Are You Really Worth It?

Kelly Winter

defining self-esteem at brown

sex booze music upfront Wordplay Slonk Donkerson Crushless Lust A Bottle of Rum

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upfront
FROM THE EDITORS
Ah, March. We meet again. In like a lion, out like a lamb, and certainly on the mind in the Post- office tonight as one of our editors, in protest of this most wretched of months, throws herself violently across a couch and allows herself a momentary session curled up in fetal position. Damn you, March lion! It’s all your fault that we’re all ever so slightly twitchy on coffee, ever so massively behind on our school work, and ever so vehemently wishing that our summer job applications and winter coats would scamper off somewhere and die. Painfully. We hate to be the bitter grumps in the room, but really— if ever there were a month we’d happily cut from the year, by God would this be it. Hands down. Oh, winter snowfall and wholesome collegiate snowball fights, where have you gone? Oh, midterms and rainfall, why won’t you just go away? And oh, springtime sunshine and frisbee on green, what the hell are you waiting for? In the words of most of our professors these days: Get your damn act together and show up on time, won’t you? Because until then, we’re barely hanging in there—and barely remembering to to stop and smell those roses. It’d be one hell of a lot easier, after all, if they’d only just bloom. So this one’s for you, dear sweet darling springtime. Consider it a postcard penned just for you, from those who pine for your charms longdistance: “Brown is great—wish you were here!” None too patiently,

CONTENTS
GETTING PUZZLED \ emily spinner POST- IT NOTES \ post- staff

03 upfront

Editor-in-Chief Kate Doyle Managing Editor of Features Amelia Stanton Managing Editor of Arts & Culture Sam Knowles Managing Editor of Lifestyle Matthew Klebanoff Features Editors Ana Alvarez Fred Milgrim Music Editor Eric Sun Theatre Editor Emma Johnson Film Editor Priyanka Chatterjee Literary Editor Jennie Young Carr Lifestyle Editor Sakina Esufally Layout Editors Clara Beyer Lucas Huh Graphics Editor Katerina Dalavurak Copy Chiefs Julia Kantor Kathy Nguyen Web Editors Peter Drinan Michael Enriquez Columnists Jane Brendlinger Rémy Robert Sexicon Lovecraft & Dorian Emily PostCopy Editors Kate Brennan Jacob Combs Christina McCausland Justine Palefsky Kristina Petersen Charles Pletcher Emma Ramadan Ash Sofman

04 feature

ARE YOU REALLY WORTH IT? \ hazel pike

05 arts & culture

WITH A NAME LIKE SLONK DONKERSON... \ eric sun UNDER THE VULTURE’S WING \ amelia stanton

06 arts & culture

UP CLOSER AND PERSONAL \ emma johnson A LITTLE LESS GLEEFUL \ sam karshenboym

07 food & booze

ME JANE. YOU FOOD. \ jane brendingler GROG ON THE CHEAP \tory elmore

08 sex & etiquette

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five
INTERFAITH DATING FORUM Macmillan 115 l Thurs. 8 pm BROWNBROKERS MINIMUSICAL FESTIVAL The Underground l Fri. 8 pm BROWN SCIENCE PREP: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS Salomon 001 l Fri. 8 pm
FUSION DANCE COMPANY ANNUAL SHOW Alumnae Hall l Fri. - Sat.

CRUSHLESS LUST \ mm THE NAKED, BONED UP RUN \ lovecraft & dorian EMILY POST- \ emily post-

Staff Writers Clayton Aldern Gopika Krishna Staff Illustrators Katerina Dalavurak Anish Gonchigar Phil Lai Emily Oliveira Shixie Caroline Washburn Kelly Winter Ethan Zisson Post- Magazine is published every Thursday in the Brown Daily Herald. It covers books, theater, music, film, food, art, and University culture around College Hill. Post- editors can be contacted at post. magazine@gmail. com. Letters are always welcome, and can be either e-mailed or sent to Post- Magazine, 195 Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906. We claim the right to edit letters for style, clarity, and length.

weekend

POST-

NAKED PHOTO

Brownbrokers presents the MiniMusical Festival, Friday and Sunday at 8, Saturday at 9 and 11 in the Underground.

SASA’S ANNUAL CULTURE SHOW Salomon 101 l Sat. 7 pm

READ POSTThursdays in the Brown Daily Herald

upfront

TOP TEN

THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011

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1 2 3 4 5

Things Brown Students Should Give Up for Lent
Pointing out instances of heteronormativity Pitchfork. Gasp! For 40 days, no one will tell you what music to like. The fight for workers’ rights. Survival of the fittest, am I right? Spicy withs. Time to check out Jo’s Lent-friendly fish fillets. Reusable water bottles. F*ck the environment.

6 7 8 9 10

Their dreams. I f*cking love cocaine!!! (But only if Post- will give up saying “I f*cking love cocaine!!!”) Interest in Rhode Island politics and public education. Come on-- it’s just Rhode Island. Discussing the complexities of sexuality. Resort instead to gender binaries. Jesus.

what we’re doing this week

MUSIC is

is listening to Lupe Fiasco’s newest album Lasers on loop. The King of Cool iz back, b*tchez.

featurette

Getting Puzzled
emily SPINNER contributing writer
Scheming, witty, and extraordinarily cunning, the Brown Puzzling Association takes pride in producing weekly brainbusting crossword puzzles. On Thursday mornings, early risers arrive at the Ratty with eager bellies and brains, ready to delve into the Brown Daily Herald’s crossword puzzle with pen and spoon in hand. Beer guzzlers and bar hoppers beware: these intricate crossword puzzles have been known to produce an extra punch to your already pounding head— they are that good. Once a week, members of the Puzzling Association break from their lives as students and unite to form a team where punny, lyrical, and wordy madness reigns. According to Joey Weissbrot ’11, “We are all very busy, so it’s great to have an hour or so to challenge our minds in a more recreational way.” Prior to sitting down with members of the club, I deemed it necessary to try to finish a puzzle. Like the majority of rookie crossword puzzlers, I aimlessly filled in empty squares with nonsensical answers, convinced of an editor’s error when one of my absurd responses did not have the correct number of letters. Frustrated, I wanted to rip the puzzle into pieces. It just didn’t make sense! However, when I got the chance to talk to the members of the puzzling club, they explained to me that puzzles, in fact, do make a lot of sense. I was just missing a vital (and obvious) clue—the theme. Whether it’s the titles of Russian novels, hairy animals, or Disney Channel Original Movies, a crossword puzzle cannot be conceived without a stimulating theme. For sophomore Aimee Lucido, “inspiration can be derived from everyday conversations between friends.” From the insanity that ensues when Charlie Sheen is actually awake, to Mark Zuckerberg’s awkward stint on Saturday Night Live, the theme is the first step in creating a challenging puzzle. Upon passing the first test in Puzzles 101, the creator must defeat the second obstacle, which is thinking of unique, anomalous words to place in the square grid. A word to the wise: the schem-

BOOKS is FILM is

it’s all about the wordplay
house, the guests immediately see a wooden case filled to the brim with ancient puzzles, a taste of Shortz’s obvious obsession. In fact, not only does Shortz stuff every drawer with stacks of puzzles, but he also has the largest puzzle library in the world, a Disneyland for game-loving adults. Despite his celebrity status in publication, the savvy wordsmith works out of his home office, which is why he took advantage of having eager interns. Both Weissbrot and Last were treated with the utmost respect and their input was just as valid as the director of the “Shortz Show” himself, with responsibilities ranging from test solving the NPR crosswords to editing and helping him write clues. The word ace even rewarded his interns by treating them to dinner. Last recalls dining with Shortz at a local Chinese food restaurant after a day of work. As Last was on the verge of snapping his fortune cookie to retrieve the fateful slip of paper, Shortz stopped him, claiming they need to play “Fortune Cookie Charades” and guess each other’s fortunes in order to be rewarded with the sugary dessert. For Will Shortz, everything is a game. After a summer working for a prestigious leader at The New York Times, Weissbrot and Last returned to Brown University to resume their roles as contributing writers at The Brown Daily Herald. Though it is a significant step down in the pyramid of the publication world, they were glad to regain complete control over their own Thursday crossword puzzles. As Weissbrot explains, “it’s fun to create things that appeal to a small niche of people,” making the return to puzzle creation at Brown a rewarding and personalized treat. I encourage you to brave the bodychilling trek to the Ratty on Thursday morning to get your chapped fingers around a The Brown Daily Herald. The Puzzling Association’s weekly product will warm up your brain for a laborious day in the fluorescently lit labs of Barus and Holley.

is snacking on Blood, Bones & Butter—a meaty, no-holdsbarred memoir by iconoclast chef Gabrielle Hamilton.

ing masterminds do not employ preferred e’s, t’s and o’s—they are seeking unique words with j’s, q’s, and wicked z’s. After filling the square grid with outlandish idioms and blackening the unused squares, the puzzle architects are rewarded with mischievous fun: writing the clues. With cheeky riddles and hints composed, the process is finally complete, and their collaborative

is building a study playlist out of film scores. Because with Trent Reznor, Dario Marianelli, Philip Glass, and Alexandre Desplat in your ears, inspiration just isn’t an issue.

TV is

is noting that The Good Wife makes the the prospect of law school considerably brighter. Hahvahd here we come!

THEATRE is

is building a career as a solo performance artist like Rinde Eckert. No auditions from which to be rejected, no other actors’ egos to massage, and a permanent spotlight guaranteed. Sweet!

FOOD is

effort is ready for BDH prime time. The Puzzling Association’s passion for letters and clues exceeds that of any group that dabbles in wordplay. In fact, two of the club’s members have interned for Will Shortz, a renowned crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times and the Puzzle Master for NPR. According to Natan Last ’12, working for Will Shortz was “like sleeping over with the Puzzle Master.” Anagrams, crosswords, and double entendres are oxygen to this genius, a devotion to puzzles tantamount to Newton’s commitment to physics. Upon crossing the threshold into his

Emily Oliviera

is urging the Brown community to make a Lenten pilgrimage to Trader Joe’s to experience chocolate-covered sunflower seeds—temptation in its tastiest form.

BOOZE is

is experimenting with Bellini mix. Peach and bubbly pairing recommended—tangy, punchy and oh so refreshing. Mimosas ain’t got nothing on this.

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feature
POST-

Are You Really Worth It?
defining self-esteem at brown
contributing writer
esteem in college is “more related to issues of identity, decision-making, and the directions one is going to go in life.” Many students would agree that this is the time for them to focus on themselves, but that this tendency is not extreme enough to be considered narcissistic. The emphasis placed on simultaneous self-exploration and community involvement at Brown reinforces this notion. “I have been pleased with the people that I’ve met here. I don’t think it lives up to stereotypes of pretentious attitudes,” Rachel Bisiewicz ’14 said when asked whether narcissism was a problem at Brown. “On the whole, the people that I meet and interact with are very grounded. I do feel that they’re secure, but I think of that as very different from being arrogant and entitled.” Professor Krueger is also skeptical of attempts to show that narcissism is a problem. “To call it an epidemic, you’re using a medical term,” Krueger pointed out. To pathologize the issue and to conflate it with addiction are perhaps a rhetorical attempt to gain public attention. At times, it could be that students fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. Nam Pham ’13 noted that students he has met suffer frequently from self-esteem that is too low. “I think the reason for that is the environment and setting we are in,” Pham explained. “In terms of our age right now, we are at an age where the future is a huge question mark. Not all of us are secure [in our futures], even though we’re at an Ivy League institution.” Studies have found that the popular notion that increased self-esteem corresponds with improved academic performance is false. Nor does selfesteem seem to indicate much about how an individual is received by others. A study in 1995 found that objective attractiveness had no link to selfesteem. Another 1995 study found the same result in respect to popularity. Students were asked to list the most— and least—liked of their peers, and this ranking was compared to the selfesteem scores of the individuals. No correlation was found. Considering this slew of findings and the reality of how self-esteem plays out at places like Brown, one would hope that, down the road, selfesteem issues will fade out from under the public eye. The productivity/pleasure binary is a very simplistic view of how students deal with their own selfesteem. It’s probably time for us to get over the media hype of self-esteem and to contemplate how the focus on having too much or too little self-esteem may in fact cause us to overlook other important aspects of our personalities.

hazel PIKE

American culture is saturated with self-esteem messages. “Because you’re worth it,” L’Oreal’s longtime catchphrase, conveys the pervasive self-love mentality that has reached far beyond the beauty industry. It is undeniable that positive self-esteem has become a cultural obsession. This is especially the case in the United States where, according to Brown Professor of Psychology Joachim Krueger, between two-thirds and three-fourths of individuals have high self-esteem. The term self-esteem is meant to describe how individuals evaluate their own self-worth, but this definition is hazy at best. It is common for the term to be mistakenly used in the place of words such as “confidence” or “happiness.” Thus, pretty much everyone can furnish his or her own definition of what self-esteem entails, albeit imprecisely. Educators seek to increase it, brands capitalize on it, and medicine warns against having too little of it. There’s even a national organization dedicated to it (The National Association for Self-Esteem). But how much do we really know, or frankly care, about self-esteem? Some scholars would argue that we care about it too much. A study of undergraduates at the University of Michigan that was published last October asserted that American college students value boosts to their self-esteem over activities such as eating their favorite foods, having sex, drinking alcohol, and spending time with friends. These self-esteem boosts are indicators of result-driven productivity, such as earning good grades or landing competitive internships. The findings of this study suggest that students are prone to behave in ways that will build their self-esteem. It seems that college students aren’t the hedonists they are frequently made out to be. Are Brown students—known for balancing the pursuit of passions with academics—inclined to sacrifice pleasure to increase their levels of self-worth? Representations of Self-Esteem at Brown Associate Director of Psychological Services Sherri Nelson describes Brown students as “interested in accomplishments” and as accomplished in a variety of areas. Even though they may be result-focused, they often find enjoyment in their pursuits. “It’s in the process of mastering tasks such as learning to play the piano, or learning calculus, or whatever it might be,” that students develop self-esteem. Max Clermont ’11 echoed this opinion. “At a place like Brown where

Shixie

you’re given a lot, they talk about how you’re the architect of a lot of things you engage in,” he said. “I think when you’re in a place with that openness, and you’re actively engaged … you build your self-esteem.” Clermont views Brown students as having high self-esteem and lots of confidence. For many students, the concept of balance is more salient than that of self-esteem. Isabelle Yisak ‘14 emphasized the importance of dividing time between varied activities. Although there is often a trade-off between working hard and socializing, she said, both are important. For Yisak and Clermont, defining certain activities as either self-esteem building or pleasurable seems irrelevant, as they often fall into both categories. Self-esteem is “another form of saying that you’re confident. What you’re portraying as a person will be well accepted by whatever cohort you’re a part of,” according to Anthony Ureña ’12. At the same time, it’s not an issue he views as a prevalent concern. The Myth of the Narcissistic Youth There is something questionable about how the sensationalized indictment of young people as egocentric has made its way into popular con-

sciousness. The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (2009) by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, for example, argues that narcissism, or extremely high self-esteem, is on the rise in the US. Proponents of this stance perceive inflated self-esteem as a cause of socially detrimental behavior. In other words people with narcissistic inclinations take advantage of others, or lash out when threatened in order to preserve their self-esteem. This analysis doesn’t seem to hold at Brown. None of the individuals interviewed perceived narcissism as a common quality among students. In fact, none of those interviewed could identify a single person they would consider a narcissist. Recent studies confirm that narcissism is not nearly as common in today’s youth as some make it out to be. Rather than labeling this generation as “Generation Me,” one study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science last year concluded, “every generation is Generation Me.” It seems that a measured amount of narcissism is the norm. Differences do exist between age groups, but they linked to developmental stages. Dr. Nelson also spoke of the relationship between self-esteem and age, suggesting the possibility that self-

music

With A Name Like Slonk Donkerson
it has to be...
music editor
noying person”; 2) “A sudden onset of tiredness”; or 3) “An enormous tird[sic] that clogs up the toilet,” changing the band name into anything from a nonsensical surname to an ironic pun to a crass, vulgar statement. Nevertheless, the band prefers to consider the name holistically. Parker believes it fits them well. “That’s us,” he says. “We’re earnest but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.” A team effort. Parker is a Music concentrator at Brown, Dylan studies painting at Cooper Union and Zack is a Spanish major at the University of Charleston, making this project a long-distance affair—which Parker admits “hasn’t been totally easy.” When constructing songs, Parker and Dylan shoulder the songwriting together, carving out melodies and writing lyrics. Zack lends a critical ear and weighs in on many of the riffs and technical aspects of the songs. While they made their first EP in Dylan’s basement, they recorded their self-titled LP in one of Brown’s recording studios with the help of Technical Manager James Moses, who taught Parker in his class MUSC1200: “The Recording Studio as Compositional Tool.” Parker described the recording experience as “really smelly—not a lot of sleep— but really fun.” Despite the difficulties posed by the distance between them (they often need to recruit outside drummers to play during shows that Zack cannot make), they still remain as tight as ever. “I love them so much,” Parker professed. Grunge Rock. Inspired by ’80’s alternative/ punk bands like The Replacements, Hüsker Dü and Wipers, Slonk Donkerson’s sound is strongly reminiscent of that era of coffee-stained wife beaters, shredded denim, and shoulder-length, unkempt hair—much like the mane Dylan sports now. On their selftitled LP, fuzzed out guitar, dark bass lines, and Dylan’s at times melancholy, at times aggressive vocals mesh into an unfamiliar, off-kilter experience. “In It 4 the Chase” evokes a dark, chaotic ambiance while “Dumb” features an uptempo beat and punchy shouts that can easily pump up a crowd. In an increasingly cluttered music scene,
Ethan Zisson

THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011

arts & culture

5

eric SUN

From “The Shire.” Slonk Donkerson is a band consisting of Parker Silzer ’12, Dylan VanDenHoeck and Zack O’Brien. They grew up together in a pristine slice of suburbia in NY called Pound Ridge, but Dylan warmly refers to it as “The Shire” because of its “lush and calm” nature. The band recorded a short EP Wyoma last year and just released their first full-length, self-titled LP this summer, both of which you can pick up now free on their website. In addition, they’ve recently played a few shows at local all-purpose-artsy-space AS220 as well as at similar venues in New York City. While Slonk Donkerson officially formed about a year ago, its roots run much deeper. Parker, the guitarist, and Dylan, the bassist and lead singer, have been jamming together “for forever,” according to Parker. Their previous musical projects leaned more toward the “folky, bearded, acoustic-guitar-strumming” side of the rock spectrum before they shaved off the facial hair and plugged in their axes. They recruited Zack, an old friend, to drum with them, and so Slonk Donkerson was born. An enormous turd. …Or not. Parker and Dylan came up with the silly yet harmonious moniker “Slonk Donkerson” by “just sitting around giggling and making up weird titles,” according to Parker. Little did they know that “slonk” according to Urban Dictionary.com can mean either: 1) “A very an-

Slonk Donkerson hopes to distinguish itself with solid songwriting and a “strong conceptual backing” that wields this dark punk aesthetic. Anachronistic. In scattered daydreams, the band imagines their music being played in 1890’s Victorian England with “all these teenage, Victorian child-people lounging around,” while “running through the forest slashing things” with “a giant sword,” or while “just getting drunk and going out with your friends—just having a good time.” “The bee’s knees.” Slonk Donkerson played their most recent show at the Coalition of Brown Bands’ showcase on February 26 in the Underground. Parker described the show as “really f*cking energetic,” saying that “playing on campus and having 30 of your friends here, some of them singing along, some of them dancing crazy, I mean like… that’s the bee’s knees.” Their next local show will be Saturday, April 9 at AS220. Parker advises, “If you come to our show, bring some good energy. If [you] just want to like, f*cking dance because the music is loud and there’s high energy, then that’s perfect.”
Slonk Donkerson will be playing April 9 at 9 PM at AS220, located at 95 Mathewson St. $6 for admission. Check out the band’s website at www.slonkdonkerson.com. Anish Gonchigar

books

Under the Vulture’s Wing
managing editor
written upon finishing the text. This report—plot synopsis, paragraph-length character descriptions, page-by-page edits, and final recommendations— is then passed along to one of the assistants, who will decide if it is worthy to take up space on Laura’s desk. In the midst of a conference call or an email response to a Random House editor on one of her three flat-screen monitors, Laura then skims the report and either adds it to the slush pile or puts in a quick call to the writer. Congratulations, the vulture will now take you under her wing. I pore over my assigned manuscript so intensely that my iced coffee is now not much more than water. Taking a seat, I ask myself, What is the author trying to accomplish here? Does she succeed? Well, if this is a thriller, it doesn’t make the most sense to reveal the identity of the murderer in chapter two. I don’t believe it’s necessary to include painfully dense descriptions of the killer’s siblings or his favorite grocery store. At some point it dawns on me that, at 19 years old, I am holding the product of years of work and unbridled hope. Who am I to crush this author’s dreams? Then again, there are people who should not be writing books. Personal journals, maybe. But definitely not works for a mass audience. Fire was originally discovered to burn the pages of these sadly ubiquitous manuscripts that use words like “zesty” and “presumptuous” to describe white walls, or that sport commas and periods outside of quotation marks. With all the confidence I can muster, I walk into Laura’s office. Putting her watermelon salad aside, she asks, “What are the two problems?” “Well, I think—”

the scavenge for literary brilliance

amelia STANTON

My boss slaps a four-hundred-fifty page manuscript in front of me on my first day. I catch my iced coffee before it slips through my hands, hoping my fear is not apparent in my slightly drooping jaw. “There are two main problems with this book,” she explains. “I want you to identify them. Then I’ll know if we’re on the same page.” “Okay.” I nod, unsure if I am actually making a sound. Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore. This is Laura Taylor Literary Associates LLC*, a literary agency housed in a West Village apartment building, in the city widely known to be the publishing capitol of the world. It occurs to me that I signed up for this obscure form of torture. In this office, reading is a race and coffee runs through the agency’s veins. One rejected manuscript could become a goldmine in the hands of another agent. If an unpublished work has any hidden promise, the agents, their assistants, and their assistants’ assistants will discover this potential and develop it, or else. Laura understood early on that once an author gains a following, readers will kick their elderly mothers out of the warpath for the “it” title du jour. Even though the publishing industry’s glory days are arguably behind us, book sales are still a major economic force. According to the Association of American Publishers, U.S. publishing houses raked in an estimated $23.9 billion in 2009. This is evident in the food that the office covers for lunch—Balthazar—and the additional, rather hefty check I receive when Laura learns that my birthday went uncelebrated. A renowned representation firm that only works with the best, like Michael Cunningham and the estate of Zora Neale Hurston, Laura Taylor Literary Associates requires that their interns read about a manuscript per day while taking extensive notes for a reader’s report

“Own your thoughts. You don’t think, you know.” She puts on her glasses, perhaps to see me quake. “Okay. The two problems are complete lack of intrigue and little to no character development.” “Bingo.” She reassesses her salad and decides to finish it. “You can close the door on your way out.” After closing that door, I had a Laura-Linney-in-LoveActually moment of silent euphoria. If this is the lion’s den, then I am now cub rather than prey. At her beck and call, I will seek out “fennel, the best f*cking fennel in this entire city” and fetch her favorite tea cup from her apartment. But I will also soak it all in. I will learn how to produce the objects of all my studies—books. I figure that, eventually, an undiscovered writer’s pride and joy will land on my desk and really grab hold of me. I will be so consumed by the plight of a character that I won’t even realize that there are Magnolia cupcakes in the kitchen. Might I never want to look at another book ever again after all of this is over? Sure, but I am willing to take that risk. The thrill of the discovery will be all the more salient when it occurs after days spent reading material that would be more functional as kindling. Even though I sometimes feel like a blind hamster barely managing to maintain its grip on the wheel, I remember that the manuscript I am about to read could be the first great work by the next Toni Morrison. So, when Laura called me this past week, did I think twice before agreeing to come back this summer? Not even for a second. *Name has been changed to protect my ass.

6

arts & culture
POSTCaroline Washburn

theatre

Up Closer and Personal
questions for sean patrick mcgowan
theatre editor
is very visceral. The play asks us how willing we are to face the truth and how honest we’re willing to be. It tells us that the stories we tell ourselves about love and life are fictions that give credence to that deafness which prevents us from really listening. The play forces you to jump through the absurd to a state where you are shown yourself in intense, scary, emotionally violent people. Do you see yourself in any of the characters? For me, it’s always harder to understand the female perspective. But there are moments with the two male characters when I say, “Yeah,” even though I’ve only been around for 21 years. When Patrick Marber wrote the play, he said that he “knew that the writing in Closer was best when [he] was most scared of it.” Does the play scare you? Yes, it scares me. In a way I’m always scared. I don’t understand how to meet expectations. Expectation is a fence of blindness to what is already happening. The play is scary because I think it interrogates that which I have a hard time interrogating: this vulnerability that is being asked of me. What makes you vulnerable? Silence, and the feeling that I owe someone something. Closer deals with this feeling—of needing someone who doesn’t need you. There’s such an interesting relationship between love and need. Should love be need? I don’t know how to be dependent on someone.

emma JOHNSON

Upon first meeting Sean Patrick McGowan Jr. ‘12 in the Blue Room last Thursday, I was immediately struck by the general dreaminess of his appearance. With a head covered in floppy dark-chocolate-colored locks, the bone structure of all bone structures, and a smile that could launch a thousand ladies into a state of hypnotic disarray, McGowan could easily pass for the love child of Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid and Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. Unfortunately for me, the very professional context of our rendezvous prevented me from making any inappropriate advances in the nearest broom closet then and there. I did, however, have the chance to get the juicy down low on his experience directing Closer by Patrick Marber, which opens at Production Workshop this weekend. The play tells the intimate story of four characters who find themselves caught up in a web of love, lies, and lust, and features such spicy lines as “he tastes like you, only sweeter” and “lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off.” For SPMcG’s own spicy lines on Closer, the male perspective, and everything in between, read on. So … Why Closer? As a high school senior, I had to write a paper about how I would direct the play, and I got really excited. Sexually? No—but that’s an idea! Plot aside, what’s Closer about? Closer is about love, lust and everything in between. It’s about the undeniable—to experience Closer is to experience something that shoots deep and

That point when I will meet someone and feel that I’ve been somehow incomplete until then—that’s scary. I’m sure you’re sick of people asking you about the film. But it’s kind of like a pink elephant in the room, so I have to ask: How much did the film influence you? I watched it a few years ago. It’s beautiful. But I tried not to create a piece in response to the film. I think the play tells a different story. There are some different scenes, but the main difference comes down to the elements of live performance, the realities of space, the realities of the younger actors. The play’s much funnier than the film. I wanted to explore the notion of pretending. How much are you willing to go along for a ride, even when you can see explicitly that we’re taking you for a ride? In our play, the actors never leave the space. Everything is seen. This interview has been condensed and edited. Closer opens tomorrow night at PW. Tickets are available at the door one hour before the show.

film & tv

A Little Less Gleeful
edy under its belt, Glee’s success seems to be immune to its declining quality. Which begs the question: how long will Gleeks hold on? Glee’s first season worked because it was fun, and absurdly so. Audiences soaked up this bizarre comedy-meetsmusical with a fresh cast, thoughtful plot, and entertaining music. The show has made stars out of Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, with the latter blazing a trail for confident gay teens on television. Jane Lynch made history with her delusional Sue Sylvester. Emma Pillsbury’s obsessivecompulsive disorder and Terri Schuester’s fake pregnancy were equally wacky. Alongside this near-chaos, Glee showcased its sensitive side in its exploration of family, friendship, and romance. This combination of absurdity and heart added layers to already compelling plot arcs. The good ol’ days. Enter summer 2010. Creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy, riding on the success of Season One, had carte blanche to take the show in any direction he wanted. No matter what he chose to do,

sophomore slumping
the show would continue to make headlines. Murphy could now have his pick of the random celebrities scrambling for a guest spot. He debated which episodes to theme. He used the show to expose gay bullying. These creative decisions produced a lot of flash but little plot—a pretty essential element of any good television show. This season’s lack of any continuous storyline is striking. The characters have become stereotypes, the plots recycled. Sam, Finn, Quinn, Santana, and Rachel might as well have an orgy, since their constantly shuffling romances are becoming tiresome to follow. In light of his previous conquests, Puck’s recent interest in the plus-sized Lauren Zizes seems random and unrealistic. And Blaine, presented as the gay role model for Kurt, is suddenly questioning his sexuality. The writers swiftly change situations, which prohibits character development. Themed episodes (re: Rocky Horror, Britney Spears) have made a shambles of any developing plot, so it’s no surprise that this season does not have any discernible storyline, even by Episode 15. And while the first season was fun in a provocative but family-friendly way, this season’s attempts to push the envelope undermine Glee’s self-appointed mission to set a positive example for youth. Sue goes on violent rampages and physically attacks students. The high school characters—whom many teens (and even children) admire—engage in underage drinking, not just at parties but even at school. Glee needs to make up its mind: either entertain older audiences with teenage debauchery or highlight positive role models for younger kids. It can’t do both. This Tuesday’s episode featured two characters thinking about making a sex tape. Where’s the line? In spite of this season’s disappointments, the fans are still watching, perhaps because Glee is the only show of its kind on television (at least for now). Some may hold out hope that the show will return to first-season quality. The main reason Glee stands out from other high school dramas—and the reason most people say they continue to watch— is the music, which I’m happy to say is still great. The producers do a fabulous job of selecting and revitalizing popular modern music and even some classic oldies. I must admit, I buy my fair share of Glee singles from iTunes because, plot or no plot, they’re super fun to jam to. But will the music be enough to sustain Glee in the absence of other redeeming qualities? Murphy announced that he plans for the show to continue even after the current cast members graduate from McKinley High. With Gwyneth Paltrow and others rushing for cameos, is there an end in sight? If Glee is going to run through the apocalypse, here’s my advice to the producers: consider implementing a story arc or two. And hold off on the sex tapes.

sam KARSHENBOYM contributing writer
Schuester’s hair isn’t as curly. Rachel’s star isn’t nearly as bright. And Brittany is, dare I say it, smarter? Along with our 2013ers, Glee is hardcore sophomore slumping. Where are Sue’s slaying one-liners? What’s with all the violence and alcohol? In the 15 episodes of Season Two, has anything even happened? Before our very eyes, Glee has morphed into a self-indulgent, confused animal, running in no clear direction. But with a devoted audience of over 10 million and a second Golden Globe win for Best Com-

Phil Lai

THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011

food & booze

7

Me Jane. You Food.
crunk cooking
jane BRENDINGLER food columnist
“I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.”—Dorothy Parker It has been my experience that everything, when mixed with just the right amount of alcohol, gets better. With a splash (or a shot), family functions become bearable, that Econ TA gets a lot hotter, and dancing like Usher in the Super Bowl Halftime Show becomes oh so much easier. Food, I have discovered, is no exception to this rule. An infusion of liquor has the power to elevate any beverage or meal to the superb. Spike coffee with Jameson or hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps. Simmer mushrooms in white wine, poach Bosc pears in red. Alcohol lends the mundane a kick and gives a newfound zeal to the ordinary. A single scoop of vanilla ice cream invites so many possibilities— with a drizzle of Baileys, a splash of brandy, a shot of raspberry vodka, or a generous dose of Kahlua, Breyer’s will never be the same again. You know you’ve got a problem when you’ve asked the question: “How can I incorporate booze into every meal?” Rarely do I raise a glass before noon, but something seems so benign about pancakes soaked in rum sauce with mimosas at 11 a.m. I suppose I have a few symptoms of food alcoholism, but please, do not attempt an intervention. This is an addiction I plan to feed, nurture, and quench. Last week in the Minden kitchen, my partner-in-crime Anna Tifft and I set out to create a dinner for drunks (or a supper for the sloshed, if you will). Our menu: penne with pink vodka sauce followed by bananas flambé with brandied whipped cream. (Some planning might have resulted in a more balanced meal—perhaps we would have started with a salad tossed in a tequila lime dressing.) We could only call it a wild success. The sauce was light and creamy, with a delightful tang from the vodka. The bananas were the kind of dessert that gets you hot and bothered—warm, doused in rum, bathed in butter, crowned with a brandy whipped cream. Pair this meal with a couple glasses of wine, and see if you can stand at the end of it.

Penne with Pink Vodka Sauce
Sleek, sexy, and ever so simple. Anna and I were just fudging around, so feel free to modify our ratios. It makes a good dinner-for-two, because licking your plate is pretty hot. Ingredients: paste if you’re feeling sketchy—during the summertime, Penne try chopping up some legit tomatoes Olive oil ¼ cup vodka (I urge you, no Karkov. This is a meal. Have 3 cloves garlic, minced some respect.) ¼ cup chopped carrots A pinch of cayenne pepper, for a kick 1 cup heavy cream Salt, pepper to taste 1 can diced tomatoes, or some spoonfuls of tomato Parmesan cheese, for the adventurer Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then sauté the garlic for about a minute or so. Add the carrots and toss them around for a couple of minutes. Tomatoes. Cream. Vodka. Salt, cayenne, and pepper to taste. Make the penne like the box says. Plate. Cheese. Ahhhh.

Bananas Flambé with Brandied Whipped Cream
This dessert is dangerous in so many ways—addictive, alcoholic, flammable. Ingredients: Bananas, sliced into quarters, halfways and longways Butter (the more, the better) ¼ cup brown sugar Rum (just a splash, the smell of burnt hair doesn’t jive with the bananas) For the whipped cream 1 cup heavy cream (leftover from the vodka sauce, how convenient!) 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons brandy

And if you’ve got any room left…

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add bananas and sugar. Simmer on medium heat for a few minutes. Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until thickened. Toss in the brandy and beat until soft peaks form. Now comes the fun part. Splash in the rum. Using a match (or a lighter, if you’re quick on the draw), IGNITE THE BANANAS! I like to turn the lights off and tilt the pan to better see the blue flame. It makes for a bit of a show. Serve bananas and cream individually, or, if you like to revel in gluttony, heap the bananas on a plate, dump the whipped cream on top of them, and go at it. You won’t regret this decision. I’d recommend spoons for the delightfully gooey rum butter sauce—it will seriously frustrate you if it keeps slipping through the tines of your fork.

Grog on the Cheap
tory ELMORE contributing writer
what I spent to avoid hypothermia on a cab ride up the hill from the train station.) So let’s do the math. A handle contains about 60 ounces of liquor, the equivalent of 40 shots. Captain Morgan is roughly one-third alcohol. By that reasoning, at $23 for a handle, I’m paying about $1.10 for every ounce of alcohol. For $20 a handle at 46% alcohol, Sailor Jerry costs 75 cents per ounce of alcohol. Rounding out the group, at $16 and 40%, the Admiral costs a mere 66 cents per ounce of alcohol, making it the cheapest option by far. Granted, money isn’t everything. There’s something to be said for indulging your taste buds, even in an economic downturn. Taking shots of Captain Morgan is almost pleasant. Chased down with a Coca-Cola, the sweet vanilla flavor is far more noticeable than the alcoholic tickle at the back of your throat. If you prefer mixed drinks, a Cap’n Mo’ and Coke on the rocks is reminiscent of a cold Vanilla Coke, with a hint of caramel and a sweet, just vaguely alcoholic aftertaste. My preferred method of consumption? Half-and-half shots—a phenomenon that my roommate introduced me to, “Ahoy, mateys!” would be an appropriate greeting to the sources of my hangover on a typical Sunday morning. It’s not unusual for me to wake up next to my favorite sea-faring swashbucklers staring back at me from behind their eye patches: Captain Morgan, Sailor Jerry, and Admiral Nelson. Though Cap’n Mo’ (as my roommate and I affectionately call the 1.75L glass handle that’s become a fixture on our “liquor shelf”) and I have been friends for longer than I care to recount , the Sailor, Admiral and I first met at Brown as I adjusted to dorm life — and a dorm budget. Given the frequency with which I enjoy the company of my pirate friends, and bearing in mind the sorry state of my bank account, I set out to determine which rum will enable you to enjoy the (fermented) fruit of your labor most economically. For some, the price difference may be negligible—$23 for a handle of Captain, compared to $20 for Sailor, and $16 for Admiral—but for most of us, $7 is no laughing matter. (Last week, $7 was just over what it cost me to do my laundry, just under the price of a late-night burrito that saved me from Friday morning alcohol-induced misery, and exactly

yo ho ho and a handle of rum
of alcohol is much harder to mask. Though calorie-counters might use diet soda to prepare their Cap’n and Cokes, I recommend using the real, sugary stuff if you’re mixing it with Jerry. This rum is decidedly spicier than the Captain, and the Coke’s sugar adds balance. The label bears a buxom brunette seductively lounging below the words “Sailor Beware”—I suggest you heed her warning. If you must take shots, take a sip of Coke before as well as after. I promise, your taste buds will thank me. And then there’s Admiral Nelson. I admit, I was skeptical of the Admiral when I found him sitting alone atop my liquor shelf, soon after I returned from winter break. The bottle was plastic and the scent cloyingly sweet, yet nauseatingly alcoholic. Despite my trepidation, I found that this rum was mellower in the mouth than the Sailor and gentler going down. It had the distinct vanilla flavor I associate with Mo’, but a little spicier— too heavy to use for half-and-half shots, but perfect for the Coke-shot-Coke routine. The Admiral turned out to be the perfect date—a subtle buccaneer, not too hands-on, and definitely most memorable. The morning after, I woke up with my boots on.

which has facilitated many a legendary night out in Brunonia. Pour equal parts chilled rum and Coke (to be fair, I’m usually a bit more heavy-handed with the rum) into your shot glass, and throw it back. They go down so quickly, it’s easy to keep ‘em coming. Sailor Jerry is a bit trickier. If the Captain “tickles” as it goes down, the Sailor creates more of a dull burn, and the taste

Lucas Huh

8

sex & etiquette
POST-

Crushless Lust
MM sexpert
Crushless Lust: n. in the absence of potential partners or identifiable objects of attraction, a state of romantic apathy that often manifests in sexual frustration and general social lethargy Jacques Lacan wrote this whole spiel about desire in his aptly titled, “The Signification of the Phallus,” in which he waxes Jaggeresque on the impossibility of getting what we want. Lacan’s claim, supported by his horny homeboys Freud and Žižek, is that desire exists not in relation to its object but rather to its lack of object. It’s the margin between a satisfied need and a demand that is, by nature, unsatisfiable. In other words, desire is the state of wanting to want something gettable. If you couldn’t guess, “The Signification of the Phallus” is not chockfull of laser cannons or vampire fanfic or any of the other things that make for interesting reading. Aside from its vom-inducing heteronormativity, though, it’s infinitely less mediocre if you replace the words “desire” with “horniness,” “satisfaction” with “f*ckability, ”and “object” with “James Franco.” When put in the context of college social life and my own greedy libido, Lacan’s essay actually makes sense. Sometimes crushless lust, or objectless desire, shows up after we’ve become disillusioned with a former or potential partner. Ever pined after someone for months, finally gotten to know her or him (whether in the Blue Room or the boudoir, via chit-chat or a finger-bang, bundled-up or in the nuddy-pants), and been incredibly underwhelmed by your lack of chemistry? Very often, sub-orgasmic hookups with sub-inspiring people can make you pretty cynical about what Brown has to offer your sexuality. Furthermore, your erotic ennui might not be preceded by any botched courtship

the signification of horniness
or less-than-awesome lay—your standards might just be too high for the crowd you’re rolling with. If you go to the Ratty with a lactose allergy and an uncompromising aversion to steamed vegetables, for instance, you’re probably going to be disappointed. While pickiness helps ensure that you won’t wake up next to the dude from your MEME seminar who laughs every time the professor cites Dick Hyman, it also inexorably limits your options. But just because you’re not macking on anyone at the moment doesn’t mean your libido needs to go into hibernation. It’s hard to reconcile romantic inertia with an animate sex drive, or even just a benign desire for a friendly bed-warmer. Uninformed infatuation goes away a lot easier than desire for emotional or physical intimacy. Your mind might be tellin’ you no, but your body is tellin’ you, “Who cares that he has a sophomoric sense of humor and a general ignorance of Moog music?” Instead of bedding the Dick Hyman guy, buy yourself a nice, medical-grade silicon toy marketed for vaginal, anal, or penile stimulation, and tell your roommate you’ve met the partner of your dreams and not to come home for at least 28 minutes (or whatever the length of your favorite AltPorn viddy). In general, my advice is to busy yourself with the things that matter to you, to invest in your friendships and your classes and your paperon-the-psychoanalytic-theory-ofJacques-Lacan-turned-sex-columnabout-sexual-frustration. You’re not the only one feeling disheartened and romantically stagnant on campus, and the more distracted you are from your thwarted desire for intimacy, the sooner you’ll find the partner who makes you feel incredibly fulfilled (as much as is possible, anyway, given the Phallus’s elusive relationship with the role of logos and the advent of desire—let’s be real). The point is, it will happen— and when it does, the wait will have been all the more worth it.

Emily Postetiquette advice for the socially awkward and their victims Dear Emily, So, I’ve got it bad for this girl—real bad. And I feel like she’s feeling it, too. We crack jokes together in the back of our bio class. And she always laughs at mine, even when they totally suck. And she flips her hair all the time, and it’s really shiny and really distracting— and that’s something girls do when they want to get a guy’s attention, right? ‘Cause it’s totally working. I got a 28% on our last quiz because of that damn hair. So, easy sitch, huh? Just grow a pair and make a move. But here’s the prob: I’m pretty sure she has a boyfriend. I saw her walking with this guy once and they may have been holding hands ... but it was dark. I want to ask her about it, but I don’t want to sound like a tool and kill our joke-cracking seshes, you know? - Hey hey you you, I want to be your boyfriend Dear Hey hey you you, Ah, love. How terribly murky and awkward its waters. Emily Post- understands your hesitation to bring up the suspected boyfriend, for it is devilishly easy to appear the douche while just trying to verify her relationship status. The good news is that it is indeed quite likely that she’s not in a relationship. Your evidence, Sherlock, is shaky at best. The bad news is that your evidence for her interest in you falls just as short. Hair flipping, my dear? If you’ve been reading five-year-old Cosmos to understand women, Emily Post- urges you to do yourself and your dating life a favor and cancel your subscription. Alas, you find yourself in truly ambiguous territory. The simplest solution, of course, is to ask if she’s seeing anyone—but be warned that your questioning will almost certainly reveal your interest in her. Instead, perhaps ask her to spend time with you outside of class—for coffee, studying, or maybe even lunch. All of these activities are perfectly friendly but can lead to a fullfledged date. Her response will indicate the way she sees your relationship, and if she accepts, her behavior during your outing should bring some clarity to your troubled heart. At the very worst, she already has a boyfriend, whom she’ll likely mention shortly after you ask to spend some one-on-one time together. Before you attempt any of this, though, Emily Post- would advise you to visit a place that has provided guidance to many a socially awkward soul: Facebook. The social network created to handle uncomfortable situations just like yours. Even if this girl doesn’t list her relationship status, remember that a little creative stalking can go a long way. So hop to it, Hey hey, and stalk away. Emily Post- sincerely hopes that all that hair flipping really meant something. May your joke seshes go on and on, Emily Post-

the naked, boned up run
Dear L&D, I was considering doing the Naked Donut Run this semester, because I think it’s all for a good cause. My worry is that I may get ... visibly excited at the sight of some of the library’s patrons. What’s the etiquette here? Should I go for it, and, if my fears are realized, just use my “predicament” as a donut holder? Thanks, Dick Understands Nothing, Keeps Inflating ‘Nstead—DUNKIN’ Darlink DUNKIN’, While the thought of a boner poking through a donut sends me into a fit of giggles (and reminds me of the classic, ridiculous Cosmo sex tip—to use a glazed donut as a “surprising pleasure prop”), I think your best bet here is to put your erection-controlling techniques to work. There are a lot of different kinds of public nudity (creepy, creepy-sexy, sexy, sneaky, casual, completely nonsexual, funny, funny-creepy) and I think the Naked Donut Run falls into the funny, nonsexual category. Which means it would be EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE for everyone involved if you were running around with a boner. Besides, flaccid penises have more comedic value and hilarious flopping potential anyway. xoxo Lovecraft Dear DUNKIN’, While you may be worried about popping wood when you see that hot senior walk by, here are a few things that you should remember: 1) It is freaking COLD in the Sci-Li. 2) People have been doing the Naked Donut Run for years and I’m sure that a boner story would have filtered through the ages if it had happened. You could become a legend just for sporting wood. So if you want that kind of notoriety (i.e., to be known as the b*stard who handed out donuts glazed in dick-sweat) then let your stiffie rage on. But, if you’re hoping to control yourself, do what I do: just think of Sigourney Weaver. If you happen to be one of the few living males who somehow finds her enticing, then just think of a kitten chasing a ball—cute, cuddly, and a total boner-kill. If these strategies don’t work, just take a twosecond break in the stacks and start reading Mycologia: A Treatise on Fungi of the Mandarin Tree. If that gives you a boner ... then welcome to the club. Your Friendly Ex-Pat Stag, Dorian