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In May of 2016, Carene Mekertichyan ’16 made her dream into a reality when her senior project, a production of the late Ntozake Shange’s Obie Award-winning play and choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” was performed for the greater Dartmouth community. Shange, who passed away on Oct. 27 at the age of 70 after suffering health problems, made a significant impact on Mekertichyan since her first encounter with the playwright’s work in middle school. Mekertichyan remembered the women in Shange’s work as she got older and grew into her capacity to understand the depth of Shange’s creation.
Airing in July this past summer, HBO’s “Sharp Objects,” an adaption of “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn’s book of the same name, sets out to remind its audience of what is unique to the identity of the Midwestern United States and what is possible within the supposedly limited format of the miniseries. Following the story of St. Louis Chronicle journalist Camille Preaker, played by Amy Adams, “Sharp Objects” takes its audience on the journey of an investigative reporter who must vanquish her own demons while hunting down others. Assigned to report on a murder and a series of child disappearances in rural Missouri, Camille is forced to return to the fictional town of Wind Gap, Missouri, the hometown she had long left behind.
Directed by and starring Bradley Cooper, and featuring pop supernova Lady Gaga, 2018’s “A Star is Born,” a remake of William Wellman’s 1937 film of the same name, breathes new life into the music drama genre.
A masterful and satirical take on the crime drama complex that has swept the nation, Netflix’s “American Vandal” is mysterious, delectable and utterly ridiculous. Using a documentary format, “American Vandal” mocks the sophistication of the crime drama gaze by putting all its investigative energies toward deciphering the absurdities of high school life and the low-level offenses of the fictional Hanover High School’s student body.
Painter Lucy Mink, whose exhibit opened on Tuesday, is this fall’s artist-in-residence. Known for her contemporary exploration and manipulation of the modernist style, Mink’s work has earned critical acclaim.. Mink is the recipient of a 2012 grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in New York, and was awarded the 2007 Best of Show from the BAG Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Born in Oakland, New Jersey, Mink now resides in Contoocook, New Hampshire.
Hilarious, thoughtful and unwavering, pop culture critic Michael Arceneaux’s memoir “I Can’t Date Jesus” tackles the awkward and sometimes painful realities of growing up over the course of 17 essays.
Each year, Dartmouth’s theater department allows select theater majors to undertake an honors thesis. A selective process, only students who have completed at least five theater courses and who have an average major GPA of at least 3.4 or higher, along with an overall GPA of at least 3.0, are eligible to apply for the project. Those who are accepted are given the opportunity to sharpen their skills and enrich their knowledge in an area of interest through a written thesis or a full-length play. In the Class of 2018, there were four students — Claire Feuille ’18, Lela Gannon ’18, Virginia Ogden ’18 and Matthew Treiber ’18 — who presented their honors theses this spring. Senior Fellow Celeste Jennings ’18 also wrote and produced a play as part of her fellowship. Throughout the month of May, all five of the students premiered their projects in the Hopkins Center for the Arts, where they shared their works to audiences for the first time.
Informed in part by the interest of students in his course Music 45.04, “Changing the World with Music,” professor of music William Cheng has been sharing his lecture “Loud Music Trial: His Music Was Not A Weapon” at colleges around the country. On Monday, Cheng brought the talk to Dartmouth, sharing the story of the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Jordan Davis. Seventeen-year-old Davis was shot in Florida by Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white man who claimed that Davis’ “loud rap music” constituted a threat to his life. Cheng’s talk is primarily interested in the subsequent trial and political organizing that occurred in the wake of Jordan’s death, and its proceeds are donated to the Jordan Davis Foundation.
In Kayleen Schaefer’s “Text Me When You Get Home,” released Feb. 6, the infamous words of parting friends are made into the foundation for a broader dialogue about the nature of women’s friendships, on screen and off. Taking the American media and patriarchy to task, Schaefer challenges the ways in which the history of considering women physically, emotionally and mentally inferior to men undermines their relationships to themselves and each other.
“Pitch Perfect” screenwriter Kay Cannon made a splash at the South by Southwest Film Festival when she became the first female director to premiere an R-rated comedy with her film “Blockers.” With the teen comedy — Cannon’s directorial debut — hitting theaters Friday, the Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted an advance screening of the film over the weekend, giving Dartmouth the opportunity to view the teen drama a week before it hits theaters. “Blockers” strikes a balance between social commentary, raunchiness and dry humor, managing to get laughs out of diverse audience while posing some important questions about gender, sex, youth and family.
“How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective,” edited by Princeton University professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, takes on the task of commemorating the inimitable 1977 statement made by the Combahee River Collective, a group of radical Black feminists that emerged after America’s Civil Rights era. The collective’s letter, a political declaration, revolutionized the way radical political change is talked about to this very day. “How We Get Free” includes the infamous statement in its pages, offering readers the opportunity to engage with the group that has shaped our political world yet remains unknown to many.
Independent radio and podcast producer, Laura Sim ’16 majored in English at Dartmouth and completed a thesis on race in radio and podcasts. In 2016, her podcast “This Dartmouth Life” helped Sim receive the John D. Bryant award for Creative Production. After graduating, she worked at Slate, Gimlet Media, Radiotopia and now, the Wall Street Journal. Sim helped produce “The United States of Debt” at Slate and worked as an associate producer on Radiotopia’s “Millennial” and Gimlet Media’s “Crimetown,” a critically-acclaimed podcast about politics and organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island.
Friday Night Rock hosted a concert this weekend featuring soul artist Madison McFerrin and rap artist Deem Spencer in a continuation of its efforts to bring live music to campus. Founded in 2004, FNR began when a group of Dartmouth students, frustrated with the absence of live music at the College, came together in a collective effort to fill the void. As of 2013, Friday Night Rock shows take place in Sarner Underground, a venue with a 300-person capacity and professional staging, audio and lighting capabilities.
In 2017, writer and historian Erica Armstrong Dunbar published the biography “Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit Of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge.” Attempting to accomplish an ambitious feat, Dunbar imagines the life of Judge, a young woman who was enslaved by America’s first family but managed to escape from bondage. The book reconstructs the course that Judge took on her journey to freedom from enslavement in 1796. By harnessing her skill for research, Dunbar reconstructs Judge’s world, telling a story that has never been explored in such detail or with such tact. Through this biography, Dunbar also honors the life and humanity of a woman who was denied niceties at birth.
On Jan. 3, Freeform debuted the first two episodes of “grown-ish,” the highly-anticipated spin-off of ABC’s “black-ish.” “grown-ish” follows Zoey (Yara Shahidi), the eldest Johnson daughter, through her freshman year of college and journey into adulthood. The show is fresh, colorful and fun, featuring a diverse cast of characters and strong writing. “grown-ish” manages to build on the success of “black-ish” while asserting itself as distinct and worthy of anticipation. The show retains many of the core elements that allowed “black-ish” to rise as a critically-acclaimed sitcom on ABC. For example, “grown-ish” also stresses audience education, offering brief insights into character background and historical context, a practice which takes on new meaning as Zoey is tasked with learning who she is, where she comes from and how she wants to exist in the world.
In “The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Black feminist writer Audre Lorde critiques the ways in which Western patriarchal societies have suppressed and falsely encouraged women’s sexual expression. In the piece, she asserts that “the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the woman who doesn’t fear its revelation, nor succumb to the belief that sensation is enough.” With these words, Lorde calls for a full-bodied praxis regarding the body, one which acknowledges sexuality as a basis for reclamation and degradation.
An ode to former first lady Michelle Obama, “Courage is Contagious: And Other Reasons to be Thankful for Michelle Obama” takes on the task of memorializing and honoring the legacy of Obama as a cultural icon through a collection of written reflections. The book’s editor, Nick Haramis, compiled essays by actors, writers, fashion designers, activists, high schoolers and others in order to participate in the process of unpacking the Obama family’s legacy in America and the significance of Obama’s navigation of the first lady position.
On Sunday, Oct. 29, Upper Valley television channel CATV’s sixth annual Halloween-o-thon took place on Dartmouth’s campus from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Loew Auditorium located in the Black Family Visual Arts Center, partnering with the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Halloween-o-thon showcased films made by students spanning in age from middle school to college from all across the Upper Valley who registered to commit three weeks of their time to writing, directing and casting their very own short horror films. On Sunday, their work was displayed on the big screen to celebrate the creative endeavors of local youth and embrace the Halloween spirit.