represent the representation of ourselves—to project our projection. Does art make us deleteriously more conscious and remove us another step from whatever internal truth we’ve got??

Secondly, Katie is wrong about art being art as long as it works for somebody.


I think this bulletin board is artful. Full of bright colors juxtaposed with wood grain and stone, full of the symmetry of randomness, bottom heavy and tossed by the wind. And certainly there’s art that is random, that uses chance and more or less forgets the artist (e.g. the current Kemper art exhibit) but it is still declared by an artist as art. The definition of art (I propose) is that more than one person thinks it is artful. Art is a social contract. (My favorite kind is the (not-)art  that only I appreciate—that’s kind of what I meant last year in a sort of controversial article when I said that maybe some stuff in nature is more beautiful than “art.”)

A few more notes concern mainly how typeface can make or break (mostly break) a design concept.


The juxtaposition of the archaic-looking gargoyles and trim with the really precisely cut and almost kitschy “DUNCKER HALL” type (in perhaps the Comic Sans of ALL CAPS classic-ish fonts) is another articulation (this time in inanimate objects) of the simulcra of which our world has begun to be composed. The thing almost pulls off its imitation of “old” and “historied,” but the tiny serifs on the ends of its “R” and “L”s betray its inauthenticity.


And, this banner sucks. It’s mostly the type. It gets the job done (i.e. you can read it), but in my opinion when as a designer you have a full color 25-foot long canvas to work with, you not only make a cool cut-out of a football player, but you take more than 60 seconds to choose the font that you use. I’m not good enough to know the name of that font, but I’m good enough to know that it’s goofy as hell—i.e. it’s bankrupt, converted by overuse into an image of itself, another function of Jameson’s image world, Baudrillard’s hyperreality.

It’s our duty as designers to find a font that is new and cool and does not succumb to self-representation. It’s our duty to, metaphorically and literally, avoid Comic Sans. (Remember how Cato declared at the end of every speech, “Carthage must be destroyed”? Maybe this should be my eternal battle call. “Comic Sans delenda est!”)


Sunday, September 20th, 2009 | Steph Spera

Neil Patrick Harris is glorious.

I love when stars feign embarrassment as the camera pans on them.

Requisite Paula Abdul joke.

Jon Hamm you are gorgeous.

NPH – you are phenomenal, I put down the remote.

Funny bit on LOST. NPH, I’m feeling your monologue.

Yes, nice touch with the Kanye joke.

Hmm, this changing the stage thing is pretty cool.

Also, note, I love montages!

Yes! The fire scene from The Office!

And the scene with Jon Hamm and Liz Limmon! Perfect ending scene.

I would willingly be in a threesome with Tina Fey and Jon Hamm.

Jon Hamm. You are a god. Zeus himself sculpted you.

Way to go, Seth, with the F-bomb.

Okay, let’s just discuss how I can’t stop staring at Mr. Hamm. With your beautiful bowtie and your chiseled jaw…

Kristen Chenowith, you are fabulous.

What’s with the glasses! This is GREAT!!!

A monocle!

Okay, that threesome stands with Amy Poehler and Will Arnette too.

Vanessa Williams. I am sad about your lack of glasses!

Holy crap! Kristin, well-deserved!! You are adorable and hilarious and I would hire you despite looking like you fell into a pile of broken mirrors.

143 Pushing Daisies!!! We watched you!!

Emmy’s, I am really feeling this new format.

I am also enjoying the color commentating. Way to go PC!

Dear cast of How I Met Your Mother, I want to live your fictional life.

Also, the two baby mammas are lookin fine.

And dear Jason Segal, marry me.

Obviously, 30 rock, though, that was such a good episode. Liz Lemmon was a Mean Girl.

Haha, Matt Hubbard, majoring in history at Harvard, proving to all history majors you can do anything … if you go to Harvard.

Harlem Globetrotters, where have you been all my life, way to acknowledge the mediocrity of that joke, NPH.

Amy and Julia, you are all fabulous. Everyone is fabulous.

Tracy, win, just for the speech.

Duckie. Lame. Kevin Dillon is going to kick your ass in the parking lot.

Although, Jon Cryer, that was a good joke. And your sweater vest is hilarious.

Justin, I will make you laugh, I swear.

Bea Arthur, Repsect!

Sarah Silverman! You’re mustache is very dapper.

Toni Collette, well deserved! I’ve been a fan of you since Muriel’s Wedding. But, your speech was boring.

NPH, keep bringing up this Jon Cryer thing. I’m loving it.

Leighton and Blake, you don’t look as pretty as usual. And I feel better somehow.

Justin, you were the highlight of SNL last season, and I could just listen to Tina Fey talk forever.

That was a weird bit with the directors. Weird but enjoyable.

Rob Lowe, you have a grand jaw.

As much as I love Alec, I was hoping for Steve or Jermaine.

Lorne, this is your night.

Oh yes, 10 minutes have passed and this Family Guy joke is still going.

God, the reality award speeches are going to be the worst. And our TV Editor will actually punch a baby if Tom Bergeron gets recognized in any way.

Amazing Race, you proved that deaf people can be total tools too. Slash, Real Housewives of New Jersey, thank you for existing this summer, and making me never want to hear the word ‘bubbies’ again.

Hannah: Who’s the celebrity? The fringe on those pants is ridiculous.

What is this dance? If only you picked a better song. Pee break!

Babies, beware, reality show host category is up.

Oh, Jeff Probst – way to be a good sport about your fiasco as 1/5th of the host last year. (note, babies, you are safe.)

Probst, when you run out of islands in the South Pacific, just go on tour as a motivational speaker.

Tracy Morgan. Be everything I want you to be and more.

Tray, I love ya.

Amazing Race deaf kid, you are an ass.

Way to open that gracefully Tray. Also, 1 person reading this blog, Hannah Schwartz, TV Editor and I will be on the Amazing Race someday.

Finally, I can put a face to the name Bertram VanMunster.

Sadly, I have watched 0 mini series that do no involve the BBC and Jane Austen.

Way to go Grey Gardens guy, you are with it, with your topical awards show references. Sir, I don’t know your name, but you are giving a wonderful speech! There is a single tear running down my cheek.

Mad-Eye Moody!

Patricia Arquette, what in gods name is that on exoskeleton on your body.

The Accountants, everyone’s favorite part of the show.

Yes! Dr. Horrible. Okay, NPH, host everything on every channel forever. And Nathan Filion! This bit about the internet is actually clever.

Also, more good news, Eli Manning and the suckfest that are the Giants are currently getting beat by the Cowboys. Keep it up boys!

Jessica Lange – your shout out to Drew just makes her more adorable, and, look, Mac is here too.

Variety Category. These montages are great.

Coldplay and Viva la Vida, now we’re getting serious.

This category is just everything else that has ever appeared on tv that isn’t a drama or comedy or reality show.

Is his suit jacket leather?

What does that tractor even mean? Why is that a back-up plan?

Conan, that was cute. Oh my gosh, Billy Crystal, where have you been? I want another City Slickers 2.

Also, the writers of SNL are my age. Why aren’t I writing for SNL? If you’re reading this blog, don’t answer that.

Eli Manning, why were you in that commercial? I hate you.

Jimmy Fallon and autotune. Giggles.

The Muppetts! That Oscar opening number was intense.Please Flight of the Conchordss!!!!

Wow, this category is great.l JT is nominated all over the place.

Probably the only musical number I didn’t want to win….

Okay, new respect for you, self-depreciating guy, a joke and shout out to Flight of the Conchords.

Hannah (on Mr. Gervais): He should be knighted.

Ricky Gervais, my face hurts from smiling. You are brilliant. And your pseudo-feud with Steve Carrell is also magical.

So bowties are in. And I’m hoping Flansie is his dog.


Sam Waterston? You’re still on TV. What’s happening with robot insurance. And eww Katherine Heigel, there is a reason, and by a reason, I mean 37,401,471,431 reasons why you’re on our women we hate wall.


Also, note how short the Mad Men clip was because they are going to sweep this entire section.

Ben Linus won.

Hannah:  Ewww, I just saw Charlotte.

^I second that.

I only watch Lost and Mad Men. So, yeahhhh, supporting actress means nothing to me.

What’s happening? What’s gong on?

Obviously Sarah McLachlan to do what is to be the longest In Memoriam in Emmy history.

Paying respect. And crying. My tear ducts are leakier than average I think.

Hannah, as I’m crying: Who’s doing the doobiedumdum part? Seriously? It’s not Sarah.

Chewing gum, True Blood guy-not classy.

Michael J. Fox, you are truly an inspiration.

Matthew Weiner, you are all over the place.

And now on stage, making kidney transplant jokes.

In ten years, we’re going to look back at these glasses, and cry. Like Hannah said, they unknowingly followed the trend of the Best Supporting Actresses.

Peggssss!!!! My favorite Mad Men clip!

Cruella DeVille, seriously, I was rooting for you Betsy Moss.


Holy frick!! Jon Hamm lost – and looks sad.  And Frankie Muniz’ dad won. I should really start watching this show. I hear it’s wonderful. Well, at least AMC got a win.

The big 2! Drama and Comedy! And Bob Newhart! I love exclamation points.

The only thing better than Tina Fey making out with Jon Hamm has gotta be Tina Fey making out with Bob Newhart, who generating way more than just repsect-laughter.


“That was a nail biter.” Was that sarcastic? You are a goddess. Grizz and DotCom are up there! And Josh Gerard. The gang’s back together. I can’t wait til October 15th…

Sigourney Weaver, why are you here? And why isn’t there an alien popping out of your stomach? Sorry, that’s the only movie with Sigourney I’ve sat through – besides Baby Mama, but that was just a movie with Sigourney Weaver, not a Sigourney Weaver movie.

If Mad Men doesn’t win, I will freak, what a good theme song. (Also, anyone who’s ever seen Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, it’s eerily similar to their opening credits)

Elizabeth Moss and Fred Armisen are the most adorable couple. This is the most beautiful collection of people (minus Matthew Weiner) I have ever seen.

Where’s Ken Cosgrove? Where’ my boy?

NPH, you did a magnificent job. Okay, and now onto the multitudes of homework I put off this weekend. Cadenza, you are ruining my gpa.

Never seen anything like it

Friday, September 18th, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

I’ve watched many volleyball matches. I’ve covered the last two seasons of Washington University volleyball and watched the Bears capture the 2007 national championship  in 2007. Despite this, I’ve never seen a match go so far.

The scores say No. 7 Wash. U. swept No. 1 Juniata College on Sept. 17, 2009 ending a winless streak since 2005. Every set went into extra points. But Wash. U. held on and won (27-25,41-39, 28-26). The 41 points scored set a new Division III record for most points scored in a single set under the 25 point format. Each Wash. U. error was greeted with a groan as the Eagles caught break after break. In past performances this season, the Bears have taken it to the edge before dropping sets 26-24.

The last two Juniata games I saw were also Red Alert sponsored games with crowds in the 1,500 range. Both of those featured close sets with the Eagles eventually triumphing.

What was different this time?

Smaller crowd of 512 people due to Rosh Hashanah and the Balloon Glow.

Ball control- Wash. U.  had 68 digs and 12 blocks (five solo, 14 assisted).

Motivation-At the beginning of the season, I talked with tri-captain senior Laura Brazeal who had told me this was one of the games she looked forward to because no one on the team had beaten Juniata before. Now they have. While it might not be a national championship, it could be a preview of a match down the line.

Everyone stepped up especially freshmen Marilee Fisher and Kelly Pang. Fisher had 44 assists and 8 kills. Both she and junior Marya Kaminski had .462 nights. Senior Erin Albers was explosive down the middle with a team high 15 kills.

In a story by Juniata’s Sports Information Department, Juniata head coach Larry Bock said “We were out-ball controlled, and that’s something uncharacteristic for Juniata volleyball.”

Wash. U. shows promise. Juniata beat UAA rival Emory last week. Wash. U. beat Juniata. We’ll see what happens Saturday but if the Bears keep their nerve in these tense moments, great things will come. They have fallen to Ohio Northern and Hope College earlier in the season.


Thursday, September 17th, 2009 | Netta Sadovsky

So I was going to review a place called Sapphire for this week’s Student Life…

I went there and it had a pretty nice image. You can get a feel for it on their website

But I’m not sure what that conspicuous seared tuna is doing there. The food, unlike the ambience, is bland and uninteresting. Their options include cripsy orange beef, cashew chicken, and pad thai, and for those with wilder desires they offer some tilapia and salmon. (Don’t believe the dinner menu on that website. For the purpose of this review it is a lie-half that stuff wasn’t available when we went on Friday)

Soo we ordered things like $15 pad thai, plus some for shrimp, so like $17 pad thai, and once it got to the table we kind of forgot the fact of the price and enjoyed our meal. Afterwords we sat and reflected because I wanted to do a more objective food review by getting thorough opinions from everyone about their food. Everyone’s all “not bad! hum hum!” and then we’re like… wait a sec. This was like a cheap asian food meal, worth like 8 bucks tops. What are they thinking? They are going to fall out of the market with this nonsense! They can’t possibly exist when Noodles and Co makes competitive pad thai at less than half the price!

My table reached this epiphany and we were considering it incredulously when our attention shifted to the table over where our server was conversating with a few regulars. Our server, who despite being very friendly was also rushed and seemed frazzled, was just answering a man who was tooting the restaurant’s horn (“yup! best tilapia in the nation no doubt about it!”) with a “too bad it will be the last time you ever have it–” dun dun dun!

We investigated. Turns out the place was closing on Saturday, the very next day in fact. The restaurant was going to be replaced by another generation of Pi. Reflecting on this mysteriously led my mind astray. I began thinking thoughts like “How fortunate that we came here today! What luck, and the chefs must have been cooking with their hearts wide open today!”

A moment later, the novelty of the situation having been fully processesed, I realized that there was really nothing fortunate about having gone to Sapphire on its last day. The food was mediocre and overpriced, and while the world would soon punish them we were there to suffer their last crime. Furthermore, this meant I would have to quickly find some other place to review for StudLife (or, as one friend suggested, highly recommend that no one goes there… or recommend pi lovers to give them a try. Huck huck.)

That’s My Show?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Student Life Staff

So I’m watching Sunday Night Football on NBC (boring game, by the way. Cutler needs to step it up), and the commercials hit. There’s something about Bud Light, maybe that VISA spot where Morgan Freeman tells everyone to dance, and then this hits:

Low lights.  Calming music. And then things brighten.  Lights are pouring, literally pouring out of the sides of the frame. And everything moves in slow-motion as Pam smiles at the camera. Excuse me if this isn’t verbatim, as I don’t have a perfect memory, and I couldn’t find the promo on YouTube, but just as Pam flashes her pearly whites and Amy Poehler gives us a close-mouthed grin, the voice-over guy says (approximately), “Come to NBC Thursday Night, and smile with us.”

Shudder. Uggggh. Double Shudder.

Can this really be NBC’s ad campaign for what is supposed to be their tour de force of comedy? I sympathize with NBC, I really do. My two favorite comedies, “30 Rock” and “The Office” are on NBC, and it’s a shame they’re perpetually ratings-challenged. NBC has a ditch to climb out of, but this is not the way to do it.

I can’t think of one time “The Office” showed a scene in slow-motion, or with halo lighting, for that matter. “The Office” is a show about an awkward work space that’s fueled by the antics of a crazy, though well-intentioned, boss, and is humanized by Jim’s and Pam’s relationship. It’s not about the sentimental moments and the “ah, shucks” cheery smiles. “Parks and Recreation,” flawed as it may be, is a scathing satire of bureaucracy; you won’t find a touchy-feely moment in the show that isn’t followed by a joke about paper-pushing minutiae.

NBC isn’t going to fool any returning viewers with these ads, and if they manage to attract new viewers, they’ll instantly change the channel once they realize that “The Office” actually isn’t a primetime revival of “Leave it to Beaver.” Advertise what you have, NBC, don’t pretend your shows have been plucked out of the last-third of “Evan Almighty.”

And when the heck is “30 Rock” coming back? Sheesh.

-Percy Olsen


Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Katie Sadow

1. shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception.
2. the quality of being crafty

Sheesh! You’d think Meriam-Webster would make some allusion to the craft we’re talking about here. Anyway…

…unmoved by Sarah Giannoblile’s abstract paint daubing, I nevertheless give her hearty props for the hand-craftiness that my tie-wearing co-writer admires. Personally, I found this work a little more intriguing:


photo 4

Now, I’m not saying I want to wear either of these frocks to Saturday night’s big party; I’m not even saying I want to wear them in the winter to combat the bitter cold; I’m actually not saying that I’d ever want to wear either of them; I am, however, saying that they are far-out. Perhaps springing from the loins of a textileophile (yes, I coined it, and it refers to one who is tremendously fond of textiles, see francophile) makes me more likely to appreciate weird coats at an art fair, but even if your mother didn’t spend her weekends shoulder-deep in giant vats of dye you can still absorb some of the objective coolness of these garments. They are super hand-crafted, they are completely unique, and depending on your style they might be exceptionally fashionable (although, maybe not). In case they did strike your fancy, they are made by Candiss Cole, and in case you wondered, Shibori is very “in” these days.

On another note and in a different medium, I was also particularly struck by Michael Gard’s metal sculptures:

photo 3

photo 2

I wish I’d taken better photos of them, but in the first one I think it’s worth asking whether human form is better expressed through the floating/hanging sculptures or the folks walking past them.

I’m generally not a big fan of sculpture, but something about these mesh, flying figures was really very striking. I was reminded simultaneously of Matisse and Degas (respectively):

The Dance I

The Dance II

dancers in the classroom
Dancers in the Classroom

ballet dancers on the stage
Ballet Dancers on the Stage

It seems worth noting that one of (if not the) most vital distinction(s) between the first two paintings (Matisse) and the second two (Degas) is the degree of – as Dennis might say – kitschy imperfection. I’ve heard a lot of negative things said about the pair of Dance paintings, and that’s possibly because they’re not very good and possibly because I’ve been hanging out with the wrong crowd, but I can state with certainty that external criticisms aside, I love them both. However, I also love just about every Degas dancer work I’ve ever seen. So what does that mean?

On one hand we have art that’s raw, passionate, almost abstract, almost carnal; on the other hand we’ve got fine-grained, detailed, reality-bound depiction. Who are we to say that one trumps another because it looks more hand-made? Who is anyone to make comparisons across categories wider than any ocean we’ve yet encountered? I don’t mean to fixate on Dennis in this outcry; I’m talking to art critics worldwide, past, and present; I’m talking to everyone, including myself. The inherent beauty/uniqueness/value of art is that it is all subject to opinion. Critics can bash The Dance all they like, and can print Degas’ immortalizations of now dead ballerinas on tote bags, and we can argue over all the complexities of what makes art art and what makes good art good (and trust me, we will) until the sun goes down or until the apocalypse comes, but art will be art in all its value and glory as long as there are artists making it and somebody – anybody – appreciating it.

Just one person is enough.


Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 | Dennis Sweeney

Trubious (opposite of dubious) comment on the fire hydrant. Here’s another e.g. of the same concept, on the streets in Clayton, MO:


And yet another, on South Grand in St. Louis:


Sadow and I had the conversation, though, that in her mind the same old point applies to every one of these artistic conversions of utilitarian everyday pieces: uniformly, they transcend functionality and make the useful pretty or, even, beautiful.

I, on the other hand, want to stop and take a picture of every one of these: I conceptualize them in terms of difference. I struggled, though, to think of a way to refute her brain’s understanding of these as all essentially the same. The only thing I can find to make sense of it as this: aesthetics by definition (especially here) transcend functionality; they cannot be fully understood in terms of their “function” as prettifying the banal. Insofar as we understand categories in terms of function, we cannot categorize art. The very virtue of painting these electrical boxes is that they, in being painted, become singular, uncategorizable, for their lack of functionality.

But here’s another thing that makes these examples particularly cool: they’re hand-crafted, and they retain imperfection. Hand craft makes the kitschy sincere; it makes the ridiculous artful; it makes art amateurish, where it’s allowed to transcend the usual irony of professional art by not being engaged in all its fraught discourses. An awesome piece in Meshuggah Coffee House on the Loop:


Can you read that? It’s for the “Bob Dylan Discussion Group.” Here it is in context:


The hand-crafted element—the artistic signature or signification of the amateur—adds something quite apart from simple aesthetic value. As does the presence of type, especially in this piece. I think that aesthetic value, the pure visual pleasingness of a work of art, is what allows you to say, “that is beautiful.” The presence of hand-craft, though, as well as other signifiers like type, are what allow you to say, “I love that,” in perhaps a very real way.

At the St. Louis Art Fair this weekend, I couldn’t figure out why, in the midst of a number of well-made, probably visually pleasing items, I found myself moved only by the work of artist Sarah Giannobile, like this:


It’s not just because it’s visually pleasing (bright colors, distinct forms, conflict within an overarching theme) but because its hand-craft is so manifest. Maybe I pigenhole myself as a product of the same geist that welcomed in abstract expressionism by saying so. But I find that work like this, one can not only see, but love as well.

Heavy thoughts and musings

Sunday, September 13th, 2009 | Johann Qua Hiansen

Lynn Imergoot Memorial

I went to the Lynn Imergoot memorial service at Graham Chapel on Sunday afternoon. For those who are unaware, Imergoot passed away on July 24 in a car crash. Imergoot was the former head women’s tennis coach and an assistant athletics director. Her last position was as the assistant director of intramural and club sports.

I was impressed with the turnout of staff, students, friends and family. Each of the people present was a testament to Imergoot’s influence. Her legacy reaches far beyond her family and deep into many of the successful varsity and intramural sports available at Wash. U.

Women’s Golf

Wash. U’s fledging golf program made a big statement, dispatching two top-20 teams at the Wartburg Invite. The Bears first place finish in a field of 22 was their strongest performance in their two year history. Freshman Hannah Buck continues to impress spectators with a third place finish. The full story will be in Wednesday’s issue but look to the golf team to go far this season.

Men’s Soccer

It must be frustrating to have so many ties for the men’s soccer team. I caught a bit of Sunday’s game against Rhodes College and the team overcame a 1-0 deficit to knot the score at 1-1. Wash. U. has had the opportunities yet struggle to finish off their opponent. It was another double overtime tie. The Bears need some wins in the upcoming games.

Women’s Soccer

The Bears displayed their dominance and resilience this weekend with a 3-1 win over No. 21 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps followed by a 10-0 rout of Grinnell College on Saturday evening. It’s a pretty big statement when the top scorer, Emma Brown, didn’t even account for half the team’s goals. Brown finished with a hat trick while Lee Ann Felder had two. Five other Wash. U. players chipped in a goal as well. Hopefully the team doesn’t get overconfident and end up playing sloppy in their Michigan road trip.

Women’s Volleyball

This weekend illustrated the depth and potential of the volleyball team. With Vicki Blood and Erin Kasson sitting out part of the weekend, freshman Marilee Fisher and sophomore Lauren Budde stepped up. The two seem to bei in rhythm. Kristen Thomas continues to consistently deliver some strong kills. Wash. U. looked a little sloppy in their 3-0 loss to Ohio Northern but battled back or set the tone early in their other matches. Whitewater looked to be in control in the final match before Fisher sparked a slumbering Wash. U. offense. With Whitewater beating Ohio Northern, the Bears split the title.

The upcoming Teri Clemens Invitational is one of the toughest tournaments in Division III. Should Wash. U. win the tourney, the Bears will make a strong statement heading into the future. The odds are against No. 8 Wash. U. with arch rival No. 2 Juniata, No. 6 University of La Verne and No. 7 University of St. Thomas in contenton.