Sunteți pe pagina 1din 12

the Bennington Free Press

Volume 18 Issue 3 | Friday, November 16, 2012

For all the bike lovers (or at least riders)
out there, a new ninja path, intended to
run from downtown Bennington through
the College into North Bennington, is
being built. As exciting and underground
as the name may sound, this ninja path
is nothing illegal; it is, as one of the main
ninja advocates and North Bennington
cycling instructor Bruce Lierman calls it,
a grassroots effort by enthusiasts from
both Bennington and North Bennington to
fnally create a route that connects bikers
from both towns without getting them
killed on the highway.
To understand the need for such a
trail, one must frst look at the current
routes into Bennington: up Silk Road
past the monument or down 67A. These
routes suck. Theyre both awful biking
experiences. In fact, resident biker Michael
Thomson 15 fondly recalls his ride up Silk
Road as being literally the worst biking
experience of [my] life.
I, too, was at frst unsure of how bad
a time one could have riding a bike into
town, so last Tuesday, I decided to ride
on behalf of the BFP into Bennington
and back to experience it for myself. The
trek up Silk Road I can only describe as
a hellish stair climb, with the slope all the
way from College Drive to the Bennington
Battle Monument alternating between
pretty steep and hella steep.
Riding downhill on Monument Ave.
past the Old First Church Cemetery (fun
for Halloween biking!) lands you right in
downtown Bennington, but theres still
the return trip to the College. Following
Northside Dr. and 67A back up to College
Drive may be easier on the thighs, but the
chances of being hit by some schmuck
doing 50 in his pickup are much higher.
This is why people have been pushing
for around thirty years to get a new bike
path built that is both safe and scenic. Due
to inadequate funding, however, all local
government projects to build a path have
fallen through.
The ninja path, which actually began
as a Chamber of Commerce Special
Activities Project, coordinated by
Chamber Director Joann Erenhouse, has
in the past six months made more progress
towards a decent biking path than has been
made in the past thirty years. By proposing
to private landowners the idea of building
a simple, unfnished bike path that would
run through their property, the team
behind the citizen-made path provides an
alternative to waiting for funds that may
never be received. According to Lierman,
Its much easier to get a dozen people to
do some volunteer work than it is to deal
with any governmental body.
So far, both the Hannaford and Monument
Plazas have agreed to allow the path to
run through their property, and the frst
100 yards of the path have actually been
built between the pedestrian bridge and
Monument Plaza, but it really completes
half of the route, states Lierman. This
allows riders to go from Benmont, over
the bridge, and behind Monument Plaza
and bypass the entire area between 7A and
monument plaza. The next step, according
to Lierman, is to get past highway 279.
Plans to bypass the bypass, as Thomson
puts it, are already in place, as there is
already a roadway, about twelve feet wide,
that runs under the 279 bridge and right
over the Walloomsac River. While the
roadway always stays dry and poses no
serious threat to the wetland around it, the
diffculty is connecting to it on both sides
of the river in a manner that the state would
approve of.
Once the path connects the two plazas,
its simply a question of how all the ninjas
will be able to safely cross 67A to get
through the College to North Bennington.
Until then, I salute any riders brave and/or
tough enough to bike into town via either
of the ridiculous non-ninja routes.
Grassroots Bike Trail To Connect Bennington, North Bennington
Understanding Changes in the Student Billing Policy This Year
This year, students may have
noticed that they can no longer charge
daily fees to their student account.
Although tuition is high, it cant cover
everything we need, particularly when
some things dont necessarily apply to
all students. Everything--from health
services to transportation, lost IDs to
room damages, costs money. Now, instead
of having those charges bundled up and
sent out at the end of term, they have to be
paid up-front, and generally at the time of
There have not been any formally voiced
complaints regarding the switch, but the
general tone on campus from the students
about the new policy is not a positive one.
Students often go into Health Services
or Student Life needing to see a nurse or
book a shuttle with the expectation that
they can pay later when their bill arrives
at the end of the term. Both services are
willing to be fexible, and often allow
students to set up payment plans (in the
case of Health Services) or come back
and pay when they are able (at certain
times in Student Life.) The transition is
going slowly; with some-specifcally
upperclassmen having trouble adjusting.
Although it can be inconvenient, the
Business Offce didn`t see it as a possibility
for things to continue the way they were.
The principle reason is the system that
we have for billing is designed to handle
tuition billing. It was never designed to
handle incidental fees, said Laura Krause,
CFO of the College. For many reasons,
using the old system to deal with the
daily charges that students have to deal
with was 'like ftting a round peg into a
square hole, said Krause. Quite frankly,
the volume was becoming too much.
The increase in student charges is likely a
result of the increasing student population.
The goal in this change was not only
to help the Business Offce deal with a
cumbersome software program, but also
to make dealing with these charges more
effcient for the students. Because the
current program isnt set up to track and
deal with this type of charge, there was
no way to input a description of the fee;
this gave the secretary the extra task of
re-routing confused parents and students
to Student Life and Campus Safety so
they understood fully what they were
being charged for. The new pay-up-
front program also has the intention of
encouraging students to think more about
what theyre spending, and only go to
Health Services when they are sick, or
spend a bit more time looking for their ID
card before they have a new one made.
Whether or not the new program works
is still under evaluation. When Krause
sat down with Dean of Students Eva
Chatterjee-Sutton, the One Card system
seemed like a practical and effcient
solution: With the One Card system, said
Krause, we thought it might be possible to
use that as a vehicle so that students could
handle these fees up-front, so we wouldnt
have to deal with that through our system
that really wasnt designed to deal with
that. So it was decided to give it a shot
and see what would happen. Were still
evaluating. Since the card has settled in,
as Krause said, they thought it would be
most convenient for the students, as well.
The College is considering many other
options. The current software, besides not
being able to accommodate incidental fees,
is on its way out, according to Krause.
Right now they are looking at new programs,
and one thing they are considering when
reviewing them is their ability to deal
with the kind of charges students now
pay up front. Theyre also considering
online forms of payment, like PayPal, that
might be more convenient for students.
Its new this year that we have to pay for
things up front, but only half of the students
here remember a time that we didnt
have to pay co-pays at Health Services.
Randy Anselmo, the resident doctor in
Health Services, as well as Krause, made
the point that, though it is diffcult for some
students to afford any sort of co-pay, in the
real world there is almost always a fee
for doctors appointments or hospital visits.
Unfortunately for those of us who have
trouble with co-pays and insurance costs, in
the real world and at Bennington College,
it is the insurance companies that have
control over what we pay. The college is
consistently committed to ensuring that their
students and staff pay as little as possible.
Heres a quick course in how health
Y KkI5TA THCkP '15
Akhurapa got a new
None of his old accessories
work :(
Boner is not spelled
Student Band
And you thought our copy
editing was bad.
BFP Core Values
Work, Family, Healthy
The Weather Channel
is now naming winter
Lets just name everything
from now on.
The BBO recycling center
was on re
No precious liquor was lost
Were making the news
Making it as we go
BFP Rules for Editors
Travelling Abroad:
You gotta get better,
You gotta rep us strong,
BFPs favorite follower
Mitt Romney
For Bennington Prez
BFP Core Workout
lucky charms
Soup of the Day
Cream of Asparagus
Weekend Soup
Now on Demand
Martha Hill Rising
Congrats sorry we didnt
write a story :( :( :(
Joe Biden on Parks and
Amy Poehler for VP
Turducken For Dinner
Happy Thanksgiving
-Skinny (lol)
Get this dang mustache
o me
no really please help me
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 N E W S
Impact of the Presidential Election Felt at Bennington
As were all aware, Barack
Obama is once again the President of the
United States. Whatever opinions one
might have about the man himself, its
important to go over what his re-election
means for us as Bennington students.
First of all, it means a continuation and
probable expansion of the Federal Stu-
dent Loan program, ideally meaning that
it will become easier to borrow money
from the government in order to pay for
college, and that interest rates will remain
low. Obama has a plan to calculate student
loan payments per month. Its called the
pay as you earn program, and it caps
payments at 10% of monthly income.
Secondly, it will mean the continued
funding of Planned Parenthood, a vital
resource for Americas college students
and uninsured youth. It represents not
only a win for womens rights, but also
one for affordable healthcare. Not to
mention Obamas support for the Gender
and Sexual Minority community on
issues such as hospital visitation, his
repeal of Dont Ask Dont Tell, speaking
against the Defense of Marriage act, his
support of a gender identity inclusive
Employment Non-Discrimination Act,
hiring more openly LGBT staff in the
White House than any other sitting
President, and of course, marriage equality.
Another potential source of excitement
for us as Bennington students is Obamas
support for the National Endowment
for the Arts, the Corporation of Public
Broadcasting, and the National Science
Foundation. All of the aforementioned
institutions have provided Field Work
Terms, funded student or faculty research,
or funded projects that sparked our
curiosity in the arts and sciences, which
may have led us here to Bennington. For
example, Biology faculty member Betsy
Sherman was a NSF Graduate Fellow from
1974 to 1977, and has conducted research
with NSF funding on multiple occasions.
Alumni Helen Frankenthaler 49 sat on the
board of the NEA in 1985. More recently,
Literature faculty Doug Bauer received a
$25,000 Literature Fellowship from the
National Endowment for the Arts. Clearly,
Bennington has deep connections with
these institutions, and Obamas re-election
means the continuation of their funding.
Another less-obvious beneft to us as
college students is Obamas potential to
appoint up to four new Supreme Court
Justices. Four current Justices are in their
70s, and Obamas re-election means that a
lasting liberal majority on the court can be
implemented. This could lead to the pres-
ervation of Roe v. Wade, a potential over-
turning of Citizens United, and, hopefully,
a pro-equality ruling on upcoming cases
regarding the Defense of Marriage Act.
(continued from pg 1) insurance works:
a group of people all pay a premium. If
one of the customers of that policy gets
sick, their expenses are covered by the
money collected from the premiums
of the rest of the customers under that
policy. By that logic, the more people are
under the policy, the more the insurance
company can pay per person, and the
less of a percentage each person has
to pay when they go to the doctors.
Bennington College, of course, is not
a particularly large customer--there arent
many people to contribute to the policy,
so our premiums are higher. According to
Anselmo, the insurance company we were
using--Bollinger Insurance--was actually
losing money by having the college as a
customer. Anselmo explains: One year
in particular the student health insurance
provider we have now [Bollinger] actually
lost a signifcant amount of money on
us. They spent more in benefts than they
took in in premiums. When that happens,
obviously an insurance company cant
survive that way, so then they jack up
the premiums. And so two years ago,
they bumped up the premiums 40 percent
compared to what it was previously. And
we were, understandably, outraged. So we
went back to them and said, no deal, we
need to search for a new plan, and weve
had a good relationship with them over
many years, but it comes to a point where
you cant just go on relationship alone.
When the college searched around for
a new insurance contract, it turned out
that Bollinger was still the best option.
The new plan they worked out involved a
coinsurance, meaning that now consumers
have to pay 25% (originally, the number
was 20%) of what a doctors visit, hospital
trip, or prescription would normally cost.
Although most insurance companies work
this way, it does come as something of a
shock to students who were accustomed to
Student Charge Cost
Parking Fee $60.00
Parking Violation Fee $50.00
Lost ID $15.00
Shuttle Fee $35.00
Appointment with
Dr. Randy
Appointment with
Library Late Fee for
Library Late fee for
having their doctors visits covered entirely.
Because the college is so small, insurance
companies are often reluctant to offer
us a contract at all. Nonetheless, were
still looking. Krause said that just last
week they met with another insurance
company to estimate if the cost would
be more or less in the long run. That
is ultimately always the goal--to keep
the premium costs as low as possible.
Unfortunately, this does make payments
seem more immediate and less manageable
to many students, and Anselmo does
estimate that a third fewer students have
come to Health Services this term. All
of the statistics and evaluation regarding
the new payment system will happen
at the end of term. For now, Health
Services encourages students to think the
same way the doctors and nurses in the
offce do-care comes before payment.

Goal of Insurance Policy Change is to Lower Cost to Students
Were looking at new billing systems that may or
may not be willing to accomodate this, were look-
ing at other online forms of payments, like PayPal,
or some other viehcle that might be a potential.
were still in the evalutation phase, beause the
one card system has settled in, its being used on
a standard that was our urst attempt to
make it more of an efucient process.

The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 N E W S
BFP: Whats the status of the renovations
on the seventies houses?
Szalewicz: What weve been working on
is the siding, re-doing the siding and the
windows. So, Noyes and Fels have new
windows installed, weve wrapped the ex-
terior with insulation and were working
with the exterior. Sawtell we will do this
summer with the same thing, the siding
and the insulation and windows.
BFP: Can you tell me about any other cur-
rent projects that are going on on campus
right now?
Szalewicz: Yeah. Were working on reno-
vating Dickinson. So its going to prob-
ably be a two-year process. We started off
with easy things - bathrooms, hallways,
common spaces - so at least we can get
the project started because the labs and
teaching spaces take a lot more forward
reach and design. So while we are doing
that [the bathrooms, hallways, common
spaces] weve been working with an ar-
chitect on designs to renovate the labs and
classrooms. Over Field Work Term were
going to fnish up the hallways and we`re
going to focus on getting the elevator in-
stalled, creating a new computing class-
room which will live in a portion of where
I.T. is currently. So that will be Field Work
Term, and this coming summer the plan
is to update all the mechanical systems in
the building, and leave a few months for
the labs, the heating, the air conditioning
controls and then make two additional lab
spaces - one lab for geology and a saltwater
lab for neuroscience.
BFP: I think there is an impression among
students on campus that a lot of this con-
struction started as soon as we got to cam-
pus. I guess my question is if that impres-
sion is justifed, or if it`s just bitching and
Szalewicz: Well, I think, I dont want to
say its bitching and moaning, but we start-
ed the Colonial Houses a year ago, in the
Fall, and so they were - besides Bingham,
which had a lot of structural problems that
we were not aware of - ninety percent fn-
ished before school started this Fall. The
Barnes Houses, the two of them, we start-
ed those this Summer, and the contractor
ran into a lot of problems with the siding.
There was a lot of of rot there that we had
not anticipated, so that set us back. Dickin-
son again, we started that over the summer.
Really, what weve realized is that we have
over 60 buildings on campus of all differ-
ent ages that need work, and its just re-
ally diffcult to get all of that work done in
the short period of time when students are
not here. So what weve tried to do is get
all of the heavy, diffcult work while stu-
dents are not here. But weve made a lot
of concessions to the students. For instance
weve asked the contractors to start at nine
instead of seven like they usually would.
And of course if there is a confict with a
class then the class takes precedence over
the work. But we have to work during term
to some extent. And its interesting because
we dont hear a lot of feedback.
BFP: Yeah, I think a lot of what students
are saying is Oh my God, they start work-
ing like right when I most want to sleep.
Szalewicz: Yeah, well certainly, if there
is an issue our frst priority is to tell the
contractors to take the day off. Hopefully
Ben Szalewicz talks Renovations on Benningtons Campus
Our campus is a veritable construction
zone, and will continue to be for the years
to come. So why? When? How? Where?
I ask these questions and more to Ben
Szalewicz, Associate VP for Facilities
Management and Planning.
you guys have seen the difference that this
work has made on campus.
BFP: Can I ask you about the anticipated
work that is going to happen to Commons?
Szalewicz: Yeah, so the frst project is re-
ally Commons. Weve hired an architect (I
dont know if you saw the e-mail we sent to
all of the students) but these sessions will
be the frst conversations about what Com-
mons means to you students and what you
would like to see Commons be. We have
ideas certainly - dining needs to be there,
we need a post offce, we need Health Ser-
vices - but what else do we need? We have
a whole third foor there that we aren`t
even using.
BFP: Is the third foor issue really the
whole impetus for starting this discussion
about Commons?
Szalewicz: No. I think were taking a dif-
ferent look at our buildings. Weve taken
the last ten years to build new things, but
now were stepping back and taking a look
at existing buildings. There are really four
buildings that need work -- Commons,
Dickinson, the Barn, and Jennings. So
Dickinson we started frst, and Commons
was a natural second because of the impor-
tance of Dining. The kitchen space is really
small and inadequate, the mechanical sys-
tems in the building are really old. There
are really no bathrooms, theres not really
a way to control heat. And so since there
is going to be a lot of money invested in
this infrastructure anyway, it really makes
no sense to not do it without revamping the
whole building. So the additional space in
the third foor is really just a bonus for all
BFP: And what about the Student Center?
Is there any truth to the rumors that are go-
ing around campus about changes coming
to it?
Szalewicz: Well one idea foating around
is that the function of the Student Center
will be consolidated in Commons. It would
help logistically for Dining to have it all
in one place. And one idea, one conceptual
thought, is that a Field House is something
the College could use, to take the ftness
center from Meyer Rec Barn and put it
there and somehow tie it back to the soccer
feld and the tennis courts. We could also
get a basketball gym in there, maybe rac-
quetball courts. But again there are no real
plans at this point, its all conjectures.
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 F E A T U R E S
Once upon a time in the 80s, Bennington
College nearly ceased to exist. This is not
a trivial distinction- most small and poorly
endowed colleges that nearly cease to exist
simply do in short order. Standing at the
edge oI its own fscal cliII and with the
force of declining application numbers at
its back, the schools situation had long
been worrisome, if not outright grim. This
was Elizabeth Colemans Bennington,
circa 1987; the same Bennington that had
chewed through its previous four presidents
in disconcertingly quick succession. By
the time Coleman oIfcially steps down
from her post at the end of the 2012-2013
academic year, she will have served as the
schools president longer than the past four
did combined.
And, barring any unforeseen calamity,
Bennington College will still exist.
Things got worse before they got better,
however- that much is well known. If the
College had been looking over the cliffs
edge in the 80s, by 1994 it was falling
vertiginously towards some unknown
bottom, encouraged- and then pushed-
over the precipice by the Board of Trustees
with the publication of the Symposium
Report and the fring oI 27 proIessors
who comprised one third of the Colleges
faculty. With only 285 students in tow,
the task of saving Bennington was left to
its ninth president and a hard core of true
believers in the faculty and staff. Slowing
the free fall- even stopping it- would still
have likely meant the end of history for
Bennington College; the school needed
to re-invent itself almost completely as
a matter of life or death. Bennington,
Coleman said at the time, has got to do
something that no one else is doing, and
its got to do it superbly well. If were not a
little bit grandiose, were nothing.
The Bad Beginning
The Bennington that Coleman inherited
upon her arrival in 1987 was sleepy. The
once revolutionary institution which
had hosted Buckminster Fuller, Helen
Frankenthaler and Martha Graham had
slowly devolved, and the legendary
Thursday night poker games between
Kenneth Burke, Stanley Hyman, Paul
Feeley and former College president Fred
Burkhardt were an obscure and cloudy
memory, the kind which one might even
mistake for a dream. In the eyes of the
public, Bennington had transmuted itself
from a sterling institution on the leading
edge of liberal thought and artistic practice
to a kind of hedonistic dumping ground
for well pedigreed children with too
much money. Bennington had become, in
Lizs words, mediocre. Bennington was
also approaching bankruptcy- fast. The
Colleges outgoing president, Michael
Hooker, had been selling land to make
payroll. His next move? Mortgaging the
campus to borrow money. Hooker departed
Bennington on short notice in 1986.
With the specter of bankruptcy looming
and the schools budget running at a
defcit oI one million dollars annually.
the task most immediately at hand was
clear. By 1987, salaries had been frozen
for three years (in the midst of Reagan-
era infation. no less). the physical campus
was falling into disrepair, and money for
fnancial aid was scarce. That last point
was especially poignant- Benningtons
declining academic reputation was very
much linked to a student body that was not
publicly seen as being of the caliber it once
was, and this was due in no small part to
the schools inability to offer competitive
grants and scholarships. It was a death
spiral: the absence of scholarship money
degraded the quality of the student body,
which in turn hurt application rates, which
eventually led to declining enrollment,
which left the school with even less
money. Mansour Farhang has been on
the faculty since 1983, and remembers a
student body that for several years [was]
not intellectually challenging or curious as
a group. It was becoming apparent that
the school`s fnancial issues Iundamentally
could not be solved in any sustainable way
without addressing the academic issues to
which they were intimately linked. Before
Colemans arrival there had been rumors-
which the BFP could not verify- that
Michael Hooker had advised the OIfce oI
Admissions to begin accepting applications
on the basis of where applicants lived.
Things were not looking good.
Politics, Divisions & Participatory
Marta Stringham, an employee of the
College who has worked on Cricket Hill
since 1980, remembers the Bennington
of old as a very different place relative
to what it is now. Now everyone [will]
sort oI work together- all the oIfces
work together, faculty work together,
students work together- it was all very
separate back then. They didnt do a
lot of interdisciplinary anything. Prior
to the Symposium, the faculty of the
College were arranged in what were called
divisions: highly autonomous discipline
silos which were self-governing and, in
practice, accountable to almost nobody-
especially the President`s OIfce. Faculty
meetings were contentious affairs which
touched on academics only infrequently,
and focused largely on salary and other
administrative issues. Farhang recalls a
number of faculty members, largely in the
literature division, who behaved towards
the president as if he, and later she, was
a stranger- as if they owned the College.
The idea of cooperation, the idea of
addressing the common challenges facing
the institution was not at all their concern,
and it led to every clash later on.
By the Fall of 1993, enrollment at
Bennington had dwindled to 457 students;
the College needed 600 just to break
even. A political stalemate between
Colemans administration and the faculty
was strangling efforts to revive a school
which was quite close to death, and
Coleman remembers being surprised by
the extent to which it was impossible
to turn Bennington around in certain
areas. Attempts to make change were
continually overwhelmed by intractable
issues pertaining to the very nature of
the administrations relationship with the
faculty- issues which, by some accounts,
had a legacy dating as far back as 1975
to the young Harvard Ph.D. who would
become Benningtons most scandalous
president, Dr. Gail Thain Parker.
1994 was not the frst time an
administration had tried to re-invent
Bennington College; in 1975, after a
generally tumultuous three years wherein
president Parker and the Board managed
to alienate much of an already radical
faculty, a Board appointed subcommittee
tasked with evaluating the Colleges
fnancial prospects produced a report so
infuriating that its publication will likely
only ever be remembered as a complete
disaster. At the meeting wherein Parker
was to present it Iormally Ior the frst time.
the faculty dramatically voted to eject all
administrative personnel in attendance
from Barn 100, and after several hours of
debate produced a vote oI no-confdence
in a president they saw as unft. uncaring
and uninterested in involving them in the
Colleges decision making processes. This
was perhaps the galvanizing moment in
which much of the faculty seemed to have
permanently entrenched itself against the
Board and the president`s oIfce. Parker
later said of the facultys intractability
that they were not so much interested in
participatory democracy as participatory
Eighteen years later in the Spring of 1993,
the Colleges Board of Trustees announced
it would suspend business as usual to begin
a process which, evoking Plato, they called
the Symposium; a program to review and
reanimate [the Colleges] programs and
ambitions. In a letter to students from
the chairman of the Board announcing
the Symposium, no mention was made of
faculty cuts or downsizing. One year later,
at the end of the Spring term in 1994, one
third of the faculty, 27 professors, were
Look for our next issue for part two in
our retrospective series on Lizs time
at Bennington- and hnd out what the
Symposium was really all about.
Looking Back: THE LIZ COLEMAN YEARS: PART 1 (1987-1994)
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012> Vol. 18 No. 3

Bennington Sustainable Food Project In Full Bloom
-When you arrive at your new location,
fnd a place to buy groceries! Be careful
though, because sometimes the grocery
store next door to you will burn down
overnight immediately upon your arrival.
-City life can be confusing for those
unaccustomed to it. If you are in a
situation where you are unsure as to
whether or not you are being mugged,
err on the safe side and hand the man
everything you have. If, after you do
this, he asks if you want to buy some
marijuana, explain to him that he already
has your fve dollars.
-If you are lost in a strange new place at
three in the morning, go into the nearest
diner and order potato skins. When you
leave the diner, you will know where
you are.
-When you frst start your job, you may
notice that the other interns (your peers)
are the most insufferable people on the
planet. Don`t worry. Since you have no
other friends, you will settle for the least
obnoxious one. If you can`t tell which
one is the least obnoxious, ask them
what colleges they go to. It will become
immediately clear.
-Bear in mind that the job you actually
end up doing might not have anything to do
with the job you signed up for. For example,
you may be surprised to discover that your
internship involves cleaning spiders out of
a bathroom in your boss` house.
A Field Work Term Survival Guide
-If you value your life, avoid driving in a
car with your boss at all costs.
-Mutual hatred of your boss can actually
be a great bonding experience for you and
your fellow interns.
-The man living in the back room with his
100 pound dog - the one who takes things
out of dumpsters and brings them into the
workplace because 'hey, look how useful
this four foot piece of styrofoam is! - may
in fact be the operation`s technical director.
Treat him with respect.
-If the front door is covered in pigeon shit,
it could be because your boss insists on
feeding an enormous fock of pigeons by
the third story window every day.
-Over time you might come to suspect that
your boss may not actually be competent,
or even sane. Chances are, your suspicions
are correct. Working for a neurotic broken
shell of a human being whose incessant
frenzied nagging drives his only other
remaining employee to quit on your last
day of work is not uncommon.
-If you have two bosses and they
regularly have screaming fghts directed
at one another, either stay out of it or
side with the one who has more power.
You can tell who that is because he
screams the loudest.
-Mindless repetitive tasks are an
integral part of any FWT experience.
Try to swallow them with dignity, even
when your supervisor responds to your
question of why you`ve been spending
days doing them with the phrase 'I
don`t know.
The number of hours you`re
expected to do is more of a guideline,
really. Your supervisor will gladly
falsify your time sheet for you at the
end of your internship. If you`re lucky,
he will even cycle through a series of
different pens for added realism..
It is completely acceptable
(perhaps even expected!) to turn in a
drunken three-page rant about how awful
your boss is in lieu of a FWT refection
Field Work Term can be an exciting and terrifying time for new students. As upperclassmen, wed like to take the opportunity to share some of our
experiences with you; between the two of us, we've passed uve FWTs, and only technically failed one. Here are some of the lessons we've learned.
In the interest of full journalistic
disclosure, I`ll admit up-front that my
motivation in writing a story about the
Bennington Sustainable Food Project was
one of nearly pure jealousy, and perhaps
slight malevolence. The BSFP has done
more for this campus in the past year and a
half, and more visibly, than the Bennington
Free Press has since 2003. Their meetings
are ridiculously well attended, their acolytes
are suspiciously cheerful and their utopian
methodologies reek of communism. A
working farm? Really? A functioning co-
op with genuinely great food and drinks?
And now they`re telling me they think
they can be *proftable* in the next year?
The BFP isn`t even going to have enough
money to print four issues next term- what
are we doing wrong? Or, perhaps more
to the point: what are they doing right,
and how can other student organizations
copy- er, emulate their success?
'[The College has] a lot of programs
on the administration`s level, but we have
very few projects with real longevity on
a student scale and [that] really promote
student power and student ownership.
Sophie Sherman-Burton is a senior and one
of the Food Project`s de facto leadership
fgures. The BSFP operates with a rather
novel fat organizational hierarchy where
anybody can pitch a project to the group
and put a team together to accomplish it,
and meetings toe the line between what I
would call 'enthusiastically participatory
and 'catastrophically freewheeling.
Clearly there`s something to it, however:
the BSFP has admirably overmatched the
seasonal decline in club participation which
kills so many hopeful young organizations
each term. Of course, it didn`t hurt that
their frst meeting of the term drew 70
attendees, but that they have retained over
40% of their cohort at this point in the
term is a somewhat astonishing fgure.
Sherman-Burton doesn`t pretend to know
exactly what they`ve done right; in fact, she
readily admitted that food being so trendy
right now undoubtedly helps in a big way.
I think she may be undervaluing what
the BSFP has stumbled on. While only a
minority of projects proposed in BSFP
meetings ever see the light of day, the
scattershot approach and amorphous
fexibility of the group`s human resources
have built a diverse assortment of
successful projects to date. Part of this,
of course, is that the Food Project is by
and large a labor of love: the only people
getting paid are the summer farm interns.
But while the BSFP does enjoy the
benefts of operating around one of the
most happening movements in the nation
right now, it would be naive to view that
as the only reason for their success. I`m
telling you: they`re onto something big,
and it`s not about plants- it`s about people.
By decentralizing their organization`s
leadership and giving every member of
their tribe a genuinely equal opportunity
to do incredible things, I think the BSFP
has executed tremendously on promoting
exactly that thing which Sherman-Burton
says the school lacks (and it does):
student power and student ownership.
A fundamental challenge for student
organizations on small campuses such as
ours is that if you assume that any given
incoming class will contain a generally
random assortment of interests, only a
small number of students will ever be
interested enough in a given project to
sacrifce their spare time for it- so how do
we hold on to the folks that we get, and
inspire ones we otherwise wouldn`t? The
Bennington Free Press had probably 40
people at our frst meeting of the term-
now we average around a dozen, and that`s
including the editorial staff. The BFP has
something to learn from the Food Project.
I imagine a lot of student organizations do.
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 F E A T U R E S
Dear Dr. von Doin It,
While I am relieved that the
presidential race is unally over,
theres one thing that Im going to
miss. That thing is Paul Ryan; Paul
Ryan's giant nose, Paul Ryan's
ideal-length arms, Paul Ryan's
blue eyes, and especially Paul
Ryan's out-of-left-ueld-widow's
peak. Every time words came out
of his pretty, pretty mouth all I
could think about was shoving my
whole face into it to make him stop
talking/being a vice presidential
candidate. I know that he wants to
take my vagina back to the 1950s,
but there's a part of me (namely, my
vagina) that makes me want to let
him do it. Now that he isn't going
to be a part of the 24-hour news/
torture porn cycle anymore, what
other sexy politico can I channel
this energy towards? How can I be
so smitten with someone who wants to ruin
my life? And how do I stop having dreams
about hatefucking Nazi Paul Ryan on that
train from Atlas Shrugged?
Ryan/Palin 2016!
-Emma del Valle
Emma, Emma, Emma.
Emma, Emma, Emma, Emma, Emma,
Emma, Emma.
First of all, I must commend you on your
bravery to publicly announce your lust for
the malevolent Paul Ryan. You must have
a very large pair of balls stuffed into those
tiny pants of yours. And please, dont go
thinking that your fantasies are unnatural or
polluted, because actually, they represent
your love for the Democratic Party. You
see, every single social situation has a
sexual counterpart in the brain according
to my imaginary friends SigFreud & Roy,
and this is just another example of the
Now let me guess how this fantasy of
yours starts: you forge a diploma from
Texas Christian University with a major
in socioeconomics and a minor in apron-
tying, and weasel your way into Paul Ryans
administrative staff. After months, maybe
years of working hard on Inception-ing
the idea into his head that he wants to have
sex with you, the time comes when you
sweep the papers, staplers, and binders full
of women off his desk and get to it. Just
as the both of you reach your simultaneous
climaxes you reveal to him that you
actually went to Bennington (he gasps) and
that you secretly changed his automatic
e-mail signature to Paul Rayn months
ago. You also tell him that not only did he
just get you pregnant, but youre going to
abort his unborn bastard child before the
second trimester because you can. Correct
me if Im mistaken here.
Thats all well and good, but you said
it yourself Paul Ryan is on the verge
of disappearing into defeated vice-
presidential candidate obscurity. Lets face
it he doesnt have the spunk that kept
Sarah Palin on the radar as long as she was.
Also, I dont understand why everyone
fnds him so handsome! Goofy eyes,
shit-eating grin, awkward and clumsy in
general whats the big fuss? Either way,
Ive done my research and I am here to
give you options.
1. Arnold Schwarzeneggar actually,
nevermind. Maybe though?
2. Joe Biden I mean, you can do better.
But it will make Paulie Ry-Ry pretty
3. Carrey Torrice Im not sure if
you swing this way but this County
Commissioner from Michigan is also
an actress as well as a licensed private
investigator, according to Wikipedia. She
was named Hottest Politician in the USA by
TMZ and Americas Sexiest Politician by
Inside Edition. Also, her personal website
has her phone number, address, photos like
this one here and a link to her MySpace
page! She`s hip! And to top it all off, she
was found guilty of insurance fraud in
2005 when she intentionally burned down
her father`s house! Wild-child!
4. Aaron Schock - Now here is someone
that I hope we could both agree on. This
man is cute as a button and a raging
Republican! Just like Mr. Ryan, Schock
hates womens right to choose and loves
Dont Ask, Dont Tell. Boy, if only I could
give him a passionately vigorous prostate
exam.. Hoooo! I will say that he may
be more of a challenge to break than NOT
Mr. Vice President Ryan, given his frat-boy
looks and charming smile. Pauls pathetic
disposition has him asking to be ruined,
but this guy`s got ambition, confdence and
moxie. But I think that together, you and
I can take down the Republican Party one
homophobic misogynist at a time.
Cryin for Ryan,
Doctor Von DoinIt

Sleeping with the Enemy (and your roommates)
Disclaimer: Dr. von DoinIt is NOT an accredited doctor of any kind.
Dearest 5way,
Let me begin by declaring that
you and your three roommates
are chauvinists. You put yourself
in this position by signing
such an ungodly roommate
agreement. On the other hand,
who are you to decide that no
girl likes fvesomes? Haven`t
you ever heard of a consensual
But maybe its you who doesnt
like the fvesome, in which case
I would again disapprove of
your signing that piece of paper.
As for my advice, fnd a girl and
have intimate time in her room.
Write some poetry or something
- girls here eat that shit up. Or
maybe youll even snag an
upperclassman with a single. If
her room doesnt work just consider your
options in terms of semi-public places
to fool around, keeping in mind how
wrong and absolutely not allowed that is
according to the student handbook. Shame
on you.
If you are into fvesomes with one girl
and four guys, then there are ways you
can go about fnding a girl who would
be interested in that sort of thing. One of
those ways is NOT the missed connections
tumblr. Find a girl who is interested in
sleeping with you, maybe even make out
with her a little, and then playfully mention
the terms of your roommate agreement. It
might work depending on how adventurous
she is, and how charming your roommates
are. Im going to venture a guess, based on
the style and content of your question, that
they arent.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful, and if
youre the one whos been putting those
damn green pamphlets in my submissions
folder in the mail room, fucking stop. Im
not going to read those.
Doc VDit
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012> Vol. 18 No. 3 F E A T U R E S
Bennington upperclassmen passing
through the Kilpatrick common room may
have noticed the absence of a familiar
fxture. It`s called the Porn Tree, and its
smutty leaves have been shaken by many
an administrative wind over the years.
This time, though, it may be gone for good.
The history of the tradition behind
the Porn Tree is as hazy as the memories
of the generations of glorious idiots who
perpetuated it. According to legend, and
to Michael Zimmer `10, it emerged shortly
after the Dress to Get Laid party (which
apparently had a more explicit name back
then) was inherited from Canfeld during
the Symposium years. For the uninitiated,
the Porn Tree is a tree limb adorned with
pornography that makes its annual dbut
appearance at the Dress to Get Laid
party and remains in the Kilpatrick
common room until the last coffee
hour before Winter Break, whereupon
it becomes the house`s Christmas tree,
after which it is disposed of.
Bennington College`s administration
has never really warmed to the idea of
there being porn displayed openly in a
common space. In 2004, the college
hired a new Dean of Students, Bob
Graves, who very quickly took issue
with the presence of nudity on campus
and banned students from being naked
in public. The Porn Tree was pulled
into the debate after Graves had it
removed from the Kilpatrick common
room. The dispute culminated in
October of that year, when over 200
students, some nude, marched across
campus to assemble outside of a faculty
meeting and show their dissent from
what was perceived to be a violation
of civil liberties and the tenants upon
which Bennington College, as one of
the more liberal liberal arts schools,
was founded.
Nonetheless, the ban on porn in
common spaces - on the grounds that
it created a hostile environment -
was never offcially repealed. But
in practice, the tradition endured
unbeknownst to members of the
administration who rarely, or never,
set foot in student houses. This year,
however, the issue resurfaced.
Some time before Dress to Get
Laid, the Kilpatrick house chairs spoke
to their Residential Area Coordinators
about the party and asked if there were
going to be any objections from the
administration. According to one house
chair, they were told that they were not
to advertise the party around campus
inappropriately or conspicuously, 'but
we asked specifcally about the Dress to
Get Laid party, we asked what Student Life
thinks, and no mention of any Porn Tree,
no mention of any porn hung in the house,
was ever involved in the conversation.
In the days leading up to the party,
however, Director of Campus Safety
Ken Collamore was contacted by his
supervisor in the President`s Offce and
told to shut it down if he found that there
was pornography on display. On the
night of the party, Collamore arrived in
Kilpatrick at around 12:30 to respond to
a medical emergency, not having had the
opportunity to check the house before
the festivities got underway for licentious
material. Unsurprisingly, he encountered
the typical spread (no pun intended). 'So I
made the decision at that point in the feld,
said Collamore, 'that the time and effort it
would take me to try to stop that party, and
take the porn down, was not going to be
fruitful to anybody, and decided to wait
until the party ended. He informed the
Kilpatrick house chairs that he would allow
the party to continue on the condition that
the pornography would be off the walls
the next day, and by Monday morning the
house had returned to its usual state of
relatively porn-free decrepitude. The tree
was stripped of pictures by a house chair
shortly thereafter.
For some time, this is how things remained.
Then, the tree was pulled out of the house,
possibly by a housekeeper or member of
the maintenance staff who thought it was
no longer being used. Students brought
it back in, and restored its porny foliage.
And as the Northeast prepared for the
impact of Hurricane Sandy, a shit-storm
of similar intensity arose when Campus
Safety offcers, realizing that the tree had
been revived, consulted with house chairs
and removed the tree for the last time.
Longtime Kilpatrick resident Mickey
Roberts quickly responded to the removal
with a searing e-mail.
'...what is unacceptable. Roberts
wrote, 'is not that you took an object that
we love (I love the porn tree), it is that
an object was removed from a common
space because of its content. The role
of campus safety is to keep the students
and the campus safe. The role of Student
Life is partly to keep us safe, to organize
housing, and to organize magicians
and Ethiopian bands in the student center.
Neither department is the offcial arbiter
of tastes and morals on the college. The
college does not need an arbiter of morals.
I have heard Bennington College described
as a progressive institution. This is a
progression from a college to a daycare.
Like it or not your students and the college
community is made up of adults and we do
not (need) to be shielded from nudity and
sexuality. It is not your place to decide to
shield us from anything. I should be able
to leave feces paintings of swastikas in the
common room and fnd them there the next
day to bring to a painting critique.
Many Kilpatrick residents agreed with
this sentiment, and furthermore were upset
that they were not told beforehand that
there had been a conversation between the
administration and house chairs about the
Porn Tree that had not been transmitted to
In the aftermath of the controversy, Ken
Collamore visited Kilpatrick during Coffee
Hour to speak to the house as a whole
about the issue. The dialogue, however
disjointed at times, was refreshing. To
have the point of view of the administration
explained, rather than simply enforced,
seemed more novel than it should have
been. There is substance to the argument
that having pornography in a common area
could put the college at risk if a sexual
harassment suit related to the party
were to arise, or if employees of the
College should be made uncomfortable
working around it, and there is, after
all, a precedent for the porn tree being
banned. Representatives of Student
Life, Campus Safety, and house chairs
are all in agreement that there are issues
inherent in the nature of the Porn Tree
that could refect negatively on the
school. However, members of the
house were left out of this conversation,
and therefore were less sympathetic
to this perspective. The fact that the
administration made the decision to cut
short a long-standing tradition that has
real value to students without making
an effort to open the issue to discussion
before taking action is alienating. So
little transparency creates a sense of
antagonism between students and
When I talked to Collamore about
this recently, I asked him how he felt
incidents like this should be handled in
the future. 'Rock solid communication,
proactive communication, he
answered. 'Communication that`s
clear, and it`s assured that it made
it to its targeted audience, whatever
the matter may be. While we can
count on this kind of respect from
sympathetic fgures such as Collamore,
it will take continued vigilance on the
part of the student body to make less
responsive entities take accountability
for their decisions. Hopefully, if
students consistently and aggressively
inquire into what they perceive to be
lapses in responsibility or oversteps
of administrative boundaries, we
will begin to have clearer, more open
dialogue with the powers that be. By
not questioning the actions of the
executive bodies of this College, we are
undermining our own authority.
As for the fate of the Porn Tree, only
time can tell if it`s dead at the roots, or if
it will sprout seeds in unexpected places.
Perhaps next fall, the citizens of Kilpatrick
will surprise and confound Bennington
College with new and innovative ways
of showcasing funny penises and
contortionist penetration. Maybe the
tradition will evolve; maybe it will fade;
maybe everything will stay the same. I, for
one, will always carry a Porn Tree-shaped
hole in my heart.
Kilpatrick Porn Tree Tradition Axed
Shouldnt there be more transparency?
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 V O I C E S
This issue Im taking a break from
anything substantive, intellectually
intriguing, or important, and focusing on
another thing which, instead, appeals more
to my base instincts; namely the desire to
drive racing cars, shoot terrorists through
the face, and save princesses of all manner
and variety. If you havent guessed already,
this is a Holiday 2012 shopping guide.
About video games. Written by a jaded
gamer. Be prepared.
A bit of disclaimer frst: one of the
reasons I am jaded about video games is
that I usually limit myself to certain genres,
and those genres have been exploited quite
heavily as of late. The shooter is now
synonymous with Call of Duty, survival
horror has all but perished from the market,
and the big role playing titles of this year
have already gone and passed (at least
those without Japanese preteens fghting
monsters and boning, but hey one of those
comes out every week). So excuse the lack
of scope here, Im a broken man.
The frst title you`re going to want to
get your hands on is Dishonored. This
one came out back in October, but if
you havent played it yet you are most
defnitely missing out. It`s set in a pseudo-
steampunk version of Restoration-era
Britain--here called Dunwall--rife with a
plague that would make The Black Death
feel squeamish. Naturally carnivorous
rats are everywhere, but the real threat is
the oppressive government of Dunwall.
Sprawling and detailed free-roam
environments are teeming with soldiers,
guards, assassins, and thugs, all of which
are at the mercy of your blade. Or not. The
cool thing about Dishonored is that you
can get through the game without killing
anyone. Anyone. Though thats not to say
you wont see violence. Even for someone
with as sturdy of a constitution as I, seeing
an unfortunate soul set upon by a herd of
plague rats and devoured before your eyes
is a wonderfully gruesome affair.
More recently, Halo 4 was released. It
is also a game.
Closer to my heart, however, is the high
defnition reissue, Doom 3: BFG Edition.
If you dont know, BFG stands for Big
Fucking Gun, and thats exactly what it
is. This package offers both of the original
Doom titles in their entirety; Doom 3 and
its Resurrection of Evil expansion, plus
several never-before-seen levels cut from
Doom 3 set in Hell! Time to break out
the Dante! All that aside, if you never got
a chance to play one or any of the Doom
games, this is a great opportunity to pick
them up. At least until they make Doom
4, whereupon there is bound to be another
HD rerelease jam packed with bonus
content for us fanboys to fret over. Bottom
line: if you fnd your life has a defcit of
disembowelments, look no further.
Later this month iO Software will release
Hitman: Absolution. This long-running
series has had a hard time recovering
from the damage Timothy Olyphant and
Xavier Gens did to it with the 2005 flm
adaptation, but this entry could prove to be
the one restoring the throne to the original
assassin. After some shaky preproduction
moves from the studio and a notable
departure of the creative talent that gave the
series so much of its character, a visually
stunning and exciting Hitman title looks
nevertheless on the way. The environments
are bigger, the hits are more complex, and
the ridiculous outfts you can put Agent 47
into are as ironically jovial as ever. Hide
from your target in a set of armor from
Feudal Japan? Why not! Pretend to be the
barber and give an unusually close shave?
You bet! Bird costume? Sure! Reviews will
ultimately decide the fate of this series, so
to have this title looking as good as it does
is certainly a hopeful development.
December will bring the release of the
hotly anticipated sequel Far Cry 3. Even
though the last entry in the series took us
as far from the tropics as imaginable with
its nonsensical conglomeration of Sudan,
Rwanda, and the DRC, were back in the
jungle again and this time its...impersonal?
The storyline is basically that of Turistas
minus all the torture-porn ookiness.
Promotional materials for the game have
emphasized how dark its storyline will
be, and the narrative elements shown thus
far do point in that direction. Theres a
psychopath who controls a pirate militia,
a kooky doctor pent up in an old mansion
gone mad from experimenting with
hallucinogens, and a corrupt politician
willing to roast your friend alive in a doggy
crate, so yeah, its dark. But you also get
to fght tigers, bears, and sharks one-on-
one. Possibly at the same time. Need I say
Lastly, Grand Theft Auto V is a title
that you wont be able to get your hands on
this holiday season, although, with how its
shaping up, you had better start bundling
those ones and fves now. An offcial
release window of Spring 2012 has
been announced, and only last week did
Rockstar choose to lay down some serious
information about the game, but it all looks
astonishing. Scope has always been a part
of GTA, and this time it will be the name
of the game. GTA Vs game world is larger
than San Andreas, Red Dead Redemption,
and GTA IV combined. Thats absolutely
massive. To further drive the point, GTA
V will allow scuba diving through a fully-
modeled ocean foor in a game that`s about
stealing cars.
So there you have it, my limited
and biased list of Holiday video games.
Have at em.
Holiday Shop-Stravaganza 2012: The [Simulated] Killing Season
Bare Knuckles Barry: Hopes For President Obamas Second Term
Barack Obama has hardly been perfect
since his inauguration in 2009. His frst
two years were weak, and then suddenly
in 2010 Republicans controlled the House
and named his ouster one of their highest
priorities. He found himself up against a
Republican party bolstered by the radical
Tea Party, their political souls sold to
Grover Norquist and his no-new-tax
pledge. President Obama was constrained,
looking toward 2012, unable to pursue or
promote all the progressive policies he
may have believed in for fear of aiding the
Republican effort to unseat him.
As of last Tuesday, the President is
President-elect again, four years wiser
and with no re-election campaign ahead of
him. While this new term does not present
endless possibilities, it certainly allows
him more freedom than the last four years
did. Heres what I hope to see during his
second term.
Our soldiers should leave Afghanistan
immediately, but we should continue our
drone campaign. While there is a moral
quandary in the usage of drone strikes, they
are a more effective tool in the disruption of
terrorist networks than boots on the ground
in Helmand or Kandahar province. In this
war of a superpower and our allies against
a transnational alliance of terrorist groups,
limited drone strikes against strategic high-
level targets produce results. The drone
campaign, which President Obama has
intensifed, has killed 49 militant leaders
and proven successful in disrupting the
militant chain of command.
Unfortunatelyand this is what the
President must work on during his
second termthose 49 militant leaders
represent only 2% of people killed by our
drones since 2004 (although the Obama
administration is reluctant to admit it). We
get lots of lower-level militants as well, but
at the cost of killing civilians and angering
regional allies. Our drone campaign should
be sparse, focused on the people in charge
of strategy. The fewer superfuous strikes
we order, the fewer civilians we will
murder. While we have a right to attack
and disrupt terrorist networks, we have no
right to murder civilians while doing so.
I expect the President to continue to call
for higher contributions from our countrys
highest earners. I commend the Presidents
efforts to restore some justice and fairness
to our tax code. We should not be moving
our tax burden away from those people
who have won big in recent years and onto
the backs of those who need relief right
nowthe middle class.
Nothing seems wrong with taxing our
highest earners a little more and cutting
some superfuous government spending
instead of imposing austerity measures on
our neediest citizens and letting the rich get
richer and richer. The President has been
very open to spending cuts; it is time he
holds fast and demands some concessions
from Republican lawmakers.
I hope the President continues to denounce
the Supreme Courts 2010 Citizens
United decision; we need to turn back our
cavalier attitude towards the infuence of
special interests on our political system.
Our democracy is dangerously close to
becoming an auction; whichever candidate
has more funds with which to demonize
his/her opponent is almost guaranteed a
victory. Huge contributions from special
interests skew the policies pursued by
our public servants once they win their
Is it fair that current law allows one
casino mogulor anyone, reallyto
unabashedly contribute seemingly endless
amounts of money to whatever campaign
he wants? President Obama has spoken
consistently on the danger that Citizens
United has brought to our electoral system.
I expect him to continue that criticism and
to push for some kind of campaign fnance
reform, and I hope he endorses publicly
funded elections in the future. That seems
the best way to keep public elections free
of private infuence.
Hurricane Sandy should be a sign of the
growing dangers of continuing to ignore
global climate change, and I hope the
President uses his second term to address
that issue. Many of our elected offcials in
Congress have put environmental issues on
the back burner. I hope to see the President
take a stronger stance on environmental
issues, from the dangers of hydrofracking
to the need for lower carbon emissions.
President Obama has been relatively quiet
on climate change and the environment
during his frst term, probably out of fear
that the right wing will attack him for it.
But this is his second termnow he can do
whatever he wants.
Okay, thats not entirely true. He must
keep the Democratic party re-electable in
2014, 2016, etc. But I remember when, a
few years ago, President Obama said that he
would rather be a good one-term president
than a bad two-term president. I thought
that meant that he would be a public servant
in the truest sense of the word. I hoped for
a President who would fght for those who
need fghting for. Unfortunately, President
Obama put more effort into getting re-
elected than promoting the policies that he
(I think) truly believes in. And I do not fault
him for that. But now is the time for ferce
advocacy of the vision that you believe in,
Mr. President.
Barack Obama has been a moderate
president, but (for what its worth) I think
that he is progressive at heart. On every
issue that the President addresses over
these four years my hope is the same that he
will take the chance to take the gloves off,
take on the special interests in Washington
(many of which support him and the
Democrats, I know), be tough, show some
backbone, and restore some justice to our
countrys domestic and foreign policies
over the next four years.
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 V O I C E S
It was about time people began to
realize that Amherst wasnt just majestic
dorms and world-class professors. It was
about time I resumed the silent pact that I
had made to my roommate on the Ward. I
will not be quiet.
Published in the Amherst Student
(Amherst Colleges student newspaper)
last month, Angie Epifanos incredibly
powerful piece on her traumatic experience
of sexual assault at Amherst has taken the
country by storm. Moreover, its created a
dialogue about how prepared colleges are
to deal with sexual assault. With that in
mind, I set out to try and fgure out what
types of resources are available to students
should they be sexually assaulted on this
The frst relevant document of
information Bennington College has
in regards to Sexual Harassment is the
Policy and Procedures Governing Sexual
Harassment 2012-2013 section of the
Student Handbook (which will referenced
now as Policy and Procedures). As per
the Policy and Procedures, there are three
options for those who wish to take action
regarding a sexual assault/harassment
incident: they can speak with a Sexual
Harassment Advisor who will lay out the
possible courses of action; a mediation
session; and fling a formal complaint.
Each section is outlined in great detail
overall, most of what happens is done
behind closed doors, and understandably
for the privacy of all parties involved. With
this policy, there is an immediate defnition
of what sexual harassment is and why its
not okay. The way the policys written, it
makes a clear and succinct defnition of
what sexual harassment is, and outlines
its strong advisement against consensual
faculty/student relationships, it also implies
a lot about the ways in which faculty/
student relations can go wrong when
they stray away from being professional.
Theres a lot of emphasis on taking action
against faculty and staff members, and its
clear what the consequences are in cases
of students being harassed by faculty and
In regards to Epifanos piece, however,
I began to wonder: what happens when a
student assaults another student? Why isnt
that spelled out as clearly in the Handbook?
When other students on campus are
sexually assaulting students, and they are
convicted, is the consequence signifcant?
And if we receive a water condition report
every term in our mailboxes, why dont we
get a report of sexual assault incidences?
Granted, Im speculating. But thats
because no one ever talks about these kinds
of things.
That being said, it wouldnt be fair of
me to not write about a newly formed
organization on campus SWAG, or the
Sexual Wellness Advocacy Group, meets
monthly to plan themed events whose
topics range from body image to consent to
sexual health. We do have students trying
to spread the word about consensual sex
and safe sex, but unfortunately, theres
not much of a dialogue going on about
what happens when someone is sexually
assaulted. In fact, few individuals even
know that we have Sexual Harassment
Advisors: there are two staff members,
two faculty members, and three students.
At Orientation, theres not even a mention
about what it means to be sexually well on
campus, although its needed. Lets face
it: not all Bennington students practice
When I was searching through the tag
Bennington College on Tumblr around
the time when Angie Epifanos piece was
published, I came across Kate Hardings
blog, Victim Blaming. She was a student
at Bennington in what was probably one
of the worst times to have attended the
college: the early 1990s. Twenty years
ago in 1992, another student sexually
assaulted her. The experience occurred
while Bennington still didnt have a clearly
outlined Sexual Harassment policyafter
many meetings and accusations, her rapist
was not charged of anything and graduated
on time. She closes her story by saying:
The committee said theyd put a note
on my transcript saying I was raped, to
explain why I only passed two classes that
year. But they couldnt ruin a young mans
life based on the testimony I gave. So he
graduated. I dropped out, eventually taking
fve years and two more schools to earn a
three-year B.A. I didnt start dating until I
was twenty-three. I didnt start truly liking
myself or my body until I was nearly thirty.
Blah blah blah. The worst part is, most of
that story is so common, it fucking bores
me to tell it.
In her article, Epifano notes that a fellow
rape survivor once told her, Silence has
the rusty taste of shame. So speak, friends.
Write me an article for the Voices section
of the Bennington Free Press. Speak until
your throat burns. I know, its clich.
Sometimes, though, we all need a little
reminding that even on a small campus
such as Bennington, sexual harassment is a
real issue and it still does happen to people.
And it needs to be made clear that it is not
okay in any way, shape, or form. And that
it is okay to fle a complaint when you feel
that youve been harassed, because you
dont deserve that kind of weight hanging
on your shoulders. And that we need to
have clearer transparency on what our
On the Subject of Sexual Harassment and Assault at Bennington
Things just ended with this girl Ive
been seeing. I know you met her. I mean,
if you saw me on campus at all this past
month she was right there, hard to miss.
You know Clarissa? Remember? Yeah.
There we go. Now, dont worry. It was
time. Im not crying Im actually glad.
You see, Clarissa really just sucked.
Of course, thats not how she seemed
at the beginning. When I frst met her in a
literature class I have she actually seemed
perfect. Hello, she said, introducing
herself to me after the frst class. 'My
name is Clarissa and, while I am 264-years
old, I am one of the most important novels
ever written in the English
language. I am beautiful, honest,
and virtuous.
Surprised, I looked her over.
A famous English novel?
I repeated, thinking of Harry
Potter. Damn. Well, I dont care
how old you are, lets hang out.
Little did I know, however,
that you cant just hang out with
Clarissa: she requires an all-or-
nothing relationship. Thus before
I knew it, I was spending all of
my free time with her. Wed go
to breakfast and Id caress one of
her 517 pages over coffee. Shed
come with me to work. Shed
follow me to the bathroom. Wed
go to bed after midnightme
weary, strung-out and shed
keep me up all night droning
on and on about her miserable
family and her wretched suitors
and her inviolable commitment
to virtue. Yet this whole time I
never said anything. For some
reason I kept on thinking that maybe she
would get better, that maybe she would
show her value. After all, I would say
to myself, she is 264-years-old. Maybe
shes not Harry, but she has to be good for
something. And so for all of October
day after day, night after night Clarissa
continually screwed me.
Now of course, this screwing I speak of
is merely fgurative. As much as it shames
me to admit this, in all of the hours I spent
with Clarissa this past month we never
once found the time to have sex. To my
credit this was not my fault I was often
ready and able but let me tell you that,
even for a supercentenarian, that woman is
reluctant to spread her legs. All she wanted
to do was talk and talk and then maybe ask
me how I thought I was going to die and
then talk and talk and talk some more. She
was awful.
But, as I said, were done now. In fact,
Clarissas done with everything. Shes
Yes. She died. It was tragic, but then
again not that really. She was blessing
me with another of one of her polemics
against the immorality of society (she was
a Romney voter) when all of a sudden she
stopped, her face white with horror.
Is something the matter? I inquired.
We were both lying on my bed, bodies
decidedly not touching.
She turned her head towards me. Im
Clarissa, or the History of an Awful Signicant Other
going to die, she said.
Come again?
Im going to die, she repeated. Right
now. In this bed. I am going to die.
And so she did. She closed her eyes,
heaved a giant sigh, and died. Curious,
I observed her deceased corpse. I then
picked her up and carried her down the
stairs towards the Common Room, where
I made fre. Once blazing, I began to rip
away her pages from her spine and feed
them into the fre.
Ultimately, this impromptu cremation
was rather cathartic. Combing over each
page before I tossed it to its fery end, I
began to fnally appreciate my now-ex for
what she truly was. To be sure, she still
sucked I will never
surrender that point
but in the end she was
simply a product of
her time, just as I am
a product of mine. We
were both misguided;
she could never be
Harry Potter, just as I
can never be someone
who cares about virtue.
A much more informed
way to approach our
relationship would
have been for us to each
accept the other for the
way they are and to
build upon that for the
happiness of us both.
But we did not do that,
and she is dead while
I am currently seeing
Tom Jones. Indeed,
long live casual dating.
rights are as students and what resources
are available to us. So Bennington: Dont
be quiet. End the silence.
The BenningTon Free Press / November 16
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 A R T S
This weekend, Bennington will be treated
to a show flled with scandal, seduction,
and snide humor when the anticipated The
School for Lies premieres.
The School for Lies is an adaptation of
Molieres The Misanthrope. Playwright
David Ives updated the classic to
produce a hilarious and witty play that
will undoubtedly titillate the Bennington
College community. The show is written
entirely in verse and features amusing
rhyming couplets that help keep it
lighthearted. The show is directed by
faculty member Kathleen Dimmick who,
along with a dedicated cast and crew, has
worked hard to do Ives` script justice.
The School for Lies follows protagonist
Frank (played by senior Cody Sullivan)
in his quest to win the heart of Celimene
(Olivia Auerbach) who is being pursued by
three other suitors besides him. Ives` choice
of the name Frank is no accident--Frank`s
brutal honesty not only has a tendency to
rub people the wrong way but also angers
Celimene, setting back their love that he
considers destined. Celimene has also run
into legal trouble that she believes Frank
can save her from due to his infuence
in the courts. Her belief, which fuels her
attraction towards the besotted protagonist,
ends up being false, causing a complicated
courtship to ensue between the two lovers.
Sullivan captures Frank`s impish charm
and infatuated nature perfectly, creating
a character that viewers won`t be able to
help feeling sorry for. When I stopped in
at a rehearsal for The School for Lies, I
watched a scene in which Frank is trying
to convince Celimene to accept the tension
between the two, and convince her that they
are destined to be together. His attempts to
woo her are stalled by the quick-witted and
sharp-tongued Celimene.
Although The School for Lies is set in
The Misanthrope`s dated 17th century
Europe, I found the play to be both
Theres a Season for Love and Another for Prudishness...
The School for Lies, a Show for All Seasons
accessible and amusing. Ives manages to
preserve the verse and rhythmic structure
of the dialogue while still modernizing the
language. The humor is witty yet crass, the
relationships are seductive and raunchy,
and the cast knows their stuff. They should,
as a story of unrequited love and the
complications that come with relationships
in a small community is not foreign to the
Bennington campus.
I asked assistant director Elissa Daniels
what about The School for Lies makes the
show relatable to Bennington students
specifcally and she said, 'Bennington is not
unlike Parisian high society as it is depicted
by Ives. We live in a tiny community
where everyone knows everyone elses
business. We all, at one point or another,
don a mask in order to maintain the status
quo--since, after all, avoiding someone is
not a very viable option. Deception in the
name of politeness is at least as prevalent
at Bennington as it is in this play. The love
stories in The School for Lies also parallel
Bennington norms in ways that I`m sure
everyone in the audience will recognize!
Through watching a rehearsal the week
before opening night, it`s clear that the cast
and crew have been working diligently
to put on a show that represents the
playwright`s original vision. The actors
knew all their lines and blocking, yet were
not unreceptive to Kathleen Dimmick`s
attentive direction. Small changes were
being made up until the end up rehearsal,
which strengthened the show and the
actors` portrayals of their characters. Even
the smallest things like an unfolded shirt
collar were noted. It`s clear that the actors,
the director and the crew all have put their
best efforts into putting on a successful
Exciting features include ornate costumes
that are consistent with the period and
simple staging and sets that allow the
costumes to shine along with the acting.
The School for Lies runs Friday November
16th through Sunday November 18th,
with shows at 8pm each night. For tickets
call the box offce at 440-4572 or email
The Oldcastle Theater Company has
been around for 41 years, and for the frst
time it is moving into its own space.
Upon walking into their new home at 331
Main Street in Bennington, you are greeted
with a buzzing construction site and the
smell of paint and sawdust. When you walk
into the upstairs offce, you can fnd actors
and singers working as administrative
managers, and Eric Peterson, one of the fve
founding members of the group, the artistic
director, and a native of Bennington, VT.
Oldcastle has been housed in the
Bennington Center for the Arts for the past
18 years and before that it lived in Southern
Vermont College. Peterson started the
group with four others in New York City,
and when they started touring outside of
the city, Bennington was a regular stop.
'My mom always fed us, Peterson said.
Soon enough, they decided to settle
down here.
Rural New England seems a rather
unconventional place to start a theater
company, but Peterson believes that it is
important to bring performing arts to all
communities, not just the few major cities
where writers, directors, designers, and
actors can usually fnd work.
'We want to make it possible for artists
to live here, says Peterson.
Oldcastle, along with many other
theaters in the area such as Capital Rep,
Dorset, The Williamstown Theater
Festival, Shakespeare and Company, and
the Weston Theater Company are all part
of the regional theater movement, which,
despite the economy, is currently creating
opportunities for professional artists in the
One way that these companies are
adapting is by having actors play many
different 'roles, if you will, in the
company. Besides being economically
sustainable for the company, it is helpful
for the actors. Many actors and designers,
including Peterson himself, have teaching
or administrative jobs in addition to their
artistic job. By having the actors serve
administrative purposes, like Richard
Howe, an actor and fnancial planner, they
have a reason to stay with the company.
Peterson says that having consistent
actors over many years--Howe has been
involved since 1975--also creates a fun and
exciting experience for the artist.
'Melinda [an actress with the company]
has acted twice in our productions of The
Glass Menagerie, once as Laura and then
again as Amanda--the mother and the
daughter. Some people saw her in both
productions, which is really fun for them.
Peterson said.
However, the group also brings in new
actors all the time--just this past week, they
had an equity audition in New York City
and fve or six people who they haven`t
worked with before will be in this year`s
musical production of Northern Boulevard.
Oldcastle has a goal to bring theater to as
many people as possible: education is also
a part of their company and has been since
the beginning. They have always offered
classes and they currently have some
of their actors producing a show at Mt.
Anthony Middle School, which is the only
theater program the school has. Oldcastle
has also created a smaller company,
Actor`s Express, which tours elementary
schools performing original work that
tackles the issues that young students deal
with, specifcally bullying.
Bennington students and alumni have
also found opportunities at Oldcastle.
Students have done Field Work Terms with
the company, spent summers there, and
returned to work there after grad school.
Some years ago, Oldcastle and Bennington
did a joint production of The Devils
Disciple. Some familiar faces, like Dina
Janis, Michael Giannitti and Janis Young
have also worked with the company.
Next season, in their new space, the
company will be performing seven shows:
Northern Boulevard, Around the World in
80 days, A Strange Disappearance of Bees,
Other Peoples Money, The Matchmaker,
The Fox on the Fairway, Sherlock Holmes-
-Knights Gambit, and Grandma Moses:
An American Primitive. Peterson hopes
that having the theater on Main Street
will vitalize the nightlife in Downtown
Bennington. Previously they were located
on the west side of Bennington, distant
from the stores and restaurants on Main
Street. Now visitors from the tri-city area
of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, as well
as those from the Berkshires who constitute
much of Oldcastle`s audience, will be
able to have a lovely evening of dinner,
theater, and shopping downtown, which
will add some life to downtown after 7pm.
The company has a show in December, and
then the season starts in March and runs
to November. Tickets can be obtained by
calling the box offce at (802) 447-0564.
Oldcastle Theater Company Opens New Location on Main Street
2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 A R T S
National Novel Writing Month at Bennington
You may have heard of the nightmarish November event, National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as it is affectionately called), but in college the logistics of writing
a novel in a month seem practically impossible. Thats because the task is not simple: 50,000 words before midnight on November 30, an exercise in actually completing a novel
like so many boast of wanting to do but few ever actually complete.
For some, it is their urst time. Others are veterans. Novels range from sci-u to adventure to fantasy. Here's a look at some brave souls who've decided that practically' impos-
sible isnt enough to deter them.
How many times have you participated
in NaNoWriMo?
This is my fourth year.
What is the name of your novel?
The Water
How many words are you at at this
How do you hnd time to manage
NaNo and schoolwork?
As a senior doing advanced work, Im
fnding it a lot harder to get NaNo done
than I have in the past years, but I`m still
managing it. I usually have an hour or so
before I go to bed and I do it then.
Where do you write?
I either write in my room or at the write-
ins the NaNoWriMo club is hosting this
year in the library meeting room.
. What time are you the most
This year Im the most productive on
my novel at night because that`s when I
have time, but in the past Ive been most
productive in the middle of the day.
What genre is your novel?
What is your novel about?
My novel follows two lovers who pray to
their village`s patron goddess in hopes of
fnding a way to be together despite the
rift between their families that have kept
their love secret. The goddess answers
their prayers, but not in a way they would
have ever wanted.
Whats your favorite snack to eat while
noveling? Drink?
Oreos and Coke!
How are you going to celebrate when
you reach 50k?
The NaNo club is having a 'Thank
God It`s Over party on the 30th. I`ll be
celebrating there.
What was your inspiration for your
This year it was a song I heard on the
radio. Ive been considering the story idea
for a while and I was originally planning
to write it as a short story, but I thought
I`d challenge myself and turn it into a full
out novel instead.
What do you do when you take breaks
from writing?
I try to do all of my daily noveling in one
shot, but if Im at one of the write-ins,
I usually like to talk to the other people
at the write-in about whatever comes
to mind. We have pretty entertaining
How many times have you participated
in NaNoWriMo?
Ive been doing it since 2007, so this is
my 5th year!
What is the name of your novel?
The Red Strings That Bind Us
How many words are you at at this
Only about 3,500. Oops.
How do you hnd time to manage NaNo
and schoolwork?
I struggle with that every year. This year,
I havent worked on NaNo at all. I plan
on doing a lot of work over Thanksgiving
What time are you the most
Between midnight and 3am.
What is your novel about?
My novel is about a girl whose family is
killed, forcing her to live on the streets.
It`s mostly a story about her learning to
trust people again, with a side helping of
gang violence and conspiracy theories.
How many times have you participated
in NaNoWriMo?
This is my third time.
What is the name of your novel?
The working title is Monochromacy.
How many words are you at at this
How do you hnd time to manage Nano
and schoolwork?
I`m an insomniac so I don`t really sleep.
I`m used to a larger workload than what
Ive got here at Bennington, too, so thats
helped a lot. Trying to do this my senior
year of high school and also apply to
colleges and do work and everything was
a nightmare, but I managed. Im a writer
so it`s not that big of a deal for me to write
1.6k a day, though. I keep a journal and
write about that at night anyway.
What genre is your novel?
That`s complicated. I guess I would say
sci-f fantasy. It`s largely based off of the
stranger characters from the Abrahamic
religions, so it has a lot of history tied into
it too. It`s a lot of research.
How many times have you participated
in NaNoWriMo?
This is my frst time participating in
Nanowrimo, two years ago I did it for
about one day so that doesn`t really count.
How many words are you at at this
Right now I have 15,054 words.
How do you hnd time to manage NaNo
and schoolwork?
I just try to go and write in a quiet place
when I have free time. If you write 1,667
words per day you`ll get to 50,000 and if
you write for little spurts throughout the
day it all adds up.
Whats your novel about?
Some kids and some dragons. The plot
keeps changing slightly as I`m writing it.
Your favorite excerpt from your novel
thus far?
'Hey, precious, he cooed, caressing her
long red hair. The man was wearing a
coat that seemed to be pulsing with small
rectangular objects that were breathing as
one. She thought they might be mice and
although the idea seemed ludicrous she
didn`t want to wait around to fnd out the
'Get off me, you creep! she shouted,
and pushed his hand away, her strength
surprising him as he staggered backwards.
'You little bitch! he hissed back and
went to slap her, Ortensia closed her eyes
and tried to back away but the slap never
came. When she opened her eyes, one at a
time, the man`s body was splayed out on
the dirty ground, and a head-shaped object
was rolling away from her. Ortensia felt
warm liquid on her face. She looked up
and saw a pair of dark eyes wink at her.
The other people in the alley were backing
away now. They hadnt seen Pyx, he was
too fast, but there was now a headless man
lying in front of them. Ortensia jumped
as high as she could and Pyx caught her
gently with his claw. She climbed up the
rest of the way to his neck.
What inspires you?
There is a chart on the nanowrimo
website, I like to watch it get closer and
closer to 50,000. Also, I`m just curious
as to how my story will end. I`m writing
it like how you read stories, I often times
dont even know whats going to happen
in the next sentence.
What will you do after you hnish?
Edit it, my inner editor is screaming.
Your favorite excerpt from your novel
thus far?
'Immediately after he snapped, Dato
felt guilty. He had never yelled at Kamol
before. But he was scared. He was scared
that Kamol might have stumbled onto
something bigger than either of them
Favorite song to listen to?
Ill listen to anything without lyrics.
This year its been a lot of Deadmau5 and
music from the webcomic, Homestuck.
What was your inspiration for your
In all honesty, a cartoon called Legend
of Korra. Theres a very minor character
in the show who ran away from an
orphanage several times and ended up
living on the streets. I thought that was
really fascinating and built one of my
main characters around that idea. Of
course, then I had to come up with a plot
to go with it.
What inspires you?
Other characters in shows or books. I
usually get inspired by character traits and
build a story around that.
What`s a sentence you would challenge
one of your fellow Nanowrimo peers to
work into their story?
'There wasnt a single option that didnt
end badly.
Favorite song to listen to?
I dont have one. I write best
to instrumentals or classical music,
though; I prefer strings. Think Eugne
Ysae, Camille Saint-Sans, Vivaldi, E.S.
Pothumus, Working for a Nuclear Free
City, etc. Im a bit of a music junkie so my
tastes are pretty eclectic.
How are you going to celebrate when
you reach 50k?
Celebrate? Huh. I`m a novelist so writing
is what I do regardless of NaNoWriMo. I
have a few in progress, so getting to 50k
isnt that big for me. Its just nice to have
a period of time that forces me/gives me
an excuse to work. If I can I get myself
into the right head space and get the pages
done its good for the story. Editing and
line work comes later, obviously.
What was your inspiration for your
I dunno. Where do I get most of my
inspiration from? I have a lot of dreams,
daydreams, hallucinations... It`s all good.
I guess for this one I was raised Catholic
but I always had a lot of issues with
the ridiculousness of religion and the
parts that didn`t make sense. A lot of my
novels that are sci-f/fantasy have to do
with some sort of deitys interference,
probably because humans crave it so
much in today`s world yet we never fnd
the connection. I think books are meant to
give people what they can`t have on Earth.
That was what Milton meant when he said
that man can create a greater paradise than
Eden, right?
although the idea seemed ludicrous she
didn`t want to wait around to fnd out the
'Get off me, you creep! she shouted,
and pushed his hand away, her strength
surprising him as he staggered backwards.
'You little bitch! he hissed back and
though; I prefer strings. Think Eugne
Ysae, Camille Saint-Sans, Vivaldi, E.S.
Pothumus, Working for a Nuclear Free
City, etc. Im a bit of a music junkie so my
How many times have you participated
Your favorite excerpt from your novel
felt guilty. He had never yelled at Kamol
before. But he was scared. He was scared

2012 > Vol. 18 No. 3 A R T S
Mansome (2012) is a documentary
produced by funny-guys Will Arnett
and Jason Bateman that highlights male
grooming habits. Little did we know that
appearances are becoming more and more
important to men in todays society or, as
some men put it, is becoming more important
to women and therefore is trending.
To demonstrate the different aspects of
male hygiene, the flm is broken down into
segments that chronicle the lifestyles of
different men. Some of the segments include
beard and mustache maintenance, choices
regarding body hair, male-grooming
products, and of course Head Hair?
We dont know how to phrase that.
Anyway, every section starts off
with commentary from random people
giving their opinions on the topic, as
well as various spa treatments with the
producers. After this, we are swept into
strange life stories that are destined
to make you a little uncomfortable.
First up is Jim Passion. PROFESSIONAL
BEARDSMAN. Beardsman is a term
that Jim prescribed himself, claiming it as
a mix between beard and sportsman
because apparently beard growing is a
sport now. We No. Dude was fucked up
creepy and took his beard too seriously,
taking it to competitions ACROSS THE
WORLD, ingesting up to 120 vitamins
per day. Thats an exaggeration. But still.
Moving on. Next we have Rocky
Bullwinkle or whatever his name is
some pro wrestler that idealizes the process
of shaving body-hair, which often includes
a little help from his friends. Why this.
Next is perhaps the creepiest of all the
characters thus far Ricky Manchanda.
The epitome of metrosexual. Its worse
than it sounds. As a child, Ricky was
a part of the only Sheikh family in his
neighborhood. His family chose to
celebrate their culture through traditional
clothing. As a teenager in a primarily white
high school, Ricky was teased and ridiculed
for his turban and long braid. Instead of
becoming one of those iconic fgures that
uses their differences to defne who they
are, Ricky decided to become literally the
most adjusted boy in the world. He cut
his hair, lost the turban, and now spends
hours on end grooming himself and getting
consultations about his skin (we hated
this part) so that he can fnally 'ft in.
Our favorite people in this whole movie,
however, were the professional toupee
maker and his best friend of 48 years
(too cute). We dont know what to say
about them other than they are tiny Italian
men who are adorable in every way
and that that man produces the MOST
IMPRESSIVE toupees we have ever seen.
Overall this movie was entertaining
and oddly informative. We give Mansome
8 beautifully crafted toupees out of 10.
Arrivederci, yo.
When I frst started writing music video
critiques for this long and storied news or-
ganization, I pledgedalbeit to myself and
my pillowpetnot to review the same art-
ist twice. Then along came Nicki Minajs
Va Va Voom and I felt as if I had no
The video is set in FairyTaleLandia,
which is a proud nation afficted with
long term lens fare issues and wild uni-
corns that run rampant along its plentiful
streams. Ms. Minaj portrays the nations
innocent princess whose bountiful bosom
can barely stay within its skimpy bras-
siere. The director of the video has made
the artistic choice to add an after-effect
of zooming rectangles perhaps to give the
viewer vertigo or to demonstrate the fuid-
ity and unpredictability that is caused by
the truest of loves. Oh, if only I could pick
this genius mind. During the videos initial
scene, Ms. Minajor should I say, her
highness- partakes in a firtatious back-
and-forth with a hunky, African-American
dArtagna, whilst wild unicorns devastate
FairtyTaleLandias pristine countryside.
In Va Va Vooms subsequent scene,
Her Highness Minaj has moved into a
humble stone cabin that emits golden light
throughout the land. Between preparing for
a feast and maniacally pouring an anony-
mous liquid that one can only assume is
mead, our heroine is suddenly rudely inter-
rupted by the dArtagnan, this time bear-
ing a dagger and cruel intentions. Cleverly
he has disguised himself as Robin Hood,
making him unrecognizable to any but the
trained eye. He approaches her menac-
ingly, dagger at her throat when, all of a
sudden, the video cuts away.
The inexplicable cut, however, leads
to Her Highness crowning cinematic
achievement: a giant horse hat made out
of old straight jacket belts. The most im-
pressive feat in this modern masterpiece
is not the fact that the producers were able
to attain real live unicorns for the shoot,
but rather that Ms. Minaj can maintain a
straight face whilst wearing Seabiscuits
prize winning head atop hers. Later she
kidnaps a unicorn, no doubt to add to her
hat collection, and rubs her breasts seduc-
tively across its glorious mane.
Ms. Minaj`s fnal disguise is perhaps the
most apropos of all: evil queen. For this
outft she has attempted to pull one half
of a pair of black leggings over her body,
adorning her dress with the murdered car-
cass of the rare Indonesian Black Alligator.
DArtagnan has returned, this time wear-
ing a cape and a poofy white button-down.
Ms. Minaj seems to entirely forget the fact
that he attempted to murder her not ONE-
MINUTE BEFORE and playfully attempts
to kiss him.
The video concludes with Ms. Minaj
gyrating in a way that must make all gay
men collectively cheer, for no straight man
can return after seeing such a sight. Maybe
that was the plan all along, maybe she has
been enlisted by a mysterious council of
gay men hell bent on drastically increas-
ing their numbers. That or its an atrocious
music video. You decide.
December Graduate Visual Arts Show
December 3-9, Vermont Arts Exchange
Opening at 5pm
Jeff Mangum at Mass MoCA
$29, February 16, 2013
Sticking around for FWT? Absence
made hearts grow fonder -- the few
shows he has played since coming out
of a period of nearly complete public
silence have sold out in minutes around
the country. We are proud to present him
here, and hope you can join us. Tickets
go on sale today.
Once Upon a Time ... Impressionism:
Paintings from the Clark
October 13, 2012 - January 20, 2013
Seventy-four of the greatest works from the Clarks
extraordinary holdings of French Impressionist
and European paintings are included in the Clarks
international touring exhibition, including those by Pierre-
Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, douard
Manet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, and Henri de
Toulouse-Lautrec, among others.
Dana Hoey: The Phantom Sex
December 1, SUNY Albany:
University Art Museum Fine Arts Building