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In 2003, James Frey published “A Million Little Pieces,” a gruesome memoir chronicling his rehabilitation from drug and alcohol abuse. It was picked up by Oprah’s Book Club, and held the New York Times bestseller spot for 15 weeks. It was later deemed a literary fraud, accused of embellishment and fabrication. “Confessions of a Ivy League Frat Boy,” written by Andrew Lohse ’12, could perhaps share this fate.
Completing a slate that included performances from the New York Theatre Workshop, Andrew Bird and the Hands of Glory, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and a documentary screening by filmmaker Ken Burns, the Hopkins Center’s summer programming will draw to a close in the coming weeks as the academic quarter ends. Reflecting back on the term, students, staff and faculty identified a number of highlights across disciplines offered at the Center.
Watching Richard Linklater’s watershed film “Boyhood” (2014) feels like opening a long-forgotten, cobwebbed trunk full of old photos, Pokémon cards and Nintendo games you discovered in your attic. Following the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from age 6 to 18, the film captures the midnight Harry Potter book releases, the Britney Spears songs and the Razr phones vital to the childhoods of Generation Y. On the way, the film wins viewers over with its honest, moving depiction of the trials and tribulations of growing up.
From July 12 to August 10, a bronze boy wept in the Hood Museum of Art.
A sliver of sunlight gleamed off “Arabesque,” created by Michael Kraatz and Susan Russell of Canaan. The stained glass reflected the reds and greens of the nearby ceramic plants. A small patch of purple flowers had sprung up next to the sculpture, their bright petals contrasting against the rusted steel framing the glass. A small group of bees buzzed around the overturned bird house sculpture a few yards away, made by Campton’s Phil Lonergan.
Tucked between the Black Family Visual Arts Center and the Hopkins Center, the Maffei Arts Plaza was once nothing more than a parking lot and Brewster Hall, a residential space that housed international students. The space is now a hub of public art, where some of the most prestigious art at Dartmouth is displayed. While the College has said farewell to Louise Bourgeois’s “Crouching Spider” and the five Allan Houser sculptures now on display will also leave in May 2015, the plaza maintains one permanent work of art: Ellsworth Kelly’s “Dartmouth Panels.” Five brightly colored, aluminum rectangles will continue to hold their place along the outside wall of Spaulding Auditorium, watching over the plaza as the other works continue to change.
It was sobering experience to sit in a quiet theater and watch as Philip Seymour Hoffman became the beleaguered, chain smoking spy Günther Bachmann in Anton Corbijn’s “A Most Wanted Man” (2014). This film was Hoffman’s final leading role before his tragic death earlier this year, the result of a cocktail of heroin, cocaine and prescription medications. A haunted yet brilliant actor who brought some of film’s most iconic characters to life, such as Truman Capote in “Capote”(2005) and Caden Cotard in “Synecdoche, New York” (2008), Hoffman struggled with drug abuse and alcoholism throughout his life. “A Most Wanted Man” is Hoffman’s swan song, and in its eerie proximity to his own life, the film provides a window into the freighted, enervated and tailspinning psyche of one of our generation’s greatest talents.
Taking its name from the weapon that David uses to face the giant Goliath, “SlingShot” — a new documentary directed by Paul Lazarus ’76 — follows the story of inventor Dean Kamen, who invented the Slingshot water purifier to tackle the lack of clean drinking water across the globe.
In Joe Overstreet’s painting “The New Aunt Jemima,” a 7-foot-tall woman usually seen on syrup bottles is portrayed atop a structure mimicking the pancake-mix box .The image shows Aunt Jemima smiling as she blasts a machine gun, pancakes flying like shrapnel. The Earth is painted at her feet as Overstreet reclaims the image of Aunt Jemima, whose minstrel show roots trace back to darker days of American race relations.
Jordana Composto ’16 rushed into her audition, slightly late. She was suffering from a bout of laryngitis, and as she heard the voices of her competitors, she grew even more nervous. She had a shot at her dream: performing for the Amore Opera Company’s production of Georges Bizet’s world-famous opera “Carmen.”
Most of you know Zach Braff as the goofy, daydreaming doctor from “Scrubs,” capable of transitioning from playing the eagle-playing goof to a teary-eyed sentimentalist in a heartbeat. He brought this sad clown effect to Andrew Largeman, the despondent lead character of his 2004 self-directed indie hit “Garden State.” His second feature “Wish I Was Here” (2014) — which he directed as well as stars in — exists in the same angsty universe, enlivened only by its own dark humor and bizarre coterie of characters.
Summer is full of music festivals and outdoor concerts, although you may have forgotten this living in the Hanover bubble this term. However, there are some fantastic concerts near campus in the next two months that’ll have you scrambling for tickets. Take the opportunity to get off campus, make a weekend out of it with friends and enjoy some great music! Here are some of the best concerts in August and September that you should be sure to mark on your calendars.
Last year at the College, students saw original Picasso paintings, watched nationally acclaimed dance groups perform and explored new public art displays around campus.
Sitting around a table with Tony-award winning writer Lemon Andersen, students in the theater department’s “Drama in Performance” class discussed his script, suggesting a scene they wanted added or 10 pages they thought should be deleted. The meeting was part of the New York Theater Workshop’s 23rd summer residency at Dartmouth, which brings emerging directors, playwrights and actors as artists-in-residence to Dartmouth. For three weeks at Dartmouth, the artists-in-residence retreat into their creative spaces and focus entirely on their new works.
This week, The Dartmouth sat down with Jimmy Ragan ’16, a Dodecaphonics singer who is this term’s musical director for the Summerphonics. The 16-member coed group allows students not in full-year a capella groups to sing over the summer. As musical director, Ragan runs rehearsals, selects music, makes sure members learn songs and determines sets for shows. Dodecs members Rory Page ’16 and Emma PeConga ’16 also help to run the summer group. So far this summer, Summerphonics has performed at Pelt-a-Delta, at Beta Alpha Omega fraternity for a show with Splendaplum and at the “Proud to be Green” Panhellenic Council event over sophomore family weekend. The group anticipates performing in at least two more shows by the end of term, Ragan said.
The completion of the Dartmouth Digital Orozco website and the digitalization of the Hood Museum’s collection of Native American art are the College’s latest steps to digitize artwork. The website, which went online in late June, makes the Orozco murals in Baker Library available to the public, along with relevant information and other pictures, while the digitalization will make more than 4,000 pieces of Native American work accessible online following a grant earlier this year.
It’s unfortunate that I watched this film right after seeing “Particle Fever” (2013) at the Loew Theater Friday night. The film is a beautiful homage to being human and the wonders of knowledge, and Luc Besson’s “Lucy” (2014) had the same intentions. A question and answer bookend the film: “Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?” followed by “Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.” But along the way, it tailspins into absurdity and misanthropy, reducing mankind to an animalistic species scrambling with its head chopped off.
In the small pitch-black theater, students glide through the audience and across the stage, settling in rocking chairs for one scene or bursting through the bare screen door in another. They have been fixing the details, swapping out scarves and timing effects. In front of a lit screen that shifts between pinks, blues and reds, they utter words written by Bobby Esnard ’14, perfecting the performance of a script he first wrote more than a year ago. As they rehearsed on Thursday, their first big audience would witness the production in just two days.
Documentary filmmaker and producer Ken Burns is renowned for his unique ability to deliver history to our screens, pairing a rich cultural understanding of America’s past with gripping drama. Over the years, Burns has repeatedly visited the College, most recently screening his third episode of “The Roosevelts” at the Hopkins Center on July 13.
If you’ve ever watched a cooking program like “Iron Chef America” or “Chopped” on an empty stomach, you know that feeling of painful, mouthwatering food lust. Anacharsis, an ancient Scythian philosopher said, “The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust.” The metaphor works well for this film. The first shot of juicy limes delights you, the second shot of bubbling grilled cheese intoxicates you and the third shot of crackling bacon makes you bite your fist, whimper and wonder how moving pictures can be so cruel.