You are on page 1of 16

Holiday Guide

Editors-in-Chief Sam Knowles Amelia Stanton Managing Editor of Features Charles Pletcher Managing Editrix of Arts & Culture Jennie Young Carr Managing Editor of Lifestyle Jane Brendlinger Features Editor Zo Hoffman Arts & Culture Editors Clayton Aldern Tyler Bourgoise Lifestyle Editors Jen Harlan Alexa Trearchis Pencil Pusher Phil Lai Chief Layout Editor Clara Beyer Aesthetic Mastermind Lucas Huh Contributing Editor Emerita Kate Doyle Copy Chiefs Julia Kantor Justine Palefsky Staff Writers Berit Goetz Ben Resnik Ben Wofford Copy Editors Lucas Huh Caroline Bologna Kristina Petersen Allison Shafir Blake Cecil Nora Trice Chris Anderson

3 upfront 6 feature


Here we are, gathered around empty beer bottles on the eve of our last issues publication. The last attempt of yours truly, the Sam and Amelia dynamic duo, to enrage and entertain you, the last opportunity to write a witty editors note. But we are being a tad dramatic. In fact, this issue is merely the one before the brief holiday pause. Sam will be returning in January for his big solo attempt at the helm of the post- ship, and Amelia will find her way back to the doors of 195 Angel after her stint in Lyon. So no worries, dear reader. For better or worse, its far from the end. But before we temporarily go our separate ways, we bring you our festive holiday guide. In color! An early Chrismukkah present from our patrons downstairs. Some special ads complement Sexicons holidotica, our collective holiday memories, and Janes kitchen appliance holiday wish list. So please give this a read, before the final papers start to pile up and the reading period hibernation commences. Take a minute, grab your yamaclaus, and embrace that holiday spirit. Have an eggnog latt, sing your favorite carol (Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, anyone?), give to others. Thats what were doing, at least. Heres your present. Until next time,

(not) studying abroad // sam knowles slumpus brunonius // ben wofford

7arts & culture // anita badejo jogging slow to dido 10 arts & culture illustrious fathers of bicycles, quail, and 11holiday guidejane brendlinger me jane you food // 12 holiday guide
my big fat greek christmas // alexa trearchis holiday memories // the editors // clayton aldern things are looking up / tyler bourgoise /

16 holiday guide sexicon // MM


cocktail party etiquette // emily post-

sam and amelia

The naked readers of a play, described by its orchestrators as equal parts whimsical and heartbreaking. We are intrigued. And you should be too! The troupe will be performing on Saturday and Sunday, at Faunce Underground.

TOP TEN Things the Vatican Doesnt Want Us to Do over Winter Break.
Yoga. Read Harr y Potter. Watch Avatar. Use condoms. Masturbate.


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.

1 2 3 4 5

6 7 8 9 10 2

Masturbate in front of a menorah.

Get an abortion. Be a gay Muslim. Believe in dinosaurs. Read Post- magazine.


DEAD CITY Leeds Theatre Thurs-Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm

DREIDEL TO THE GRAVE MacMillan 117 Fri 9pm

3 5

SPEAKEASY SESSIONS The Underground Fri 10pm


POLER BEARS WORKSHOP Harkness Lounge Sun 2pm


(Not) Studying Abroad

sam KNOWLES editor-in-chief
Since October, my friends have frantically solicited recommendations, filled out forms and mailed them places (Where does the stamp go, again?), and wondered aloud where they would live and how they might feed themselves for four months in a foreign country. Serious concerns, no doubtbut not mine. Are you going abroad? my friend Pablo asked me toward the end of lunch a few weeks ago. No, I said. Oh really? he asked, taken aback. Why not? It hadnt occurred to me until then that I should have a clear answer to this question. That some people probably made the decision to go or stay based on a careful weighing of the pros and cons of each route. Truth be told, Im not sure I ever consciously decided not to study abroad. I simply didnt take the necessary steps to live and study in another country. Im not sure whyperhaps it was just fear of paperwork and information sessions. Every visit to the Office of International Programs website left me confused and dejected. The programs I was considering didnt seem to have websites, or at least not ones intelligible to me. According to a November 14 article in the Brown Daily Herald, a total of 414 juniors are studying abroad in the 2011-12 year, a little less than one third of the class of 2013. Even though the percentage is down from last year, it is still a startling number for those of us who have chosen to stay at Brown. Among my friends, at least, the question is not whether youre going abroad, but where. Study abroad has assumed epic proportions in the lore of the American college experience. Its a time to explore the world, to find yourself. For many, the mere words study abroad conjure tantalizing thoughts. Just imagine it: Youre sitting in a Parisian caf, on an unseasonably warm day. An attractive waiter comes by to refill your cup of coffee every few minutes; you diligently write down the beginnings of a novel in a worn, leather notebook. Who knows what the rest of the semester holds for you? Perhaps youll meet a boy, or develop a coke habit. At the very least, youll be able to blog incessantly about your experiences for your defenseless family and friends, and rack up a hundred photos of you and a few friends posing on exotic-looking street corners. Given the allure of study abroad in our collective imagination, why do some students pass on it? Posing the question to a few friends in the Ratty, I received the following answers: Its a waste of tuition money. I dont speak Spanish well enough. I need a strong junior year if I want to get into a decent grad school. Oh crap! Did I already miss the deadline? I dont know, I just didnt feel like it. Last year, having transferred in the fall, I couldnt imagine giving up any of my hard-earned six semesters at Brown. I worried my time here would pass by before I fully understood the school, before I could appreciate it in all of its strangeness and wonder. Now, as my friends plan architectural tours of Edinburgh and spring getaways to Barcelona, I cant help but wonder whether Im missing out on a life-altering experienceor, at the very least, an impossibly chic time. Its a little like when your friends are getting ready for a party youre not attending. Maybe you didnt want to go at first, but once theyre all dressed up, youre definitely tempted to join them. Some people told me that Brown makes it too difficult to study abroad. The OIP website should be easier to navigate; the University should accept more course credit from foreign universities. But maybe its


musings of a stay-at-brown student

for the best that the University doesnt make it too easy. The decision to pack up your bags and move to another country is not one to take lightly. To put up with the forms and the information sessions and the visa applications, you have to really want it. And thats a good thing. Living apart from your friends and family for several months requires resilience. For those opting to stay, though, I dont think its simply laziness or fear of a challenge. Many of the people I spoke with couldnt identify their exact reasons for passing on study abroad (most produced about six explanations, in no particular order and without any unifying logic). Yet for one reason or another, it seems like a lot of us simply cant imagine leaving Brown, even for a semester. For some, the lore of Brunonia still holds sway.

music is
inevitable. Just like Trey Songz.

books is
reading John Updikes posthumous thoughts and scribbles. Run, rabbit, run.

tv is
cover // caroline washburn (not) studying abroad // madeleine denman slumpus brunonius // kah yangni jogging slow to dido // phil lai things are looking up // marissa ilardi of bicycles // kirby lowenstein my big fat greek christmas // julia stoller holiday memories // phil lai We issue a heartfelt apology to Madeleine Denman, who was not credited for her illustration of the hyperactive hip hop featurette that ran on November 17. Anish Gonchigars illustration of the one of the crew feature in the same issue was incorrectly attributed, as was Kirby Lowensteins illustration of krasinski feva. Caroline Washburn was not credited for her food/booze illustration. Thank you for all your hard work. You are our (graphic) heroes!

getting the math out of here and watching some Adventure Time. Algebraic!

theatre is
waiting for the day when flying taxicabs become a reality.

food is

ordering pho at Phonatic before it closes in 2012. Pho sho.

booze is
eggnog. Nuff said. Oh, and booze.


Slumpus Brunonius
staff writer
storm of a week. How much longer before its designated an awful semester? Also, our protagonist is a sophomore. For what its worth. When it comes to other peoples shitty lives, I generally try to live and let live (for karma purposes). If they want to rationalize a run of bad luck as a Slump, fine with me. So I was surprised to hear that the Slump is kind of disputed. It matters, especially for John D. Protagonist, who is a real person; but when I told my RC about him, she was less than sympathetic. My sophomore year was awfulI was depressed, I was upset, I wanted to transfer. Then my grandpa died; it was awful. Not once did you see me complaining about a [makes air quotes] Sophomore Slump. Granted, my RC likes to remind me her family came from a mud hut with dirt floors whenever I mention that my heater is broken. But she has a point. At best, a Slump is really just semantics. At worst, its voodoo. In 1943, Hitler knew the Allies would invade from the south; the only question was where. The corpse of a British solider washed ashore into German hands, on his person numerous secret letters from British commandants revealing their plans to invade Greece. Hitler was thrilled and moved his resources to defend Greece. Then the Allies invaded Sicily and changed the tide of the

surviving the sophomore slump


Our protagonist stumbles in well past midnight, the book he vowed to read at the library well under half-finished. He heats up some tea in the microwave then forgets about it, downs too much Tylenol PM, and falls asleep with his clothes on. The next morning, he sleeps through his first two classes; at his third, a paper earns his first C of college, which just adds insult to the all-nighter he pulled to write it. He beelines to the Ratty where he tries to eat his feelings, but his appetite hasnt been the same ever since his girlfriend ended things on Tuesday. She said the way he seems to schedule her in to a freakish schedule makes things feel forced. She has a point, which makes him think about his social life. He parties enough to be guilt-tripped by his mom, studies enough to know the Rock librarians by name. His go-to constellation of pre-games and hangouts have dimmed with his upperclassmen friends studying abroad. He wants to rest his tired mind, but this week he has a paper and two tests, one of them tomorrow. Was it always like this? Our protagonist is having a shit-

war. Considered one of the greatest counter-intelligence achievements in history, the British Operation Mincemeat was more psych than spy: it hinged on convincing Hitler of what he had always suspected, an invasion of Greece. The fiction of a dead British soldier infected Hitlers mind into poor decision making. So is the Slump real, or might there be proverbial dead Brits at work here? If things go south sophomore year, is the knowledge of the Slump cold comfort? Or is it just a useless fiction, dressed up in myth to make sense of sophomore pain? Suddenly, the very idea of a Slump can infect sophomore thinking and resign its victims into a vicious cycle of misery. The back-and-forth aloneis it an awful week or the Slump?is enough to torment anyone. For the record, put me in the pro Slump existence category. Its hard to outshine a dazzling first effort, or recapture the excitement of the first, whether its a movie, skydiving, a sexy date, or a year at college. In mathematics, its termed regression toward the mean. Even if your second time manages to match the first, at best its redundant. But then theres a looming question: how best to buck to the Slump? And the answer is: Whatever works. Enter the superstition of hyper-mental athletes. Witness a parade of pre-game rituals, foul-line ceremonies (omitted here are the more repulsive things athletes do for luck, including season-long abstinence from sports gear laundry)all designed to ward off slumps. These all were designed to avoid what happened to Hitler: keep your mind clear and ward off bad luck (and Nazis). It makes you wonder which is worse, suffering the Slump or suffering the delusions that keep you sane. Im generally skeptical of existential self-helpisms, especially in the mainstream media. Freshman year was an exciting time, but the return can be anti-climactic, writes USA Today College for

their primer on the Slump, in the ostensibly less-threatening College Version of the newspaper I was reading in middle school. Some of their shared wisdom includes Take a Step Back and Set Personal Goals. (I was compelled to trash the article, if only to follow Point 4: Do Something Physical.) The best advice on the Slump can actually be found on campus. MAPS is a Curricular Resource Program that pairs seniors with sophomores for special advising. Sitting in on a Sophomore Slump focus group, I heard pointers good enough to compel me to take notes, which is more than I can say for two of my three non-S/NC classes. Slump really hit me in the Spring, said one senior. It may be inevitable, but its a right of passage that made me so much happier on the other end, said another. The best: There are only two ways to try to deal with a serious Slump: reevaluating your priorities, or burnout. One sucks, the other sucks more. The suggestions were standard enough: manage your workload, join something new, reach out to professors. But the real value of the session for the sophomores seemed to be the therapeutic value of the collective dialogue. Still, as well-intended as these pointers are, few arent obvious; itd be easier to try new things and meet new people if there were time or energy. This simply underscores the most unnerving truth about the Slump: Pep-talks and new perspectives are really just window dressing on an unavoidable problem of the American college system. Sandwiched in between more notable years, sophomore year is simultaneously and silently packed with massive expectations of future success. For a fun drinking game, put down your Post- and discuss summer plans with a sophomore. Drink every time they use a filler. Like the palpable collective relief in the MAPS seminar room, the questionably psychological nature of the Slump has unavoidable psychological solutions. To that end, it might be healthier to just embrace the fact that sophomore year sucks more than the others, in all its sacred Slumpness. Setting low standards in general may seem self-demeaning, but only on the surface; you might feel better about yourself when your mind is quiet, before you go to bedand not on seven Tylenol PMs. This exclusive advice comes courtesy of our protagonist. I asked him how he shook off the bad year. First, you cant let it get in your head. Hes an athlete. I didnt ask about the laundry. But the second point was on the profound side. Just find and follow things that satisfy you, no different than any other year. Sophomore year is just an experience that makes it harder than usual to calibrate that. And do you think Slump is true? I asked. Whatever satisfies the soul is truth, wrote Whitman.

Jogging Slow to Dido

anita BADEJO contributing writer
and Culture managing editor Jennie Young Carr noted that television actors and actresses are often conflated with the characters they portray on screen. As we tend to know little about these individuals in real life, our adoration of them is presumably based on our fondness for their on-screen alter egos. This is not necessarily a problem for someone like Krasinski, whose character, Jim Halpert, is charming, clever, handsome, and hilarious. In Kalings case, however, her popularity may be based on her equation with a woman who is stupid, self-absorbed, and seems to have few interests outside of celebrities and Ryan Howard, The Offices resident wannabe-hipsterasshole. Not exactly the most flattering comparison. So, who is all the buzz really about, Kaling or Kelly? Well, sort of both. Lets begin by stating the obvious: Kaling is more talented than Kelly, and a whole lot smarter. A Dartmouth graduate who began writing for the show at the age of 24 before taking on the additional role of portraying Kelly, Kaling has written some of its most memorable episodes, including The Injury, in which Steve Carrells character, Michael Scott, burns his foot on a George Foreman grill. Today, she is also Co-Executive Producer of the show and has directed two Lately, it seems no matter where you turn, you cant get away from Mindy Kaling. In the past month, the bubbly, loquacious Indian-American actress has exchanged chuckles with the likes of Jon Stewart and Chelsea Handler and been featured in everything from The Huffington Post to The New York Times. Her November-released book of personal essays, entitled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And other Concerns) is currently in the Top 10 on the latters Best Seller list and a recent announcement of a reading at the Harvard bookstore led to the crash of the Ivy League retailers website. Viewers of The Office will instantly recognize Kaling due to her role as the materialistic and vapid customer service rep Kelly Kapoor. Though shes generally not regarded as one of Hollywoods Alisters, Kalings popularity in recent years has soared due to her social media presence. Blog updates with posts describing simply Things Ive Bought that I Love, somehow keep visitors captivated, and rip-roaringly hilarious tweets, such as, I jog slowly to Dido songs pretending Im a kid in Hunger Games, sometimes I cry, have led her to have a Twitter following creeping close to 1.6 million. In her article on Kalings fellow Office cast member John Krasinski, Post- Arts


arts & culture

the unpretentious humor of mindy kaling

episodes. Her ingenious writing skills and wit have enabled her to write a book people are scrambling to buy and tweets her followers love to read. Yet, in interviews, Kaling has also admitted she and Kelly are embarrassingly a lot alike, and that the character was written to be an exaggerated version of herself. Kaling, like Kelly, has a highpitched, girly voiceone that implies a ditziness comparable to the character it is associated with on screen. The two also spend an inordinate amount of time talking about the same things, including weight, dieting, shopping, celebrities, and romantic comedies. When Salman Rushdie congratulated her via Twitter for having an excerpt of her book published in The New Yorker, Kaling replied with: It goes without saying, I loved your work in Bridget Jones. Although she devotes a portion of the book to clearing up the Kaling-Kelly conundrum, Kaling clearly enjoys some benefits from blurring the lines between her and her character. Yet, while Kaling may be exaggerating her similarity to Kelly by choosing to focus things such as Salman Rushdies cameo in a rom com rather than The Satanic Verses, the conflation seems to be less a gimmick than an unrelenting confidence in being herself. Kaling denies having the worst of Kel-

ly, while cheerfully admitting to sharing some of her same lowbrow interests and shallow tendencies. And she never apologizes for it. In an age when its not uncommon for us to have Academic Search Premier open in one tab while the latest episode of Jersey Shore is buffering in the other, its refreshing to have a figure with some public clout acknowledge the reality of our paradoxical, high-low, serious-silly natures. Kalings ability to be intelligent and accomplished without the pretentiousness oft associated with these characteristics doesnt make us hang without her, but rather makes us want to hang with her all the more. After all, who couldnt love a woman who tweets this: Im intimidated by people for whom tap water is not good enough at restaurants. With a follow-up: Im like lemme drink straight from the tap slurp slurp yum.

Things Are Looking Up

tyler BOURGOISE arts & culture editor
Lets say that the recent stall on violence in Tahrir Square is part of a portrait of our unviolent world. (Note: theres been a yearlong string of souring protests in Cairo, Egypt, wherein hundreds have unnecessarily lost their lives.) Lets say, further, that history prior to 1945 has descended from a position of being very violent, to one less extreme. For that matter, the amount of violence in Tahrir is easily eclipsed by statistics from any of those pre-1945 generations. Which is to say: Today we are in the midst of the most peaceful era humanity has known. If all this adds up, we have proven the central thesis of Stephen Pinkers new historical tome, The Better Angels of our Nature: Violence has coherently declined from pre-history to present. This is tricky andafter 800 pages of amassed graphs, text, and citations a headache, potentially. What separates Pinkers project from a typical book on history, however, will probably draw the attention of important minds and millions of other people. Rather than reverting to historical records produced by other historians, Pinker has shown refined work from disciplines as broad as cognitive science, neuroscience, philosophy, and experimental psychology. You may not find these disciplines immediately useful in history. You may not agree with Pinker outright (hes an optimist). Even still, his book stands a good chance of becoming the foundation for an informed discussion of violence. Though organized, The Better Angels of our Natures 800 pages end up more like two book volumes and a concluding essaythe first volume assesses and explains the historical data on declining violence, and the second applies scientific models to further explain declining violence. The concluding essay is Pinker at his most abstract. And, while in it his claims are tentative and reserved, they evoke unobvious possibilities for forestalling future violence. All told, this is how we begin thinking clearly about violence. Its worth staggering over the possibility of thinking clearly about violence. No small task. Still, violence is taken apart and re-presented, fluidly and in an interconnected system of understandings. Pinkers analytic ability borders on artfulness. Take, for example, the gradual move from torture in the Enlightenment era. Pinker correlates this with a move from understanding distinct persons as corporeal, temporal stand-ins for an everlasting spirit to recognizing them as simply other humans, with rights and liberties. This makes some sense, but doesnt explain it all. Bringing in psychology, Pinker makes the idea clearer. With psychological concepts of empathy, reason and revenge, we reanalyze historical moments and appreciate their causes. Furthermore, we assemble a cognitive narrative. The notion of historical progress, by virtue of psy-

the better angels that bested violence

chological change over time, is back on the table. If anything, The Better Angels of our Nature uniquely provokes self-examination (relative to most other big-seller books out there). On at least half a dozen occasions, you will bristle with Pinkers treatment of a topic. Im just short of guaranteeing it. Maybe Im slow, but I was initially disconcerted by Pinkers move from discussing violence as a force across societies to addressing violence against animals. Theyre different categories; dont pull a fast one. Even so, I began to appreciate the nuance Pinker was evoking: That violence is still an expression of a certain cognitive disposition, whether or not its object is human, inanimate, or animal. I recognized Pinker sensitivity to the multiple levels of discourse and perspective that pervade a subject (towards which were all a little prejudiced.) This doesnt come without a price. Certain things may annoy you as they did me: Stephen Pinker has a habit of quoting Bob Dylan and 60s rock with a lilt of self-indulgent smugness, in the way that a father proving hes still cool wears Oakleys on Fridays and rocks out on the long route home after picking up his son and his friends up from school, when

all they wanted was to be hurried off to the theater and be left alone. Its cloying. Somewhat less frequently, too, Pinkers arguments make intense presuppositions. Treating big issues requires big claims. The historical section of the The Better Angels addresses few (if any) counterexamples. Its as if Pinkers arguments are so self-evident that they just need to manifest; not so, and surely smaller books/articles will rise up and quibble with many of his points. They will probably not, however, be as conversational as Pinkers work. Equally worth noting: The Better Angels will remain, for at least a while, the work to which other essays on violence will answer.

1 0

arts & culture


Of Bicycles, Quail, and Illustrious Fathers

folk punk in the northeast
fining qualities: anarchist tendencies, the staple DIY aesthetic and functionality, a certain franticness of music and message. Notably, Mallory evolved with the genre itself. There was no initial connection to the scene; rather, their early acoustic anarchist folk music, as retrospectively dubbed by Longhaul, placed an emphasis on lyricism, harmony and cohesiveness. Portability was key, as many Mallory tours were by bicycle. As members of the group came to identify as anarchists (some more so than others), a transition to punk energy was matched by a reflective shift in the shows spirit. As energy and music became more and more frantic, Mallory struggled to keep up with itself. The band was a quarterstick of dynamite: a caricature of its own urgency. The Northeast folk punk scene is largely archived via Folk Routes, a selfdescribed anarchist networking and distribution syndicate. A perusal through reveals figureheads of the folk punk genre: Mallory, Thy Courage Quail, Squinch Owl, Sons of an Illustrious Father, Cud Eastbound, Wood Spider. Listening to the above artists offers an introduction to the power of the genre as a musical form. Sofia Albams voice is half butter-knife, half buzzsaw. Bonfiresmokey, it slices and hacks, lacerating the airwaves through which it floats. Albam, one-fifth of Sons of an Illustrious Father and one-fourth of Squinch Owl, provides a wealth of musical talent to each group: accordion, acoustic guitar, viola, banjo and, of course, the wonderfully shrieking vocals. When she sings, Ill survive somehow, in Sons 240 Miles, the sense of bitter yearning is palpable. Thy Courage Quail starts singing about sourdough bread in Down Down

clayton ALDERN and ben RESNIK

Something peculiar happens when you cross anarchy with a banjo: the resulting music is not only listenable, but also deeply passionate. There is a genre on the rise in Providence and along the coasts that makes a habit of cultivating this very breed. Its difficult to pin down a clear definition for the genre or even an obvious origin, but the potent mix of emotion and anachronism, in which accordions and banjos join with drums and electric guitars, has recently come to be known as folk punk. As the name suggests, the genre combines the acoustic instruments and lyricism of traditional folk music with the urgency, energy and, more often than not, political contentions of punk rock. A seemingly odd pair, the combination is actually less mashup and more symbiosis. A natural coevolution has brought the genres of punk and folk to the same place. After all, they are born of the same thing: a need to express the everyday wants, needs, tragedies, mistakes, and hypocrisies of common people. The Northeast, in particular, has evolved as a recent mecca of the genre. Along the coast and up to Nova Scotia, folk punk groups blaze and fizzle, morphing the region into a field of cacophonous fireworks. This constant rise-andfall, blaze of glory pattern characterizes the career arc of many current bands, making it incredibly rare for a group to reach any level of recognition beyond the scenes existing fanbase. Yet, in order to ask where the firecracker genre is going, we must ask where it came from. Folk punk before the turn of the millennium tends to relate to the current scene more musically than philosophically. Since its development was gradual and largely under the radar, its origins are difficult to trace. There is no Rock Around the Clock of folk punk. That said, there were a number of early groups that helped bring the genre to maturity. The musicality of folk punk came into its own in the early to mid-1980s in the United States and Great Britain simultaneously. Across the pond, the pioneer of the style was the band The Pogues, a group of Celtic punk-rockers who were among the first to bring mandolin and accordion on stage with electric guitar and bass. Their songs referenced traditional cultural tropes, like the Irish rover, and current events, like the religious violence that was terrorizing Ireland at the time, and The Pogues reflected on them in songs with the impatience and irreverence of punk and the commonality of folk tunes. The history of the band has been marred with infightingthe persistent drinking problems of Shane Macgowan, The Pogues lead singer, led to his removal from the bandbut their music has remained unsullied for decades. Though the music of The Pogues and, in the United States, The Violent Femmes, was largely still classified as punk, subsequent generations of musicians have taken the lessons of the nascent sub-genre to heart, and, especially since the turn of the millennium, folk punk as a style of music in its own right has exploded into prominence. Bands run the gamut between the two extremes: The Mountain Goats John Darnielle, often accompanied only by his guitar, sings defiantly about personal flaws and youth in a manner not exactly lyrically reminiscent of The Ramones, while the self-described gypsy punk band Gogol Bordellos folksiness only shows in lead singer Eugene Htzs biting lyrics about the immigrant experience. This is a genre with duality but not conflict; folk punk is traditional and cutting-edge, and it makes no bones about embracing its roots even as it redefines them. This concept of duality without conflict runs deeper than melodyas does the recent Northeast incarnation of the genre. Noelle Longhaul, Providencebased artist and member of former folk punk outfit Mallory, reflects on the recent movements ideology: Its the casting off of oppressive institutions, but through a reclamation of community. There is something that is ours, and that is each other. Folk punk (and arguably, punk subculture in general) provides an arena for dissent. Music, clothing style, and intentional choices in food and transportation are expressive dimensions, and regardless of political agenda, there is unity to be found within the expression of dissent under these metrics. Even when lyrics are not politically explicit, folk punkers are connected through oldtime aestheticism and lifestyle. A certain DIY ethic applies to the groups, due to both principle and practicality; a band associated with the musical genre is associated with the DIY movement. Whether theyre hollering like goons on Gods Work or almost-serenading in Devil in the Moonlight, Mallory provides a good point for grounding yourself in an attempt to understand the genre in its recent local manifestations. The group reflects many of the aforementioned deDown, and you want to sob. Buried beneath anarchy and old-time image lays something incredibly genuine and identity-driven. Longhaul reminds us, This is a very specific outlet for a very specific group of people. Young, queer, American anarchism and folk punk [evolved together]. Like-minded thinkers gravitate toward one another. Here, the music and associated scene provide a means for establishing unity. Something else peculiar happens when you cross anarchy with a banjo: the authenticity of each contributor somehow remains. Folk punks strictly DIY aesthetic and ideology ingrain themselves deeply within the genre. Much is dependent on consciously acknowledging identity: As Longhaul puts it, groups that self-identify as folk punk would selfidentify as anarchist, yet the genre itself is not necessarily anarchist, but necessarily DIY. Theres an emphasis on process, on bikes and bread and fighting the good fight and saying whatever and as much as you can, as quickly as possible. In Ten Things, early folk punk artist Paul Baribeau captures what is perhaps the root of the scenes urgency: Right now, all you have is time, time, time, / yeah, but someday that time will run out. / Thats the only thing you can be absolutely certain about. Living moments after its own Big Bang, folk punk has a tremendous, blindingly hot, and completely unstable energy; it is no wonder bands cannot stay together for long. Yet, perhaps as things begin to calm down and coalesce, groups will come together that would not have been possible without these early, defining, ephemeral relationships. And if something past this grassroots grassfire is indeed on the horizon, it will be well worth the wait.

Required Listening
Paul Baribeau: Ten Things Rosa: Milk Crates Mallory: Dissident Squinch Owl: Meet Me There Thy Courage Quail: Down Down Down Sons of an Illustrious Father: 240 Miles Wood Spider: Is It Strange? Blackbird Raum: Valkyrie Horsewhip Reel Dandelion Junk Queens: Growing Up is Giving Up The Hail Seizures: Daddy

holiday guide

Holiday Guide
Me Jane You Food
jane BRENDLINGER managing editor of lifestyle
Ive often thought of marrying just for the gift registry. Invite a whole bunch of guests, then go to town making my list at Williams-Sonoma. Top of the line products and all the equipment I could ever wish for, a kitchen ready to take on my wildest culinary dreams. Finding a fianc presents only a small obstacle; the more pertinent question is whether or not Id have to return the gifts if I canceled the sham wedding. Even a divorce after the ceremony might result in a division of kitchen assets. Though it seems like an alluring option, I cannot marry for love of stainless steel. Fortunately, its the holiday season, and Ive tried ever so hard to be good. Perhaps I wont get the complete influx of a wedding registry, and Ill have to wait on that stainless steel asparagus pot, but Im going to write a well-penned note to Santa with one or two requests. My wish list this year (heres hoping!): High Grade Chopping Knife You never know the value of a good knife until you find yourself without one. Chop an onion with a blunt blade, and you might as well be using the back of a spoon. Its not the onion thats making you cry. A quality knife, deftly maneuvered, brings speed and precision to a meals preparation. In a perfect world, Id be asking for Japanese steel: the Shun Fuji santoku knife, for instance, handcrafted with a tagayasan wood handle. But since that model runs at about $400, and I havent been quite that good, Id settle for anything sharp. Ice Cream Maker Why would a parent ever buy their daughter the Ben and Jerrys recipe book and not also buy an ice cream maker? What absolute torture its been all these years, reading page after page of thrilling flavors and never bringing such frozen dreams into reality. Ill pick up a recipe for gelato or sorbet, read the directions eagerly until I inevitably come to the words, Place mixture in ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions. This Christmas, however, I will not be thwarted. I will have my homemade Cherry Garcia. Indoor Herb Garden Winter can be a long, harsh season, and its even more unbearable without fresh herbs. Though those summer days of knee-high basil plants are over, it is possible to grow your own potted varieties indoors, retaining a bit of lifes flavor until the sun comes back. Some starter plants would be nice: rosemary, thyme, micro basil. (Micro basil on a butternut squash pizza with fresh mozzarella=molto bene.) Piping tool (with attachments!) I once saw an old episode of Martha Stewart Living in which she makes a tiered wedding cake (or, you know, a tiered cake for any occasion). To decorate, she placed hand crafted marzipan fruits on the surface and piped tiny dots of white icing on every edge. I estimate that the project took 12 hours to complete. I can think of few people, myself included, who have that kind of time to spend on something edible. After making the third marzipan fruit, I probably would have said, F*ck this and eaten a slice of cake.



all i want for christmas

But watching Martha meticulously make each and every dot made me really want a piping tool. Ziploc bags with holes poked in the corners work to a degree, but the icing gets warm from holding the bag, and my hands inevitably end up covered with frosting and stained with food coloring. A piping system, with various attachments, would be a godsend. Cakes, meringues, pastries, the detailed faces of my gingerbread men: the skys the limit. Though Id love to open any of these toys on Christmas morn, I suppose I must remember the difference between needs and wants. Though I might want an ice cream maker, and though a piping tool would take my gingerbread house from moderately timeconsuming to incredibly time-consuming, what I really need are some forks. My apartment has three of them, we have to wash them immediately after each use, and Ive learned how to eat spaghetti with a spoon . Its an issue. So Santa, some forks please, and anything else gets you extra cookies.

My Big Fat Greek Christmas


a holiday identity crisis

an exaggeration to tell you that all of my uncles and cousins are priests and one of my uncles is in charge of the entire American Greek Orthodox diocese. Consequently, my inability to believe in the legends of the Christian religion makes me feel that, in some way, Im mentally betraying my family. At the same time, I dont hate going to church around Christmas. Greek Orthodox services are ridiculously beautiful, and its impossible for me to attend without a deep appreciation for the centuries of Byzantine tradition being celebrated in my little New Hampshire church. Because Ive been made to attend services and Sunday school and Greek school ever since I was little, theres an innate connection for me between the church and tradition, the church and family. Even though I cant agree with the prayers being uttered, I somehow still appreciate them.

lifestyle editor
people and the culture that I love this time of year, and that is my familys fervent celebration of Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. Even as I write this paragraph, my hand subconsciously rises to the diamond cross I always wear around my neckand I find myself confused. Why am I wearing this? Well, Im not really sure. Especially this time of year, I am reminded of the fact that I dont believe in God (well, I dont think I do ... Lets go with agnosticism over atheism here), and that the rest of my family does. To the rest of my family, Christmas is truly a sacred time. Midnight Mass, in the Greek Orthodox community, is not a joke: its a solid three hours of specialized Christmas ceremony heralding the birth of the savior. To make it more complicated, my family happens to be rather prominent in the Greek Orthodox community: its not In high school, Christmas used to make me exceedingly sad. I was in that theres-no-God-and-when-we-die-itseternal-nothingness stage (pleasant, I know), and I couldnt shake the terror that came with that idea, nor could I handle being constantly reminded of that fear with every seemingly empty Christmas carol. I remember crying, many times, sitting by the fire and the Christmas tree, trying to figure out the point of this holiday and wondering why I couldnt enjoy the comforts of faith like everyone else in my family. Luckily for me, Ive been out of high school for a few years. Im not listening to Avenged Sevenfold anymore. Yet, this year at Christmastime, I still find myself struggling, trying to strike a delicate balance between embracing the traditions of my religious family while still being able to enjoy what I love about Christmas: decorating the tree and fighting over ornament placement with my sister, dressing up for the Boston Pops with my parents, smelling spanakopita baking in my grandparents kitchen, coming home and seeing my closest friends, spending time picking out the perfect gifts, no matter how small, to make my friends and family smile. Maybe these joys arent as profound as the joys of mans desiring, but Ill take em, and Ill take my big fat Greek Christmas, too.

To be fair to my mom, Im only half Greek. However, due to the dubious ancestry on my maternal side and the overwhelming nature of my fathers huge family, Ive always identified as decidedly Greek. Ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Take that scenario, reverse the bride and groom, and you have my parents marriage Although it is becoming less and less en vogue to admit my particular ancestry as my brethren bring down the European economy, I have always considered my heritage an important part of my life. It has been a wonderful experience to grow up in a family that is able to preserve old world traditions and appreciate and maintain a rich culture. Even though I envied my elementary school friends as they ran off to play when the bell rang and I went off to Greek school, and even though my grandparents will never understand that being a vegetarian means that no, I wont eat lamb, even on holidays, I love my big (and mostly, not fat) Greek family. However, there is a certain time of year that, as Ive grown older, has made it more and more difficult for me to reconcile with my familys past, and thats the holidaysChristmas. There are many ways that I differ from my family members: Im blonde (no idea how those genes won), Im a vegetarian, etc. However, theres one thing that makes me feel especially alienated from the


holiday guide

Holiday Memories
amelia STANTON, jennifer HARLAN, zo HOFFMAN, and charles PLETCHER
Theres nothing quite like the annual Christmas party at the National Arts Club. An institution that claims to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and educate the American people in the fine arts, the National Arts Club is really just a fancy space (the Tilden Mansion) in a fancy part of New York City (Gramercy Park). The club may provide scholarships to aspiring young artists, but its primarily concerned with its roster. Past and present members include Theodore Roosevelt, Frederic Remington, and Uma Thurman. My grandmother, whose third husband occasionally dabbled in watercolors, is also a card-carrying member. What a gift, she has often said, to be in the presence of such beauty. The Christmas party, complete with Nutcracker excerpt, is a membership perk. Couples come with their children, who eagerly wait for Santa. For each child who expects a present from Santa, a family member donates a gift, which will then be given to another child. To secure my present, my mother provided various gifts over the years: Barbie dolls, toy trucks, beading kits. Kid stuff. The year that I randomly, miraculously received a Madame Alexander doll (which can retail for as much as $749.95, as in the case of the Some Like it Hot Tony Curtis as Josephine/Joe 21-inch Collectible Doll) from the pile was the same year that my mother got hit in the eye with a yo-yo while watching the entrance of the Rat King. A six-year-old boy was unlucky enough to receive a mere yo-yo from Santa. In a moment of frustration, he thought he would give around the world a whirl. And then he hit my mother. She fell backwards out of her chair, out of her shoes, and onto the floor. I envision my seven-year-old self staring down at her, wishing that someone would just pull her skirt back down. Blood gushing from her eye, she was carried out of the room by a pack of men, holding her above their heads as they might lug wooden beams. She yelled down to me in muffled, gurgled sounds: The shoes! Get the shoes! I held them with purpose. My grandmother and I stood there; she with her scotch, me with my mothers shoes. We held on tight. The yo-yo incident of 98 was handled with discretion and care, as all club-related matters are. At the urging of my grandmother, my mother agreed not to sue the parents of the rogue yo-yoer in exchange for full compensation of medical bills and lifetime V.I.P membership to Wave Hill, a famed public garden and cultural center in the affluent residential neighborhood of Riverdale, home to New York Citys most elite private schools. What a gift, my grandmother said, to be in the presence of nature. AS My family is big on holiday traditions, especially the decorating of the Christmas tree. While college finals and commuting work schedules have forced us to move the date of this momentous occasion up from mid-December to Thanksgiving weekend, the principle remains the same. We go down to the nearest public high school, where men in grimy sweatshirts have sequestered a corner of the field and covered it with chubby evergreens. We spend a good half hour fighting over which tree to take home, each family member lobbying for a particular height or shape and viciously pointing out the gaping holes and lackluster needles of the others contenders. The winner, usually chosen in a frustrated abandonment of the democratic process by my totalitarian parents, is loaded on top of the car and driven home. My dad and brother place the tree in the stand, securing the top of it to the wall (we wouldnt want a repeat of the Toppling Tree Catastrophe of 2010), while my mom, sister, and I begin unpacking the ornaments. This is a sacred ritual in the Harlan house. We thrust eager hands into the plastic boxes before us, peeling open worn paper towels to reveal treasured old friends. Each unwrapping is met with gleeful cries: My Clara! My racecar! The pickle! After each ornament has been unwrapped and placed carefully on the dining room table, the decorating begins. Each family member selects a favorite ornament, my dad puts on Nat King Cole, and as the first violins strain from the speakers we slip metal hooks onto virgin branches. Cole drifts into Crosby, who leads into Streisand and Peter, Paul, & Mary. We crank up Little Drummer Boy, and my mom leaves the room in protest. Slowly the mountain on our dining room table diminishes, until each painted handprint and glass ball has been placed on a branch. My sister and I lie on the floor as The Christ-

four editors, two holidays

mas Song starts again, and, eyes all aglow, we stare up into the lights. Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas. JH Walk by my living room window in late December and youll be sure to catch an awe-inspiring sight: Hoffman Hanukkah. Growing up Jew-ish, I would brag to my friends about the eight additional presents (the fact that they were usually books was inconsequential) that I received on top of my Christmas haul. The price I paid for this extra swag? Embarrassingly inaccurate Hanukkah traditions. When I was younger, my father retained some semblance of a connection to his historically accurate Jewish ancestry. We would attend a Hanukkah party where guests chanted real prayers, children played dreidel for gelt, and the food was kosher. Eventually, however, the parties stopped (perhaps the invitations were lost in the mail), and we were left to our own devices. Herein began our yearly holiday celebrations. The night begins with prying my father from a college basketball game and demanding his immediate presence at my grandmothers antique menorah. My Methodist-raised mother heads to her trusty drawer of Jewish knowledge and pulls out a tattered childrens coloring book with the Hanukkah prayers spelled out phonetically on the back pages. As I light the blue and white candles, my father mutters rusty Hebrew left over from his Bar Mitvah days while my mother stumbles along with her off key recitation. I confidently chant my memorized verse, priding myself on my own excellent rhythm and pronunciation. After the candles are lit, its time for the Hora. We tend to borrow the version taught in my elementary school, rendered slightly more ridicu-

lous by the fact that the size of the group has shrunk to only three. And the small children have been replaced by legal adults. We dont rely on pre-fabricated background music, choosing instead to grunt and hum our way through Hava Nagila. We increase the tempo as we grapevine faster and faster until we end with a dramatic crescendo. I open my present (wrapped in one of the two Hanukkah-themed wrapping papers offered at Barnes & Noble), and the evenings festivities end. The festivities have lagged during my college years, usually prevented by my finals schedule. This year, however, Hanukkah comes latejust in time for my arrival and eight more crazy nights. ZH My mom and I have made a habit of going to Mass together on Christmas Eve. Both of us were raised Catholic, but shes since abandoned the Church for Protestantism, and Ive sincewell, not abandoned, but more qualified my religion. None of this matters come Christmas Eve. Then, everythings about beauty. One year, we thought it would be a good idea to attend a Latin Christmas Eve Massfor beauty, you know. Im from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where Im pretty sure that Latin Masses equal High Dutch Amish Christmas services in number. The previous few years, wed gone to more conventional Masses: an exuberant priest, a tenor who couldnt quite make the highest notes in his solo, and obliging congregants who didnt notice the tenors missed notes. The Latin Mass had none of these trappings. Im not complainingthe absence of that tenor (hes there every f*cking year) was more than welcome but Im warning you. Lancastrians apparently dont do the whole Church Latin thing. The priests diction was abysmal; the congregations was worse. Where we had gone looking for beauty, we found a bastardization of the some of the oldest attestations of Christianity. I dont mean just to quibble about pronunciation. Sure, Im a classicist, but I dont do Latin (and I treat Church Latin like the plague). Christmas is a season for hope. I genuinely wanted the Latin Mass to instill in me some confidence in the inherent beauty of being human. I was nave to expect so much of mere language. Christmasthe holiday season, if you willis, after all, about community. The language of the homilys delivery matters little. The beautiful thing about Christmas is the reunion of old friendships, old traditions (even with their erroneous (Latin) manifestations), and old locations. Christmas is about familiarity. Age and familiarity should, of course, not be conflated. The break from the hustle of school and work should remind us of the obligation we have to each other regardless of vernacular. Language is the MacGuffin of the holidays. Enjoy family, frienddo what you will. But whatever you do, dont go to Latin Mass. CP

Youre still with us?!? Oh, that is so great. We are so excitedand surprised!but mostly excited. Well, keep reading. You havent even gotten to Sexicon yet, and we promise, you wont be disappointed.


holiday guide

MM sexpert
The editors of Post- would like to instruct all parents and special friends to stop reading now. Lady Gaga didnt invent Holidotica, but she sure popularized it. Christmas Tree, her rendition of Deck the Halls that came out in 2008, appropriates classic holiday melodies in an extended three-minute sexual innuendo. Inspired by her artistry, and by the nearness of the holidays, I leave you with a composition expressing my wishes of peace, joy, and silicone phalluses for your vacation. Heres my adaptation of Clement Moores classic poem, A Visit From St. Dickolas. Twas the night before Clitmas, when through the abode Not a penis was stirring, not even a choad. Out by the chimney, the fishnets were flung, In hopes that St. Dickolas was, like a horse, hung. The children were shut up all snug in their beds, With filial ignorance filling in their heads. While Ma with her dildo, and I with my clamps, Were waiting to get us some Santa Claus ass. When out on the lawn we heard he had landed, That fat, sassy, kinky virginity bandit. Wed got ourselves wet just waiting for him, So when he arrived we all jumped right in.

n. a nascent genre of fiction in which authors convert wholesome holiday texts into bodiceripping erotica; see also: Kwanzarotica, Hannukarotica, Easterotica, Modernism
made only of medical-grade silicone! The vibrator sparkled, the lubricant dripped, the flogger was leather, and so was the whip! The edible panties with a hole in the back were the last treat he pulled from his sex-toy-stuffed sack. Then he approached us, whipped cream on his belly, and nutsack a-jiggle like a bowl full of jelly! But when Ma got between us, my front to her back, Santa said, What a foolhardy, normative act! Dont get me wrong, I think women are fun, But Id never put my peen in one. And that being said, he bent over my butt and put his hand round my ol you-know-what. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And finished me off, then came with a jerk. And pulling his member out of my bod, He shot up the chimney with only a nod! He yelled as he left to his bitch-ass reindeer, Lets quit this scene fore the cops show up here. But he hollered on back, ere he drove out of sight, Happy Clitmas to all, and to all a good-night!

The moon on the snow like a big areola And that beard as long as the old Ayatollahs, When, what to my watering eyes should appear, But that bestial bro brought his fleet of reindeer. And though he was small, I was quickly surprised, to find St. Dicks dick also caribou-sized. More rapid than NASCAR his shaft grew engorged, As he called by name to his whole antlered horde: Now Spanky! now, Juicy! now, Maxim and Vixen! On, Bambi! On, Vikki! On Peaches and Bitchin! Assume the discussed circle-jerking formation! Its Clitmas Eve and these folks want some action! But then he climbed up, the incurable fop, With his posse of reindeer to the roof-top, Pulling a pimp-mobile stuffed full of toys, For all of the naughty lists bad girls and boys. While down on the ground, Ma, still getting randy, cried, Come down here, Santa, and show me your man-meat! We started canoodling when I heard a sound like a cum-shot explosion, so I turned around. Santa had somehow descended the smokestack and stood right behind me, opening his pack. When he brought out a cock-ring, I felt myself moan

Cocktail Party Etiquette

dont forget the sweater set
Dear Emily, I met my boyfriend on OkCupid. (Thats not what this is about.) Hes twenty-six and works at a law firm in Providence. (Also not the problem.) He invited me to his companys holiday cocktail party. (This is the problem.) Emily, I am not a cocktail party kind of girl. I prefer dresses that accentuate my assets (emphasis on the ass). My idea of a good party involves several drunken make-out sessions, only some with my boyfriend, and maybe some discreet groping in the company supply closet. Hes never visited me on a weekend night and witnessed this side of my personalityhow do I tactfully break the news? Badonk-a-donk, always showing something Dear B.A.D.A.S.S, You do not break the news, you brazen hussy. You suppress your more promiscuous side and buy a cashmere twinset for the occasion. And you must wear that cashmere twinset with pearls and a skirt that hits at the knee. Not above. You may be tempted to order a shot of somethinganythingto make this deception easier. Resist the urge. As my mother always told me, Splash of cheap liquor, shed your bra quicker. While divesting oneself of lingerie at record speed can make for a memorable evening, on this particular night your goal is to keep all your unmentionables safely on your body. So, Emily recommends a glass of Pinot Grigio, or a white wine spritzer for the faint of heart. If you should happen to spill, no stains will result, and every woman looks a bit classier with a wine glass in hand. Some other time-tested tips from Emilys decades on the cocktail party circuit: only pick up hors doeurves that you can eat in one bite. Imagine the horror of dropping endive and chicken liver pt on the pristine company carpet! Truly, the mind boggles. Luxury cars are always a safe conversation starter: you may profess your love for a 1953 R-Type Bentley. (Emily has several. A ladys car should always match her shoes.) Speaking of shoes, a moderate, comfortable heel or a tasteful ballet flat (Emily wears Ferragamo Varinas, but feel free to experiment within the brand) is appropriate. This is not, however, a time to experiment with heavy rouge or glitter. Au contraire, my dear aim for the natural look. Foundation, brown eyeliner, and a dab of lipstick are all you need. When you receive compliments, as you undoubtedly will, a demure smile will suffice as a response. Emily cautions you against the following behaviors: toothy grins, winks, liplicking. In regards to your gentleman friend, give him the spotlight. Stand slightly beside him, resting your hand affectionately on his arm, and look for opportunities to turn the conversation towards his accomplishments on the squash court. In the tradition of my dear, sweet mother, make sure to suggest that, without your presence, the night would be charmless. As my father always told me, usually after a feminine elbow to the ribs, Behind every successful man, theres a clever woman. Dear Emily, This is an emergency etiquette question. I just met my boyfriends boss at the cocktail party and there was an incredible energy between us. Hes a total silver fox: Armani suit, commanding presence, suave smile. How can I pursue this attraction? B.A.D.A.S.S Dear B.A.D.A.S.S, You may not pursue this attraction. At least, not at the current moment. Emily is not unsympathetic to the devastating effect of an older gentlemen in a well-tailored suit. In fact, Emilys affection for the aforementioned 1953 Bentley was engendered by a particularly memorable half hour spent in the backseat with a certain advertising executive. However, respect your boyfriend enough to avoid sauntering up to his boss in full view of all his coworkers. Retire to the powder room and neatly write your number on a cocktail napkin, preferably with the lipstick that you have stored in your clutch. Employing extreme discretionpretend that youre a KGB agent if you mustpass this napkin to the powerfully alluring boss. His move.

Emily Post-s

You might also like