Breaking: Anthro Major Successful Post Graduation

Alumni writes, produces and directs play
by Gibson Merrick
Co-Editor in Chief

Last week the paper received an interesting email from our eccentric billionaire great-uncle Moumini. We didn’t know we had a great-uncle Moumini, but he promised us some inheritance if we sent him all our bank account information, so how could we refuse? We also got an email from Fordham alumnus Gaelle Voltaire, who was looking to talk to someone about the upcoming play she was working on. We decided to interview her while we waited to hear back from Uncle ‘Mini, partly because we’re starting to get a little impatient about our millions, but also because a play about agoraphobia sounded pretty cool. Enjoy!

the paper: Tell us a little about the play you’ve been working on.

Gaelle: The play is called Agoraphobe and it’s about a college girl who’s trying to come to terms with a trauma that’s happened in her past. In the play, she’s hallucinating this therapist character who’s trying to help her through this period in her life. She tells him stories about her past, stories about her parents and family, trying to figure out how to incorporate all these stories together and come to terms with the fact that something traumatic happened to her. She’s looking to become a better person and look forward to the future.

p: Are you directing it? What’s your involvement?

G: I wrote the screenplay and I’m directing and producing it!

p: Damn, what’s the preparation been like? It sounds pretty hectic.

G: It’s kind of great, and it’s crazy, because I’ve never produced anything before. I’ve also never directed before, but it’s something I’m becoming more comfortable with. Writing the play has been crazy too, I’ve been changing it around, I just changed the ending a couple weeks ago. It’s a lot coming in from every direction, all at once, but you’ve got to focus on the main goal and try to get it together. This week I actually just picked up the materials for my set, and I got them for free, so that was pretty good.

p: Is it hard to write and re-write as you go? Doesn’t that add more stress to an already busy schedule?

G: Definitely, I didn’t change up too much, but I’m worried about the actors being able to memorize their lines. I had to say “this is the last change” a couple weeks ago, even though there are a few more things I’d still like to change. At this point, I’m only taking out lines, even though I’d really like to add a monologue. I have to control myself [laughs].

p: So is the play your main focus right now? Or are you working another job to boot?

G: Oh my goodness, yes. I’m also working this job as a babysitter: taking care of these kids, making breakfast, lunch, and dinner, taking them to school, changing diapers. This morning I was sewing these curtains and I was thinking to myself how domesticated I’ve become. I think of what I was like at Fordham, and where I am now, and I have to laugh. After I’m done with this babysitting thing I don’t think I’m going to take care of children anymore. Kids are terrible to hang out with [laughter].

p: Kids are terrible. How do you keep yourself from going crazy?

G: I don’t think I have kept myself from going crazy! I’m just trying to get it together and make it to the finish line, making sure the play is good and something that I’m proud to put out. The babysitting thing is there for money, but this [play] is definitely my main goal.

p: Your play opens at WOW Cafe, a feminist theater on the Lower East Side. How’d you get the gig?

G:  The theater is a collective kind of theater, I joined last year, and it’s for women and for those who identify as transgender. You can come to their meetings every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., and if you come to the meeting you’re instantly part of the collective, you don’t have to pay any dues. As long you work other people’s shows you can put your own show on for free. You just come up with an idea for a show and a plan for sets. I’m really glad I found it.

p: Were you involved with theater when you were at Fordham?

G: No, I started off in Biology and then switched to Anthropology, and I only realized I wanted to write during my last semester. I took a playwriting course and a poetry course, but for the majority of my time at Fordham I wasn’t involved in theater. Now I’m really focusing on my dream I guess.

p: When does your show open, and how can students get tickets?

G: It’s opening October 10th – 12th at 8:30 p.m. and again from October 17- 19 at 8:30 p.m. You can buy tickets online, they’re $12 for students with ID!

p: Totally unrelated question: back when you went to Fordham, you used to drive the Ram Van with me and a whole bunch of other kids. One time at a party you pulled out the biggest joint any of us had ever seen and smoked up the whole party. We still talk about it! How does it feel to be a legend?

G: [laughs] It feels amazing. I didn’t think that people actually remembered it, but I’m really glad. You know, when I had the thought in my mind to roll it, I wanted to do something kinda funny and memorable. I can’t believe people actually remembered it. It feels amazing.

WOW Cafe Theater is located at 59-61 East 4th Street on the Fourth Floor between Bowery and 2nd Avenue (Lower East Side). You can buy tickets at https://www.artful.ly/store/events/1642.

David Schwimmer Sucks, and So Do You

Please stop talking about Friends
by Connor O’Brien
Executive Co-Editor

Ugh.

Ugh.

It’s not really a secret that I have a very complex relationship with Tumblr. Some of the blogs that I follow consistently post some amazing and hilarious stuff, but sometimes, they also post the most banal bullshit imaginable. By now, I’ve seen them all: Doctor Who photo sets and screengrabs, Sherlock theories about how they’re going to end up as lovers by the end of the show, and other things where people take their “fandoms” too far. However, I can usually put up with it because I’m basically like Joe Pantoliano in The Matrix, just staring and scrolling and filtering out the dumb stuff. However, the newest trend/piece of misappropriated 90s nostalgia that has been rearing its horribly pedantic and altogether horrible head may restructure my social media habits entirely.

Friends? Really? Guys, we can do better than that. Of all of the shows that we could have picked, we picked the longest-running piece of catchphrase-ridden, trope-heavy garbage known to popular culture? Good Lord. Okay.

The whole base of the show, like its apparent resurgence, is built on impossibilities. Also, if you like, you can replace all my descriptive nouns in this article with the word “bullshit” because that’s what I mean pretty much every time. It wouldn’t be a very interesting article if I wrote it that way, but in my heart, it’s all bullshit all the time. Anyway, so these six stereotypes live in amazingly large apartments in the Village, have sex with thousands of celebrity guest stars, drink coffee at Central Perk (LOL GUIZ), and are just generally horrible. Also, the name of the show is FRIENDS. I imagine the creators of the
show going into the pitch meeting with everything but the title and just blurting out “They’re friends, so it’s gonna be Friends. So the friends are friends and they’re great,” over and over.

But you know, I can’t really blame the show for being as popular as it was. The formula of boring people living together and having conversations about whatever wacky problem plagued them that week has been around since the invention of the medium. But let me know when people start talking about how totally hilarious Taxi was, and I won’t be as upset by it. Maybe I’m only finding so much fault with the show now because of the surge of complexity and ambiguities in modern television. But also, 2 Broke Girls is still on. So, we can assume that there will always be formulaic trash sitcoms on television. That’s another fact of life that we have to accept begrudgingly, but we really shouldn’t be drudging up a show that mercifully ended after eleven years of crap.

The characters are about as vapid as you can get, which pairs well with the boring writing. Some of the show’s most staunch defenders, usually averaging around age eighteen and possessing that ever-popular binge watching mentality, will say that the show is driven by its complex character development. The reality is, though, that six adjectives hanging out for two hundred and thirty-eight episodes makes your mind a special kind of mush, like that episode of The Boondocks when Huey watches BET for two weeks straight. So, here’s your premise: sarcastic (Chandler), neurotic (Ross), hen-pecking (Monica), spacey (Phoebe), idiotic (Joey), and boring white woman (Rachel) walk into a coffee shop for eleven years straight, some of them fuck, some of them don’t, and then one gets a spin-off. America cheers raucously, demands more, their children rediscover it, and restart the cycle.

Speaking of white people, off the top of your head, name a minority character on Friends that wasn’t a guest star. If you guessed Ross’s Asian girlfriend from season two, played by the awesome Lauren Tom, then congrats! You got the only possible answer, somehow!

All whitewashing and other complaints aside, I’d like to speak now about the main reason I despise the show so much. For me, evil becomes personified in David Schwimmer. I can’t even fathom how all of the factors that came together to make the character Ross Geller. Schwimmer’s character terrifies me in the same way that a creepy clown would, in that I just don’t agree with the fact that anyone thought it would be a good idea that he should exist. The neuroticism, the constant voice cracking, his job as a paleontologist living in lower Manhattan, and his complete oeuvre of horrible jokes and uneasy nervous breakdowns just make me want to curl up in a ball to hide from the fact that this man may exist in real life.

Additionally, for some reason, someone thought it would be okay to make him into a CGI giraffe in the Madagascar movies. Those African plain dwellers are terrifying enough as is, being notorious rapists and all, but putting David Schwimmer’s voice in one of their awfully misshapen bodies is one of the greatest crimes against humanity that anyone ever committed to film.

People, I beg you, please keep Friends in the past. It belongs there. There’s an infinite number of stupid and mind-numbing shows that don’t have David Schwimmer in them that you can watch anytime you want!

Local Natives Rock the Hell Out of Terminal 5

Outshine beer sipping, confused opening act
by Caitlin Hufnagle
Copy Chief

Local Natives

Local Natives

Upon my introduction to Local Natives about a year ago, amidst the release of their second record Hummingbird, I found myself enamored, and immediately counted them as a band I would enjoy seeing live. I was entirely correct, as my September 24th trip to see them play Terminal 5 so adamantly proved. Not only did they meet their own musical standards; they surpassed them, showcasing even tighter harmonies, and more intense instrumentals in re-imagined or augmented versions of their songs.

The night started out with a performance from Wild Nothings—an indie-rock band I had previously heard in passing, but never really gotten the chance to know. Overall, their music was pleasurable, and performed quite well live, but they unfortunately didn’t “own” the stage in the way I soon learned Local Natives could. They didn’t seem to feel the music, or be very into it at all for that matter. The lead singer often retreated to the side of the stage to casually sip his beer during the musical interludes. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against bands drinking on stage, but it took away from the “experience” of the music, since the band seemed disconnected from the crowd. The bassist also started playing the wrong song at one point, and after a brief, but confused conversation, the band figured out the miscommunication and got back on track. Despite these minor setbacks, Wild Nothings produced a solid musical performance, which I enjoyed.

After a brief interlude, Local Natives epically took the stage with an impressive rendition of “Breakers.” Within moments, the venue filled with energy as the band hypnotized with their beautifully tight harmonies and intense percussive notes. The set was a fluid mixture of songs from both albums, incorporating the innocent and more pop-tinged elements of their first album, Gorilla Manor, seamlessly with the more somber and mature components of Hummingbird. After a strong start, the group launched into some crowd favorites with “World News” and “Wide Eyes,” during which it was impossible to find a member of the crowd not singing or swaying along. Also, while I’m not typically hung up on presentation, I have to say the lighting really added to the show. At first, multi-colored lights backlit the band so that all you could see were their shadows as they played—and not to sound cliché or anything, but it was beautiful and made for a spectacular start to the show.

The LA-based group made it no secret that this was their first time playing Terminal 5, as Taylor Rice, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist proclaimed many times that this was their “first big NY show.” However, you never would have known. As the band flawlessly proceeded through their set, their ability to take control of the stage, and the large crowd, was obvious. Even their slower songs like “Mt Washington” or “Black Spot” were played with a vigor that engaged the crowd.

One of my favorite songs performed was “Warning Sign,” a Talking Heads cover that they played early in their set. As a Talking Heads fan, I found this particularly entertaining; it was not only a brave move, but it was also interesting to hear their take on the song. It was percussion heavy, and of course featured the three-part harmonies Local Natives are know for in a way that gave the song its own distinctive style while still retaining the basic elements of the original.

To honor their Terminal 5 debut, Rice said they wanted to “make the night special” and played an awesome acoustic version of one of my favorites “Who Knows, Who Cares” before leaving the stage. The colorful lights that once filled the room went black, and all that could be seen were large low-watt light bulbs swinging from behind the stage. Then, amid the whole venue chanting “one more song”, Local Natives took the stage again for an encore, the perfect musical concoction to send the crowd off. After an strong performance of “Columbia” and “Heavy Feet,” multi-instrumentalist Kelcey Ayer said, “if you know the words, sing along”—but there was no need. The crowd already knew what to do as soon as they heard the first recognizable drums beats of “Sun Hands” and went wild when the guitar and vocals joined in. They played the song with an energy that was honestly unparalleled by any other live performance I have witnessed, and the whole crowd felt this as they clapped and sang along.

After the song ended, the band thanked the crowd again, saying that Hummingbird was a New York album, and it felt great to be playing it in the city it was written in. This was honestly one of the best shows I have ever been to, and I highly recommend that everyone check out Local Natives, and, if possible, see them live.

Review: Rob Zombie Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor

by Gibson Merrick
Co-Editor in Chief

Rob-Zombie-Venomous-Rat-Regeneration-System

Hey, shock rocker Rob Zombie took a break from the break he took from music to put out a new album! And in case the title didn’t tip you off, it’s full of crazily titled horror-themed songs meant to ..shock you, I guess?

I’m not a huge fan of Zombie’s music, but I do share his enthusiasm and appreciation for the horror genre, especially the samples of horror movie dialogue that sprinkle the album. Plus, listening to a Zombie record is kind of funny in its own right. The man wrote and sang a song called “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” with no hint of irony or shame, somehow managing not to sound stupid. I also have a particular fondness for the song about a hoard of Satan she-fans crying out in ecstasy just because he shows up (“Lucifer Rising”). Maybe his straight-faced takes are what make it all work, I’m not really sure, but despite its ludicrous and nonsensical lyrics, the album is fun to listen to.

The only track that kills the fun is the uninspired cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band,” which feels like a failed attempt to recreate the same double-entendre awesomeness of his KC and The Sunshine Band’s “I’m Your Boogieman” cover. Still, one boring track out of twelve ain’t bad.

3 Q-Tips

Review: Iron and Wine Ghost on Ghost

by Connor O’Brien
Co-Editor Opinions

Iron-and-wine-ghost-on-ghost-lp-album

One of the times that I was most confused listening to music was when I heard the jazz freakouts on Iron & Wine’s 2011 record Kiss Each Other Clean. Not that I didn’t like them, but Sam Beam, the same guy who had been touring with singer-songwriter heavyweights like “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” and “Naked As We Came,” seemed the least likely guy to adopt a jazz-tinged backing band.

His latest effort with the still-evolving sound is Ghost on Ghost, which unfortunately does not live up to the already lowered expectations. While no artist should be blamed for trying to evolve their sound to better fit their moods or influences in pursuit of more interesting work, Beam has learned all the tricks to fusing his early and late sounds and unfortunately, his songwriting suffers. There are definite highlights, such as the album opener “Caught in the Briars” and the country-twanged “Baby Center Stage,” but most of the songs in the middle tend to blend together into a sea of mush. You’ll pick out a “by the fruit tree” and a “naked running” here and there, and that’s because Beam has elected to dole out his usual lyrical tropes and festoon them with new musical tricks.

What was novel on Kiss Each Other Clean has only become a predictable set of ornamentations and accompaniments. While the sound is definitely different, it’s undercut with a feeling of laziness. Of course, many Iron & Wine songs are supposed to sound laid back and lazy, in a way. Many of these songs are good for zoning out or studying, but there isn’t much below surface level that you haven’t heard before.

2 1/2 Q-Tips

Review: Fall Out Boy Save Rock and Roll

by Zoe Sakas
Features and Lists Editor

fob_save_rock_and_roll-1024x1024

Like the phoenix from one of the album’s catchiest tracks, Fall Out Boy has come back from the ashes. Their new album, Save Rock and Roll, does an unbeatable job at reviving the rock genre from FOB’s past and blending it with the pop music that consumes our generation. However, unlike the ridiculous bass drop in Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” FOB slowly eases in hints of pop music without losing the essential rock undertones that they were born from.

The juxtaposed genres of rock and pop are highlighted by the two guest rappers (Big Season and 2 Chainz), rock legends (Elton John and Courtney Love), and British singer Foxes that all make appearances throughout the album. Each song of the album is unbelievably catchy and the lyrics only help to keep the listener captivated. By incorporating the piano and vocals of Sir Elton’s golden days, undertones of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” in “Rat a Tat,” and Adele’s “Rollin’ in the Deep” in “Just Yesterday,” FOB touches base with many different music lovers and captures everyone’s attention right away. They introduce a new style of rock that holds on to their past, while embracing the chart-topping appeal of pop.

Everyone has been anticipating the day that FOB would come back from their hiatus, so much so that the tickets to their first show sold out within 30 seconds. They were not expecting the reaction to their new album to be so enthusiastic: Save Rock and Roll has been the second best selling album on iTunes for the past two weeks, and one of their hit singles “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark” has been in the Top 30 of the Hot 100 since it was released two months ago.

Fall Out Boy has not disappointed, and all their old fans have risen from the ashes with them, along with a new wave of fans from the newer generation. Maybe rock will soon dominate this pop phase we’re in, who knows? If it were to happen, FOB would definitely be first in line to take over.

4 Q-Tips