<![CDATA[The Johns Hopkins News-Letter]]> Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:48:56 -0400 Wed, 17 Oct 2018 05:48:56 -0400 SNworks CEO 2018 The Johns Hopkins News-Letter <![CDATA[Professor talks history and international law]]> The English Department hosted Christopher Warren, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, as part of its English Literary History (ELH) Speaker Series. Warren gave a talk titled “Literature, History, and Authority in International Law” on Thursday, Oct. 4. The discussion focused on Warren’s forthcoming chapter on international law in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Warren commented on the way people perceived international law when he started researching it and the way it is perceived now. 

“When I first started thinking about the intersection of early modern literature and international law, way back in 2004 or so, it was a very different time politically. For example, there was an administration in the White House openly hostile towards multilateralism and international law,” he said. “Oh wait, that’s now.”

He added that due to current events during the Bush administration, literary critics began thinking more broadly about the role of international law in literature.

“There were key differences in the wake of events like the Iraq invasion, the war on terror, waterboarding and torture; literary critics were increasingly invoking terms like cosmopolitan, world, transnational and global, but none of these approaches carried with them the normative language of duty and obligation that law did, and so when I did encounter literary critics discussing law, it was almost always in domestic context.”

Warren then explained his motivation for writing his first book, Literature and the Law of Nations, 1580-1680.

“What began to trouble me as a scholar was the past, as I found most literary histories not only shared key assumptions with those Bush-era thinkers most hostile to international law, but it also produced in and for the present a past in which international law did not exist at all,” he said. 

In his book, Warren argues that one way of understanding international law in the context of literature is through genre. 

“The book’s main argumentative burden is demonstrating how the genres of epic, comedy, tragicomedy, history and biblical tragedy organize persons, actions, events and evidence into recognizably modern legal categories, like the laws of war, private international law and human rights,” he said.

He said that the book addresses international law in literature for people of various academic disciplines. 

“The book... is intended to help literary scholars who are accustomed to treating all law with a single broad brush, better confront the distinct complexities, faultiness and variegated histories at the heart of international law,” he said.

The talk then opened into a question-and-answer section and discussion.

Sarah Ross, a graduate student, noted that many of the questions were about Eurocentrism in the works and authors that Warren chose to highlight in his paper. Ross appreciated the discussion.

“It gave us a lot to talk about, and the questions are almost always exceptionally good, even when people come from a lot of different fields,” she said. “The questions were pushing in a direction that I was already thinking about, so I’m glad that we had a chance to hear some of those and to think of ways that the chapter or maybe his other work is closing itself off in a way it doesn’t have to.”

Daniel T. McClurkin, a graduate student, also said that he enjoyed the talk. He thought that getting Warren’s perspective on his paper was interesting because many graduate students had read the paper ahead of time.

“I really loved it, and it’s one of those where pre-circulated papers and talks are sort of slightly different,” he said.

He also noted the focus on Eurocentrism in the discussion portion of the event. 

“The really strong interest in blowing up the Eurocentrism of it,“ he said. “The fact that that’s something that the room really grabbed onto and ran with was remarkable, and it was again, one of the reasons why it was great to have everyone around.”

<![CDATA[Doctor Who’s first female lead dazzles in season 11 premiere]]> For the first time in its 55 year history, Doctor Who’s latest season, which premiered on Sunday, features a woman as the titular character. Spoiler alert: Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, Black Mirror) nails the role. She is brilliant, funny and warm. She is the Doctor. 

When the BBC announced that Whittaker would be taking over the role from Peter Capaldi back in July 2017, Doctor Who fans were split. Many, like myself, were elated to see a female actor starring in one of the most prominent television programs in sci-fi history. Others, however, criticized the BBC for casting Whittaker into a role previously only occupied by white men. 

I loved Doctor Who from the first episode I watched during my sophomore year of high school. I grew attached to each actor who played the Doctor and respected that the character was vulnerable, compassionate, witty and intellectual. The Doctor, an ancient time-traveling alien, has the ability to regenerate into a new body upon death, which not only ensures that the show can go on but creates opportunities for new actors to play with variations on the role. 

The season premiere, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” is pretty standard by regeneration episode standards. Like her predecessors before her, the Doctor is stuck on Earth trying to fight an alien without her sonic screwdriver or TARDIS. We get to watch Whittaker stumble across and confuse a group of humans, outwit a villain, and finally, after an hour of adjusting to a new body and undergoing an identity crisis, declare herself the Doctor. It’s a joy to watch this process unfold. 

Sunday’s episode doesn’t necessarily introduce anything new to viewers, but it is executed well and is clearly designed to welcome new fans into the show. And there is a lot to like! The monster, Tim Shaw, is truly frightening; its face is embedded with the teeth of those it has killed. The special effects and cinematography are striking and memorable. The dialogue is snappy and energetic. 

Chris Chibnall, the new showrunner, focuses heavily on the humans with whom the Doctor meets, and later befriends: the companions. This season, we get three instead of the traditional one! 

We first meet Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole), a teenager with dyspraxia, a disorder affecting motor functions. He lives with his grandmother, Grace, and her second husband – another of the Doctor’s companions – Graham (Bradley Walsh). Lastly, there is the young police officer Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill), who is stifled in her current occupation and craves adventure. 

It takes a couple minutes into the episode for us to meet the new Doctor, but when she bursts onto screen, the episode truly takes off. 

I didn’t expect to become emotional, but watching Whittaker do all the typical “Doctor” things – command the room, take charge of situations, ask question after question — made me quite teary. Women are so often silenced and relegated to assistant roles, both in television and in real life. Seeing Whittaker beamingly assert herself is refreshing and revolutionary. I felt empowered and proud of the show for taking the plunge that so many of us had wanted for so long. 

Whittaker’s casting is one of many changes the show is undertaking. This season, Doctor Who will feature its first writers of color (shockingly long overdue). In addition, its editors are majority female and its directors will be 50 percent male and 50 percent female. For a show that is often reflective of its time (or ahead of it), committing to diversity and inclusion, both on and off camera, seems fitting. 

These decisions harken back to the show’s inception in 1963. The original series featured the BBC’s first female drama producer, Verity Lambert, and first director of South Asian descent, Waris Hussein. The show, which was made as a family program, tackled difficult themes like loss and fear. It also addressed war and the rise of Nazi Germany through allegory and metaphor. 

Over the years, Doctor Who has continued to educate its viewers on political topics. In “The Lie of the Land,” the Doctor fights an alien race called the Monks which feeds humans fake news and a distorted record of history. “The Zygon Inversion” criticizes the cyclical nature of war and the growing xenophobia in today’s world. The way that Doctor Who comments on current events is thinly veiled, but perhaps that is its intention. 

Doctor Who is simultaneously an historic, current and futuristic show, and its core philosophies never change — that is what draws me back time and time again. Its hero, the Doctor, approaches new planets and new races with curiosity, not fear. 

The Doctor seeks first to understand antagonists, rather than destroy, and relies on words and wit, not weapons. And the Doctor’s relationship with their companions is built on a strong current of empathy and emotional vulnerability. Even though its protagonist is an alien, the show is deeply concerned with what it is to be human. 

I’m thrilled that fans, especially children, can find a modern yet timeless hero in the Doctor, and it reassures me that the program will continue to impart important lessons through creative and innovative stories. For 55 years, audiences have looked at the Doctor as a role model. Now for the first time, fans can see that women can be role models, too.

<![CDATA[Tackling the NFL’s “roughing the passer” controversy]]>

The latest controversy plaguing the NFL is not about the national anthem, cheating or off the field issues. Instead it’s about a rule change. “Roughing the passer” is the name given to the penalty when a player tackles a quarterback too aggressively in an inappropriate manner.

A penalty that has existed for decades, roughing the passer has only become a subject of controversy this season. This is because of changes instituted by the League’s executive committee that have resulted in a much stricter enforcement of the rule. The NFL claims to have made the changes to protect quarterbacks from injury. This makes sense. Not only does it help the League fix its reputation as a dangerous sport, but it also protects the star players that people will pay to see.

Last year, Aaron Rodgers, one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, got injured on a tackle where the defensive player landed with his body weight on him. Rodgers missed a large portion of the season, and the Green Bay Packers were awful without him. As a result people stopped tuning into Packers games until he came back. This situation proved that quarterbacks are the money makers for the NFL, and ratings depend on their health. 

Through the first four weeks of this season, four quarterbacks are averaging enough yards per game to potentially break the single-season passing yards record currently held by Peyton Manning. An absurd eight players are on pace to throw for over 5,000 yards. Five quarterbacks have a completion rating of 70 percent or higher. Patrick Mahomes, a quarterback playing his first season with consistent starts, has already set four NFL records. Quarterbacks are playing better than ever because they know they are more protected under the new changes. 

So who cares? Who doesn’t want more offense? Who doesn’t want quarterbacks to succeed? Well the answer to the last question is obvious: the other team’s defense. And this is where the controversy begins. Defensive players have been flagged multiple times for hits that would previously have been routine. In fact, players have been acting especially careful to avoid getting penalized and have still been flagged. 

The Packers’ Clay Matthews, a six-time Pro Bowl player, has been at the center of the controversy. An incredible defensive player, Matthews certainly knows a thing or two about sacking a quarterback. He is probably one of the few players skilled enough to make the extreme adjustments the NFL expects while running full-speed at a quarterback. 

In Week 2, Matthews rushed Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins. Matthews did everything he could’ve to avoid a penalty. He grabbed Cousins’ waist with one arm and brought him to the ground, landing without an ounce of his body weight on the quarterback. He was still flagged, and the game, which easily could have been won by the Packers at that point, ended in a tie.

Despite the outrage from fans and players alike, the NFL did not respond fast enough. The following week, William Hayes, a defensive end for the Miami Dolphins, attempted a quarterback sack, making a deliberate effort to avoid getting penalized. As a result of trying to make these adjustments, Hayes tore his ACL and is now out for the rest of the season. The NFL was clearly trying to protect its quarterbacks’ safety, but it did not put enough effort into protecting its defensive players. 

Although their response was tragically late, the NFL, possibly learning from past mistakes, has handled this controversy much better than it has in the past. 

Firstly, it refused to change the rule’s wording in the rulebook. This is entirely reasonable. Before each season, the commissioner and each team’s owner sign off on rule changes like this one. It doesn’t make very much sense to expect the NFL to suddenly void these agreements whenever the fans want it to. This firm stance helps the League look controlled, legitimate and consistent.

Secondly, the NFL did not ignore its fans’ cries for help. The NFL released a video on Twitter showing examples of legal tackles and illegal tackles as well as explanations. This video has been criticized as unhelpful, but it shows the fans that the League hears them and is working on trying to be clearer and more transparent about its enforcement of the rules.

Perhaps the most effective part of their response was the NFL’s decision to hold a conference call with members of the competition committee last week. During this call, the committee discussed adjustments to the enforcement of this rule. The committee emphasized that it does not want referees to call a penalty unless they are certain that one ought to be called. Essentially the committee agreed with fans that the officiating was over the top. 

Since then the number of roughing the passer penalties has dropped. Only five of these penalties were called in Week 4. Additionally, in a game on Thursday night of Week 5, two New England Patriots players sacked Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. The two of them shoved him to the ground and dog-piled on top of him. They both certainly landed with their full body weight on him. No penalty was called. Many people compared this hit to another one of Clay Matthews’ tackles that was penalized in Week 3. 

Many fans criticized the referees for inconsistent enforcement of the rules. This is a bogus criticism. If fans want things to change, they can’t complain when they do. Thankfully, many rejoiced at this call, lauding the apparent resolution of the issue. Hopefully, as the season progresses, these critical fans will be pleased to see the new enforcement applied consistently by the referees, a fix that is better for quarterbacks and defensive players alike.

<![CDATA[Pride and poise: my Hopkins football story]]>

I’m going to make a statement that may seem bold, but to those that have had the privilege of being a part of it know that it rings true: There is nothing in this world that compares to Hopkins football. 

My freshman year here, I wrote a piece on just how much I was enjoying my time being a part of the Blue Jay football team. Almost two years removed from that publication, a lot has changed.

One thing has stayed constant over those two years, however, and that’s my appreciation of and respect for this program. 

A little over a year ago, I sustained what would prove to be my final football-related injury in the form of a third documented concussion. I was crushed because I had already been experiencing some issues stemming from head injuries that I won’t expand on here and I knew that my family and my doctors would be against the idea of me ever suiting up again. Having to go to Coach Margraff and tell him that I could no longer play remains to this day as one of the most heart-breaking moments in my 21 years of life. Not because of anything that went wrong, but because of the amount of understanding and care he expressed when he told me that he understood.

I was not an elite player by any stretch of the imagination, and I knew that my role on the team in that capacity would likely never amount more than a rotation player. This is nothing on the coaching staff but solely on the sheer amount of talent that I was surrounded by in the form of my teammates. 

When I hung up the cleats, I took some time to myself to focus on school and life outside of football, but the void that a lack of football had created in me was permeable, and so I began to badger one of my former coaches about trying to help out in any capacity. At this point, I was willing to tie guys’ shoes just to be back with the team.

Eventually, I was able to get a role as a cameraman during spring practice. I was hesitant to do much else besides this, as I was grateful just to help out the program in any capacity, but thankfully, Luke McFadden and Zack Toussaint noticed the itch that I had to do more and encouraged me to speak to the coaches about expanding my responsibilities.

This leads me to the present day, where I serve as a student assistant to the team and am a man of many hats in my current position. 

Instead of pacing the sidelines clad in a helmet and shoulder pads, I wear a polo shirt and a headset to communicate with coaches in the press box. Rather than spending hours a week working on blocking techniques and working to develop a better pass set, I now spend that time working on drills with the running backs, breaking down film with the coaching staff and drawing up scout plays to use against our starting defense. 

There’s something that changes in you when you’re no longer a player. Rather than worrying about where my position lays on the depth chart or how I am performing during scout team, I can focus on everyone else on the team and focus on watching them excel and progress throughout the year. You notice a lot more when you expand your vision beyond yourself, and it is an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to impart my limited wisdom onto the younger generation of Blue Jays and see it come to fruition and see them emerge as better players because of it.

I am a small part of something much greater than myself, but I think you’d find it hard to find somebody who enjoys what they do more than me. Whether it’s sprinting down the field and almost knocking over referees and teammates alike, watching our guys make big plays or going airborne after almost every touchdown to celebrate with my team in a slightly pathetic showing of my very limited vertical jump, I love every second of it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

If I would take the time to thank everyone that has allowed me this opportunity, I would go way beyond my word limit for this article, but I would be remiss to not recognize at least a few people. I, of course, must recognize Coach Margraff, who has been incredibly supportive of me remaining active in the program and has continually expressed his appreciation for what limited help I can provide to the coaching staff. Joel Jorgensen was the first to approach me about me returning and campaigned for me to be more active on the team. Greg Chimera has allowed me to expand my role on the offense under his leadership, and I’m incredibly grateful to Tim Sternfeld and Cory Pietrzyk for allowing me to learn under them, becoming two great friends in the process.

I don’t know what the future will hold for me in this new role, but I do know that I will continue to enjoy every second that I am able to spend in this program and with this group of staff and players. Few people get to experience the kind of joy that comes with being a part of the Blue Jay football family, and I’m thankful every day for being able to contribute to its greatness.

Pride and poise!

<![CDATA[Athlete of the Week: Emily Maheras]]> This past weekend the Hopkins women’s soccer team defeated the Muhlenberg College Mules, 1-0, and has yet to lose a Centennial Conference matchup. The victory marked the fourth consecutive shutout for the Blue Jays and improved their record to 11-1 on the season.

Junior midfielder Emily Maheras has been a key factor in the team’s recent success. Prior to the Muhlenberg game, Maheras had scored the game-winner in each of the previous three games.

Recipient of the Centennial Conference’s most recent Offensive Player of the Week award, Maheras carried her hot stretch into the game against Muhlenberg. The New Jersey native scored her fourth consecutive game-winning goal to lead the Jays to victory.

In an interview with The News-Letter, Maheras discussed her offensive efforts as of late, as well as the team’s success.

The News-Letter: This four-game stretch has been the best of your career, with four consecutive game-winning goals. To what do you attribute your success?

Emily Maheras: I don’t know that they’ve been my best four games. I’m not a very stat-oriented player, but I can definitely attribute my last four goals to my teammates who contributed to the goals just as much as I did. I try to do my best whenever I’m on the field because I know that I only have another year and a half of playing, and soccer has been my greatest passion since I was little. In addition, my teammates are also my best friends, so every time I’m on the field I try to work hard for them as well.

N-L: How have the freshmen adapted to head coach Leo Weil’s system?

EM: I think that our team has done a great job integrating the freshmen. Each and every freshman has an extremely valuable role on our team and has done a great job of adding to our team chemistry.

N-L: After four straight shutouts, what can you say about the defense and the effort that it has put forth as of late?

EM: The defense has done an excellent job and has gotten even better each and every game this season. Our defensive players give 100 percent every game, and every defender has a large impact on our team’s defensive performance.

N-L: How have your game and the team dynamics changed since freshman year?

EM: Every year, our team chemistry continues to grow. One of the reasons our team has been so successful this season is because of how close we are on and off of the field. The team this year definitely has the best team chemistry out of any team I’ve played on. We have great coaches who continue to have us prepared and motivated.

N-L: Heading into the second half of Conference play, what are the keys for the team to stay atop the Centennial?

EM: The keys for the team to stay atop the Centennial Conference are to take one game at a time and to play our best against every team that we play. Our team has been working extremely hard and has great depth. I am confident that our team will be successful if everyone continues to play their best in both practices and games.

N-L: What are your personal goals and the team’s goals for the rest of the season?

EM: My personal goal is to try to get better with each game and to motivate my teammates both on and off the field. I would like to do whatever it takes to help my team be successful. Our team goal is to play confidently and put together a consistent 90 minutes for each game that we play, which will hopefully lead us to winning both the Conference and the national championship.

The Blue Jays will head to Swarthmore, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 13 as they look to stay undefeated in Conference play. They will take on the Swarthmore College Garnet at 6 p.m.

<![CDATA[John Waters opens a shocking BMA exhibit]]> John Waters’ exhibit Indecent Exposure opened on Oct. 7 at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). The BMA dubs it “the first major retrospective of John Waters’ visual arts career in his hometown of Baltimore.” 

It features more than 160 provocative photographs, sculptures, videos and sound works. The exhibition is simultaneously hilarious and thought-provoking. 

John Waters is widely known for his hit film Hairspray (1988). The movie, set in Baltimore circa 1962, is a stirring yet entertaining advocate for body positivity and racial equality in the City. However, Hairspray happens to be one of the artist’s tamest works when compared to the transgressive, indie, cult films he rose to fame with. 

His extensive filmography with movies like Eat Your Makeup (1968), Mondo Trasho (1969) and Pink Flamingos (1972) has continuously and fearlessly tested the boundaries of propriety and transgression with  its dark humor and shock value. (In Pink Flamingos, an unedited one-take scene shows Divine, the lead actor of the movie, eating dog feces.) 

An openly gay man, Waters has been a staunch LGBTQ activist and has made many movies and works of art that reflect this sentiment. Since his earliest works, Waters has shot movies in and about Baltimore with his troupe of local actors called the Dreamlanders, which includes the famous drag queen Divine and recurring actors like Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary and more. 

The Dreamlanders not only make multiple appearances in his movies but are also a huge part of the artworks on display in the exhibition. 

Like his films, Waters’ exhibition aims to shock, excite and entertain its audience. It announces its jarring tone and subversive humor from the very first step you take into the hall. On display near the room’s ceiling is a large palette-shaped sign that reads, “Study Art: for profit or hobby.” This sign continues to appear in different parts of the exhibition, with the “for profit or hobby” being ironically replaced with such reasons as for “pride or power,” “fun or fame,” and “prestige or spite.” 

In his audio commentary, Waters says that the first sign (profit or hobby) was inspired by a sign that he saw on St. Paul Street in Baltimore. He was amused and astounded by how “politically incorrect” and “completely unironic” the sign was for any artist and thus recreated and parodied it many years later. 

In the following room is the most disturbingly hilarious piece in the exhibit: a work called Play Date that imagines a meeting between Charles Manson and Michael Jackson... as babies with adult heads. Waters wonders, if the two “media villains” had met as children, would their lives have been different? 

Manson, the cult leader and criminal with a strange amount of public support and notoriety, is a person of much interest to Waters and continues to appear in many of the artist’s other pieces in the exhibition. He has a series of images which compare Manson’s imitations of other celebrities’ styles, such as Brad Pitt and Divine. 

A large portion of the exhibition consists of series of film stills and images that Waters calls “movies.” One such grotesquely funny piece is called Birth Control, a sequence of images that shows stills of women giving birth from many different movies, with every alternate image being one of a woman screaming in labor, ending with the delivery of a monstrous, reptilian baby. 

A more whimsical piece called Liz Taylor’s Hair and Feet is a collection of pictures of, you guessed it, Liz Taylor’s hair and feet in all her movies. The images of the hair border a large frame with the center of the frame being left empty. Waters comments that he created this piece because he knew a lot of people who could simply look at the actress’ hairdo in a movie and recognize the movie. The blank space in the middle is supposed to reflect her “deep sadness” despite her fame. Waters commented that the feet are for the benefit of people with foot fetishes, and that there are fewer images of feet than of hair because of how difficult it is to see feet in movies. This is because the floor usually tends to have marks or equipment for filming that have to stay hidden on film. 

Among the funny, seemingly random pieces is a section called “Tragicomedy” – with pieces inspired by the 9/11 attacks that the artist witnessed. One of these pieces shows alternating images of the crash and doctored images of spaceships crashing into monuments around the world. 

An even more surprising piece called “9/11” is a set of two title cards, fashioned to imitate those of a serious action movie but for the movies “Dr. Doolittle 2” and “A Knight’s Tale” – the movies that were supposed to be shown on the flights that crashed into the towers. The work juxtaposes the mundane and the tragic and depicts the absurdity of some of Hollywood’s unremarkable movies playing during such an impactful moment.  

Other interesting art pieces in the exhibition included a humongous political button on the wall that read “Have sex in a voting booth!,” a section called “Contemporary Art Hates You” which riffs on the pretensions of the world of modern art, a piece called “Faux Video Room” – a velvet curtain that covers a black wall with a hidden speaker that pranks the audience into thinking that there is an actual video room behind it. There was also a photo-series called “12 Assholes and A Dirty Foot” which very explicitly displays exactly those, as well as peep-show booths that show clips from unreleased works by the artist. 

While this constantly unpredictable exhibition is vast and diverse in subject, tone, and form, there is one constant that ties them all together – John Waters’ unapologetic sense of humor and his fearless and uncensored depiction of our world. 

Indecent Exposure makes you laugh through its sheer absurdity, shock, and playful tone. John Waters is consistent in his goal to shock audiences yet keep his art interesting and light-hearted (for the most part). The exhibit   also makes you think and confront the parts of humanity you never thought could be put on display. The exhibition runs at the Baltimore Museum of Art now through January 6, 2019. Student tickets are $10, and the price of admission is definitely worth this amazing exhibit.

<![CDATA[A Star is Born focuses on female success in the midst of male power]]> In the wake of the horrible news cycle and Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation on Saturday, the evening seemed like the perfect time to go see A Star Is Born in search of even a glimmer of light. This might sound a bit ironic given the film’s rather dark tone, which knocks the wind out of you even more so than the three previous versions of the movie. Still, the power and beauty contained in Lady Gaga’s performance as Ally (which many have deemed Oscar-worthy) made my night, if not my entire week. 

At its heart, A Star Is Born is a classic story of boy meets girl. In this case, the boy is Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), an older musician in denial of his worsening tinnitus, struggling to keep his head above water as he imbibes alcohol and chokes down pills to get through gigs he once would’ve considered far beneath him. 

The girl is Ally (Lady Gaga), a younger woman who has essentially given up on pursuing a career in the music industry after being told time and time again that she has everything but the looks to succeed. From their first dalliance in his hotel room when Jackson’s older brother warns her of his demons, it’s plain to see that their story cannot end well. 

It is remarkable that A Star Is Born is Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, especially considering he was also starring in the film. 

His talent behind the camera is evident throughout the film; he captures the energy of the film’s live performances so effortlessly that you feel like you’re standing in person watching from stage right. Cooper also carries forward some of the trippy aspects of the Barbra Streisand version, with neon red lighting serving as a reoccurring motif: at their first meeting at the gay bar where Ally performs, then in the first love scene, and later in their shared home. 

In combination with the performances from the film’s stars, these aspects of the film certainly serve as a promising indication of Cooper’s potential should he choose to continue down the directorial path. Also, casting your own dog (especially when he’s that adorable) is a stroke of genius!  

The movie raises many questions about fame and what it means to “sell out,” which reviewers have had a variety of takes on. However, what I found most interesting was the dynamic between Ally, her manager Rez, and Jackson. 

Put simply, Ally can’t win. The success of her relationship is threatened by the demands of her career as well as the way in which her achievements make Jackson feel less than. At the same time, Rez views Ally as a talent that he can mold into exactly the kind of star he wants, even if in doing so he is asking her to abandon the raw, real artist that first caught Jackson’s attention. Additionally, to Rez, Jackson is merely a ticking time bomb with the potential to completely derail his investment. 

Throughout the second half of the movie, Ally is constantly made aware that she is disappointing one of them; the most brutal of these occasions is the blow-out fight when Jackson, preying upon her deepest insecurity as only a lover can, calls her “fucking ugly.” 

In fact, much of the conflict between the three characters centers around her appearance, which morphs from folksy and minimalistic to all-out glitz and glamour as she dyes her hair and changes her wardrobe. No amount of fame or money can allow Ally to escape the male gaze, and as difficult as it is to admit, the patriarchy is just as much embedded in her lover as it is in the man profiting off of her. 

The film’s soundtrack is a tour de force. Lady Gaga’s voice has the power to elicit chills and, as much as it pains me to admit, Bradley Cooper pleasantly surprised me. The album has been lingering at the top of the iTunes charts since it came out last week, a sizable feat for an album that includes tracks solely containing dialogue from the film. 

“Shallow” is an instant classic, the kind of song that will remain stuck in your head for days. My friends and I already found ourselves mimicking Gaga’s crooning before launching into our own rendition of the chorus as we walked from the theatre to the circulator stop. My personal favorite is “Always Remember Us This Way,” which falls near the middle of both the film and its soundtrack and most aptly captures its tone. 

If you’re looking for a movie with a concrete good guy and bad guy, A Star Is Born isn’t for you. 

Cooper takes no prisoners in his attempt to delve into the nuances of artistry, mental health and addiction. The film is all the better for his boldness, even if at times the necessary exposition, especially around Jackson’s relationships with his father and brother, isn’t as clear as it could be. 

Much like Ally, you may be left feeling drained at the film’s conclusion. But you’ll be grateful to have bore witness to the film’s narrative, which is arguably more culturally relevant and poignant than that of any other film released this year. 

<![CDATA[McMansion Hell creator explores city architecture]]> Peabody alumna Kate Wagner spoke at Maryland Institute College of Art’s (MICA) Brown Center to kick off Doors Open Baltimore, a free citywide celebration of Baltimore’s architecture and neighborhoods. The event took place on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Wagner is the author of McMansion Hell, a viral blog that takes McMansions to task by roasting them from top to bottom. The photos, picked from Zillow, are covered in snarky comments that point out the flaws in the logic of the world’s ugliest houses and end up teaching a little something about architecture and design. 

The blog has grown into something huge for Wagner, attracting the attention of architects and designers nationwide. Wagner now writes about architecture for publications like The Atlantic, 99 Percent Invisible, Paper Magazine and Slate. Recently she’s started doing talks that provide people with language that enables them to be critics of the houses that surround them.

At the event, Wagner stood at a podium, which she said was obstructing her funky chartreuse 70s suit and ran her laser pointer over the PowerPoint slides. She introduced architectural concepts and walked through them with example pictures of Baltimore houses and buildings. Wagner spoke lovingly of the buildings in her photographs — pictures she’s snapped on walks around the city, mostly from around the Charles Village area. 

“I love this little block,” she said of the 700th block of West Monument Street, featuring little yellow row houses squished together. “Look how adorable and small.”

Wagner started by teaching general words like “masses,” the blocks that make up and attach to a building, and “voids,” empty space on a building like parking garages or “anything that bugs can get into.” She moved into talking about balance, proportion and rhythm, and explains this is essentially the relationship of parts of a building on either side of an imaginary line. 

“If you stare at a building long enough and something looks suspicious, it’s probably not proportional,” Wagner said. “That’s why McMansions are so bad. There’s so much ‘hmmm.’” 

She pointed out that there aren’t many McMansions in Baltimore since most of the city’s buildings were built between the 1800s and 1920s. 

She moves on to talk about the parts of the house. “Here are some words you can use so you don’t point at the gable of a building and call it ‘the little roof hat,’” she said. 

She explained words like “facade” and “elevation” (architectural words for the front and sides of buildings) and roof words like “dormer” and “gable,” the latter being the triangle intersection above walls under a pitched roof that does, in fact, look like a little roof hat. 

Wagner lingered on the Baltimore specific features, too.

“Yay! The stoop. We love the stoop. Sit outside, drink a beer. Actually, I think I’m getting too old for the stoop,” she said. 

Wagner then explained the difference between a row house and a townhouse. A row house, she said, is a house that’s attached to other houses in a row and “90 percent of what you see every day in Baltimore.” 

A townhouse is a more general term often used in D.C. to describe houses that look like row houses but are actually detached. If people are confused whether to classify a building as a row house or a townhouse, Wagner joked that people should say “row house” to be loyal to Baltimore. 

Wagner also explored the styles of row houses that make up different parts of the city: the early and squat row houses in West Baltimore, the tall brick Italianate row houses in Remington and the mishmashed, artsy and eclectic row houses of Charles Village.

Wagner ended the talk by asking the audience to go out and appreciate the buildings and histories around them. 

“The best way to look at a building is to just go sit there and look at it for 20 seconds and think ‘something ain’t right’ or ‘something is right, and why do I like this so much?’” she said.

For Wagner, architecture and buildings are deeply personal and allow her to think about the stories they contain.

“I like looking at buildings because I think they tell us something about people, and I think they tell us something about the way people have lived, do live or want to live. If you learn how to pick things out and try and put names to faces, then that’s one step to building a broader relationship with architecture,” Wagner said. 

Wagner is a current Baltimorean, Charles Village-ite and recent graduate of the Hopkins Peabody Institute, where she studied acoustics. She has no formal education in architecture.

“I don’t have a degree in architecture and I’m here talking to you about it. That should be an important testament to the power of reading,” Wagner said.

<![CDATA[Made in Baltimore spotlights local filmmakers]]> This past Saturday, Oct. 6, I drove down to Canton to attend Creative Alliance’s Made in Baltimore Short Film Festival. The evening featured a showing of short films made in the Greater Baltimore Area that were selected for the event.

I walked down the blocks toward the venue. A large “Patterson” sign hung from the roof of the building, brightly lit and enticing.

As I entered the theater, about 200 people were already seated. The lights were on and the screen was blank, with organizers standing in front of the screen kicking off the night by introducing the list of short films and directors. The lights dimmed and the show began.

HOMEWORK: Episode 1, directed by Darree Hyun, was the first film shown. It provided an interesting take on the modern education system. The refrain, “All prisoners, report to your case managers,” repeats throughout the film. In the film, a young black student named Walker receives a poor grade on her test and finds that her test was graded incorrectly. However, her teacher is rigid and callous, and she refuses to consider Walker’s request to regrade her test. The teacher also rejects her request for a letter of recommendation for an internship, stopping her from getting experience for a future career in news writing. This shows how the current education system can prevent students from getting opportunities, even if they show initiative.

The Prologue, directed by Maxwell Towson, was an ironic take on rom-coms. A boy and a girl are dating and then they break up, a classic start. The narrator comments in a self-aware manner on the exes, often breaking the fourth wall. When the boy walks into the same cafe that the girl is working in, things change. The film was funny, smart and took a refreshing take on typical rom-com formulas.

Baltimore Ceasefire, directed by Amy Oden, is a documentary about the Baltimore Ceasefire movement. Baltimore Ceasefire started over a year ago, urging the community to abstain from violence for a 72-hour period. Contrary to expectations, the documentary did not focus on details about the actions or effects of the Baltimore Ceasefire, but on one of the co-founders, Erricka Bridgeford. She discussed the “smudging” rituals in which members bless an area, usually with burning sage, in commemoration of a victim of violence. “We tell them, ‘Don’t use murder to spread violence; use murder to vibrate higher,’” she says.

Blue Light: Haunt My Dreams, directed by Miceal O’Donnell, is an avant-garde short film that experiments with time. It is about a housewife in the 1950s who’s unsure of her sanity and wonders if she is experiencing something a bit more sci-fi oriented. The film begins with a woman stuck in a theater, surrounded by a handful of people frozen in place. The woman is terrified. The film then switches focus to a mother, Mildred Sullivan, and her daughter, Peggy Sullivan, preparing their house for a surprise party for a relative. Suddenly, chaos ensues as different versions of past Mildreds appear throughout the house. This film was particularly unsettling and made use of abrupt cuts and changes to the pacing to achieve a disorienting, disturbing effect. 

Nour, directed by Danielle Naassana, is about a female Muslim high school student named Nour who wears a hijab to school. Nour experiences teasing from other students about her faith and navigates this discrimination. I found Nour to be a sympathetic portrayal of the struggles that many Muslim girls have to undergo in America. The film was effective at making the audience empathize with not just Nour but one of the boys in her class who she forms a connection with.

Indie, directed by Angel Kristi Williams, is a music video for the song “INDIE.” by the rapper Greenspan, featuring Christen B singing on the bridge and chorus. It is one of two music videos that were shown at the festival. In the video, Williams attempts to change the way black people are represented in media by combining shots of Baltimore residents at night with shots of a photoshoot featuring black models. Greenspan discusses individuality, pride and unity in his lyrics. 

Dear Country, directed by Jena Richardson, is an all-female produced and cast short piece showcasing multicultural and multi-ethnic experiences in America. Four young women discuss their cultural heritage and their hopes for unity and female empowerment in the context of the U.S. post-2016.

Milo’s Misfits, directed by Will Bryson, is a humorous short film about a straight-laced and unemployed man, Milo Danger, who measures the height of water in his cup and unsuccessfully looks for work. The film is filled with wacky muppet characters such as an octopus chef, Octavia Baits and Upton Downs, the “third best door-to-door door salesman.” Milo Danger runs into these characters throughout the film, and they work together to solve Milo’s problem.

Operation First Light, directed by Irving Nestor, is about a group of boys at a summer camp who, armed with water guns and led by the camp counselor, raid the girls’ cabins. However, the situation is reversed when they fall into an ambush.

The Elephant’s Song, directed by Lynn Tomlinson, is a music video animated frame by frame with clay-on-glass animation. The visuals, swirling like a moving painting, tell the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in America, from the perspective of her friend, an old farm dog. During each chorus, depictions of the ivory trade and the capture and mistreatment of elephants connect the story to larger ecological and environmental issues.

The short films played at Made in Baltimore provided interesting takes at a wide array of subjects: modern education systems, urban violence in Baltimore City, commentary on rom-coms, wacky web series and much more. After attending the event, I left happy, having sampled the many creative voices in film right now in the greater Baltimore area.

<![CDATA[Afro Punk Ballet shows impressive talent]]> There’s a strange combination of otherworldliness and intimacy that pervades Afro Punk Ballet. On one hand, the plot and staging is decidedly futuristic. The characters wear beautiful black spacesuit helmets as they interact with spirits under the light of two suns. On the other, for all of its science-fiction elements, the plot centers on a family struggling to come to terms with the actions and legacy of its patriarch. It’s a story that is relatable and incredibly moving. Though the two aspects might seem disparate, the writers and cast of Afro Punk Ballet have managed to create a compelling and unique production that truly thrives in that in-between.

The story of Afro Punk Ballet — which was written, produced and performed by members of Baltimore-based performance group Afro House — focuses on the scientist Levi (Jarrod Lee), who creates a second sun prior to the start of the first act. As the new sun’s rays cause unimaginable social and ecological damage, Levi’s wife, Makeeba (Adrienne Ivey) and daughters, Corfazia (Jocelyn Hunt) and Jakub (Alicia Williams), must not only deal with the threat of invasion but also come to terms with their new world and their father’s role in creating it.

One particularly interesting aspect of the recent production is the variety of ways its characters express themselves. There is very little, if any, dialogue, as the majority of the plot is conveyed through song. However, some performers alternated between singing and using musical instruments, shifting on and off-stage in order to keep the show’s rhythm going. One character, Jakub, does not even speak throughout the shoe. Instead, she dances around the stage, revealing the character solely through the movement of her body. Altogether, the diverse methods of storytelling and characterization come together to form something that is fascinating to behold.

Unsurprisingly, the musical aspects of the show were fantastic, bolstered by excellent performances by the cast. The show seemed to have a constant rhythm to it; there was almost always a beat pulsing through the stage and the rare moments of silence seemed all the more haunting by comparison. Furthermore, every member of the cast is a very talented singer, and they all delivered emotional performances that were still easy to understand and process.

The members of Levi’s family were particular standouts. Lee’s performance as Levi is incredibly heartbreaking, and he does a fantastic job of portraying a man who is all too aware of the pain and suffering that he has brought. Ivey is also excellent, especially during an extended scene toward the end of the production, where she perfectly walks the line between Makeeba’s anger at her husband and her grief for all that she’s lost.

Hunt’s performance as Corfazia is both sorrowful and dutiful. She is not only a girl trying to comprehend the actions of her father but also a warrior who must prepare to defend her nation against invasion. Hunt does an excellent job of exploring the nuance between the two roles that she plays.

Finally, Alicia Williams does a fantastic job with what I can only assume is one of the more difficult roles in the show. Again, her character is entirely silent, and all of her development and emotions are portrayed through dance. Despite the obvious difficulties of the role, Williams imbues the character with joy and curiosity, and Jakub’s journey through the narrative is as provoking and well defined as any of the other characters’.

The relationship between the two sisters is particularly strong. From their opening scene together, it is clear that Jakub and Corfazia care deeply for one another, despite their different styles of communication and the different paths that they take in life. Williams and Hunt really ground the relationship, making it one of the most moving aspects of the show.

Ultimately, the production of Afro Punk Ballet was only the first act of an ongoing saga, and it is difficult to tell how the show will grow from here. However, based on their current draft, Afro House has crafted an innovative tale that manages to combine a multitude of different storytelling styles into a cohesive and emotional whole, and I cannot help but look forward to whatever comes next.

<![CDATA[Book highlights voices of civil rights movement]]> Kevin Shird, an activist and associate professor at the Hopkins Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, discussed his recently-released book, The Colored Waiting Room, at Barnes & Noble on Thursday, Oct. 4. 

The book, a nonfiction work of oral history that combines Shird’s voice with first-hand stories from the American civil rights movement, was released in March of this year. It draws heavily upon the personal experiences of Nelson Malden, the former barber of many civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr.

Malden, now 85 years old, is listed as the secondary author of the book. During his talk, Shird emphasized that Malden’s knowledge and memory was integral to creating the project.

“Nelson was like an encyclopedia of information,” Shird said. “He was like his own World Wide Web when it came to the American civil rights movement.” 

Although not a civil rights leader himself, Malden has enjoyed widespread respect as a community figure in Montgomery, Ala. for much of his life. His business, known as College Hill Barber Shop during the civil rights period and now called Malden Brothers Barber Shop, was an important hub of social and political activity.

“The barber shop was one of the most popular places, if not the most popular place, in town for black men to congregate,” said Shird. “Leaders came to the barbershop, they planned these civil rights marches and actually planned strategy to come together and talk about the next idea or next move they were going to make.”

In 1966, Malden, at the behest of Rosa Parks’ lawyer, ran for political office in Montgomery. He was the first black man ever to do so, only one year after the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

“He knew that his life could be in danger, but he did it anyway,” Shird said. “The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and never held political office. However, this served as an important step in the racial history of the city. 

Shird expressed hope that Malden’s experiences would contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the civil rights era for students today.

“If you’re 15 years old, you’ve seen three presidents in your whole life... and the longest term, if you’re 15 years old right now, is Barack Obama. And so for you, having a black president is a normal thing,” Shird said. “A young person’s perspective on that history, a young person’s perspective on race in America, it’s a lot different than maybe a 50, 60, 70-year-old.” 

Shird and Malden have given away a set of 300 copies of The Colored Waiting Room to Digital Harbor High School in south Baltimore, where Malden also gave a talk after the book’s release. Shird recalled that, despite the vast age difference between Malden and his audience, his personal recollections interested the students.

“The kids were glued to the conversation,” recalled Shird. “They were fascinated and really excited about it.”

Shird also spoke about how Malden’s stories encouraged him to look at the history of the civil rights movement in a new way that included intricate, personal details and connections to his own identity.

“For me, being an African-American man from Baltimore... even just being an American, now I have this fascination with this history,” said Shird. “It’s almost like this Pandora’s box.”

Born and raised in Baltimore, Shird began dealing drugs at the age of 16 and spent 12 years in prison before becoming an author and activist. 

“Just listening to [Malden’s] stories and listening to what motivated him was actually also one of the things that motivated me to write this book,” Shird said. “If I had had a person or thing who could have motivated me to want to... do great things in the world, would I have made different decisions in my life?”

Now, Shird hopes that the joint effort between himself and Malden can inspire people to reconsider the role that the civil rights movement, and black history in general, play in the American education system. 

“I feel strongly that it should be more a part of the school curriculum. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to find information on the American civil rights movement,” he said. “If you want to go look for it, you can find it.”

<![CDATA[M. and W. Swimming open season against Division I competition]]> Last weekend both the men’s and women’s swim teams traveled just down the road to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), as they had a dual-meet, racing against two Division I competitors: the UMBC Golden Retrievers and the University of Delaware Blue Hens.

The men came out of the day with a split record, as they defeated Delaware 189-90 but lost to host UMBC 163-125. Hopkins opened the day with two top-three finishes in the 200 Medley Relay. Seniors Emile Kuyl and Peter Lazorchak along with sophomore Nat Davenport and junior Brandon Fabian took second with a time of 1:33.95. Following close after was the team of freshmen Dylan Wachenfeld, Max Chen and Jeffrey Vitek and senior Michael Wohl, who took third place with a time of 1:36.29. 

“It’s impossible to name just one, but we were most impressed with the leadership from our seniors. They guided this young team through a grueling first competition and managed many best ever first swims of the season,” head coach Scott Armstrong said.

In the 1000 Free, sophomore Christopher Arena took third, and classmate Riley Mears took fifth. In the 200 Free, freshman Noah Corbitt grabbed his first collegiate win, as he earned the fastest time in the event with a time of 1:40.91. Fellow freshman Collin Hughes also impressed as he took third. 

In the 100 Back, Kuyl finished in third, and sophomore Matt McGough finished in fifth. Chen, who was a member of the third-place 200 Medley Relay team, also shined individually, as he clocked in at 56.98 to win the 100 Breast, his first victory in his collegiate career. Lazorchak took third, and junior Jasper Van Cauwelaert took fourth.

In the 200 Fly, Vitek finished in second, and senior Erik Bostrom finished in fifth. Next, in the 50 Free, Davenport took second with a time of 21.38, and Hughes clocked in less than a second after with a time of 21.61. 

In the 100 Free, Hopkins finished one after another, as Fabian took second, Corbitt took third and Wohl took fourth.

In the 200 Breast, Hopkins claimed three top-five finishes, with Chen finishing in second, Van Cauwelaert finishing in third and Lazorchak finishing in fifth. 

In the 500 Free, Hughes took the victory, finishing first with a time of 4:39.21. Bostrom followed in fourth, and freshman Mitchell Simmons followed in fifth. 

In the 100 Fly, Vitek took second, and Davenport took fifth. And in the final individual event of the day, Chen took second in the 200 Individual Medley (IM), McGough took third and sophomore Noah Frassrand took fourth. 

The Blue Jays finished the day with the 400 Free Relay, where Davenport, Fabian, Hughes and Corbitt grabbed second, and Simmons, Kuyl, Wohl and Lazorchak grabbed fourth.

Bostrom reflected on the performance, especially on that of his freshmen teammates, as this was only their second collegiate swim meet. 

“The freshmen were on fire during the meet and posted some really impressive times,“ Bostrom said. “A bunch of the freshmen guys and girls won events competing against two very good Division I schools, which is super exciting to start the season off.”

The women also put up a good fight against their Division I competitors, although they were unable to pull out the wins on Saturday. The Blue Jays started off the day with a third-place finish in the 200 Medley Relay by juniors Sonia Lin, Michelle Wang and Alison Shapiro and freshman Sydney Okubo. 

In the 1000 Free, sophomore Emma McElrath took second place, which was a career-best time and the second fastest for the event in school history. Next, in the 200 Free, Wang took a fourth-place finish. 

Okubo, following the trend of successful freshmen swims, grabbed her first career win in the 100 Back with a time of 57.80. Senior Natalia Rincon followed in fourth with a time of 1:00.70. Next was the 100 Breast, where Lin grabbed third, and senior Phi Nguyen grabbed fifth.

More freshmen recorded impressive times, as freshman Elaine Lipkin took third in the 200 Fly, and freshman Kristen Alicea-Jorgensen took second in the 50 Free. Shapiro wasn’t too far behind, as she took fourth in the 50 Free.

Okubo took home another win, as she finished first in the 200 Back by nearly three seconds. She finished with a time of 2:05.25. In the 200 Breast, Lin took second. And in the 500 Free, McElrath took her second second-place finish, and Lipkin claimed fourth.

Freshman Rebecca Ssengonzi placed fourth in the 100 Fly, and Okubo and Wang took second and fourth, respectively, in the 200 IM to close out the day’s individual races. 

Hopkins ended their long day of competition with the 400 Free Relay, as Shapiro, freshman Sophia Girgenti, Alicea-Jorgensen and sophomore Mikayla Bisignani finished in second, and sophomores Tiffany Lara and Carmela Irato, senior Emily Cheng, and McElrath took fourth.

“I was impressed by the freshman who stepped up for some big swims,” Armstrong said.

The Blue Jays will jump back into the pool on Friday, Oct. 19 as they head down to Annapolis, Md. to face off against more tough Division I competition.

<![CDATA[Football beats F&M in commanding fashion]]> On Saturday, Hopkins traveled to Franklin & Marshall College (F&M) in Lancaster, Pa. to take on the Diplomats, a team against which they carried a five-game winning streak. Both teams entered the Oct. 6 matchup boasting 4-1 records on the season. While they shared the Centennial Conference title a year ago after both finishing the regular season 9-1, the likelihood of such a scenario playing out again is highly improbable. A defeat in this game would deliver one team its second Conference loss and significantly hurt its odds to contend for this year’s Centennial title. Thus the stakes were elevated for this year’s midseason matchup between the Conference rivals.

The first quarter was relatively low scoring. The lone score came on Hopkins senior running back Stuart Walters’ two-yard rushing touchdown. In the second quarter, the Blue Jays would add another two touchdowns to extend their lead to 21-0. Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Hubley and Walters recorded receiving touchdowns of 10 and 42 yards, respectively.

Hubley elaborated on the factors that allowed him to score his fourth touchdown of the season.

“[Junior quarterback] Dave [Tammaro] saw that they were in man coverage at the line, and he checked the play. Practicing against some of the best defenders in the Conference put me in a really good position to beat the defender and make a play,” Hubley said.

The Diplomats were able to get on the scoreboard prior to the half, thanks to a three-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Joe Hartley-Vittoria. However, they were unable to tack on an extra point after the kick was blocked by junior defensive end Mike Kalanik.

Early in the third quarter, Hopkins went up 28-6 on Walters’ third score of the game, this one coming on a 16-yard run. Junior running back Hogan Irwin and Tammaro then scored rushing touchdowns of their own, these coming from 14 and three yards out, respectively.

F&M sophomore receiver Zachary Bross capped off scoring with a 19-yard touchdown reception in the final seconds of the fourth quarter. Another blocked extra point by the Blue Jays followed the score and put an exclamation point on their commanding 42-12 victory.

Overall the game was yet another dominant performance for the Blue Jays on both sides the ball. Tammaro led the way on offense, passing for 290 yards and running for a team-high 105 yards on the ground. He finished the game with three total touchdowns and received his second Centennial Conference Offensive Player of the Week award of the season for his efforts. Walters, who also had three total touchdowns, had 67 rushing yards, 42 receiving yards and even threw a 22-yard pass. 

Hubley led the receiving corps with 12 receptions and 107 yards.

“The main factor for all the catches was the game plan. We got the run game going early, and it allowed us to get some good numbers on the edge for us to throw the ball,” Hubley said.

On defense, freshman linebacker Robert Fletcher led the team with six total tackles. He also recorded a blocked punt in the first quarter. Kalanik and senior defensive lineman Anthony Davidson each picked up a game-high two sacks.

The Blue Jays head into their bye week riding a resounding four-game winning streak. To put it in perspective, Hopkins’ victory over the Diplomats, won by 30 points, was actually the team’s smallest winning margin all season. 

Hubley attributes this to the team’s efforts during practice. 

“The way we’ve been practicing the past few weeks has really been causing us to perform at such a high level. Guys are always going 100 percent in a very competitive atmosphere, which is great preparation for the games. Moving forward, we’re just going to keep working hard in practice, trying to get better everyday.” 

He also commented on the team’s focus going forward. 

“I think people are happy to get some time off, but we’re definitely looking to keep our momentum going. The focus is always our next game, so we will do whatever it takes to prepare for it,” Hubley said.

Following their week off, the Blue Jays will visit the 1-5 Gettysburg College Bullets.

<![CDATA[Field hockey remains first in Centennial Conference]]> The Hopkins women’s field hockey team handed Muhlenberg College its first loss of the year in the Centennial Conference this past Saturday afternoon at Scotty Wood Stadium in Allentown, Pa.

Muhlenberg got on the board first under five minutes into the game with a goal off a penalty corner. Hopkins took little time to answer back, scoring a goal off a penalty corner of its own. Their goal came from junior midfielder Katie McErlean, who dribbled inside the circle and put the ball in the corner of the net to tie the game. Her goal was the first of many for the Blue Jays.

Freshman forward Izzy Thompson scored her first out of two goals to put Hopkins on top. There was a scramble in front of the Mules’ cage and Thompson was in the right place at the right time.

Freshman midfielder Abby Birk was the next to score for the Blue Jays, as she collected her own rebound off the Muhlenberg goalie and lifted the ball over the Mules’ goalie for the Blue Jays’ third goal.

Birk commented on the Blue Jays’ success on offense this past Saturday.

“Offensively we did a great job of executing on our corners. We scored on three of eight which was really awesome, because we have been working a lot on finishing on corners in practice. We also did a great job of getting the ball up the field and persisting play against Muhlenberg,“ Birk said.

Sophomore Defender Michelle Ryder also reflected on game.

“We were able to capitalize on the opportunities that we were given. We took some risks and were able to re-defend well and it paid off,” Ryder added.

Thompson scored her second goal off a similar scramble in front of the goal to put the Blue Jays up three. Sophomore forward Michaela Corvi scored the fifth and final Blue Jay goal less than three minutes later when she made a great move around her defender and beat the goalie in tight. Hopkins outshot Muhlenberg 15-4 on Saturday.

Muhlenberg began to close in on Hopkins’ lead when they answered off a penalty corner and a hard shot from freshman Sarah Raab. The Blue Jay defense held strong though, not allowing another goal for the last 15 minutes of the game.

The five goals scored by the Blue Jays ties their season high, previously set in their comeback win over York College. It is also the first time the Blue Jays have scored five goals against the Mules since 2006.

Ryder commended the defensive effort.

“Defensively I think we were all low, stepped up to the ball and kept the pressure up. Even when we got beat, everyone was hustling back,” Ryder said.

The win was the first time the Blue Jays beat the Mules at Muhlenberg since 2012 and improved their all time record against the Mules to 20-8. The 10-1 start also continues the Blue Jays’ best start since 2008, when the team started the season undefeated through 11 games.

After this win over the Mules, Hopkins sits at No. 17 in the national NCAA rankings for Division-III Field Hockey. The Blue Jays sit alone at the top of the Centennial Conference going into their next game on Wednesday.

The Blue Jays will be back on the field on Saturday, Oct. 13. Hopkins will travel up to Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa. for yet another Centennial Conference matchup. Swarthmore is currently in the eighth spot out of the 11 total teams in the Centennial Conference standings.

Following their matchup with Swarthmore, the Blue Jays will play their final non-Conference game of the regular season against Christopher Newport University. The two teams will face off on Monday, Oct. 15 on Homewood Field.

<![CDATA[Students discuss their experiences with work-study]]> Hopkins was ranked the 25th most expensive school in America by Business Insider for the 2016-2017 school year. Tuition has only increased since then – 5.5 percent over the last two years. Currently, annual tuition totals $53,740. Due to the high cost of enrollment, many Hopkins students seek out grants and financial aid to pay for their education. 

Specifically, some students receive financial aid in the form of the federal work-study (FWS) program, a government subsidized part-time job that allows students to earn money while they pursue their degrees. 

Some students participate in FWS by seeking on-campus jobs, including research and teaching assistant positions, or certain off-campus employment, such as nonprofit work.

This semester, students participating in FWS may work at the Tutorial Project, an after-school tutoring program led by undergraduate students. The organization added a work-study component so that student workers can receive monetary compensation for tutoring. 

Tutorial Project Program Director Young Song has overseen the organization since 2007. She is optimistic that the inclusion of work-study in the program will broaden its appeal to students who were dissuaded from volunteering due to financial constraints.

“About half of our students are hired through work-study, and the other half are volunteers,” Song said. “We’ll always have students who want to volunteer and participate in this program, regardless of whether or not they want to be paid. But for students who really wanted to do Tutorial but couldn’t because they needed a job – this is a way for them to finally be able to do that.”

Song explained that because many community service programs on campus have limited budgets, they cannot afford to financially compensate students. She elaborated that Tutorial Project overcame this barrier by partnering with America Reads, a federal program which uses FWS to fund existing tutoring programs. America Reads covers 100 percent of Tutorial Project’s FWS salaries.

“The Center for Social Concern, as an office, doesn’t have the budget to support all of our volunteers,” Song said. “I’ve currently hired about 50 students using federal work-study; we don’t have the funds on our own to pay for that.”

Song stated that students who apply for work-study within the Tutorial Project can find a rewarding experience by helping children realize their academic potential, granted that they are willing to commit time and effort to the organization. 

“You have to be able to make a commitment,” Song said. “Sometimes it takes more time and commitment and effort to bring a child out and develop a strong relationship. The commitment level needs to be there for the whole semester; you are committing to a person, not just a job or a program.”

Federal work-study, unlike other forms of financial aid, requires students to work a set number of hours per week in order to receive their benefits. 

Some students have found it hard to meet this rigid set of standards due to their already busy schedule as Hopkins students, making it a very challenging way to receive financial aid. 

Still, working students like sophomore Julianne Schmidt believe that FWS provides undergraduates rewarding personal and with professional development opportunities, as well as a unique college experience.

Schmidt is an Art History major and has worked at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) for over a year. She says that her employment has offered her valuable insight into her field of interest. 

“I work in the Education and Development office, so I help the museum staff with clerical work, and I organize events for them,” Schmidt said. “I chose [my job] because it was convenient and also in my academic interests.”

Students are able to use FWS in off-campus jobs if the work performed is in the public interest, such as for a nonprofit. 

While Schmidt is passionate about her work at the BMA, she stated that she was initially shocked when she learned how much work was expected for her financial aid package.

“I assumed it would be like working a normal job,” she said. “Being in a committed work-study for hours during the week lessens the amount of time I have to devote to clubs and my studies. I knew I was going to be devoted to this program, of course, but the fact that I don’t have as much time as I wanted outside of work and studies is a little bit of a downside.”

Despite the heavy workload her job entails, Schmidt believes that her employers understand the importance of providing students ways to balance their busy schedules.

“They’re so flexible with my hours,” Schmidt said. “If I ever have an exam the next day, my boss is totally fine with it; she’ll let me decide how I use my hours throughout the week. She’s very nice and accommodating in that way.”

In contrast, senior Elorm Awuyah wrote in an email to The News-Letter about his experience working for the Hopkins Housing Operations.

“Being a working student is hard cause some jobs realize that you have homework and studying, but won’t always let you do it at work because of the nature of your job,” Awuyah wrote. 

However, ultimately Awuyah concluded that the benefits of participating in a FWS program outweighs the costs.

“It’s definitely worth it for me because I can increase my spending money and, in doing so, slightly decrease the financial burden on my parents,“ he wrote.

Junior Juan Sanfiel agreed with Awuyah in an email to The News-Letter. He has worked a variety of jobs on campus, such as being a teacher’s assistant (TA) and managing the chemistry stockroom. 

“I think being a student who works definitely brings its challenges. Over time I’ve learned how to manage my time with my assignments and my jobs, but at the same time I’ve found it really rewarding in the sense that I’ve gained a sense of what it’s like to work with others and handle specific situations,“ Sanfiel wrote. “I really find work study worth it since I’m finding jobs that I truly enjoy and help me make connections and meet some fantastic people.”

Schmidt argued that work-study is a rewarding opportunity, despite the time commitments it requires. Like other extracurricular activities, she said, work-study develops character and impacts the community around you. 

She also expressed that it is crucial for students to select a work-study program that they find emotionally and intellectually satisfying. By reaching out to the Office of Financial Aid as well as various work-study providers, students can find a program that best suits their schedule and personal preferences.

“Reach out to your financial adviser, because they will help you discover the best path to take,” Schmidt said. “Really look through the work-study database and look through the job offerings that really interest you. You’re going to feel like your wasting your time if you commit to a job you don’t really want to do.”

Senior JoJo Castellanos wrote in an email to The News-letter about his experience working as a research assistant on the East Baltimore Campus. 

“They actually hired me because of my ability to do work-study (also because my skills) because they had a grant that would cover it,“ Castellanos wrote.

However, he emphasized that it is important for Hopkins to support students with work-study as they likely have the most financial need. 

“Some students have to balance going to class and working the maximum number of hours for that payroll just to have enough money to afford rent, bills, or even tuition,“ Castellanos wrote. “I know they have like a student employment week which is nice, but I think there needs to be more conversations around what this experience may look like. There needs to be more venues to talk about socioeconomic inequities.” 

Meagan Peoples contributed reporting.

<![CDATA[SGA discusses rally to support student center]]> The Student Government Association (SGA) voted at their weekly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9 to pass a bill to provide funding for the Homewood Brick Rally on Oct. 22. The Rally aims to showcase SGA’s commitment to advocating for a dedicated student center that would address student concerns and promote the well-being of students.

SGA members will give students the opportunity to write their names and messages on 300 bricks in the Levering courtyard and then bring them to Garland Hall to build a structure which will symbolize their desire for a student center and will remain standing for a period of two days.

Sophomore Class Senator Sam Mollin noted that although the Hopkins community has discussed a student center for a long time, little to no progress has been made.

“It’s really important that we galvanize student action and add pressure on the administration,” he said.

Sophomore Class Senator Isaac Lucas agreed, stressing that the rally would be important to help counter a common perception that SGA is ineffective, which had been reflected in survey results Junior Class President Dean Chien had brought up earlier.

“Some people think we’re stalling or waiting too much,“ Lucas said. “Waiting for the administration would contribute to that.”

Student Leadership and Involvement (SLI) Director Kirsten Fricke said that she was pleased that SGA had chosen to support the initiative of a student center. Nevertheless, she also expressed her concerns about the rally, including the delivery and transportation of the bricks.

“I would encourage you all to do your due diligence, to check in with grounds, check in with facilities. One of the liabilities is that if you all decide to move forward without having those conversations and something goes awry, that would reflect poorly on you as an organization and would detract more than support your cause,” she said.

Junior Class Senator Miranda Bannister, who endorsed the rally, claimed that such issues were unrealistic and improbable.

“This is a good form of protest — art can be really powerful. This is performance art, which is even better,” she said.

Senior Class Senator Gianni Thomas agreed with Bannister but emphasized the importance of fellow Senator Jennifer Baron’s concerns about cleanup after the rally. According to him, damage caused by the rally could potentially be valuable provided that it does not involve personal injuries.

“If there were damage that affects the school, the student body might even view that as positive on our end,“ he said. “Technically it would be bad, but the publicity associated with it be positive.”

The bill passed with 11 members voting in favor.

SGA members then confirmed nine students to the Policy Research and Development Commission (PRDC) and four to the Student Activities Commission (SAC). They also confirmed four new students and reconfirmed two members to the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee and the Committee on Student Elections (CSE), respectively.

SGA also passed an initiative to allocate tampons and pads for all students who menstruate in women’s and all-gender restrooms in prime locations across campus. 

Sophomore Class Senator Lauren Paulet, who introduced the legislation, defined the initiative as a first step in implementing a sustainable and inclusive menstruation products program, a goal which she hopes the administration will work toward. SGA will partner with Wings, a student group that supports menstrual health, to distribute products.

SGA also passed the Semester.ly-HopHacks Funding Bill to provide funding for Semester.ly-HopHacks outreach programs, including server maintenance, flyering and on-campus events. According to junior Semester.ly project leaders Dalton Chu and Kristin Yim, who spoke at the SGA meeting, the funding will soon be depleted, and they have already started to pay out-of-pocket. They hope to expand Semester.ly’s user engagement, which has progressively decreased in recent years.

Next, SGA approved a funding bill to direct additional resources to IDEAL, a non-partisan civic discourse advocacy group. The funding would help IDEAL with their after-school program that works with community partners to encourage students from local Baltimore public schools to participate in civic discourse and engagement. It would also help with funding for IDEAL’s upcoming Halloween party, which is meant to motivate attendees to come to future meetings. 

SGA also passed the Healthy Hopkins Bill, which Junior Class Senator Pavan Patel had introduced the week before. In accordance with the Task Force on Student Mental Health and Wellbeing’s May 2017 findings, the program will partner with the Recreation Center to offer students up to two free group personal training sessions. 

Correction: The original version of this article stated that an Ideal Lab grant IDEAL received has not yet been made accessible to them. IDEAL does have access to funds from IdeaLab.

<![CDATA[A few lessons that I learned from my freshman year]]>

The first semester of college, my independence was tested more than ever. There was the first time I was late for or skipped a class and had no one to blame but myself. Or the first time I forewent studying an extra hour for a test to irresponsibly hang out with the cute guy I had just met. Last but not least, the first time I ate six bowls of mac and cheese and a few brownies, and then skipped the gym, simply because I could.

My first week of school, I was enchanted by the deepest blue eyes. Forgotten were all the promises I had made to myself about not dating freshman year, and gone were the priorities I had set so rigorously in my head. 

I thought I could balance it all — falling for a stranger with unfairly soft hair and simultaneously taking a maximum credit load of the toughest classes. 

Newsflash: Between laundry, cleaning bathrooms, doing dishes, general socializing, daydreaming and, most significantly, the extremely challenging academic environment at Hopkins, this was not humanly possible without sleeping approximately two hours a night. 

Week three arrived and with it, my first 16-page essay. I replaced frat parties with cubicles and put my head down for my first all-nighter. 

I had always been the girl in high school who, much to the dismay of her classmates, submitted everything two days early. This essay, however, I submitted approximately half a minute before the deadline, at 7:59 a.m. 

And the next day I skipped my first class. Luckily I had taken a similar course in high school, and catching up was easy. In hindsight, I wish catching up had been excruciatingly difficult, so I wouldn’t have fallen into such a self-deprecating routine.

For the first couple of weeks, I skipped the occasional class, got 100 percent on all my homework, won over the hearts of all my professors and kept up with every single new friend I had made, all whilst applying a full face of light make-up every morning, washing my hair on alternate days and not gaining a pound of weight. I was superwoman.

And then came the freshman plague. Full disclosure: Every fall semester, a wave of the common cold will hit all freshman once or twice — the first round five weeks in and the second 10 weeks in. 

If you’re lucky it won’t develop further. If you aren’t, you’ll end up like my poor friend with an ear infection, mono and the flu. 

I got a 40 percent on my first homework, I didn’t do laundry for three weeks and re-wore two sweaters, I skipped classes and didn’t catch up, and I got mediocre grades without studying too hard on my first set of midterms. 

In high school, I might have been able to scrape together some As; in college, I barely managed some Bs. 

And despite the beautiful, wonderful, loving family I found at college and cherish so dearly, for the most part, I had to get through it on my own. 

Although they were there for me, we were all being hit with the same tsunami of responsibility, and freshman year is everyone’s first time adulting. 

It was the hardest lesson to learn that no one was going to look out for me. I have a tendency to be the mother of the group, the one people rely on, the shoulder others cry on — the one who takes care of everyone. 

Like a mother with her children, I tend to put the well-being of my friends before myself. This is a truly poisonous trait to possess in college, because without taking care of myself, I was drowning in a mess that only kept getting deeper. 

I didn’t fully come to terms with all the mistakes I had made until I was sitting at an airport lounge, about to board a flight home, with the lowest GPA I had ever seen in my entire life in my back pocket. 

Mind you, my classes were extremely tough, and physics is an excruciatingly difficult field, but if I had known how to manage my time better and gotten out of bed, I could have doubled it. 

But hey, if you’re reading this and it’s your first semester, I hope you’re wildly distracted by a boy. I hope you skip a class sometime. And I really hope you binge eat whatever you want once in a while. It wouldn’t be college without it. 

These are minor mistakes that are easily fixable, and the best way to learn from them is to make them. I’m not encouraging bad behavior, but I am telling you not to grow up too fast because there’s no way to turn back once you do. 

Just promise me you won’t make them twice (or thrice), because you’re only in trouble when missteps become habit.


Adjusting to life at Hopkins and living independently for the first time can prove daunting.

<![CDATA[Exploring Amsterdam’s unique architecture while biking through the city]]>

Cycling in this city can be a treacherous task, but as I’ve gotten used to it, I’ve found that it has enabled me to finally appreciate the allure of Amsterdam.

I have been very fortunate to be blessed with gorgeous weather these past seven weeks (almost two months, I can’t believe it!), which has allowed me to really enjoy being outside on my trusty bike. 

Some of you might be shocked to hear that. It still bewilders me that now in October, we seem to only have more beautiful autumnal days, one after the other. 

I was expecting rain. Just lots of rain, and wind, and how awful it would be to cycle through. I was advised to bring waterproof everything and to be prepared to cycle through wind that would have you stuck still on the path even when you were peddling as hard as you could while heavy rain is soaked you through to the bone.

I am sure that those days may still come but arriving with those very low expectations has allowed me to really give thanks for the wonderful weather and my stunning surroundings. 

I have made the most of the weather by discovering more of Amsterdam on my bike. Often, I will use Google Maps to get to a new location like a restaurant I really want to try or a cool museum I heard about, and it will show me the most direct way to get there. 

However, on many of my enjoyable cycle rides, I’ve been taken aback by how splendid my environment is. I double check the app to see that I am not taking some “scenic route” and making my journey twice as long.

Yet, every time I check, it really looks like the fastest route. How can this be? I gradually came to realize, and now love, that Amsterdam is simply a very captivating city.

There are many reasons for Amsterdam’s enchanting beauty. What makes it beautiful for me is the amount of greenery. There are over thirty parks in Amsterdam so you are never too far from cycling through a charming green space. 

Vondelpark is one of my all-time favorites since it is so large, a when New York was still New Amsterdam, the Dutch immigrants sought to recreate it in what is now Central Park. The park is also very central, so it is easy to get to and always full of tourists, locals, families, dog walkers, joggers, roller skaters and of course, cyclists. 

There is even a Picasso there! It seems so random, but it’s a typical abstract sculpture by Picasso called “The Fish.” Amsterdam always seems to have these hidden masterpieces and surprises around every corner.

Another aspect of Amsterdam that makes it so undeniably beautiful is the canals, along with their bridges and the canal houses in the city center. The historic urban ensemble of the canal district, which was built in the 17th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so it is perfectly preserved.

This also means that none of the canal houses can be altered from the outside. I think they did a pretty good job back then to build such an appealing city, especially considering how old it is now.

Your picture-perfect image of Amsterdam will therefore always stay the way you imagine it and will not be turned into an ugly city of skyscrapers and blocks of towers, which is what happens in other parts of the city as well as other major capitals across the globe. It may have the cosmopolitan vibe and cultural life of a European capital, yet it still has a village-like charm through its quaint architecture. From the canal houses, Renaissance buildings and contemporary structures, Amsterdam features a unique variety of architecture. 

Another part of Amsterdam that I find so attractive is its visible vivacity. The number of cyclists whizzing past you always makes sure that the city never looks dead, no matter what time of day or night. There are lots of old, narrow alleyways bursting with activity from the many restaurants, cafes, and shops. 

Amsterdam is certainly a compact city, canal houses squeezed next to each other, and tiny streets that just about fit two bike lanes with a sliver of pavement for pedestrians, who still always seem to get in your way even when you incessantly ring your bell. 

I like to think it makes everyone feel connected and cozy. I love Amsterdam for its small lanes and backstreets where you feel snug and can get a little lost. You almost always get drawn in to the sense of mystery and enclosure. 

If you’re not going anywhere in a hurry, it can be quite fun to veer off-track (but only a little). It feels homey and intimate. 

Everywhere you look, the buildings are uniquely Dutch and from Amsterdam. It doesn’t feel or look like any other city on Earth. I hope I can see as much as possible in the short time I have here, get a bit lost and maybe find a future home on one of these dreamy canals.


Amsterdam is known for its gorgeous canals in the heart of the city.

<![CDATA[Seeing the good and bad in my high school years]]>

A couple of weeks ago, I started working my way through old episodes of Doctor Who to prepare myself for the upcoming season (and, more importantly, Jodie Whittaker’s role as the first female incarnation of the Doctor).  Within the first episode, I was surprised to find how nostalgic the show made me feel. 

Really, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  I first stumbled upon the show in my freshman year of high school and was immediately obsessed: I binged through Doctors Nine, Ten and Eleven in a month or two, and quickly set about converting as many of my friends to the show as possible.  

We could talk for hours about the memorable monsters, daring adventures, confusing and wibbly-wobbly timelines. 

Looking back, it’s pretty obvious that Doctor Who was my first entrance into a fandom, and I’ve been a diehard member of that culture ever since. And yet, I was surprised by all the fond memories that came back to me as I rewatched the show.  

Part of it, I think, stems from the fact that I don’t really feel like I should be feeling so sentimental over my past yet. I’ve been 21 for barely a month now, and yet I’m already reminiscing over the good old days.

It somehow seems artificial, as if I can’t think fondly on my past because I don’t really understand what it means yet.  At this point, nostalgia feels like another one of those trappings of adulthood that I’ve somehow acquired but still have no idea what to actually do with (along with doing my taxes and using construction tools).

However, I think that the main cause of my surprise stems from my evergrowing ambivalence toward my high school years. A lot of good things happened during that period (great friends and supportive parents), but they were accompanied and balanced out by some pretty serious negatives (toxic relationships and attending a religious boarding school as a raging homosexual).  

As a result, while my time in high school certainly wasn’t dreadful, I’m definitely not interested in reliving that period.

Besides, I’ve always hated the trope of adults who insist that high school is the best years of our lives. It’s a complete and utter whitewashing of the past that overlooks all of the hardships that many kids have to overcome. 

Sure, we didn’t have a mortgage or a 9 to 5 job, but my whole high school friend group was just a big ball of untreated mental illness.  

We struggled a lot in high school, and it took a lot of work to get through it all, and it isn’t fair to disregard those negative experiences. As such, it feels a little weird to be romanticizing that time frame, especially considering that we’re only a few years out.

Of course, I’m not saying that we should only remember the bad times from our past — then we’d be the exact same situation, only this time, we’d be making ourselves miserable.  And again, I did enjoy my high school experiences, and I made a lot of friends who are very special to me to this day.  

However, I think that it is important to remember both the good and the bad when we look at our past; without both aspects, the story is incomplete.  

I’ve just about gotten to the point in Doctor Who where my original run at watching the series ended, and I definitely have a much different view on the show than I did when I was in high school. 

This time, I’ve been a slightly more critical viewer, and while the show has definitely had some great moments (the Christmas specials, “Midnight” and the first episode with the Weeping Angels), it has had some less good ones as well (most of the early special effects and literally every other episode with the Weeping Angels). 

Still, without its flaws, it wouldn’t be the show that I fell in love with during those first months of high school, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.