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June 2004 Archives

June 2, 2004

The art of flirtation


Second-year COVA major Karlynn Holland didn’t know where the electric blue slug seat came from, but last Thursday she used the comfy chair on the quads to study. Her lounging drew the attention of physics graduate student Jason Wyman, who walked over and said hello.

Turns out the seat was the creation of third-year Chuk Moran (of sushi-seminar fame), whose artwork was part of this year’s Festival of the Arts.

Phoebe Maltz, ’05

June 4, 2004

No place like home

Alumni Weekend 2004 kicked off with a grand opening: a June 3 reception at the new Alumni House. By 5 p.m. a crowd had gathered to watch as former Alumni Board of Governors presidents Linda Thoren Neal, AB’64, JD’67, and Katharine L. Bensen, AB’80—both driving forces behind the building—snipped through a ceremonial red ribbon. It was official: the Gothic structure at 5555 South Woodlawn Avenue was open for business—and a party.

Inside, guests toured the new digs, picked up nametags for the weekend’s events, snacked on hors d’oeuvres, and caught up with former classmates. Alumni who’d missed the ribbon cutting were in time for another house-warming rite, as University President Don M. Randel offered a toast: “It’s high time that the alumni of this great University have a great home. I hope you will always think of it as a home to stop by when you return to campus—and that those stops will be frequent.”

Sunlight streaming through the mullioned windows, the guests smiled and partied on.


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Photos: going in: Former Alumni Board of Governors presidents Linda Thoren Neal, AB’64, JD’67, and Katharine L. Bensen, AB’80, officially open Alumni House (left); grand day for a grand opening: guests arrive at Chicago’s Alumni House (middle); Alumni Association Executive Director Christine C. Love—who is leaving Chicago to move east with her family—received a surprise from the Alumni Board of Governors: the house’s entrance foyer has been named in her honor (right).

Photos by Dan Dry.

June 7, 2004



For at least 54 of the 2,500 alumni, family members, and friends who flocked back to the alma mater’s open arms this weekend to reunite with former classmates and relive the old days, the memories hadn’t yet had much time to gather dust. The bulk of the class of 2003’s attendees—not yet a year out of school—spent Friday night at their alumni dinner, enjoying appetizers and an open bar at a North Side eatery, and unceremoniously skipped the weekend’s all-alumni events.

But a few recent grads did make their way to campus: Replacing an absent flag-bearer for Saturday morning’s procession, a single backup took the 2003 banner, joined at Rockefeller’s steps by three tardy classmates. After the ceremony, at least six members came to Ratner (five of whom either work for the University or were on the reunion committee) to enjoy the afternoon’s barbeque. And at Saturday night’s soiree, though one 2003 table was empty, the other, brimming with borrowed chairs, overflowed with newly minted alums.


Photos: the Class of 2003 at Saturday's barbeque (top); alumni procession in Rockefeller (bottom).

June 9, 2004

Jazz in translation

An entryway display to the Smart Museum’s Richard and Mary L. Gray Gallery reveals the focus of its latest exhibition: “moga,” or modern young women, the Japanese equivalent of Roaring ‘20s flappers. Composed of muted grays, taupe, green, salmon, and a splash of teal, the portrait shows a Japanese girl holding a traditional fan while wearing a contemporary pleated dress with sheer black stockings and funky jewelry.

Taishô Chic: Japanese Modernity, Nostalgia, and Deco spotlights the social role of Japanese women during the reign of Emperor Taishô (1915–26) through the mid-1930s, when traditional Japanese art and conservative values were integrated with popular Western styles. Organized by the Honolulu Academy of Arts, this collection includes more than 60 items such as woodblock prints, folding screens, figurines, household goods, kimonos, and other decorative artifacts.

Taishô Chic will be at the Smart Museum through June 20.

Joy Olivia Miller

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Photos (from left to right): Woman's Kimono, Second quarter of the 20th century, Silk, plain weave, stencil-printed warp and weft kasuri. Courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Gift of the Christensen Fund, 1998; Round Fan Advertising Jintan, with Photos of Irie Takako and Hamaguchi Fujiko, c. early 1930s, Paper and wood. Courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Gift of Mauree D'Honau, 1997; Yamakawa Shûhô, Three Sisters (Sannin no Shimai), 1936, Screen. Courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts; Kobayakawa Kiyoshi, Tipsy, 1930, Color woodblock print. Courtesy of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Gift of the Philip H. Roach, Jr. Collection, 2001.

June 11, 2004

Bagpipes, robes, cameras, and foreign policy

This morning the Millar Brass Ensemble welcomed soon-to-be-graduates’ families and friends into Harper Quad. Once the processional from Hull Gate began shortly after 9 a.m., all eyes turned to the University of Chicago Pipe Band and then, of course, to the black- or maroon-robed degree candidates. Family members, wearing flower-print dresses or khakis, lined each side of the parade, waving, smiling, and clicking their cameras when the student they’d been waiting for finally passed. “There’s my brother,” one graduate said to the woman behind her, smiling and waving to said relative.

Though cloudy skies and sticky air appeared to threaten this morning’s convocation session for Law School, Harris School, and SSA graduates, the ceremony concluded without a drop. The Rev. Alison Boden, dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, offered an invocation, noting that despite this national day of mourning “our spirits can’t help but be elated” by such a celebratory event. Then political-science professor John J. Mearsheimer gave the convocation address, telling the graduates that with a Chicago education they are prepared—and indeed obligated—to publicly question U.S. foreign policy. “The elites who make foreign policy don’t like to have their ideas challenged,” he said. “As graduates of this institution you are well informed to engage in those debates and help avoid future foreign-policy debacles.”

At 3:30 this afternoon graduate students in the biological sciences, the medical school, the humanities, the physical sciences, the social sciences, the divinity school, and the Graham School of General Studies will receive degrees. Saturday morning is the undergraduate ceremony, and Sunday morning the business school. Mearsheimer will address all but the GSB convocation, when Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker, AM’53, PhD’55, will speak on “Business Schools within Universities: the Right Mix.”


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Far left and far right photos by Amy Braverman. Middle photos by Dan Dry.

June 14, 2004

Thrown into art

In the high-ceilinged, airy space at Gallery 312, early guests to the opening reception nosh on Asian appetizers, waiting for the artists and their families to show up. The Humanities Division convocation ceremony has just ended, and it takes some time to drive north in Friday-afternoon rush hour.

Two guests—cousins of Mary Burns, MFA’04—eye a series of cement and graphite sculptures, a piece by Stacy Karzen, MFA’04, called Lunch. A small group laughs before Jung Eun Lee’s (MFA’04) untitled mixed-media installation—when they enter the space behind the curtain, a camera unexpectedly takes their photograph, and now they’re giggling at the results: photo-booth–style strips of pictures. Around the corner visitors step onto faux-grass and read about Lynn Retson’s (MFA’04) “expeditions” to discover and recreate borrow pits, where dirt is dug to use as fill elsewhere. (A sign explains, “Exhibit temporarily on loan to the mobile site of the Midwest Museum of the Borrow Pit located in the U-Haul van near the front entrance loading dock.”) One guy stares at Paula Henderson’s (MFA’04) Chicago: the Remix, an acrylic and charcoal map of the city in which she reconfigured neighborhoods in alphabetical order, coming up with a surprisingly even distribution of race and class.

The exhibition, called Pitch and curated by the Smart Museum’s Uchenna Itam, features some 25 pieces by eight graduating visual-arts students, including photography, paint, video, installation, and sculpture. The title Pitch, Itam says, connotes the artists’sense of being “thrown out into the gallery world” and also plays nicely on Retson’s borrow pit project. Their work shown here through June 26, the graduates have a welcoming entrée into an artist’s life.


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June 16, 2004

Holding out for a hero

The lunchtime audience in the Chicago Cultural Center theater (legal occupancy: 249) was small (18 attendees plus five panelists), but the question was big: “Is Cyrano a Hero?”

Thomas Pavel, chair of Romance languages & literature at Chicago, hosted the discussion, held in conjunction with the Redmoon Theatre/Court Theatre production at the Museum of Contemporary Art, where it has received rave reviews—the Chicago Tribune called it a “richly provocative interpretation of a classic” with “a visual environment resembling a 19th-century puppet show gone mad.”

Responding to the intimacy of the group, Pavel and his panelists—Court artistic director Charles Newell, dramaturg Sarah Gubbins, translator Mickle Maher, and Allen Gilmore, who portrays Cyrano—abandoned table, chairs, and microphones to perch on the edge of the stage as they dissected the heroic mettle of Cyrano de Bergerac, French dramatist Edmond Rostand’s larger-than-life protagonist with larger-than-life proboscis.

Although everyone agreed with Pavel that “Cyrano is a hero with a flaw,” they found the flaw harder to pin down. “In these self-activated times,” Newell said, Cyrano can come across as “a coward, an idiot,” unable to accept Roxane’s love. Dramaturg Gubbins and translator Maher emphasized the idealistic nature of Cyrano’s personality and passion. “He can’t be with Roxane,” said Maher, “because if he were, he wouldn’t be Cyrano.” And Gilmore saw him as a wise man made a fool by love: “He does things around her he just can’t help.”

The third and final session of the We’re Talkin’ Classics symposium series, “The Language of Words: Conceiving and Creating CYRANO,” takes place on the day of the play’s last performance, Sunday, June 27, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.


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Photos: just another love story? Cyrano looks on as Roxane looks away(left); a larger-than-life protagonist with a larger-than-life proboscis (middle); Christian speaks Cyrano’s words of love for Roxane (right).

Photos by Michael Brosilow.

June 18, 2004

Going my way?


Despite soaring gas prices and the summer construction season, University denizens are still packing up and hitting the pavement—with a little help from the Ride Board. Online and in the Reynold’s Club basement, the Ride Board hooks up students, staff, and faculty who are ready for a road trip but need wheels or want company.

Drivers or passengers who don’t want to go it alone can register (with a valid U of C e-mail address) to post or view available rides online, or they can do it the old fashioned way, pinning scraps of paper below a Rand McNally U.S. map. Posted offers include journeys to Cleveland and New York, both offered by Gregory, who has a stick shift and no particular music preference; a roundtrip ticket to the Minneapolis Magnetic Fields Show; regular visits to St. Louis; and an expired call for a one-way jaunt to “Anywhere Anytime, USA” by classic-rock fan Bernadette.

Though the online site stipulates that the University “accepts no responsibility for the outcome of any rider or offer you accept,” a letter featured in the June 1998 University of Chicago Magazine tells the triumphant tale of a Ride Board–facilitated trip to Northhampton, Mass. Upon completing their journey, the two pilgrims, a political philosophy student and a doctoral candidate in physical chemistry, “promised to get together for a Cubs game before the summer was out. We never did make it to Wrigley Field,” explains the philosopher, “but nine years and a beautiful daughter later, we’re still together.”


June 21, 2004

Summer School


For William Rainey Harper, Chicago’s first president, learning was a yearlong enterprise. Developing the quarter system and organizing summer schools, Harper had an academic appetite that never seemed to need a vacation. Today the tradition continues, as about 290 undergraduates and 3,200 graduate students returned to campus for the summer session, one week after spring quarter’s end.

“It’s early,” said Lea Schweitz, a Divinity School doctoral student, “but it’s a good way to get a lot of Latin in a short amount of time.” Introduction to Latin meets Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. During break Schweitz headed to lunch with Div School graduate student Erika Tritle and Jennifer Voss, a visiting undergraduate who happens to attend Luther College, Tritle and Schweitz’s alma mater. A little socializing can’t hurt those summer studies.


Photos: Samantha Kuhn, AM'03, reads up before sitting in on a Reading French course this afternoon (top); Intro to Latin breaks for lunch (bottom).

June 23, 2004

Shaking all over


Michael Allen, associate professor of classical languages and literatures, received an urgent phone call from his wife this morning. “She said, ‘Stop! Where are you?’” Allen recounts. Having just finished teaching a class, he was on campus. Her instructions were clear: “Stop and get shakes.”

For a buck on Wednesdays, the C-shop churns out 12-14 oz. frozen treats in such basic flavors as vanilla, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, and strawberry. Word of Shake Day travels fast, and Allen wasn’t the only customer to take advantage of the decades-old tradition. Third-year Karen McClendon-Sikic, who’s participating in a University research program this summer, made a beeline for the C-shop around 11 a.m. “I always come,” she says. “I like the fact that it’s filling and only a dollar.”

Shake Day is so popular, in fact, that University officials negotiated for nearly two years with Einstein Brothers Bagels to continue the deal when the chain moved into the shop last year, according to Christy Cook, food service director, who also notes, “It’s in our top five movers every week.”


June 25, 2004

Groundhog Doc


Running Wednesdays through Saturdays until August 28, this summer’s Doc Film series offers 40 film classics—from Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent to Ingmar Bergman’s The Magician—for a $14 quarter-long pass (or $4 per show).

Yes, you can rent or buy the same films on video or DVD, but Doc offers the joys of the big screen, air-conditioning (though July and August will have to be warmer than June has been to make this a plus), and the fun of watching with a knowledgeable audience—many of whom may have seen the same films at previous Doc screenings.

In fact, Doc’s Web site provides a list of all films screened in its Max Palevsky home between March 29, 1999, and March 15, 2003. For example, Akira Kurosaw’s Seven Samurai—showing at 8 p.m. July 29—was screened October 25, 2000, and Ben Stiller’s Zoolander—at 7 and 9 p.m. July 7—played Max on January 11, 2002.

What about the mother of all déjà vu movies? Groundhog Day—which didn’t make a Doc appearance between Spring Quarter 1999 and Winter Quarter 2003—will be shown twice on July 17, at 7 and 9:15 p.m.


June 28, 2004

Chicago summer sees twice the ambition


Forgoing the joys of a summer vacation, 12 scholars (ten straight from college, one Pritzker student, and one developmental-biology graduate student) have thrown themselves into the University’s medical science training program (MSTP). Now in its second week of classes, the eight-year-long program, headed by Jose Quintans, associate dean and master of the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division, is tailored to students seeking a doctorate along with a medical degree. MSTP courses (which later will focus on fields such as neuroscience and immunology) began in late June with human morphology so participants could get acclimated before the other M.D. candidates arrive in the fall. At today’s histology class, taught by associate pathology professor Tony Montag, the students examined epiglottal cells, which, according to MSTP first-year Brian Theyel, look like “purple and pink globs.”


June 30, 2004

Local swimmin' hole

Two slouching lifeguards—Hyde Park teens Jennie and Emily Msall—perked up in their elevated seats as a new group of swimmers trickled into the bright, humid Myers-McLoraine pool room last Friday around noon. One by one professors, staff, students, and other members of the Ratner Athletics Center unwittingly followed the same pre-swim routine—sliding off their squishy flip-flops before dipping their feet into the water to test the temperature (kept at approximately 80°), then splashing into an open lane of the 50-meter-by-25-yard pool for some lunchtime laps.

“Everyone who comes to swim is assured of adequate workout space,” George Villarreal, the men’s swimming coach and aquatics director, writes via e-mail. “In comparison to the former offerings, Ida Noyes Pool and, before that, Bartlett Pool, which have been described variously as dungeons and pits, this pool”—which opened last September –“is an airy place to swim that keeps drawing patrons.”

No matter what the season, the pool’s year-round popularity—it’s busiest weekdays at 6:30 a.m., noon, and 8 p.m. and weekends at 9:30 a.m. and 3–6 p.m.—isn’t taken for granted. “The pool is kept clean and running well by our skilled building engineers,” Villarreal says, “who clearly take a sense of ownership in running it well. A clean pool is its best advertisement.”

Joy Olivia Miller

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Photos by Joy Olivia Miller.

About June 2004

This page contains all entries posted to UChiBLOGo in June 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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